Convert your Southwest travel funds to points, but should you?


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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. Through Dec. 15, 2020, any eligible travel fund can be converted at a rate of 1.28 points per dollar. This is your purchase price. 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 set to expire Sept. 7, 2022 and you can see that they all have the opportunity to be converted to points at the same rate.

Related: Southwest personal cards just increased their sign-up bonus! More points and fly BOGO!

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… but there is a trick!

Currently, all travel funds that expired or set to expire between March 1, 2020 and Sept. 7, 2020 will expire on Sept. 7, 2022 — a full two year extension. Additionally, all travel funds created between these same dates will also be extended for the additional two year period. This means newly created travel funds will be extended as well.

For those that have a travel fund set to expires post Sept. 7, 2020 and you want to extend the life of the fund or convert into points, there is a loophole to make that happen.

Since the terms state that “if the travel fund is created between the two dates”, all you have to do is take your current travel fund, use it to book a flight and then cancel it 25 hours later. Just find a flight that costs close to the exact same amount so you are not spending any extra money. Canceling that ticket will create a new travel fund for you with a new reservation number. Since you are canceling the ticket before Sept. 7th, those funds will automatically expire Sept. 7, 2022, even though the funds were originally set to expire prior to that date. I personally did this myself and it worked with no problem.

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. For those funds, use the loophole to extend the life of the funds.

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.

Fortunately though, you have until Dec. 15, 2020 to make this decision, so there is no reason to convert your funds just yet if you are not 100% sure.

Will you be converting your funds to points, or keeping them as is? My funds will most definitely be converted to points.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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William J Orlando
William J Orlando
1 month ago

Do points purchased with travel funds count toward the CP?

Kate Williamson
Kate Williamson
1 month ago

So I have travel funds that expire 10/29/20 – and were created in Feb 2020 – so they don’t fall into the window for these exceptions. Are you saying that if I book a flight before 9/7/20 to use them up, and then cancel it 25 hrs later, I’ll get a new expiration date that would be part of the guideline?

Kate Williamson
Kate Williamson
1 month ago

I called SWA and they said that yes, if it’s a flight made now and cancelled by 9/7/2020 then it will be a new expiration date of 9/7/22, which can be converted to miles. Perfect since MDB has credits too, and I earned companion pass this year (and haven’t been able to fly yet). So now I can book tickets with his points, and take him along for the ride. Sweet! Thanks for this tip and so many others!

Kate Williamson
Kate Williamson
1 month ago

OK – so this failed for me – I used by October 2020 credits, booked a new flight, waited 48 hrs to cancel – points returned for the same expiration date, not a new one!! Ideas on what to do now???

Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
1 month ago

All this made me do was get another $6 tied up with travel funds that will expire this October. Ugh!

Since this probably won’t work, I guess I’ll be stuck with letting the funds expire and then get converted to a LUV voucher at cost of $100.

Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
30 days ago
Reply to  Linda Chapman

update… when I went back in expiration date updated to September 2022!!! Thank you for the tip!!!!

Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
30 days ago

Go back in and look at expiration date. My expiration date initially had old date but updated a day later! I’m so thankful somebody figured this out.

Ed Deal
Ed Deal
1 month ago

You have it reversed:
“ any eligible travel fund can be converted at a rate of 1.28 points per dollar. ”

It’s 1.28 dollars per point, that’s why you get fewer points than dollars in your screenshot.

Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
1 month ago

DId anyone actually get this to work? I tried and it just left expiration date and as it was previously. Very frustrating!

Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
30 days ago

It worked! I had $332 of travel funds that was going to expire in October 2020 and was distressed because not able to travel and use those funds before expiration and also didn’t want to lose $100 by waiting until after expiration and converting to LUV voucher. I didn’t think this method would work but it did! After I initially canceled the newly scheduled flight (that was made with intention just to cancel), it took a day for the expiration date to update to now be September 2022! I’m so thrilled. I haven’t decided yet if I will convert the… Read more »

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