Southwest LUV Vouchers are one of the things that make Southwest Airlines the greatest airline. Just this year, I’ve acquired over $2000 worth of LUV vouchers as compensation from flight delays to use on future flights! That’s a lot of free trips.
If you were impacted by Southwest’s operational meltdown during the 2022 holidays, you may have received a LUV voucher from Southwest, in addition to any refunds and reimbursements. LUV vouchers have expiration dates – but you may not feel like flying Southwest anytime soon! Keep reading to learn how to turn your LUV voucher into a travel credit that won’t expire.
If you didn’t receive a LUV voucher after your delayed or cancelled flight, read our article on how to request delayed flight compensation.
LUV Voucher Basics
What is a LUV Voucher?
A LUV Voucher is a form of compensation that you receive from Southwest when you have an issue with your flight, luggage delays, etc. It’s basically Southwest Airlines’ way of saying “please come back and try us again.”
LUV Vouchers are different from flight credits/travel funds. You can find out more about how these two types of compensation differ here.
Often vouchers are emailed to the email address on file for the person who booked the flights. It can be sent to an email associated with the flight confirmation number. Every once in awhile a gate agent hands them out when a flight is several hours delayed. This has only happened to us once in the past 3 years so I wouldn’t count on it.
How do I get a LUV Voucher as compensation for a delayed flight?
I’m so glad you asked! I wrote comprehensive, step by step instructions to do just this! Check it out here.
How do I find my LUV Voucher balance?
The LUV Voucher you receive via email from Southwest Airlines will include the original balance of your LUV Voucher. Make sure you save that email. The voucher is not connected to your account in any way! I usually print the vouchers off and keep them somewhere safe so they can be easily found and redeemed when needed.
If you have used part of your voucher and aren’t sure what the remaining balance is, go to southwest.com. Click on “flight” which will bring up a whole window of options, and then “check travel funds”. On that page you will see a place to select “Southwest LUV Vouchers.” You can check your balance by typing the voucher number and security code.
When does my LUV Voucher expire?
A LUV Voucher expires one year after being issued. You cannot call to extend the expiration date. Your flight must be booked AND flown by the date included on the voucher.
What can I use a LUV Voucher for?
Southwest LUV Vouchers can be used to book any fare, but they cannot officially be used to pay for the taxes or fees. For instance, if I have $100 LUV voucher and want to use it for a flight with a total of $99, I will only be able to use it for the flight itself ($79) and not the taxes and fees ($20). The taxes and fees will need to be paid with a separate payment option, like a credit card.
Keep reading to the end to learn how to get around this.
Can I transfer my LUV Voucher?
One huge perk of a LUV Voucher is that it can be used to book a flight for ANYONE. Your LUV Voucher is issued with a name on the voucher, but it is not tied to that person. So the name might be “Joe Lovetofly,” but Joe can give it to his grandma and she can use it to book on the Southwest website as well. Or Joe can use it to book a flight for one of his children.
How do I book with my LUV Voucher?
It’s very easy to book with your voucher. Go through the steps to purchase a flight just like normal. Once you get to the payment page find the pull down menu that looks like this:
Then you will click on the Southwest LUV Voucher tab and type in both the voucher number and the security code from your voucher email.
Southwest only allows three forms of payment can be used in each transaction. Vouchers cannot be used to pay taxes or fees so you will be able to use up to two vouchers and then pay the remaining balance (including taxes and fees) with a credit or debit card.
Southwest LUV Vouchers 201: Beyond the Basics
Do you understand all of the Southwest LUV Voucher basics and want to take your knowledge to the next level? Here are two “beyond basics” tips and tricks for you.
Create a transferable credit that will never expire from your LUV Voucher
Recently Southwest Airlines announced that travel credits have no expiration date. Game changer! If you are not able to use your LUV Voucher by the expiration date you can easily turn it into travel credits or travel funds. These terms are used interchangeably on the Southwest Airlines website but mean the same thing.
You can easily turn a voucher into travel funds by booking a Wanna Get Away Plus fare (not the regular Wanna Get Away fares since they aren’t transferable) around the same price as the LUV Voucher and then canceling the flight.
For instance, using the pricing example above, this is how you could do it with a a $100 LUV voucher from a delayed flight.
- Find a one way Wanna Get Away Plus fare for $149 and proceed to booking it.
