Changing Southwest Rapid Rewards Award Flights
In my previous post on domestic flight options using Ultimate Rewards I covered booking domestic flights on Southwest. A little while ago I had noticed that a flight I wanted for a friend’s wedding later this year was on sale. I went ahead and booked an award by transferring Ultimate Reward points to Southwest. At the same time, I saw that the return flight I wanted for that weekend had gone up in price! Since Southwest award flights are price-based as far as the number of points required for an award, I decided to book a Saturday flight for 2,000 less points (4,000 over two tickets) and change it when I saw the Sunday flight on sale. Well it happened to go on sale this week.
I’ve only booked one Southwest award flight so far, and hadn’t needed to change it. However, I thought I had read that it was possible and free to do so. Turns out it is very easy! I logged in to my account on Southwest, went to My Account -> My Travel and was able to see my reservations. On each reservation there is a “Change Reservation” or “Cancel Reservation” link. The alternative is to go to the blue Air tab at the top of the screen and click Change Reservation or Cancel Reservation there.
When I had booked my reservation, I had reserved tickets for two people. It gave me two unique confirmation numbers. I found it easiest to change my reservation using the Air menu as shown above. This way I was able to enter both confirmation numbers and change both flights that way.
I selected Change Reservation, and it let me look up new flights. The flight I chose was 600 Rapid Reward Points more. I transferred 1,000 Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest and a couple minutes later was ready to book. When I confirmed that I wanted to change the reservation, I was expecting to lose the $2.50 I paid in taxes. But it doesn’t cost anything! It simply deducted the 600 points from my account and applied the $2.50 and points used from the previous reservation. I had initially considered canceling my reservation and starting over. Ultimately I think changing it was the right path as there was a warning about the refunded money portion not being available immediately. It was a very simple process, and 1,200 points later I had two seats on the flight I really wanted.
A $208 per person flight came out to 11,160 Ultimate Reward Points-> Rapid Reward Points. As 5x spending on $200 gift cards at office supply stores using Chase Ink Bold or Plus nets you 1000 points for a $6.95 fee, this cost roughly $77/pp that way. Using 2x Ultimate Rewards on Vanilla Reloads from gas stations it would be roughly $44/pp roundtrip! While I definitely see the appeal in saving points for bigger trips, I would rather have the money in my pocket to eventually spend while on those huge fancy trips! I definitely see more Southwest award reservations in my future.