Southwest Drink Coupons WIll Now Expire

Wandering Aramean reports that Southwest is going to start enforcing the expiration dates on their drink chits.

This may seem minor to some (most?) but I have to say, I have a stash of these old drink coupon books and despite having expiration dates on the coupons it’s always been nice that Southwest would take them. I could give them away to colleagues stuck on a Southwest flight, or offer up a bunch to buy a round for the plane.

It was just so very Southwest that these coupons would always be taken, no questions asked. But no longer.

Southwest has had a VERY lenient policy regarding drink coupons over the years. Most notably was that, although there was an expiration date printed on the coupons, they were always accepted. As of Sunday, August 1, 2010 that will no longer be the case. Starting in the new month no chits will be accepted past their printed expiry date. Additionally, chits that do not have an expiry date printed on them will inherit such a date: August 31, 2011. Finally, the drink coupons that customers receive for buying Business Select fares – the most expensive fares Southwest offers – will now only be valid on the day of travel; they cannot be saved for future use.

There are also some changes expected with the next round of drink chits that get issued. Most notably they have the customer’s name and Rapid Rewards member number printed on them. No word yet from the company on why they will be personalized but it will certainly limit the 3rd party market value of the chits. Selling a drink chit on eBay is much less likely to happen if it has a name and member number on it.

I guess I could head out to Dulles this weekend and start handing out my soon-to-be-worthless stash at a Southwest boarding gate..

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You’d be the hero of the flight if you handed them out! Maybe staple them to a flyer promoting one of your website ventures, on the sly of course 🙂

  2. Another “seemingly small” devaluation at Southwest. There is also the recent change regarding transferrability of ticketless travel funds to another passenger. And, finally, recent controversy that WN is trying at least in its contract of carriage to avoid liability for mechanical or maintenance related delays.

    Southwest has enjoyed its success because its been a maverick, shunning the “bigt six,” tendency to nickel and dime customers and otherwise annoy their clients. The carrier should be very cautious of these apparent short term revenue moves which in small ways begin to replicate the hated business practices of the rest of the industry.

    Airlines need to work on differentiation, not just a race to the bottom.

  3. Who cares its 5 bucks other airlines charge 7 bucks. If people keep pushing it over a stupid coupon then SWA should charge for bags you know the $50 fee! Get over the coupon….I a rapid reward member and they have emailed sent letters about this for over a year and a half!

    Maybe you shouldn’t travel if you can’t afford a 5 dollar drink and/or go to AA!

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