While most airlines allow you to book travel 330 days in advance, some of the US lower carrier airlines have a very different booking schedule. Every so often they extend their reservations system a few months out at a time. I just noticed that you can actually now book through August 9, 2013. Keep in mind that AirTran has the same schedule as Southwest, so their schedule has been extended as well. This is a great opportunity to book summer travel when flight prices can sky rocket.

My favorite part about Southwest is that you can cancel your reservations without any penalty. Here are the four scenarios on how you will get refunded for your reservation:

  • Purchasing a ticket with a credit card: If cancelled, you will receive a credit back in the full amount you paid valid for one year from when the ticket was purchased. Unfortunately, these credits are not transferable.
  • Purchasing a ticket with Southwest credit or a voucher: If cancelled, you will receive a credit back in the full amount you paid, but the expiration date will stick from the original voucher expiration date. This will not extend the date. Again, these credits/vouchers are not transferable.
  • Purchasing a ticket using points: If cancelled, you will receive the full amount of points used back into your account. The points will go back into the account from which they were pulled from even if they were used on another passenger. There is no fee at all!
  • Purchasing a ticket using a free ticket: If cancelled, you will receive the free ticket back into your account. This will not extend the expiration date. If the ticket was used for another passenger, it will still go back into the account from where the free ticket was pulled from. There is no fee at all!

You will also receive the full amount of taxes back to your credit card. If you cancel the reservation via the phone, however, many times they will not tell you this and instead give you a credit to be used for future travel for the taxes (ranging from $2.50-$7.50 one way). Make sure to request that the taxes go back to the credit card.

Happy booking!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • romsdeals said,

    I think the best part is using points to book in advance because you can always cancel and refund in points. Booking with cash is bad because you will get a 1 year voucher.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Romsdeals – I absolutely agree. That is why I love buying Southwest Rapid Reward points at a discount.

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