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How to get residual/"future flight credit" from non-refundable flight

How to get residual/"future flight credit" from non-refundable flight

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Old May 3, 21, 6:40 am   -   Wikipost
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FFC == "Future Flight Credit"

When re-booking 3-March 2020 purchased tickets, if the new ticket is cheaper you will receive an ETC (good for 24 months); starting April 2021, this is now a new form of FFC
However for tickets purchased 3 March or later, the fare rules now state there is no "residual value" meaning no ETC for the fare drop and if you have to rebook again the credit is just the value of the new ticket.
If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee but no residual value will be given.
For pre-1 April 2020 purchased, FFCs will be good for 24 months from the original purchase date
  • New tickets must be reissued within 24 months from original ticket date
  • Rebooked travel must commence within 24 months from the original ticket issue date
And there are no change fees
Change Fees Are Gone For Good

For purchases starting 1-April, the lifetime of FFCs are returning to the traditional 12 months from purchase

In some cases of voluntary cancellations, FFCs may be convertible to ETCs (seems pre 1 August 2020 purchase is a factor) but this can only be requested on the phone and may take days/weeks. This may be a way to avoid the problem of "no residual credit" YMMV


Update 4 April 2020
We’re extending electronic certificates
To give you more flexibility when you travel, electronic certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020.

This policy change will automatically appear, but it may not be reflected everywhere right away. We’d appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
The below needs to be updated based on the changes above

This wiki discusses the for steps in using the "future flight credit" from a canceled non-refundable ticket. Note this is for the cancellation of an entire ticket -- the process is different for a partial flown ticket

- Note some tickets are non-changeable and have no residual value if not flown:
United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ...
New UA/*A TATL -LGT Economy fare - first bag charged, no changes allowed

- Notify UA of the cancellation before the scheduled departure. An absolute must, if not done the entire value will be lost. But see note below about Travel Waivers

- Wait until you are ready to reschedule. When ready you will need to pay a change fee in new money - the fee varies and will depend on the fare rules of the original fare. Note in many cases there is no longer a change fee (BE and flights origining outside the USA may still have a fee)
  • The new ticket must be purchased within 1 years of the original ticket's purchase date (pre-April 2020 purchases receive 2 year FFC)
  • The new ticket will be good for 1 year from the exchange/re-scheduled date and travel must commence prior to the expiration of the original ticket (an exception is if the new travel is just a date change, in this case, a new ticket may not be issued and initial purchase date will still prevail)
  • The new ticket must be for the same named traveler
  • The portion of a ticket purchased with nonrefundable ticket credit will be nonrefundable regardless of the new ticket's fare rules
  • The change fee requires payments of new funds and cannot be funded from the original ticket's value
  • Any fare residual will issued as an ETC valid for one two year.

- If an ETC is issued, all of the funds in it must be used within one twos year of issuance.
  • The ETC can be used by anyone.
  • The one two-year limitation only limits purchasing, not travel - travel may be outside the 1 2-year limit.
  • There are no additional fees to use the ETC
  • The credit voucher can only be used for UA/UX operated flights (workaround - UA Electronic Travel Certificate & Codeshares/partner flights)

To get maximum ETC (or new type FFC), an option is to pay the change fee (if any) and book the cheapest possible OW fare and throw that ticket away -- how to find that cheap fare, see Cheapest possible flight (How do I redeem this flight credit?)

If the reason for the change / cancellation is due to medical issues or death of a close relative, see Consolidated "Refunds/Cancellations Due to Illness/Death" Thread [Merged] for the process to get a refund of the change / redeposit fee.

Other cases for "free" changes are:
1) if the flight is covered on the day of departure by a waiver (WX related or other reasons). Note there may be a limited time frame for the change fee waiver.
2) or by an airline's change in schedule

What if it is 1 year from the original ticket purchase date and I am not ready to buy another United ticket using my canceled ticket's funds? Buy a throwaway ticket on the cheapest fare you can find. United will issue an Electronic Travel Certificate for any unused funds. That ETC is valid for one year from issuance (see https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...policy-34.html). If you do this on the expiry date of your original ticket, you effectively extend the availability of the funds for an additional year at the cost of a throwaway ticket.

What if I purchase a refundable ticket with the credit from the non-refundable ticket, can I then cancel and get a refund? No, the funds from a non-refundable purchase remain non-refundable even if used to purchase a refundable fare.

Cannot find the canceled reservation online?
Go to Manage Reservations and look in both "Current" and "Cancelled" tabs
Find the appropriate reservation and look for "Use Future Flight Credit"

After rebooking a canceled ticket, is there a new 24-hour window for fee changes?
No, the 24-hour flexible change only applies to the original /new booking and does not extend to rebooking of canceled / changed tickets.
United’s 24-hour cancellation / flexible booking policy

What if one leg is a refundable fare and another leg is non-refundable?
For a single ticket, the most restrictive fare rule applies to the entire ticket. So a refundable segment paired with a non-refundable segment makes the entire ticket non-refundable. Same with the change fee, the segment with the highest change fee applies to the entire ticket.

Archive thread: How to get residual/"future flight credit" from non-refundable flight {Archive}

Other related threads
Changing/Canceling/Replacing a ticket costing less than the change fee?
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Old Apr 6, 18, 4:33 am
  #16  
 
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have a rt ticket paid for myself for a family friend the family friend can not go, It seems UA will only offer credit minus fees to the name of the passenger flying, and not to me (I paid for the ticket)
is there any way that you know around this..

thanks
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Old Apr 6, 18, 9:23 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by fotographer View Post
have a rt ticket paid for myself for a family friend the family friend can not go, It seems UA will only offer credit minus fees to the name of the passenger flying, and not to me (I paid for the ticket)
is there any way that you know around this..
What you are being told is correct. In essence (unless there is s special purchase agreement) the ticket belongs to the named passenger

A solution is to use the credit to purchase a cheap ticket (and pay the change fee), the residual is then issued in the form of an ETC that may be used by anyone. The ETC will be sent to the original named passenger and need to be used within 1 year.

Cheapest possible flight (How do I redeem this flight credit?)
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Old Apr 6, 18, 12:58 pm
  #18  
 
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Thank you
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Old Apr 14, 18, 11:54 am
  #19  
 
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Fare class of new itinerary much higher

Searched for my new itinerary by clicking on the "Change Flights" button on my cancelled itinerary and requesting the "lowest economy fare."

But the fare class and, consequently, the fare options "Change Flights" button returns are much higher than the actual "lowest economy fare" readily available on united.com. