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Old Feb 4, 13, 9:37 am   #1
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Award Flight Cancellation Policy, How Late Can I Cancel?

I have a question regarding Southwest Airlines canceling of award flights. Here’s my situation, I'd like to book a one-way reservation DEN-DAY, and with my SW award points, book such a flight using award miles. Then, I realized I have a cousin who’s husband is a SW Pilot, and maybe he can get me a pass, which they’ve offered in the past. However, the problem with such passes is that it’s based on availability only at the gate. So, if the flight is full, I don’t go. Granted, I only need one seat, and I can't imagin a DEN-DAY being sold out on a Tuesday in early April, but I can't take the chance, and not getting on suchy a flight, well that would be bad. But, what if I held an award reservation, then, if it looked like there might be availability to use the buddy pass seat, then I’d cancel my award seat, get my miles back, and use the free seat. But, I am not sure of the cancellation procedure or policy. Also, I suppose by canceling my award seat, that this would creat availability to use a buddy pass, but I don't know if that would open up a seat that qucik on the gate's computers or not, plus, there may likely be people ahead of me on a wait list.

Anyhow, what do you think? Thanks in advance for your information.

Last edited by swdke; Feb 4, 13 at 9:43 am
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Old Feb 4, 13, 9:45 am   #2
nsx
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Cancel online any time up to departure and request a refund of the security fees.

Or no show (a loophole to be closed soon) and the points will automatically go back into your account as if you had canceled. Phone in your request for a refund of the security fees up to a year later.
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Old Feb 4, 13, 9:55 am   #3
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Cancel online any time up to departure and request a refund of the security fees.

Or no show (a loophole to be closed soon) and the points will automatically go back into your account as if you had canceled. Phone in your request for a refund of the security fees up to a year later.
Thanks! Clarification question about the cancelation. When I cancel, do the miles go back into my Rewards account? Or, do I have a year to rebook the same itinerary: DEN-DAY? I'd like to hope that my Reward points are simply redeposited so that I can use at any time for any other flight. Or as asked, do I have a year to rebook the same itinerary?

Also, you mentioned about canceling on line, vs. phoning in the reservation. Is there a difference between canceling online vs. phoning the reservation?
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Old Feb 4, 13, 10:05 am   #4
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When I cancel, do the miles go back into my Rewards account? Is there a difference between canceling online vs. phoning the reservation?
Yes. No, other than that in my experience the refund request sometimes fails with the phone cancellation requiring tracking it and making a second phone call. Do yourself and Southwest a favor and cancel online.
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Old Feb 4, 13, 10:35 am   #5
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Yes. No, other than that in my experience the refund request sometimes fails with the phone cancellation requiring tracking it and making a second phone call. Do yourself and Southwest a favor and cancel online.
Thanks again for your reply. In my situation, if I book an award flight, but have access to a buddy pass, I wouldn't want to cancel my award reservation until I knew that there was an available seat for using a buddy pass. So, I'd probably go to check-in, explain I have an award reservation, but would prefer to use the buddy pass, and that if there was availability for using a buddy pass, then to please cancel my reservation. Well, I am not sure how exactly all this would work out, any thoughts?

Or, do I just show up at check-in, say I wish to use a buddy pass. If they tell me okay and give me a ticket, then I am good to go to cancel my award reservation. If they say they are sold out and I can't use a buddy pass, then I say well that's okay, I have an award reservation, let's proceed with that.

What would you do, or how would you handel this situation? Thanks.
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Old Feb 4, 13, 11:01 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swdke View Post
Thanks again for your reply. In my situation, if I book an award flight, but have access to a buddy pass, I wouldn't want to cancel my award reservation until I knew that there was an available seat for using a buddy pass. So, I'd probably go to check-in, explain I have an award reservation, but would prefer to use the buddy pass, and that if there was availability for using a buddy pass, then to please cancel my reservation. Well, I am not sure how exactly all this would work out, any thoughts?

Or, do I just show up at check-in, say I wish to use a buddy pass. If they tell me okay and give me a ticket, then I am good to go to cancel my award reservation. If they say they are sold out and I can't use a buddy pass, then I say well that's okay, I have an award reservation, let's proceed with that.

What would you do, or how would you handel this situation? Thanks.
I believe that buddy passes STRICTLY PROHIBIT the passenger from booking a reservation to block a seat on the same flight. IIRC this will cause the person earning the buddy pass a lot of trouble at work. Check it out.
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Old Feb 4, 13, 11:13 am   #7
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I believe that buddy passes STRICTLY PROHIBIT the passenger from booking a reservation to block a seat on the same flight. IIRC this will cause the person earning the buddy pass a lot of trouble at work. Check it out.
I was not aware of this, I guess I'll just stick with the award reservation. I was just curious about exploring this possibility and knew that I'd get some good information here on FT. Thanks for the help and information.
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Old Mar 30, 13, 9:40 pm   #8
  
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I believe that buddy passes STRICTLY PROHIBIT the passenger from booking a reservation to block a seat on the same flight. IIRC this will cause the person earning the buddy pass a lot of trouble at work. Check it out.
You are so right on this. If they discover a flight is booked and cancelled and then non-rev'ed, the cousin's husband can lose flight privileges. It is so not worth it. Don't even think about gaming the system! If you REALLY have to be somewhere, buy a ticket, either with reward points or $$.
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Old Sep 4, 16, 10:39 am   #9
  
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Cancel online any time up to departure and request a refund of the security fees.

Or no show (a loophole to be closed soon) and the points will automatically go back into your account as if you had canceled. Phone in your request for a refund of the security fees up to a year later.
Bump.

Does WN's no-show policy now apply to award tickets as well? I.e. do I lose the points if I no-show? What about the taxes & fees? Does it matter whether I'm checked in or not at the time I no show?
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Old Sep 4, 16, 1:53 pm   #10
  
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No. Points come back automatically if you forget to cancel, checked in or not. I *think* the $5.60 was refunded automatically to a booking I forgot to cancel last week, when I went to pull up the PNR, no $ was left on it - but I need to confirm via CC next.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 8:10 am   #11
  
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Just to add a data point, I had a wanna get away award ticket for travel yesterday that I forgot to cancel until after the flight departed (it did leave 30 minutes late, but it was in the air when I called). They refunded the points and the $5.60 fee without hesitation.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:39 pm   #12
  
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Originally Posted by zachary View Post
Just to add a data point, I had a wanna get away award ticket for travel yesterday that I forgot to cancel until after the flight departed (it did leave 30 minutes late, but it was in the air when I called). They refunded the points and the $5.60 fee without hesitation.
I understand that you forgot.

But this is the reason that we no longer get to get our travel funds back when we do not show up and this is the reason the we probably will not get our points back in the future.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:54 pm   #13
  
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Given that this has apparently been the policy for a long time for award tickets, an I doubt that I'm the first person to forget, I'm not sure your conclusion is correct.

However, I extend my deepest apologies to you and anyone else who I've injured or endangered. I shall go home tonight and engage in some act of contrition.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 5:08 pm   #14
  
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Non cancellation is operationally exactly the same as cancellation at 11 minutes.

Money is the reason we no longer get travel funds back. And money will be the reason if we no longer get points back in the future.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 5:44 pm   #15
  
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Ya know, that makes a lot of sense. My act of contrition is cancelled.
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