How Rebooking Saved Me 18,000 Points — Reader Success Story
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Kasey, who trimmed the cost of an award by nearly one third. Here’s what he had to say:
I booked Southwest flights to Salt Lake City for my wife and kids so they could see my sister-in-law’s new baby in January. We have a decent amount of Chase Ultimate Rewards points stashed up from sign-up bonuses and category spending, and we were able to transfer those points to Southwest to get three round-trip tickets for 20,700 points each (about 62,000 points total) — worth around $930 according to your valuations.
I had heard that when booking Southwest, you should check back periodically to see if you can get lower rates. Lo and behold, I checked back about a month later and was able to find the exact same round-trip flights for about 2,000 points cheaper. Not a whole lot, obviously, but the story doesn’t end there.
I checked back again last week, and if I was willing to book at an airport about 10 minutes closer to us with similar flight times, I could get tickets for under 15,000 points apiece. Naturally, I did so without hesitation. As a side note, I had checked prices at that airport when I booked the original tickets, and had actually found them to be more expensive.
The lesson is to always check back on Southwest flights to see if you can find a better deal. It saved me about 18,000 points total — more than enough for another round-trip ticket. I hope this can help somebody out!
Southwest famously has no change or cancellation fees, so like Kasey did, you can rebook your flight at a lower price with no penalty. The rebooking process is incredibly easy, as it can be done entirely online and takes just a few minutes. Even better, Southwest recently added a new website feature that shows whether the cost of your itinerary has gone up or down, so you don’t have to remember what you paid initially.
This strategy works for both award and revenue fares, but be mindful of how Southwest treats refunds in each case. When you change an award, leftover points are deposited back to your account and can be reused like normal. When you change a revenue fare, however, any leftover cash balance is issued as travel funds that expire one year from the original purchase date.
That’s on par with most airline vouchers, but Southwest has an unfriendly policy that the entire value of a ticket adopts the earliest expiration date of any funds used. To avoid this potential pitfall, I recommend using Southwest travel funds at the earliest opportunity, and paying close attention to those expiration dates so you don’t risk losing even more money when you rebook.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Kasey for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to firstname.lastname@example.org; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes, or to contribute to our new award redemption series. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Featured photo by Darwin Fan/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees