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How to Cancel a Southwest Airlines Flight [Points or Cash Ticket Purchases]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

346 Published Articles 54 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 28U.S. States Visited: 29

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3213 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Canceling a flight is never fun. Most airlines charge hefty change fees and offer little-to-no refund for a canceled flight.

Thankfully, Southwest (my favorite airline for domestic and Caribbean travel) doesn’t charge any change or cancellation fees! Yep, you read that right: no fees!

There’s no catch as long as you understand how it works. Generally, if you cancel a flight that you paid cash for, you will get all of your money back in the form of a flight credit. If you paid for your ticket using Rapid Rewards points, you would get a full points refund.

Southwest’s Cancellation Policy: Flights Paid With Cash or Points

Southwest Airlines does a lot of things right. No baggage fees, an easy-to-use frequent flyer program, great customer service, and NO change or cancellation fees. If Southwest flies to where I’m going, I always choose Southwest.

The cancellation policy is among the best in the industry. Although it’s generous, it varies just a bit by the type of ticket you purchase.

Difference in Southwest fare class
All fares offer reusable funds for cancellations. Business Select and Anytime fares are also fully refundable. Image Credit: Southwest

Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away plus Tickets

Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away plus tickets are the lowest price fares that Southwest offers, and probably what most of us book for personal travel. These tickets have slightly tighter rules about flight cancellations than Business Select or Anytime fares, but it’s still a pretty generous policy.

If you cancel a Wanna Get Away/Wanna Get Away plus fare that you purchased with cash (I mean, a credit card!), the entire purchase price will be saved as reusable flight credits (previously called travel funds) for future use.

You can cancel all the way up to 10 minutes before your flight, and thankfully flight credits don’t expire. If you purchased a Wanna Get Away plus fare, your flight credits are transferrable.

If you cancel a Wanna Get Away/Wanna Get Away plus fare that you purchased with Rapid Rewards points, you will receive all of your points back into your Southwest account. Any taxes associated with the ticket ($5.60 each way on domestic flights) will be held as reusable flight credits.

If you don’t cancel your Wanna Get Away/Wanna Get Away plus ticket within 10 minutes of the flight and are a no-show, you will not receive a refund of any kind.

Hot Tip: Make a note of the confirmation number from the canceled flight. You will need this to access any flight credits associated with the ticket.

Business Select, Anytime, and Senior Tickets

Business Select and Anytime tickets offer a more generous cancellation policy than Wanna Get Away/Wanna Get Away plus tickets, but these tickets are more expensive. Senior fares also come with the same lax cancellation policy.

If you cancel a Business Select, Anytime, or Senior ticket, 100% of your purchase price will be refunded to your original form of payment. This applies to both cash and Rapid Rewards points tickets.

If you are a no-show for a Business Select, Anytime, or Senior ticket (meaning you didn’t cancel at least 10 minutes before takeoff), the purchase price of your ticket will be converted to flight credits, which can be used for another flight. If you used Rapid Rewards points, all points will be redeposited into your account.

If you make a change to an existing flight, this makes the ticket non-refundable. If you need to make an additional change or cancellation, your purchase price will be held as reusable flight credits instead of being refunded. It’s best to cancel your original flight and re-book a new one to maintain the ticket’s fully refundable status.

Bottom Line: Tickets purchased with Rapid Rewards points are fully refundable. It’s easy to earn lots of Southwest points, even without flying! Don’t forget, in addition to the credit cards that Southwest offers, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. Check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for a great all-around travel credit card that earns flexible points that can be transferred to Southwest Airlines.

Southwest’s Cancellation Policy: Flights Paid With Gift Cards and Companion Pass Flights

Gift Cards

If you purchased your flight with a gift card, it’s considered non-refundable and has slightly different rules than tickets paid for with cash or points.

If you do not take a flight purchased by a gift card, the funds will be held as reusable flight credits.

If you cancel your flight 24 hours or less before takeoff and paid for all or part of it with a Southwest gift card, you will need to contact Southwest Customer Relations at 855-234-4654.

Companion Pass

Any taxes paid when booking a Southwest Companion Pass fare are fully refundable to the original form of payment.

Hot Tip: Want to know what the best credit card is? Check out this list of the best credit cards for Southwest Airlines flyers!

