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Southwest Reverses Ticket Change Policy That Made Refundable Fares Non-Refundable

Oct. 13, 2018
3 min read
Southwest Reverses Ticket Change Policy That Made Refundable Fares Non-Refundable
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Southwest Airlines is reversing a policy from 2017 that made refundable fares non-refundable if you changed your flight.

This ticketing policy was a major nuisance — it meant, for example, that if you purchased a fully refundable Business Select fare and changed flights, you'd lose the ability to fully refund the ticket. Deals We Like, which originally reported this change in 2017, noted the new reversal of this policy.

While Southwest did allow non-refundable fares to be credited toward a future Southwest flight in the form of travel bank credit, passengers with non-refundable fares couldn't refund the price of the ticket back to their credit card. This meant that passengers who changed refundable fares would lose the ability to have the price of their ticket credited back to their method of payment. This was an especially rough policy for award flights, as any taxes and fees would be non-refundable even though you'd get your points back. Southwest encouraged passengers with refundable tickets who wanted to change flights to cancel that fare altogether and rebook their itinerary.

Now, Southwest Airlines has confirmed that for all tickets purchased after Oct. 9, 2018, this policy is no longer in effect. That means if you purchased a ticket prior to Oct. 10, you would still be subject to this policy — any change made to your itinerary will make your refundable fare a non-refundable fare. However, if you booked after Oct. 9., you won't have to worry about changing refundable fares, as changes will no longer alter the "refundability" of tickets booked on Southwest.

Fares that are considered refundable on Southwest Airlines include:

  • Paid Business Select fares
  • Anytime fares
  • Senior fares
  • Flights booked with Rapid Rewards points
My exchange with Matt from Southwest Airlines' Twitter team.

The Twitter representative I interacted with this morning was extremely apologetic for this policy and acknowledged that it had been a "major pain-point" for many flyers.

While this is fantastic news for Southwest flyers, just to reiterate: If you booked your ticket prior to Oct. 10, you won't be able to take advantage of this new policy. Even if your trip takes place after Oct. 9, the date on which you booked your trip will determine which refundable ticket policy applies to you.

H/T: Deals We Like

Featured image by Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX. (Photo by Max Prosperi)