Blackout Dates Suck

I just booked a roundtrip flight through Southwest from SLC to BWI and was expecting to be able to use my recent “award,” aka free ticket.

This is an overly-whiny post, and I debated on even not writing it, but I decided to write it to remind me to NOT COUNT ON awards to save some money.

What I thought would have been NO COST turned out to be $600.  Ugh.

The first frustration was when I was trying to book – on the checkout page there is no place to apply any awards, even if you are logged in.  Extremely frustrating, as I would expect one of the payment options to be “use award.”

The second frustration was when I called the SWA 800 number to get someone to help me.  Usually I wait for all of 60 seconds, but this time I had to wait “20 – 40 minutes.” I got cut off twice during the automated “dial this for that or that for this” message… extremely frustrating, and not what I typically expect from southwest.

Finally I opted to just have them call me, which took about 40 minutes.  The person on the other end walked me through the process of using an award (you have to find flights a completely different way… not the normal way, so I basically had to start over).

She offered to do it for me, and I took her up on the offer… until she had to break the news to me that I wanted to fly in and out on blackout dates… which meant I really can’t use my tickets for this trip. I need to be in Baltimore/Boston on the dates below… if I used my tickets I’d be gone almost 2 full weeks (I could fly out on the 9th and fly home on the 22nd), which means time away from family (not going to do that), and hotel expenses.

Free just became a $600 spend.  Thanks a lot southwest.  I really hate blackout dates.  And now I feel my award is useless.

Sure, I’ll use it, but I was hoping to save the money from this trip.  Ugh.

Lesson?  Don’t count on using your awards/mileage when you want it.

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