How to Cancel a Flight on Southwest

1. After you have logged on to your account, click on My Account in the top right-hand corner.

Southwest Home Page
Image Credit: Southwest

2. In the middle of the next screen, you will see all of your upcoming flights. Choose the flight you want to cancel and click on Cancel Flight.

How To Cancel A Southwest Flight
Image Credit: Southwest

3. Then, you will be able to confirm the flight you are canceling and select how you want your refund. If your ticket was fully refundable, you will have the option of requesting a refund or holding it as a flight credit for future use. If the ticket was non-refundable (Wanna Get Away tickets), you will be able to request flight credits for future use.

The price listed to the right is the amount being refunded or converted to travel funds. The ticket in the screenshot below is a Companion Fare, so the only money paid was the $11.20 in taxes and fees ($5.60 each way). If you booked a flight with cash, your full ticket price will show here.

Southwest cancel flight reservation
Image Credit: Southwest

4. Click the yellow Cancel Flight button at the bottom of the screen to complete the cancellation.

How To Cancel A Southwest Flight
Image Credit: Southwest

How to Use Southwest Flight Credits

Using Southwest flight credits (formerly called travel funds) isn’t difficult since they are listed in your online account.

Once you sign in to your account, they will be listed in the My Account section. Note that here they are still called travel funds — don’t worry though as travel funds and flight credits are the same things.

How to view southwest flight credits travel funds online
You can easily see your flight credits in your online account. Image Credit: Southwest

Flight credits are available to use for flights, taxes, and fees for the originally ticketed passenger only. You can not use flight credits to purchase a ticket for someone else unless they were from a Wanna Get Away plus fare.

How to Apply Travel Funds to a New Reservation

1. Search for flights as you normally would, then proceed to the Passenger & Payment Info section.

2. In the Payment Method section, you will notice a small drop-down menu at the top that says Southwest gift cards, flight credits, and Southwest LUV vouchers. Click on this drop-down menu to fill in your flight credit information.

How To Use Southwest Travel Funds
Image Credit: Southwest

3. You can toggle between the 3 payment methods. Select Flight credits. You will need your confirmation number from the original flight, plus your full name. Click on Apply Funds to continue and finish your purchase as usual.

How To Use Southwest Travel Funds
Image Credit: Southwest

You can apply up to 3 forms of payment per person for each reservation, so you are allowed to use flight credits from multiple confirmation numbers at the same time.

Bottom Line: Southwest flight credits are issued when you cancel a non-refundable ticket. You must know the confirmation number from the original ticket to access your flight credits.

Final Thoughts

Southwest Airlines does a lot of things right, including offering a generous cancellation policy.

Depending on what type of fare you purchase, you can either receive a full refund to your original payment method or travel funds that you can use on a future Southwest flight.

Southwest points are easy to earn and easy to use, and flights purchased with Rapid Rewards points are fully refundable! Don’t forget to keep the confirmation number from the flight you need to cancel handy, as you will need this to access your flight credits.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I cancel a Southwest flight bought with points?

Any Southwest flight paid for with Rapid Rewards points is fully refundable. You can cancel your flight in your online account by clicking Cancel Flight in the flight information section. All of your Rapid Rewards points will be redeposited into your Southwest account. If you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare, the taxes and fees you paid will be held as reusable flight credits. If you purchased a Business Select or Anytime ticket, the taxes and fees will be refunded to the original form of payment.

Can I cancel a Southwest flight without penalty?

Generally, yes. There are no fees to cancel a Southwest flight. If you paid for the flight with Rapid Rewards points, they will be automatically redeposited into your account. If you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare with cash, the money will be held as a reusable flight credit to be applied towards the purchase of a future flight. If you purchased a Business Select or Anytime fare, any money you paid for your ticket will be refunded to the original method of payment.

When can I cancel a Southwest flight?

You can cancel any flight up to 10 minutes before the flight is scheduled to takeoff. After that, the price of your ticket will be forfeited if you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare. If you purchased a Business Select or Anytime fare, your ticket price will be transferred to a flight credit for use on a future flight.

When do Southwest flight credits expire?

Southwest flight credits, formerly called travel funds don’t expire.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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