With COVID-19 changing the way people fly — or limiting the amount they want to fly — airlines have been quite generous in extending the expiration dates of vouchers and certificates. Southwest is one of those companies far ahead of the game and have even taken their policies even one step further to really focus on the customer.
In addition to extended the dates of Travel Funds, they are even allowing you to convert your travel funds into Southwest Rapid Reward points. Although this was announced back in August, tomorrow, Dec. 15, 2020 is the last date you can actually do it! So do not delay.
With this conversion process, your funds can be converted at a rate of 1.28 cents per point. Southwest points can then typically be redeemed for about 1.4 cents per points, so you are actually getting a fabulous value since you are redeeming points for more than what you are “buying” them at. Just keep in mind though that you’ll still have to pay the taxes and fees when you use points.
I personally have three different travel funds that were set to expire Sept. 7, 2022 and took this opportunity to convert them all to points. This will then allow me to use my points towards anyone in my family and not have to worry about the funds expiring.
Which travel funds qualify?
All travel funds that have an expiration date of Sept. 7, 2022 are eligible to be converted into points. If your travel funds expire on any other date, you will not be able to covert those funds.
How to convert your travel funds
Sign into your Southwest account and go into ‘My Account‘. At the top of the page you’ll see ‘My Travel Funds’ with the option to view your funds.
You’ll then see all of your funds, the expiration date and the ones that you can convert. All travel funds created on or after Dec. 3, 2019 will automatically display. For all funds created before this date, you’ll have to manually use the Travel Fund Lookup.
Should I convert my Southwest travel funds into points?
It truly depends, but my overall take on the situation is YES.
Although travel funds are extended for two years, you must fly by this date, not simply book by this date. And who knows what the travel world will look like over the next two years. Your points, on the other hand, do not expire.
Also, I prefer Southwest points over travel funds any day. While you are never charged a change or cancelation fee with Southwest, if you go to cancel a flight booked on points, your points go straight back into your account — as if the flight was never booked. If you need to cancel a flight booked with a travel fund and you need to cancel, the entire amount paid for the flight will go back into a new travel fund tied to the original expiration date. And any additional amount paid for the flight on your credit card will also inherit the same expiration date.
Travel funds are also not transferrable, thus cannot be used by someone else. Points, on the other hand, can be used for anyone and have more flexibility.
The one downside of using points is that you will not earn points for your flight when you travel. If you use a travel fund you’d earn points in the same way as if you paid for the flight on your credit card. So there is an opportunity cost there.
Will you be converting your funds to points, or keeping them as is? My funds have already been converted to points. This earned me approximately 522,000 points for my $988 travel balance.