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Southwest Gift Cards, Flight Credits & LUV Vouchers [Everything You Need To Know]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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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

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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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Southwest Airlines offers lots of customer-friendly policies, including free checked baggage and the ability to change your flight with no fee. Plus, Southwest’s frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, is straightforward and simple to use.

However, one thing that can get a little confusing with Southwest is all the different forms of payment — there are gift cards, Flight Credits (formerly called Travel Funds), and LUV Vouchers.

While these might all seem similar, they have very different rules. Specifically, Flight Credits and LUV Vouchers can get a little tricky to use if you aren’t sure how.

In this post, we’ll go over each of these so you know exactly how to use Southwest gift cards, Flight Credits, and LUV Vouchers successfully!

Southwest Gift Cards

Where To Buy Southwest Gift Cards

Southwest gift cards can be purchased online and at many retailers including:

How To Purchase a Southwest Gift Card on Southwest.com

  1. Go to Southwest.com and scroll to the very bottom of the page. Under Southwest Products, click on Southwest gift card.

    Purchasing a Southwest gift card online
    You can buy Southwest gift cards online. Image Credit: Southwest
  2. On the next page, click Buy a gift card.
  3. Fill in the amount and quantity you would like to purchase. Gift cards can be purchased in any amount from $25 to $1,000. If you’re purchasing multiple cards, they will all have the same value, however, the total value of the purchase can’t exceed $1,000.
  4. Choose your delivery method. Your gift card can be emailed to you for free, or you can choose to have it delivered by UPS ($2.95, 4 to 7 business days) or FedEx ($9.95, overnight delivery). Any orders over $500 will be delivered by FedEx overnight free of charge.

    Create a Southwest Airlines gift card
    You can create a Southwest gift card online in any amount from $25 to $1,000. Image Credit: Southwest
  5. Fill in either the recipient’s email or physical address, depending on your shipping method. You can add a gift message or leave this area blank.
  6. Click the yellow Payment button at the bottom right-hand side of the screen to continue to payment options.
  7. Verify your details, enter your payment information, and click the yellow Purchase button to complete the transaction.

Hot Tip: Buying a gift card through Southwest.com counts as a travel purchase, so be sure to use a credit card that offers bonus points on travel. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points on travel, while the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3x points! Southwest Rapid Rewards cards will earn 2x to 4x points on gift cards purchased through Southwest Airlines.

Purchasing a Large Volume of Gift Cards Online

Purchases of gift cards on Southwest.com are limited to $1,000 per transaction. If you would like to purchase multiple gift cards and will exceed the $1,000 limit, you can use the Corporate & Volume Sales order form.

  1. Go to Southwest.com and scroll to the very bottom of the page. Under Southwest Products, click on Southwest gift card.
  2. Click the Corporate & Volume Sales button to access the order form.

    Corporate and volume sales for Southwest credit cards
    You can order more than $1,000 worth of Southwest gift cards by clicking on Corporate and Volume Sales. Image Credit: Southwest

How To Earn Tons of Points Buying Gift Cards

Whether buying a gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone else, they can be a great way to rack up tons of Southwest Rapid Rewards points! The key is using the right credit card at the right retailer.

Here are a couple of strategies that will help you maximize your points-earning when purchasing Southwest gift cards:

  • Use the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card at office supply stores to earn 5x points.
  • Use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ at Sam’s Club during a warehouse store bonus period — you’ll earn 5x points, and will be purchasing the gift cards at a slight discount. Watch for other Freedom Flex card bonus categories that include stores that sell gift cards.
  • Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to purchase gift cards through Southwest.com for 3x points.
  • Keep an eye on Amex Offers and Chase Offers. You can often find discounts or offers for bonus points on stores that sell gift cards.

Using Southwest Gift Cards

Southwest gift cards can only be used for flights (including taxes and fees) purchased directly through Southwest Airlines — either online, by phone at 800-435-9792 (800-I-FLY-SWA), or at a Southwest ticket counter.

Hot Tip: There are no fees to purchase Southwest gift cards. They never expire and are fully transferable.

Flights purchased with Southwest gift cards are non-refundable. If your travel is not taken or the flight is canceled, the funds will be held as a Flight Credit to be used on a future flight. Thankfully, Flight Credits don’t have an expiration date.

How To Use a Southwest Gift Card Online

Using a gift card to purchase a flight online doesn’t really differ much from purchasing a flight with a credit card.

  1. Go to Southwest.com and search for a flight as you normally would.
  2. Once you get to the Passenger and Payment Info page, scroll to the middle of the page where you’ll see Payment Method.
  3. Here you’ll see a drop-down arrow next to Apply Flight Credits, Southwest LUV Vouchers, and Southwest gift cards. Then you can enter your gift card number and security code.

