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Southwest has extended their reservation schedule until March 8, 2016. Up until now you could only book through January 4, 2016, but now you can go ahead and book travel for MLK Weekend, Presidents Day Weekend, school break, etc.!
If you are looking to book during a peak time, I personally think it is always best to book right when the booking schedule opens up. Also, if you are booking with points, you are best off booking as early as possible. With Southwest, you can fully cancel your reservation for NO 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 and can only be used for the passenger whom the ticket was originally booked for.
- 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. Chances are, most peoples free tickets will have already expired by this date, but Southwest has been known to extend them (possibly) with a fee associated.
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. Make sure to request that the taxes go back to the credit card.
Also, if a flight goes down in price, you are able to get the difference back which is awesome! You can “re-book” your flight as many times as you’d like to get a cheaper flight! You can do this until the day your flight departs!
- Purchasing a paid flight: You will receive a voucher for the flight difference. The voucher will expire one year from the date the flight was booked. Unfortunately, the voucher is not transferable.
- Purchasing a ticket with points: The difference in points will go straight back to your account!
Here is more information on changing/canceling flights and getting money/points back if a flight goes down in price.