Home Airlines What To Do When You Have An Expired Southwest Credit Voucher

What To Do When You Have An Expired Southwest Credit Voucher

by joeheg

Southwest has one of the most generous policies when it comes to changing or canceling a flight. If you need to cancel a flight before it takes off (yep, you have right until 10 minutes before the flight departs), the easiest way to do it is on Southwest’s website, which can be reached by this link.

When you cancel the flight, you don’t receive a refund. Instead, you’re provided a credit, which is called a Residual Travel Fund by Southwest. Of course, this is if you paid cash for your ticket. If you used Southwest Rapid Rewards points, your points are reinstated and any booking taxes refunded to your credit card.

However, there are several things you need to know about this credit. Listen carefully, as I was even tripped up by these rules:

  1. The credit is issued through the Confirmation number on the original reservation. It’s up to you to remember that you have the credit and I’ve seen nowhere online where you can look it up.
  2. The credit can only be used for the same passenger as the original ticket. You can’t cancel your ticket and then use the credit for your spouse.
  3. The credit will expire one year after the PURCHASE DATE of the original ticket. Not the date of the flight, but the day you bought the ticket.
  4. You need to complete your flight by the expiration date of the credit.

Here’s how I got tripped up by two of the rules:

in March 2017, we bought tickets to Chicago. For a number of reasons our flights had to be changed and I ended up canceling one of the flights and changing to United. (If it was today, I never would have done it). It was mainly because the United tickets were so much cheaper for the same flights. I figured that I’d get a credit for Southwest that we would use for future flights.

The problem was that I’m a planner. I’d already made most of our flight reservations for the rest of the year and for the few things not booked, Southwest wouldn’t work very well. We did have a trip the following year, but it was two days after the vouchers would have expired. And I wasn’t going to plan another trip just to use the vouchers. So my big plan to save money might now have caused me to lose out on $200 each.

We didn’t lose them all. It turned out I needed to make a quick solo trip from New York to Seattle. While Southwest wasn’t the first carrier I thought about on the route, it allowed me to leave from the same airport as Sharon, and I’d get to spend some time in the LaGuardia AMEX Centurion lounge to get some work done before my flights.

That flight used up almost all of my $190 credit but we had nothing to do with Sharon’s funds and they eventually EXPIRED. So I did what all people should do, I Googled. I found messages about how these credits may be turned into a voucher, but couldn’t find strict policy saying they had to do this.

What did we have to lose, except $190, to make a phone call? I hate to have Sharon make these calls (Note from Sharon: I really detest talking on the phone) but it was her ticket. I looked up a number for Southwest Corporate Sales Support. I’m not sure if this is the correct number but it did work to get the job done. If you want to see the numbers, the list is on Southwest’s Website HERE.

An agent quickly helped Sharon to investigate the problem. The credit was expired but they could issue us a LUV Voucher. The cost of $100 would be removed from the value of the expired travel fund and this voucher could be used within a six month period from issue. It could be used by any traveler, not just the original ticketed passenger. They would issue the voucher to us by email at the address on file and we should receive it in three to four days.


OK, so don’t call for the expired credit and hope to book a flight that day with the voucher as that ain’t gonna happen. As it turned out, we had to call a second time (Note from Sharon: “WE” had to call again? How about *I* had to call a second time? Joy of joys…) and found out the original request was never entered properly. After that call, I received an email a few days later with the voucher information on it.

Final Thoughts

I guess the first thing I want to stress is to really keep track of when your Southwest credits expire. We were lucky to be able to use one just under the wire and had to let the other one go bad. If the credit is worth over $100, you can still call and try to have Southwest transfer the value to a voucher. Even if it’s just a few dollars, it’s still your money. Just remember that money has to be spent in six months.

Southwest Credits or LUV Vouchers or gift cards cannot be used to purchase flight extras. When I booked with a voucher and a Southwest gift card, I also had to pay for the Early Bird booking with a different credit card.

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VM July 28, 2018 - 12:30 am

Hi. If credits are about to expire (say September 1), and you want to travel after (say September 10), can you book travel for a date like August 20th before the expiration date, and then CHANGE the flight to your desired travel date?

joeheg July 28, 2018 - 9:20 am

I’ve never tried this but the expiration date of the credit is built into SW’s booking system. When you change a flight on Southwest, you’re cancelling the first reservation and then booking the new one, but at the same time. My guess is that the system wouldn’t let you do the change because the new flight date is past the expiration date of the credit. Depending on the value of the credit, you’re only option may be to take the $100 fee and transfer it into a voucher. That will give you another six months and more flexibility on who can use the money.

Eddie September 12, 2018 - 9:14 pm

One additional comment: The LUV voucher will apparently be issued only for individual flight credits > $100, but not if you have multiple sub-$100 flight credits that sum to > $100. So in my case, I had 3 credits that were each $100 — the 3 sub-$100 credits were not redeemable at all, so I only was able to get a credit for the amount of the over-$100 credit (less $100 for the voucher issuance). Still better than nothing, though…

joeheg September 12, 2018 - 10:54 pm

I think that’s the way it works. Amount of credit – $100 = voucher. So if the credit is less than $100, oh well. Makes it even more important to make sure you don’t forget to use vouchers before they expire.

jatinbwork May 29, 2019 - 2:02 pm

Is it the $100 fee per travel fund? Or if you have multiple travel funds would it be only $100 total?

joeheg May 29, 2019 - 9:11 pm

The $100 gets deducted from each travel fund when it gets converted into a voucher.

Larry June 9, 2019 - 4:27 am

This policy is so customer unfriendly. I bet a very large percentage of these time limited credits get lost in the shuffle of booking and later changing multiple flights. Southwest could set up a place to hold these credits and their expiration dates transparently like Alaska air does with My Wallet. It would cost SW some money to do this as many customers just lose track and forfeit their credits. Paying with money instead of points gets messy when you change reservations. I love Southwest overall but this policy is a problem.

joeheg June 9, 2019 - 1:20 pm

I find it hard to call Southwest’s policy customer unfriendly when it is the most generous refund policy of any airline. I guess it’s much easier to keep track on Delta, United or American where if you need to cancel your flight, you’re probably not going to get anything back because of the hundreds of dollars in fees they’ll charge.

dan June 13, 2019 - 4:37 am

last yr, decided to send an email to the Exec Off, where it kindly issued a 6-month voucher for my sub $100 credit as a 1-time courtesy

Katrina L. Coker Tanner June 23, 2019 - 8:13 am

You can check your Travel Funds here https://www.southwest.com/flight/travel-funds-search.html


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