With fare prices skyrocketing and a chaotic summer travel season underway, buying plane tickets becomes a tricky balance between finding flights that will work for you without overpaying and seeing prices drop later. Many airlines have made fares more flexible over the past several years, allowing you to make changes to your tickets when your plans change. Southwest in particular is one of the more consumer-friendly carriers—and the flexibility it offers can also help you save money when prices drop.
Southwest’s policies allow travelers to not only change their tickets, but take advantage of the prices difference when fares go down—and they make it super easy to do so online. If your fare drops after your purchase, you can get a partial refund either in cash or as a Southwest travel voucher, depending on the original fare type purchased.
Here’s what you need to do to see if your fare has gone down and rebook your flight.
First, go to Southwest.com and navigate to the “Change/Cancel” tab. Enter your confirmation number, first name and last name. Next you’ll need to select which flight or flights in your itinerary you want to change or see if the fare has gone down for.
Then enter your new flight information and click “Explore Options.”
Southwest will then display all of the available flights and the applicable fare difference. These prices have nothing to do with the ones you saw when you originally booked your ticket—so if prices have gone up, you’ll see that you would owe more to make a change, whereas if prices have gone down, you’ll be eligible for a partial refund or a voucher for future travel. If prices haven’t changed, you’ll see “$0″ for your desired flight and fare type.
From here, simply choose the flight option you desire, and click through to rebook your flight. If you have multiple options for your refund, the options will be displayed.
Anytime and Business Select fares are eligible for a refund to the original form of payment. Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares are eligible for a refund to a voucher that will expire 12 months from the date you booked the ticket. Wanna Get Away fare vouchers are valid for rebooking only for the original traveler, whereas Wanna Get Away Plus fares are transferrable.
This method applies to bookings made with Southwest Rapid Rewards points, too—simply follow the same process and you’ll receive a refund in points back to your Rapid Rewards account. Note that Southwest bookings made with Rapid Rewards points are all fully refundable—even Wanna Get Away fares. If you ever need to cancel a points booking, you’ll receive the full number of points back, plus all of the taxes you paid ($5.60 on one-way domestic itineraries, more for international itineraries).
While other airlines airlines allow fee-free changes for particular fare types and origin/destination combinations, Southwest remains the airline that allows fee-free changes on all fare types, for all origin/destination combinations, and allows the process to be completed easily online.