Southwest Moving Expiring Tickets to Flight Credits

Southwest Airlines has notified business clients and travel management companies, including the UC Travel Center (UCTC), that tickets purchased through a General Distribution System (GDS) expiring effective July 28, 2022 and beyond will be converted into a flight credit managed directly by Southwest. 


The original form of payment for the expired unused ticket will be purged from the agency’s reservation system and any expired unused ticket is considered dead or forfeited. The new credit applied to an individual Rapid Rewards account is credited directly from Southwest’s soft dollar account. 


This change is a result of Southwest’s announcement on July 28, 2022 that tickets no longer expire. Because travel management systems are programmed to require an expiration date, Southwest is moving forward with a ticket credit system. 


Because this Southwest process is a new development, our office and the travel management companies continue to receive updates from Southwest as this instance remains dynamic. Here’s what we know:

  • Tickets purchased through any travel management company reflecting a ticket expiration after July 28, 2022 will be managed as an individual credit through a Southwest booking channel.
  • We believe Southwest deposited 71 ticket credits that expired from UCTC and BCD Travel’s GDS systems between July 28, 2022 and December 5, 2022.
  • This new process is industry-wide, not specific to University of California’s travel program.
  • GDS-issued tickets will continue to have an expiration date one year from date the original ticket was issued.
  • On day 366, Southwest will move remaining funds from the expired GDS ticket to Southwest in the form of a flight credit.
  • The flight credits will appear in the traveler’s Rapid Reward account if one exists, otherwise it’s deposited into a Residual Ticket Fund (RTF) within Southwest’s reservation system.
  • A one-time email will be sent by Southwest to the email address used to book the original ticket through the agency to notify of the flight credit.
  • Southwest will only convert tickets to flight credits once the original ticket issued by the travel agency expires in the GDS (not prior).  
  • It’s been shared by other travel management companies that this flight credit process is not new or unique as other airlines have similar credit management systems in place.