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It’s not often that an airline has policies that are beneficial to passengers and helps them save money.  When it comes to cancellation policies, this unfortunate rule is generally even more true.  If you don’t have status, change fees are nearly always a minimum of $100.  Southwest Airlines is the one exception to this rule, and a big reason that the Rapid Rewards programs is one of my favorites.  You can change or cancel flights at ANY time for no charge other than the change in ticket price.  I was recently able to use the Southwest cancellation policy to get a free flight.  Here is how I did it.

Keep an Eye on Southwest Sales

In mid July, I booked flights for myself and four-year old daughter to Richmond for a family reunion in August.  The total cost was 14,077 Rapid Rewards points per person.  A few weeks later the summer Southwest specials kicked into high gear.  I rechecked the flights I had booked and found that our outbound flight had dropped by 4,716 Rapid Rewards points each.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Getting Our “Free” Flight

It took about three minutes to “change” my flights to the same exact flights and I was credited a total of 9,432 Rapid Rewards miles back to my account.  The timing worked out perfectly as my wife, Lianne had a change of schedule at work so she could now join us on the trip.  After banking the refunded Rapid Rewards points, I was able to turn around and use them to pay for her round trip ticket which was on sale for 9,361 Rapid Rewards points.  By booking with Rapid Rewards points and using the flexible Southwest cancellation policy, I was able to get a “free” flight for Lianne.  This is one of the reasons that I love Southwest and why it pays to periodically check any Southwest flights that you have booked with points.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

If you need to top up on Southwest Rapid Rewards Points check out the following links about the Southwest Business and Personal cards!


Have you had a success with the Southwest cancellation policy?  Tell us about it in the comments!

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