Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Southwest Airlines | Rapid Rewards
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 2, 09, 12:42 am   #1
nsx
Moderator: Southwest Airlines & Travel Safety/Security
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: California
Programs: WN CP & A-list preferred, Interstate BBQ at MEM B17, fan of Hyatt, Priceline, and Hotwire
Posts: 16,079
Official "Tips on Re-using Ticketless Travel Funds" thread

Until this summer, re-using Ticketless Travel Funds (TTF's) was tedious but straightforward: They were applied to your purchase in the order you entered them on the payment page. Times have changed, often making TTF's harder to get rid of. This thread is dedicated to explaining how the system works and how you can work around the limitations.

In the new system, there are two main categories of funds: "unused Ticketless Travel tickets" (uTTt's) and Ticketless Travel Funds (TTF's). A uTTt is any reservation that has been canceled and from which no funds have yet been taken. It's a virgin PNR, and Southwest's computers will always choose the virgin first. Can you blame them?

This means that a later-expiring uTTt will be tapped before an earlier-expiring TTF, even if you entered the TTF as a payment source before the uTTt. This is the main source of trouble with the new system.

LUV vouchers and gift cards have even lower priority than TTFs. An earlier-expiring LUV voucher has a lower priority than a later-entered, later-expiring TTF. Gift cards likely work the same as LUV vouchers in this respect. I don't yet know whether they have the same priority, or whether an earlier-expiring LUV voucher has a lower priority than a later-entered, later-expiring gift card.

Here's a common example of where the new system causes trouble. Suppose a $40 Ding fare appears on five $50 trips you booked earlier. You cancel your $50 bookings and apply the funds to your Ding purchases. With the old system, this was a relatively simple process. Start with the first one, and you have $10 left over. Use that $10 plus the next $50 for the second booking, leaving $20. And so on. At the end you only have one leftover TTF worth $50.

The new system refuses to cooperate with you this way. Your second booking will grab the virgin $50 and leave you with two $10 TTF's. When you are done you will have five $10 TTF's.

"So what?" you say. That doesn't look like a problem. Under the old system, it would not have been a problem. Under the new system, look what happens. You have five $10 TTF's. The maximum number of payment sources per reservation is 4, including a credit card if you need to use one. Therefore you cannot buy any ticket more than $40 with your TTF's. If you try to use 4 TTF's plus a uTTt, the system will greedily tap the uTTt for the full amount and leave you with yet another TTF on top of the ones you already had.

It seems as if the very best you can do to eliminate your TTF's is to use a uTTt of just the right amount plus 3 TTF's to "buy up" to a higher fare than your uTTt. This is the core of a technique I will explain below.

In summary, refaring down generates small TTF's that are very hard to use. "Buying up" can use those small TTF's. Therefore you should always try to use TTF's to supplement your unused ticket when you are buying up.

One other technique deserves discussion. Taking a small amount of funds out of an uTTt will change it into TTF and thus lower its priority so it can be tapped last in a new reservation. You might think that booking a $2.50 Companion Pass or award ticket is a great idea for this. Beware. If you decide not to use that $2.50 ticket, the funds are likely to be lost, viewable but unusable. You will then need to call Customer Service, which normally requires 10 or 20 attempts and several minutes on hold. After you explain the problem to them they will refund your money, but you will have wasted 20 minutes of your time and probably $10 of cost to Southwest. You might as well just kiss the $2.50 goodbye instead.

By now, getting any use out of TTF's is probably sounding an awful lot like a Catch-22. If you have patience, persistence, and if you don't assign any value at all to the time you spend on this, you can successfully book a ticket using a set of small TTF's. I have done it, partly out of ignorance of the difficulty and partly to find out if it could be done.

Here are the steps:

1. Identify TTF's and at least one uTTt with similar expiration.

2. Add up the values of one uTTt and 3 TTF's. Find a fare, any fare, that comes close to this total but not over it. Buy the ticket using these funds. Do NOT cancel the reservation. You now have one larger uTTt and two fewer TTFs than you started with.

3. Add up the values of the new uTTt and 3 more TTF's. Find a fare, any fare, that comes close to this total but not over it. Using the Change Reservation feature, change the ticket to the new itinerary using these funds. Do NOT cancel the reservation. You now have one larger uTTt and four fewer TTF's than you started with.

4. Repeat step 3 as necessary to use up all your TTF's, leaving one fractional remainder. The hard part is finding fares suitable for a small buy-up. Sometimes you need to look at Anytime short-haul, sometimes discounted long-haul.

5. Now it is finally time to cancel your reservation and start making bookings for what you intend to fly. It will likely take you an hour or more to reach this step.

6. You need to "break" the large uTTt and make it a TTF. The easiest way is to buy your first trip with only the uTTt.

7. The leftovers of the uTTt are now TTF. For the second trip and all other trips, you can go back to the old way of re-using funds, since you have only TTF's. First apply your small TTF's and then the large one. You will now have only one TTF and life will be simple, at least until the next time you see a $5 price drop a Ding fare.

If you have read this far, you probably won't be using Ding to fe-fare your trips downward for small amounts any more. It's just not worth the bother.

Southwest is the only airline that lets us re-use funds this freely, so we don't really have a right to complain. But that has never stopped us.

Complexity gives FT'ers the advantage over other customers, but this is plane nuts. I really would like just one new web page at southwest.com allowing us to combine several TTF's into one. That one web page would make this whole problem disappear.
__________________
Follow the progress of our member-elected TalkBoard here.
nsx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 2, 09, 2:50 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Choice hotels primarily.
Posts: 4,531
One problem, NSX. Unless they have fixed the bug in the last week, you are not able to use TTF's on a 'change itinery'. The system will give you an error message.
lougord99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 4, 09, 10:05 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: LAS-DEN
Programs: WN CP & B-list. Disillusioned fmr UA-1P/2P,F9-Ascent; Fmr AA-Plat,CO-Gold,NW-Silver,TWA-Elite
Posts: 1,472
Good grief, this is Just Plane Nuts!

You must be cancelling, re-fare-ing and adjusting a LOT of tickets to end up with that many outstanding TTFs. My hat is off to you for that. I'm impressed. Should I ever have that many outstanding TTF's, I'll come back and re-read this because I don't think I'm going to remember it.

The one trick that I have learned, which isn't even close to the category above, is to book one-way fares. I can use two TTF's per one-way instead of two TTF's per round trip. Also, by using the oldest first, I don't "taint" one ticket with the older expiration date. So, say I had 4 TTFs with expiration dates of 06/01/10, 06/15/10, 07/01/10 and 07/15/10. By combining the 6/1 and 6/15, that one way now expires on 6/1. The other one-way would expire on 7/1. Just in case that trip gets cancelled, I haven't lost too many of my days.

I do agree that one "merge-o-matic" web page would be nice. If you merge a bunch of TTF's into one, you merge them into the earliest expiration date. As we see above, there are ways around the current system by buying and refunding a complex series of tickets. If the tickets are refundable, then it isn't like SWA is getting to keep that money. It just makes more transactions, which I would think has a price -- both server time and credit card transaction processing fees. Of course, only a few FT'ers are probably going to be able to figure out the above, so maybe most people only use 2 of their TTFs at one time and that means that more expire.
FCfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 5, 09, 11:35 am   #4
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Tulsa
Programs: DL, AA, FRONTIER , SW--A LISTED
Posts: 152
It is so hard to keep track of unused tickeless funds.. I use the same credit card SW looks them up.. Is there a way someone can access all my ticketless funds by using a credit card without entering each one in?
setheriah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 5, 09, 11:46 am   #5
nsx
Moderator: Southwest Airlines & Travel Safety/Security
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: California
Programs: WN CP & A-list preferred, Interstate BBQ at MEM B17, fan of Hyatt, Priceline, and Hotwire
Posts: 16,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by setheriah View Post
It is so hard to keep track of unused tickeless funds.. I use the same credit card SW looks them up.. Is there a way someone can access all my ticketless funds by using a credit card without entering each one in?
No. It's definitely a PITA. Make a spreadsheet and use it religiously. Most of us here do it that way.
__________________
Follow the progress of our member-elected TalkBoard here.
nsx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 5, 09, 4:48 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: LAS-DEN
Programs: WN CP & B-list. Disillusioned fmr UA-1P/2P,F9-Ascent; Fmr AA-Plat,CO-Gold,NW-Silver,TWA-Elite
Posts: 1,472
My trick is to keep a chart with EVERY record locator for every flight booked. I have a separate part of the chart where I log TTF. After I fly a flight, I go back one more time and make sure that record locator shows $0 TTF.

If you keep every 6-character record locator ever issued to you and only drop them off the chart after you have verified $0 balance remaining, I don't see how you could lose some TTF with this method unless you lose a record locator.

A TTF manager program, either on the web site, or like the mile tracker programs that automatically go out and fetch data from the web site, would be helpful. Just a good record locator number manager would be a big help.
FCfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 13, 09, 9:19 am   #7
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: St Petersburg, FL, USA
Posts: 1,974
I recently had a w-t-f moment trying to figure out their methodology, and I'm happy that I found this page.

In the mean time, I am currently using the following strategies as a workaround:

- log every confirmation number's history (as I have for years)
- book every round-trip as two one-ways. You can use up twice as many TTFs (although you may also be creating twice as many). I learned my lesson the hard way when I once bought a round trip and one leg's price fell during a Ding! sale. When I went to rebook it, however, the remaining non-sale leg actually increased in price.
- keep in contact with relatives/friends over TTFs that are expiring in the near-term. I have "traded" many with my parents who often find themselves in the same boat.