    How to use Southwest gift cards online
    Gift cards are easy to redeem for flights online. Image Credit: Southwest

Hot Tip: You can use 3 forms of payment, including Southwest gift cards, LUV Vouchers, and Flight Credits, per person on each reservation.

What Can You Buy With a Southwest Gift Card?

Southwest gift cards are good for the purchase of flights booked directly with Southwest. You can use gift cards online, over the phone, or in person at a Southwest ticket counter. Gift cards can also be applied to taxes and fees associated with your ticket.

The list of things you can’t use gift cards on is a little longer! The following are items you can not pay for with a Southwest gift card:

  • Additional Southwest gift cards
  • Cargo
  • EarlyBird Check-In
  • Inflight purchases
  • Oversized and excess baggage fees
  • Partner hotel and rental cars
  • Pet fares
  • Purchases through a travel agent
  • Southwest Airlines group desk purchases
  • Southwest Airlines group tickets
  • Southwest Airlines merchandise
  • Southwest Airlines vacation packages
  • Unaccompanied minor service charge
  • Upgraded boarding at the airport

Bottom Line: Southwest gift cards can be applied to your flight cost plus any taxes and fees associated with your flight.

How To Check Your Gift Card Balance

  1. Go to Southwest.com and scroll to the very bottom of the page. Under Southwest Products, click on Southwest gift card.
  2. Then click on the Check Your Balance tab. You’ll need to enter the gift card number and security code to check the balance.

    How to check your Southwest gift card balance
    You can easily check your Southwest gift card balance online. Image Credit: Southwest

Southwest Flight Credits

Southwest Flight Credits, formerly called Travel Funds, are what you get if you cancel a flight or change a flight to a lower-priced itinerary. Flight Credits only exist digitally — you won’t get a card, certificate, or voucher for these funds.

They can be redeemed through Southwest.com, over the phone, and at Southwest Airlines ticket counter locations.

Flight Credits are tied to your original itinerary. For example, let’s say you cancel flight #1212 and receive a Flight Credit for the price you paid. When you go to book a new flight, you will need to pull up your Flight Credit using the confirmation number from flight #1212.

Hot Tip: As of July 28, 2022, Southwest Flight Credits no longer expire. Any Flight Credits issued on or after this date and any Flight Credits that were set to expire on or after this date now do not expire at all.

How To Use a Southwest Flight Credit on Southwest.com

  1. Go to Southwest.com and search for a flight as you normally would.
  2. Once you get to the Passenger and Payment Info page, scroll to the middle of the page, where you will see Payment Method.
  3. Look for the section that says Apply Flight Credits, LUV Vouchers, and Southwest gift cards.
  4. Enter the confirmation number (from the original flight) along with the passenger’s first and last name and click Apply funds.

    How to use Southwest flight credits online
    You can apply Travel Funds to a flight purchase online. Image Credit: Southwest

Hot Tip: Southwest Flight Credits that are created from a Wanna Get Away fare are not transferable. Southwest Flight Credits that are created from a Wanna Get Away Plus fare are transferable.

How To Check the Balance of Your Southwest Flight Credits

You can easily see what Flight Credits you have in your Rapid Rewards account. After logging into your Southwest account, click on My Account in the upper right-hand corner. Then you’ll see an at-a-glance look at the total Flight Credits you have (they are labeled as Travel Funds here).

How to find Southwest Travel Funds
You can see your Southwest flight credits in your Rapid Rewards account. Image Credit: Southwest

To see the details of your available Flight Credits, click on View Details. You’ll see a list of your available Flight Credits along with the confirmation number that you’ll need to redeem them.

How to view Southwest Flight Credits online
Your flight credits will be listed in your online account. Image Credit: Southwest

Bottom Line: Flight Credits are what you’ll get if you cancel a flight or change a flight to a lower-priced itinerary. These credits don’t expire.

Southwest LUV Vouchers

So now that you’re up to speed on Southwest gift cards and Flight Credits, let’s talk about LUV Vouchers!

What’s a LUV Voucher, you ask? It’s a voucher you’ll get as compensation for a delayed flight, missing baggage, or volunteering to get bumped from a flight.

If you receive your LUV Voucher at the airport you may still get a paper copy.

Southwest LUV Voucher
If you’re offered a LUV Voucher at the airport you may still get a paper voucher. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

However, you’re more likely to receive an email with your LUV Voucher information.

Southwest LUV Voucher email
LUV Vouchers are sent out via email. Image Credit: Southwest

Southwest LUV Vouchers are valid at Southwest.com, by calling 800-I-FLY-SWA, or at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter. You’ll need the voucher number and security code (confirmation) to complete a purchase.

