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Family-friendly airline Southwest is beloved by many for the most flexible change policies in the industry, which allow you to change your flights at any point before the time of travel with absolutely no fees. You’ll simply pay the price difference in cash or points – or even better, you’ll receive a refund (if paying with points) or travel credit (if paying with cash) if the new price is lower than what you originally paid. However, it can be a little bit tedious to track what you originally paid for a flight because you’ll have to dig through each individual booking or check your booking confirmation email in order to figure that out.
#firstworldproblems, I know, I know. But Southwest now even has a fix for that. The website has a new feature that allows you to see the updated price points for alternative routes on your booked trip.
I tested out the new tool with a few upcoming itineraries of my own. I’m going to Orlando (MCO) this week, departing Austin (AUS) on Thursday and returning on Saturday. To double check on the price point for this trip, I logged into my Rapid Rewards account on the Southwest website, then selected “Upcoming Trips” under the “My Accounts” tab. Once there, I clicked on the “change flight” link at the bottom of the trip summary. From there, I once again clicked on “change reservation” toward the top right of the trip summary, which led me to a page that allowed me to select the relevant leg of the trip because you can opt to change both inbound and outbound flights or just one of them.
This link led me to a page that displayed all of my alternate travel options for the dates selection. It also showed that the current option I booked for my nonstop 7:20pm flight has a fare difference of $0, meaning the price has neither gone up nor down. You’ll see that every other route costs at least $167 more. My return flight showed the same results, so I know that I booked the best rate available, then and now.
I also tested out the new tool with a points-booked flight for June. For this flight, which I’m using to position myself for an awards flight booked to Europe, I wanted to see if changing my flight time would save me some points. So once again, I logged in and selected “change reservation.”
The early morning nonstop I already booked now costs an additional ~3,500 Rapid Rewards points for the same route, while the 9:00pm nonstop route is only 201 points more.
It’s important to remember that if you choose to modify a cash fare for an Anytime or Business Select fare on Southwest, you can no longer receive a refund – the money you originally paid will only be able to be used as a travel credit that is valid for one year from the original booking date. You’ll still be able to change the ticket for different times and dates, but those funds won’t ever go back to your credit card. Thus, it makes more sense to just cancel Anytime or Business Select fares outright because you can immediately rebook them to the updated price point and/or schedule that you want.
H/T: Frequent Miler
Featured image by Tomás Del Coro / Flickr.
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