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Southwest Lets Flyers Convert Funds to Points

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - June 11, 2015 : A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during their first week of operations in Puerto Vallarta.

Flyers who are sitting on travel funds after cancelling flights due to COVID-19 have a new option for their use. In a twist, the Dallas-based airline says anyone with an existing balance on their account can turn them into Rapid Rewards points.

Given the number of flyers cancelling their flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest Airlines is now giving flyers extra options for the balances held in their travel funds. In a press release, the Dallas-based airline announced flyers could convert those funds to Rapid Rewards points.

Points Convert “At the Same Rate They Would be Able to Purchase a Ticket with Points”

In the announcement, the airline noted that flyers could convert their points “at the same rate they would be able to purchase a ticket with points,” which makes the actual conversion rate unclear. Southwest operates on a dynamic award chart, meaning prices can vary based on routes and demand. On the Southwest website, the airline sells Rapid Rewards points for anywhere between 1.5 and three cents each, depending on the promotion.

To convert unused travel funds to Rapid Rewards points, travelers must be members of the loyalty program with money on their accounts expiring on Sept. 7, 2022. The first and last name on the travel fund must exactly match the name on the Rapid Rewards account, and the travel funds must be originated from travel booked directly through Southwest. This includes tickets purchased on Southwest.com, or by a Southwest customer service representative.

All of the associated funds must come through personal flights. Most travel booked through the corporate ticketing program SWABIZ, are not eligible for the conversion. However, if a company requested the option for their flyers, they may be able to convert the funds to cash.

Transfers can be done online, at the Southwest Airlines website. Flyers who are not yet members of Rapid Rewards can sign up and immediately convert their funds to points.

Flights Come as Airlines Continue to Refuse Refund Requests

The move by Southwest Airlines times with more consumer frustration over refunds they say are due because of COVID-19 flight cancellation and changes. While The Wall Street Journal reports airlines owe refunds into the billions of dollars, the June 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report showed flyers filed over 17,000 complaints against airlines over their refund policies.

According to the airline’s posted policy, most flights do not qualify for refunds, but flyers who cancel their flights at least 10 minutes before departure can apply the price of the ticket to a future flight. Refunds must be requested over the phone or in writing.

StellaM73 August 14, 2020

If you've got a LUV Voucher instead of unused travel funds, Southwest will NOT allow you to convert these to points. I contacted them and asked. I have a $100 voucher that expires Dec 31 and I know I will not fly before that date. So bye-bye funds.

tlott01 August 13, 2020

I've got Travel Funds expiring in Feb 2021, and Southwest says they aren't eligible to convert because they aren't scheduled to expire on Sept 7th, 2022. I cancelled the flights in Feb 2020 and the expiration date is one year later, which is their normal timeline. According to that logic, the Travel Funds that are eligible for conversion to points haven't even been cancelled yet. The headline sounds good but ??? Don't get me wrong, I love Southwest but sometimes they are just as "corporate" as any other company.

bowser2 August 13, 2020

Please be aware.... You state in the article that the travel funds have to expire BEFORE 9/7/2022 to be eligible. In fact, the voucher has to expire EXACTLY on 9/7/2022 to be eligible. I just got off the phone with SW. I have several unused travel funds that expire in October of 2020. They are not eligible.