Your travel must be completed by the voucher’s expiration date (usually 6 months to 1 year from the date of issue). The LUV Voucher can be applied toward your flight cost, but NOT any taxes or fees associated with your ticket.

Hot Tip: If you have a physical Southwest LUV Voucher, take a photo of it! This ensures you’ll still be able to use it even if you lose the paper voucher.

How To Use a Southwest LUV Voucher on Southwest.com

    1. Go to Southwest.com and search for a flight as you normally would.
    2. Once you get to the Passenger and Payment Info page, scroll to the middle of the page where you’ll see Payment Method.
    3. Look for the section that says Apply Flight Credits, LUV Vouchers, and Southwest gift cards. Then all you need to do is enter your LUV Voucher number and security code.

How to use Southwest LUV Vouchers online
LUV Vouchers are easy to redeem online. Image Credit: Southwest

Hot Tip: You can use up to 3 forms of payment per person per reservation. This can include any combination of gift cards, Flight Credits, and LUV Vouchers plus 1 credit card or PayPal account per transaction. 

How To Check the Balance of Your LUV Voucher

Checking your LUV Voucher balance on Southwest.com is easy, but it’s a bit tricky to find. You can click here or follow the instructions below.

  1. To check the balance on your Southwest LUV Voucher, click on Flight in the top menu, then click Manage Reservations.

    How to check the balance on a LUV Voucher
    You can easily check your LUV Voucher balance online. Image Credit: Southwest
  2. Then click View travel funds.

    How to check the balance on a LUV Voucher
    By clicking View travel funds, you can check the balance of your Flight Credits, gift cards, or LUV Vouchers. Image Credit: Southwest
  3. Input the voucher number and security code to see the balance of your LUV Voucher. You can also check your Flight Credit and gift card balances here, too.

    How to check the balance of your Southwest LUV Voucher
    You can check the balance of your LUV Voucher online but you’ll need the voucher number and security code. Image Credit: Southwest

Hot Tip: If you cancel a flight that you paid for with a LUV Voucher, that balance will be refunded in the form of a Flight Credit.

Final Thoughts

Southwest Airlines offers 3 distinct forms of payment that require a little know-how to use: gift cards, Flight Credits, and LUV Vouchers. All 3 can be used to purchase Southwest flights online, over the phone, or at a ticket counter. However, they all have different rules as far as expiration dates, what they can be applied to, and who can use them.

Luckily, these rules stem from Southwest’s customer-friendly policies — including holding Flight Credits from a canceled flight for future use, and even occasionally rewarding you with LUV Vouchers if something goes wrong. Thankfully, once you know the basics, you will be the master of your Rapid Rewards account in no time!

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy a Southwest gift card?

Southwest gift cards can be purchased on Southwest.com and at many other retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, grocery stores, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.

How many Southwest gift cards can be used at once?

Southwest accepts up to 3 forms of payment per person on a reservation, including gift cards. For a 2-person reservation, you could use up to 6 gift cards.

Do Southwest gift cards expire?

No, Southwest gift cards do not have expiration dates nor will they devalue over time. However, LUV Vouchers do carry expiration dates.

LUV Vouchers generally expire 6 to 12 months from the date of issue. The expiration date will be printed on the voucher or included in the email.

Can I buy a Southwest gift card with points?

Yes, you can purchase a Southwest gift card using Rapid Rewards points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards website, however, it’s not a great way to get the most value from your points. A $50 gift card costs 9,400 Rapid Rewards points.

Can my Southwest gift card be replaced?

No, a Southwest gift card cannot be replaced if lost, stolen, or damaged.

What are Southwest Flight Credits?

Flight Credits (formerly Travel Funds) are credits that are issued to you if you cancel a flight or change your flight to a less expensive itinerary. They are held digitally, so you won’t receive a physical voucher. You need to know the confirmation number from your original flight to access Flight Credits.

What is a Southwest LUV Voucher?

A LUV Voucher is what you might receive if Southwest is offering compensation for a disrupted flight, lost baggage, or volunteering to take a later flight. You’ll receive a paper voucher or an email with the voucher number and security code.

Are LUV Vouchers transferable?

Yes, LUV Vouchers can be used to purchase a flight for anyone, not just the person who owns the voucher.

Are Soutwhest Flight Credits transferable?

If your Flight Credits were generated from a Wanna Get Away Plus fare, they are transferable. If they were generated from a Wanna Get Away fare, they are not transferable.

What's the difference between Flight Credits and Travel Funds?

There’s no difference between Southwest Flight Credits and Travel Funds. Flight Credits is the new name for Travel Funds.

When do Southwest Flight Credits expire?

As of July 28, 2022, Southwest Flight Credits don’t expire. Any Flight Credits created on or after this day and any Flight Credits that had an original expiration date on or after this day will not 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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