I do disagree with your aversion to change a uTTt to a TTF on a $2.50 award reservation. I will gladly risk a couple bucks to avoid losing a few hundred later. Besides, if you have to cancel, you can use the $2.50 on another award flight within the expiration period.
Tino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 13, 09, 12:09 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: BOS
Programs: US Gold, WN A List Preferred CP, PC Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 3,756
Clarrify When WN Issues UTTT vs. TTF?

Please clarrify when you receive a (from post 1) "unused Ticketless Travel tickets" (uTTt's)

vs.
Ticketless Travel Funds (TTF's)

I'm assuming you get a UTTT if you completely cancel an unused reservation, and a TTF if you have a fare change generated by a change in date/time or a fare going down after purchassing, etc. Is that right? Say you don't use your return flight would that generate always one form of credit?
jetsetter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 13, 09, 12:27 pm   #9
nsx
Moderator: Southwest Airlines & Travel Safety/Security
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: California
Programs: WN CP & A-list preferred, Interstate BBQ at MEM B17, fan of Hyatt, Priceline, and Hotwire
Posts: 16,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetsetter View Post
I'm assuming you get a UTTT if you completely cancel an unused reservation, and a TTF if you have a fare change generated by a change in date/time or a fare going down after purchasing, etc.
Correct. And unused return is TTF. Anything less than 100% of the original value of the PNR is TTF.
__________________
Follow the progress of our member-elected TalkBoard here.
nsx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 09, 9:13 am   #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 67
I have called to get the $2.50 that shows up as available but is not. The person I spoke to seemed bery aware of the problem and fixed it in a minute! it was a pain to call but not really a real big hassle like I was expecting
hphizz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 10, 12:22 am   #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Dallas area, TX
Programs: AA EXP (1MM+), UA 1K, BA Silver, TK Elite, Hyatt Diamond, Marriot PLT, Hilton DMND, SPG GLD, IHG PLT
Posts: 727
I had $225 expire on 12/29/09 and i called next day to see if I could get an extension on the date (minus $50 admin fee). They told me to fax the request in. I hae not heard anything sense. Has anyone else done this recently and got a response? Thanks
utpharmdoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 10, 3:06 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: LAS
Programs: WN A-List; WN CP; UA-1K long gone (1995-2003).
Posts: 1,571
Quote:
Originally Posted by utpharmdoc View Post
I had $225 expire on 12/29/09 and i called next day to see if I could get an extension on the date (minus $50 admin fee). They told me to fax the request in. I hae not heard anything sense. Has anyone else done this recently and got a response? Thanks
I haven't done this but if you only faxed it to them on the 30th, this is only the second working day since then and they may have closed their administrative offices early on the 31st. I would certainly give them a few business days to respond.
Nevada1K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 5, 10, 12:45 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: PHX & PPT
Posts: 697
Anyone else having a problem with EBCI not transferring on a changed reservation under the same conf number? (I understand that EBCI is not refundable and does not become TTF, but it HAS transferred when a CHANGE, not cancellation, has been made in the past on the same reservation.)
BarbiJKM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 5, 10, 1:45 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MCI
Programs: Delta PM, Hilton Diamond, Avis First, Hertz PresClub
Posts: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbiJKM View Post
Anyone else having a problem with EBCI not transferring on a changed reservation under the same conf number? (I understand that EBCI is not refundable and does not become TTF, but it HAS transferred when a CHANGE, not cancellation, has been made in the past on the same reservation.)
"If an EarlyBird Check-in Customer chooses to change a flight, will the EarlyBird Check-in options transfer to the new flight?
It depends. EarlyBird Check-in is tied to the Customer's reservation for which the EarlyBird Check-in purchase was made and will be transferred to the Customer's new flight if he/she changes the flight at least 25 hours prior to the original flight's scheduled local departure time and so long as the change is to a flight that will depart in more than 25 hours. Since EarlyBird Check-in is associated with a reservation, any changes must be made within the same reservation record (same confirmation number) in which the Customer purchased EarlyBird Check-in." -- http://www.southwest.com/flight/earl...irdCheckInFAQs

Could the issue be the time the change was completed or the timeframe of the flights? It looks like there are two windows in play (of course all with same PRN). (underlining and bolding mine)
brkandjfk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 5, 10, 2:38 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: PHX & PPT
Posts: 697
[quote=brkandjfk;13118365
Could the issue be the time the change was completed or the timeframe of the flights? It looks like there are two windows in play (of course all with same PRN). (underlining and bolding mine)[/QUOTE]


Wow, that's a good thought, and one I hadn't thought of. And apparently it happened! I changed the itinerary about 25 hours before the originally scheduled flight, but with processing time, I might have missed the window. I do know I cancelled before I could have printed a boarding pass, but may have just missed the 25-hour point.

But here's the curious thing: My new itinerary (on the same conf. code) shows EBCI on the RETURN flight, not the departing flight (both dates are more than a month away). Thanks for your help!
BarbiJKM is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 6:00 am.