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2019-08-13 22:28:54

Melissa Yeager Arizona Republic

Published 2:00 PM EDT Aug 13, 2019

Nearly every time I write a story about a Southwest Airlines fare sale, a disappointed reader posts on social media that they missed out because they bought a ticket before the sale started.

That breaks my heart because they're missing a big opportunity to save some money with the much LUV'd Dallas-based airline.

Southwest Airlines has a generous change policy that allows you to cancel and rebook flights without paying a change fee. Which means that if you spot a lower fare, you can redo your ticket, reports The Arizona Republic, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

The moment you spot a sale, that's your cue to double-check whether the fare on your route has dropped.

If it has, you can get the difference back in money or points for future flights. 

Southwest Airlines user's guide: 12 tips for flying the popular, polarizing carrier

For example, I had already booked a flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas for August when Southwest ran its three-day fare sale in June. I had selected a flight time I wasn't thrilled about because it was less expensive.

When the fare sale hit, the price on my preferred flight was lower than the one I settled for. I canceled, rebooked and got a better flight plus 800 Rapid Rewards points refunded to my account. Thanks, Southwest! 

You don't even have to change your flights to do this. You can simply rebook the same flight.

It's a pretty straightforward process. Here's how to do it.

1. Log into your reservation

If you're a Rapid Rewards member, just log into your account and all of your reservations should appear there. Select the flight you want to change/cancel.

If you are not a Rapid Rewards member, find your confirmation code. Then select the  change/cancel tab at southwest.com. Enter your confirmation code and your first and last names to bring up your reservation. 

2. Select your flight

Once you bring up your reservation, you'll be asked which flight you want to change. Select the flights you want to reprice.

That will take you to a screen asking you to search flights. The screen should be pre-filled with your flight date. Double check that it's correct and then hit enter.

The next screen will show all the flights scheduled that day.

If the fare for your flight has decreased, you'll see a negative amount of points or dollars listed next to it. 

Click on the flight you want to take. Repeat this process for any additional flights you plan to reprice. 

3. Get your refund

If you paid with points, the difference goes into your Rapids Rewards account.

If you paid with dollars, your refund will depend on whether your fare is refundable or nonrefundable.

Refundable (Business or Anytime) fares: The difference will be refunded to your credit card.Nonrefundable (Wanna Get Away) fares: Your refund will be credited to your original Southwest confirmation code as travel funds. You have a year to use your travel funds, so save your confirmation code.4. Using your travel funds

Here's the only spot where things could get tricky: remembering to use your travel funds. They're good for one year. Set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar so they don't expire.

When you get to the Payment Method page for your next flight, look for the link that says Southwest gift card, Travel Funds or Southwest LUV voucher. Click on the arrow to expand that field. 

Click on Travel Funds and fill out the information, including the confirmation code from your original flight. Then click on apply funds. The amount will be applied to your new ticket. Continue through the booking process to complete your purchase.

You can connect with consumer travel reporter Melissa Yeager at melissa.yeager@azcentral.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram. 

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