- Note the costs: $125 of it is the flight cost itself (so a voucher can be used to pay for it) and the $23.98 is for taxes and fees.
- When paying for the flight, I will use $100 LUV Voucher, and then use a credit card to pay for the $23.95 taxes and fees and the $25 of the flight cost that my LUV voucher doesn’t cover.
- Once I book it, I just immediately go back into my account to find the flight and cancel it.
- Be sure to go select “Refund to method of payment.” Now additional payment amounts are refunded back to my credit card. Since it is within 24 hours, all credit card portions can be refunded this way.
This final step creates travel funds associated with the confirmation number of the newly canceled flight. These funds will never expire and can be transferred to anyone else. I always write the confirmation number and the amount somewhere safe so that I can find it again.
If it is a travel credit for the person whose name is on the Southwest account it was booked and canceled from, the credit will automatically save in the account. If it’s in a different name, you’ll want to keep track of that information somewhere.
Your new flight credits will look like this in your account:
If you want to use these travel funds for a different person, you will need to transfer them to that person’s name FIRST and then book their ticket.
Use a Southwest LUV Voucher to pay for taxes and fees
Another trick with LUV Vouchers is that you can turn them into credits so they can be used to pay for taxes and fees too.
You won’t be able to use a LUV voucher to cover taxes and fees unless you do this first.
When you are flying internationally (to Mexico or Costa Rica for example), the taxes on the flights are a lot more than $5.60 each way! These can be closer to $70-$100 and it’s nice to be able to use vouchers to pay for those.
To do this, follow the same steps as above under “Create a transferable credit that will never expire.”
- Look for a Wanna Get Away Plus fare around the same price as your voucher amount.
- Book the flight, then cancel it.
- Now you’ve got travel funds instead of a LUV voucher.
- Since travel funds can be used to pay for your taxes and fees, you can use your travel fund number to pay for your taxes on a future reservation.
49 thoughts on “Southwest LUV Vouchers: A Complete Guide”
Quick question. I have about $1800 worth of LUV Vouchers. I want to use them for a trip for myself and two friends. They expire in March. If I use them for the 3 of us and then I have to cancel the trip due to Covid or something else do the vouchers go back to me or are they now in the name of the person I booked the flight for?
Thanks in advance for your response.
You will have 3 travel funds in the names of the 3 pax if you cancel, which will never expire. You can use the trick mentioned in 2.1 above to then transfer the travel funds back into your name or anyone else before using them.
Thank you for this. I am very annoyed with southwest as I have about $2,000 in LUV vouchers as well. They were going to expire, but I was advised that once they expire you have 6 months to request an extension of them. You will be issued new voucher numbers and will have an additional 6 months to use them. I’ve done this and it does work; however, they get reissued in increments of $100 each. So I have 20 $100 voucher emails. No problem until I’m trying to book a $900 flight and it will only let me apply 2 vouchers. This is awful and I cannot take my trip now. If they were reissued in the amount I originally got them in this wouldn’t be an issue. I’m so upset.
If your voucher has not expired yet, then book a couple of $1000 tickets and then cancel them. You will get travel funds in that amount that will not expire.
If you already have the 20 $100 vouchers, then you can recombine them by booking and canceling increasingly pricier tickets, until you are able to book the flight you need.
I am so happy to have found your post explaining how to do this! I had $200 in LUV vouchers that expire in a couple of weeks. I would have probably just let it go and lost that money, but we decided this week to go on a trip in March. I thought about how I wished I could use those vouchers for that future trip, and a google search brought me here with the explanation of how to do it. Thank you so much!
Oh my goodness do you think they have caught on?
This is what it says when I try to apply it now that I Went through all the steps
Flight Credit XXXXXX
Fund expires before travel is completed.
Well now I tried and it seemed to work. Maybe I moved too quickly to book my new flight. Thank you for this awesome post to help!!! You can delete my original post. Sorry!
Will you confirm this worked for you? I’m about to book flights that fly before my LUV voucher expires and then cancel and then book another flight for after they would’ve expired. My worst fear is that I’ll get into it and it won’t work!
I have 2 $100 LUV vouchers which expire on 3/01/2023. I have already booked my flights, can I use the vouchers after booking?
I know this is too late (sorry I missed your comment) but will answer for anyone else with the same question. You could rebook with your vouchers but you will incur any additional increase in price. You would have to cancel and rebook.
