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Southwest Airlines has a different process than most other airlines. Instead of being able to book their flights 330 in advance, they open up their schedule in chunks. Currently, you can only book through January 4, 2017, but in just a month on July 7, 2016, you’ll be able to book flights through March 7, 2017. This will then allow you to book MLK weekend, Presidents Day weekend, February break, etc. Booking Southwest flights early can sometimes get you the best price, especially since you can go ahead and book speculative flights with points since they are fully refundable. If you are looking to book a flight during a peak time, I suggest you put the date of July 7, 2016 on your calendar so you can book right away.
With Southwest, if you book now and the flight price goes down you are able to get a credit
- Paid flights: If you pay for your flight, you will receive a voucher for the difference to be used one year from the date the flight was purchased. This voucher is non-transferable.
- Points flight: If you booked your flight using points, the difference in points will go back into your account. You can rebook your original flight online to get this voucher/point difference credited – no phone call is needed.
Additionally, with Southwest, you can fully cancel your reservation for NO penalty
Here are the three 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!
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.
I’ll be sure to post another reminder when the date comes to actually be able to book!