Southwest Airlines has updated its reservation system in recent months, and one of the more annoying changes is that changing any ticket will lead to a loss of refundable funds.
This was already the case for international award tickets, as I found out in 2015 when I booked a ticket from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, and changed the date. When I cancelled the reservation, I was not given the option to refund the $22 in taxes and fees. Southwest made an exception and gave me the refund but it appears that they are more stringent now.
The aforementioned situation I found myself in now applies to two more categories:
- Business select and anytime “refundable” tickets
- Domestic awards
This does not affect wanna get away fares as those were never refundable to begin with. However, domestic award changes means a loss of $5.60 per leg, and changes to business select or anytime fares could be a loss of hundreds of dollars. Loss may not be the right word, since one does receive an airline credit, but the funds will never be refundable again.
The moral of the story is to always cancel and rebook any type of refundable Southwest ticket going forward, or be prepared for an unwelcome surprise.