This totally worked for me! Thanks for posting this!
If I have $120 in non transferable credit then can I buy a transferable flight ( wanna get away plus) then cancel will my credit be transferable at that time?
Katie, I tried what you suggested but I don’t think it worked. I had a $200 LUV voucher from Southwest. I tried converting it to flight credit by purchasing a “wanna get away plus” flight for $274. It indicated that $135 was for the ticket and $139 was for taxes and fees. I then canceled that ticket and the fees were indeed refunded to my MasterCard. And I was left with a $135 travel credit. But when I went to book the travel that I really wanted, I only got credit for that $135, NOT the full $200 value of the voucher! Did I do something wrong?
The remainder should be left on your original voucher.
It sounds like you never used the full $200 voucher since your ticket cost was only $135. So if you find another ticket that is $65+ you should be able to use the LUV voucher for that (same process) and convert that to travel fund as well.
Katie, this worked for me. Really appreciate the post. My older parents had a LUV voucher that was going to expire for almost $600. They couldn’t use it before the expiration and it could not be extended when they called Southwest. I found this and was able to do everything online for them. They are ecstatic that they don’t lose their credit and now have the flexibility to book on their own timeline. Thank you so much!
I’m so glad it was helpful to them!
We had a similar situation as your parents. We had a flight credit (due to wedding plans canceling because of covid) for almost $500 that expired June 21, 2022, a month before SW changed their policy to make credits non expired. After many emails back and forth, SW wouldn’t extend our credit but gave us a LUV voucher in Sept. 2022 which expired Mar. 21, 2023. It was so difficult to use the voucher over the holidays, we stayed home and figured we were going to lose the funds. I tripped on Katie’s Travel Tricks this week and decided I didn’t have anything to lose so I booked a flight and then canceled. I booked an “anytime” flight to make sure out of pocket was refunded. It worked and now my LUV voucher has been turned into a non expiring flight credit and it also says it’s transferable to anyone who is a Rapid Rewards member. THANKS KATIE!!!
So glad this helped you out!
I have $600 in LUV vouchers to use by 2/4/23. Can I book a one way Business Select flight instead and cancel to revert to Travel credit? It’s easier finding a BS flight that cost $600 than a Wanna Get Away plus flight.
Yes, that’s fine! You can book anything that is $600.
Thank you so much for the tip! I was just able to follow your steps and save my vouchers until it’s convenient for me to use them.
Thank you! Worked for me today and now I have a future credit rather than an expiring LUV voucher!
Can I book an ANYTIME ticket with my LUV vouchers and refund it right away for cash/credit card?
If no, per your 2.1 trick, do I need to wait for after 24 hours to cancel? Asking because per Southwest site. It doesn’t specifically say what happens if you cancel within 24 hours.
“Southwest® gift card or Southwest LUV Vouchers®: If the reservation is canceled within 24 hours of booking, please contact us. If the reservation is canceled after 24 hours, the Southwest gift card or Southwest LUV Voucher will be refunded as a flight credit.”
It will work if you cancel right away. I think technically, if you cancel within 24 hours you could call to get them to refund to the original payment account. But you also have the option if you do it online to just get a flight credit, which is what you want!
Confirmed this worked today on 3/6/23! I was nervous about whether I’d be able to cancel online or if they had caught on, since their flight cancellation policy states “Southwest® gift card or Southwest LUV Vouchers®: If the reservation is canceled within 24 hours of booking, please contact us.”
However, the online cancellation worked immediately with no issue! Love this.
I was able to use the trick to turn my LUV vouchers into flight credits. However, I transferred my kids credits to me, without thinking that they’re now not eligible to use the flight credits, since they’re now attached to my name. Is there a way to fix this since they can’t be transferred again?
Shoot! I don’t know a workaround right now. You did the process of transferring the flight credit from a wanna getaway plus fare?
Thanks so much for this amazing tip! I had been wondering for a while in my head if something like this could work but wasn’t up to arguing on phone again with SW if it didn’t. Your step-by-step directions gave me the confidence to try it and SCORE–easily & quickly converted my family’s old vouchers to funds for me to use at a later date which are even are transferable!
You’re so welcome! So glad it could help!
