How to Cancel a Southwest Airlines Flight
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Can you cancel Southwest flights? Yes. Southwest Airlines has one of the best cancellation policies among major airlines.
If you're not trying to fly again but simply want your money back, you're at least in a bit of luck. Historically, Southwest stood alone among airlines with its customer-friendly change and cancellation policies. Because of the pandemic, other airlines have improved their flexibility toward flight changes, but even still the Southwest cancellation policy stands out as one of the most flexible.
Here's what you need to know to cancel your own Southwest flight.
How to cancel a Southwest flight
Canceling your Southwest flight is fairly simple. You can go to southwest.com/cancel or look up your reservation in the Southwest mobile app. Enter the ticketed passenger's first name and last name, along with the confirmation number of the reservation.
You can also call the Southwest reservations department at 800-435-9792 or, if you included your Rapid Rewards number on the initial reservation, you can find the flight on your My Account page. Once you've entered your flight information, you'll see any travel balances or refundable amounts attached to the confirmation number.
To cancel the flight, select "Cancel."
How to change or rebook your Southwest Airlines flight
The Southwest Airlines flight change policy is simple: no change fees if you need to modify your flight reservation. You can change your flight as many times as you want, but you'll need to pay the difference if the new flight is more expensive than the original one. If you're booking a last-minute flight, that can be a hefty fee.
To change your Southwest flight, call the reservations department or look up your flight with the confirmation number and passenger information online or on the app.
» Learn more: Which Southwest Airlines credit card should I get?
And keep in mind, that simply wanting to change your flight to a new time isn't sufficient. There needs to be an available seat on another flight, which proved to be a problem during the Great Southwest Meltdown during the 2022 winter holidays. Even though Southwest was willing to put people on new flights at no additional cost to them, there just weren't enough seats on the few planes that were taking off, preventing travelers from getting to their destination until sometimes a week later.
How to get a refund on Southwest Airlines
Getting a refund for a canceled Southwest Airlines flight depends on not only what type of ticket you originally purchased, but also if you purchased it with cash or Rapid Rewards points. Plus, some flight add-ons, like Early Bird boarding, are nonrefundable. If you cancel a flight where you purchased Early Bird boarding, the amount you paid for that add-on won't be refunded.
For flights booked with cash
Wanna Get Away tickets are typically the airline's lowest-priced fares, and you'll only receive Southwest travel funds if you decide to cancel. Same goes for the new Wanna Get Away plus fare.
If you prefer to get your money back to the original form of payment rather than as a travel voucher, you'll need to book an Anytime or Business Select ticket from Southwest.
When you cancel an Anytime or Business Select fare, you can choose between receiving travel funds and a refund to the original form of payment.
For flights booked with Southwest Rapid Rewards points
Southwest's cancellation policy is generous for award tickets. If you cancel a flight booked with Southwest Rapid Rewards points, your points will be automatically refunded.
Plus, if there were any taxes and fees paid along with your points, those can either be converted to travel funds for future travel or refunded back to the original method of payment.
» Learn more: Guide to earning Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points
Southwest's cancellation policy
The Southwest flight cancellation policy is simple: You can cancel your flight at any time, with no cancellation fees, up to 10 minutes before the flight's scheduled departure.
If you booked a flight with Rapid Rewards points, they'll be refunded back into your loyalty account.
If you booked a flight with cash, it will either be refunded back to your method of payment or converted into Southwest travel funds, depending on the type of fare you booked.
Even for nonrefundable reservations, if you cancel within 24 hours of booking, you can receive a refund back to the original form of payment or convert the airfare into travel funds.
If you get Southwest travel funds after canceling a Southwest Airlines flight, be aware that there are some restrictions to using your credit. For Wanna Get Away Fares, the travel funds are accessible only with the confirmation number and the name of the original ticketed passenger — in other words, they're not transferable to anyone else. Wanna Get Away Plus, Business Select and Anytime fares, on the other hand, are eligible to be transferred to someone else with a Rapid Rewards account.
No matter what type of ticket you bought, there's no expiration date on the travel fund, so you can hold onto your funds until you're absolutely ready to use them.
Since the flight cancellation policy is customer-friendly and the process is relatively simple, you should consider canceling if your plans change or the price drops. You can always rebook with your points, travel funds or cash refund.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card