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Fixed 4/30: Additional points deducted for some "free" flight changes 4/26-4/30/21

Fixed 4/30: Additional points deducted for some "free" flight changes 4/26-4/30/21

Old Apr 26, 21, 10:36 pm
  #1  
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Fixed 4/30: Additional points deducted for some "free" flight changes 4/26-4/30/21

This was my first time changing a flight that was eligible for a "free" change as I had booked a tpa to cmh 1 stop flight via Atlanta. I was able to change the flight to a late afternoon nonstop ( what I wanted originally) and the screen displayed 0 extra points but I was debited ~400 points to cover the difference. I have no problem parting with the points as I got my ideal flights but is this the end of the free change party?
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Old Apr 27, 21, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
This was my first time changing a flight that was eligible for a "free" change as I had booked a tpa to cmh 1 stop flight via Atlanta. I was able to change the flight to a late afternoon nonstop ( what I wanted originally) and the screen displayed 0 extra points but I was debited ~400 points to cover the difference. I have no problem parting with the points as I got my ideal flights but is this the end of the free change party?
I just booked and moved a couple of flights, it worked exactly the same as it always has, with no additional points due. I've never seen what you describe - and this must be my 9011th time doing it - so I'm leaning towards glitch or user error.

At what stage did you see the extra points charge? Last confirmation screen, or was it still 0 there and you can only see the debit in your activity? I once cancelled a leg because I thought it was glitching - gave me a normal 'available' at flight selection, but there was a points cost quoted at the end. It wasn't until I tried again that I realized I hadn't been booked on the lowest cost flight, and the system treated it as a free changes situation until it realized I was due a refund of points. I had misunderstood the initial message, it was trying to credit me but I'd not run into that before.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by synergistic View Post
I just booked and moved a couple of flights, it worked exactly the same as it always has, with no additional points due. I've never seen what you describe - and this must be my 9011th time doing it - so I'm leaning towards glitch or user error.

At what stage did you see the extra points charge? Last confirmation screen, or was it still 0 there and you can only see the debit in your activity? I once cancelled a leg because I thought it was glitching - gave me a normal 'available' at flight selection, but there was a points cost quoted at the end. It wasn't until I tried again that I realized I hadn't been booked on the lowest cost flight, and the system treated it as a free changes situation until it realized I was due a refund of points. I had misunderstood the initial message, it was trying to credit me but I'd not run into that before.
It literally said "available" on the page and had 0 points at the final page as well, the only reason I knew it debited me points was because I went from 95k plus points to 94k plus points, must have been a glitch.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
It literally said "available" on the page and had 0 points at the final page as well, the only reason I knew it debited me points was because I went from 95k plus points to 94k plus points, must have been a glitch.
Especially weird, then - it definitely shouldn't be deducting points without telling you, on top of there being a points difference at all. I'm wondering if it's somehow related to the new points value ratio, though you shouldn't have been (and I have not been) charged the new rate on a free change. You should be able to see the deduction in your points activity, at least - does it match the PNR for the flight you changed?

Since it's only ~400pts, I understand letting it go - I'm just curious about how it happens. I have mostly cash flights coming up, and I leave an expired card as my primary so if I forget to apply travel funds I get an error instead of accidentally spending new money. I can just imagine the flight disappearing into the ether if it tried and failed to collect a balance from an invalid card.

In other oddities, I booked and moved several flights last night. Most of them showed up in my upcoming flights fairly quickly, but two of the ones I did first didn't end up showing up until this morning. I had to get the confirmation numbers from my husband's email in order to move them. I should really make an email box for his travel stuff, or set up forwarding for the stuff I sometimes need to thumb through.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 7:42 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
This was my first time changing a flight that was eligible for a "free" change as I had booked a tpa to cmh 1 stop flight via Atlanta. I was able to change the flight to a late afternoon nonstop ( what I wanted originally) and the screen displayed 0 extra points but I was debited ~400 points to cover the difference. I have no problem parting with the points as I got my ideal flights but is this the end of the free change party?
I wonder if this was the difference between 78 points per dollar and 83 points per dollar. Please check your My Southwest points activity and report the actual numbers debited and credited.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by Beachchaser View Post
This was my first time changing a flight that was eligible for a "free" change as I had booked a tpa to cmh 1 stop flight via Atlanta. I was able to change the flight to a late afternoon nonstop ( what I wanted originally) and the screen displayed 0 extra points but I was debited ~400 points to cover the difference. I have no problem parting with the points as I got my ideal flights but is this the end of the free change party?
This same thing happened with me, though the point difference was significant.
Originally had a HNL to SJC booked for June that had the banner. Ticketed point value was 4,050 (had been moving this sucker from last OCT). Went through the motions to push it to later in June. Process looked the same - 0 points to change, clicked confirm. Noticed significant change in points deducted from account. Went to account history, had been deducted a new total of 9,127 (an additional 5,077 had been taken). Checked my email for the change receipt - still claimed "0 change" but in the bottom, showed 9,127 had been redeemed for trip.
Beware moving existing flights!
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Old Apr 27, 21, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by HighFlyinChar View Post
This same thing happened with me, though the point difference was significant.
Originally had a HNL to SJC booked for June that had the banner. Ticketed point value was 4,050 (had been moving this sucker from last OCT). Went through the motions to push it to later in June. Process looked the same - 0 points to change, clicked confirm. Noticed significant change in points deducted from account. Went to account history, had been deducted a new total of 9,127 (an additional 5,077 had been taken). Checked my email for the change receipt - still claimed "0 change" but in the bottom, showed 9,127 had been redeemed for trip.
Beware moving existing flights!
Flyer beware! Watch your point balances
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Old Apr 27, 21, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by HighFlyinChar View Post
Flyer beware! Watch your point balances
So I just made 3 flight changes in today's bar-hopping adventure. I was NOT charged the current outrageous fares for the flights per the discussion above. However, there was a few hundred nominal points taken out for each change. It appears do be about 6.4% of the points that I originally paid for the ticket...oddly similar to a recent points devaluation posted across the board by WN.