Does it have to be booked only under Wanna Get Away Plus for this to work or can you book it on Anytime Fare? I believe that ANYTIME FARES are fully refundable.
We have two LUV vouchers $563.00 each, and it is hard to find any one way flights that cost over $500.00.
Yes, any fare will work, even anytime fares!
Just to confirm. Using your example above, if you book a Wanna Get Away Plus flight and cancel within 24 hours, you will get the taxes and additional fare amount refunded to your credit card and the LUV voucher in flight credits? I was reading somewhere that the refund only works when purchasing an Anytime or Business flight. Can you confirm?
Thanks so much!
Correct. Taxes always go back to your credit card. If it is within 24 hours, the additional fare will go back to your credit card to comply with the regulations where you can cancel within 24 hours for a full refund.
I have 3 of 100 vouchers. I wanted to get flights for May but i just realized they expire this month! My plan was to find a flight before the vouchers expire and then cancel. But im not sure if im making the right decision. Honestly im new to this and i have no idea what i can do about it.
Thank you so much for this tip. I was able to convert five different LUV vouchers totaling $850 to the travel credits.
I encountered an issue with this. My boyfriend, son and I each received $250 in Luv Vouchers (a $100 and a $150 voucher per person).
I wanted to turn these into flight credits so I booked a one way Anytime fare which took every dollar of the Luv Vouchers ($750 total). I paid $299 in taxes. I bought them and immediately cancelled.
However…when I was issued flight credits, my son received $300 in flight credits, I received $200 in flight credits, and my boyfriend received $250. Why weren’t the flight credits issued/split evenly among the 3 of us?
If I want to transfer credits, I have to do all or none which is not ideal. Now, if we find a future flight for $250, I will have to pay the difference in cash while the others can use all the credits.
My LUV voucher doesn’t have a security code, is this normal? i cant book a flight without it. should I contact them?
My vouchers say Confirmation# and that appears to be the security code.
I have Southwest Luv Vouchers that expire in 9 days, and my question is, assuming that Southwest is willing to renew/extend those for another 6 months, would I still, before those 6 months have passed, be able to use that “workaround” on the Southwest Website in order to change those vouchers into the no expiration date flight credits? Thx
Yes, you can change those LUV vouchers to flight credits at any time. And then they will have no expiration date.
I’ve a question, but I think I’m going to have to try it first.
1) If I cancel a reservation for several passengers, do the travel credits go into their different accounts? 1a) What if they don’t have an account?
2) When I rebook the reservation for everyone, does it look in my account for the credits, or in the different passengers’ accounts for them?
I did it. The flight credits on the “dummy” reservation were split evenly to the respective travelers and the $$ went back to the card. The cancel button is right on the confirmation page (although I waited to verify I had the email).
Since the credits are keyed to the reservation confirmation, even though they can show up in the RR account, you still need each cancelled or changed reservation # to claim them for that person.
I was trying to get it to pay a small amount to attempt to attach certain credit card benefits, but the sneaky airline lowered the prices while I was thinking and I got some more non-transferable credits instead. It will otherwise attempt to use all the credits from one reservation confirmation to buy a person’s ticket, so there is some benefit to having the credits in multiple reservations (or the name of the person expected to travel next).
On the first new reservation I had to add the reservation confirmation twice. The 2nd time, one add showed to both travelers, but there was an option to delete one or the other credit confirmation #.
I’m not sure what started this, but searching on their website got to the community where I found very good info. However, this article is by far the best.
Thank you so much for this tip! We received some Southwest LUV vouchers ($1400!) and our plans to use them fell through. We thought about giving them to some friends and family but no one needed them. I then thought along the line of buying ticket(s) then keep changing the flights until we actually needed them. I did some research and found your website and tips. We can’t thank you enough!
Desperately looking for help on this matter. I purchased 2 ‘wanna get away tickets” from SW for 2 different people and paid for them with my credit card. I canceled the tickets (they could not make the trip) and now the credits are in their names. I called and couldn’t get a refund to my credit card. The credits are still in their names (approx $200 each) and I have the information at hand. How can I get them back to my account/possession so I can use the credits to travel with?
You can use those credits to book a ticket in their name but make sure you book a Wanna Getaway PLUS fare this time. Then when you cancel that, you can change it to anyone else’s name to use.
Hi Katie – would you possibly have time to answer the inquiry that I posted on May 2nd? Bob