UPDATE #1: The deadline for converting Southwest Travel Funds to Rapids Rewards is expired on December 15, 2020. 

UPDATE #2: Unfortunately, the trick to extend Southwest Travel Funds in this article is no longer working because it already passed September 7, 2020. Contact Southwest and they may be able to make an exception for you. 

Southwest Airlines is one of my favorite US airlines to use for airfare bookings because of their flexible change policy. After 24 hours of booking, tickets can be changed or even cancelled without incurring a change/cancellation fee. Any cancelled tickets after 24 hours can be credited as Travel Funds that expire in a year from the date of booking. You can use the travel fund to book any future travels subject to availability and difference in fare prior to the expiration date. 

I accidentally came across an interesting way to extend expiring Southwest travel funds beyond this year 2020 and 2021 through September 7, 2022. Additionally, Southwest is also implementing a feature to convert expiring Southwest travel funds into Rapids Rewards points. 
How to Extend Your Expiring Southwest Travel Funds
Table of Contents  [show/hide]

    Expiring Southwest Travel Funds

    Because of COVID-19 situation, I haven't been able to use some of my travel funds earned through Amex airline fee credits that are supposed to expire October 20, 2020. So I decided to make a speculative booking for a September trip to San Diego using my expiring Southwest travel fund, and hope that the COVID-19 situation will be improved then. Something came up last week so I had to cancel that ticket. This week when I went to check my available Southwest travel funds, I noticed that the expiration date of that particular travel fund that was resulted from the cancellation has been extended to September 7, 2022 instead of my previous October 20, 2020 date. Hallelujah, that means I don't have to worry about my travel funds for a much longer time while I am still monitoring the coronavirus situation. 

    Southwest Airlines Is Extending Travel Funds

    So what exactly happened? In wake of the current travel environment, Southwest Airlines is extending the expiration date of some travel funds with the following conditions:
    • Customers’ funds that have expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020, will now expire September 7, 2022.
    • Any travel funds created because you cancel a flight between March 1 – September 7, 2020, will expire September 7, 2022.
    So my situation falls into the second condition because I used travel funds to book a new reservation and then cancelled that reservation between March 1 and September 7, 2020. That explains why that particular travel fund's expiration date was automatically extended to September 2022. 

    How To Extend Expiring Southwest Travel Funds To September 7, 2022

    If you are interested in extending your expiring Southwest travel funds through September 7, 2022, here's what you'd do:
    • Log in and make a new reservation on Southwest Airlines website
    • On the final payment's page, use your expiring travel fund to pay for that reservation.
    • Wait over 24 hours period, then cancel that reservation. 

    Your travel fund should now have a different confirmation code due to cancellation, but its expiration date may still be the old expiration date. However, do not worry about that just yet because according to Southwest, they stated that:
    It can take up to five business days for the new expiration date to appear in your account. It will also take our Technology Team a few days to make these changes.

    The expiration date's change apparently is not an instant process. Although Southwest wants you to give them 5 business days, in my case it was just over 1 day period. So after the cancellation, please wait at least another 24 hours for the travel fund's new expiration date to change. 

    It is important to note also that this method to extend Southwest travel funds only work when you use expiring travel fund to book and cancel a flight between March 1 – September 7, 2020 because of the waiver policy in place. With that being said, I would not wait until the last minute to do this though. 

    Converting Expiring Southwest Travel Funds Into Rapid Rewards Points

    It's worth mentioning that Southwest now allows members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020 to convert those funds into Rapid Rewards points at the rate of ~1.28 cents per point. For example, you can covert $128 travel funds into 10,000 Rapid Rewards points. This is an awesome feature because:
    • Rapid Rewards points never expire which means that once your travel funds are converted into points, you do not have to worry about the expiration date of the travel funds anymore. 
    • You can use Rapid Rewards points to book a Southwest ticket for anyone. Whereas travel fund you can only use it to book a Southwest ticket for yourself.
    You have up until December 15, 2020 to make the conversion, so there's no need to rush if you do not like the conversion rate. 

    This feature is now live and available to all Southwest members. You can now convert travel funds into Rapid Rewards points online in your account under View Travel Funds below. 

    How To View Southwest Travel Funds

    If you haven't noticed, Southwest website has the ability to view available travel funds now under your Southwest account. However, in order for the travel funds to show on your account, you must log into Southwest when making a reservation. After that once you cancel that reservation in exchange for a travel fund, you will see that specific travel fund in your Southwest account. Here's how you check Southwest Travel Funds:
    • Log into Southwest Airlines account online
    • Go to My Account.
    • Click on View Travel Funds on the top (see screenshot below).
    • You should see all your available travel funds there. 
    How To View Southwest Travel Funds         
    How To View Southwest Travel Funds