It seems like even points exchanges are still happening when the red bar appears. However, the points are being now being revalued at 83 points per dollar. Overall, it cost me about 300-400 extra points per ticket changed, instead of 17,000-22,000 if I were to have cancelled and rebooked.

Obviously it seems YMMV here...so be careful. I have alternate flights booked on other airlines so if it charged me the current rates I was just going to cancel my WN flights.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by pgh234 View Post
So I just made 3 flight changes in today's bar-hopping adventure. I was NOT charged the current outrageous fares for the flights per the discussion above. However, there was a few hundred nominal points taken out for each change. It appears do be about 6.4% of the points that I originally paid for the ticket...oddly similar to a recent points devaluation posted across the board by WN.

It seems like even points exchanges are still happening when the red bar appears. However, the points are being now being revalued at 83 points per dollar. Overall, it cost me about 300-400 extra points per ticket changed, instead of 17,000-22,000 if I were to have cancelled and rebooked.

Obviously it seems YMMV here...so be careful. I have alternate flights booked on other airlines so if it charged me the current rates I was just going to cancel my WN flights.
Agreed - swaMark or SWAVictor - any news you can share regarding this?
The verbiage when the "you can change your flight" waiver appears says "you may change your travel date/time at no additional cost". Sure doesn't seem to be customer-forward to then re-price/re-value the points on these existing reservations especially when the "amount due" shows 0 during the transaction.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by pgh234 View Post
...there was a few hundred nominal points taken out for each change. It appears do be about 6.4% of the points that I originally paid for the ticket...oddly similar to a recent points devaluation posted across the board by WN....the points are being now being revalued at 83 points per dollar. Overall, it cost me about 300-400 extra points per ticket changed, instead of 17,000-22,000 if I were to have cancelled and rebooked..
Interesting. Advertise free, then grab some points; how many people know their point balance at all times?

If WN has space on the new flights, why not? Shuffle, shuffle, profit.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by HighFlyinChar View Post
Agreed - swaMark or SWAVictor - any news you can share regarding this?
The verbiage when the "you can change your flight" waiver appears says "you may change your travel date/time at no additional cost". Sure doesn't seem to be customer-forward to then re-price/re-value the points on these existing reservations especially when the "amount due" shows 0 during the transaction.

I am not aware of any change to policy. As you stated, my understanding is that a free change is a free change, and shouldn't require additional points.

Would someone be comfortable sharing a confirmation number with me (via PM of course)? I'll be happy to research.

Also, if someone has a screen shot from MyAccount showing the difference that would be helpful as well.

Last edited by SWAVictor; Apr 27, 21 at 2:06 pm
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Old Apr 27, 21, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by SWAVictor View Post
I am not aware of any change to policy. As you stated, my understanding is that a free change is a free change, and shouldn't require additional points.

Would someone be comfortable sharing a confirmation number with me (via PM of course)? I'll be happy to research.

Also, if someone has a screen shot from MyAccount showing the difference that would be helpful as well.
Screenshot from a change I attempted today.
As you can see the original fare was 1,058 points - the change window said there would be no change in points for the transaction. Then noticed point balance was lower and the new trip was 8,399. Ended up canceling flat out.

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Old Apr 27, 21, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by HighFlyinChar View Post
Screenshot from a change I attempted today.
As you can see the original fare was 1,058 points - the change window said there would be no change in points for the transaction. Then noticed point balance was lower and the new trip was 8,399. Ended up canceling flat out.

thanks for the screenshot, very helpful. I've already passed it on to the support team. Even though you canceled, if you are comfortable PMing me the confirmation number we may be able to see something in the history.

In the mean time, I'm going to try to recreate what you saw.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 2:58 pm
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I can confirm that this happened to all my rebookings at a total cost of 1,604 points lost. I doubt this will be an issue to get the points credited since the changes are advertised as no additional cost. I've marked down the difference and I'll wait to see what happens with others before calling customer service.
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Old Apr 27, 21, 3:01 pm
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Appears to have started happening yesterday, 4/26. Over the weekend had no issues with the change process.
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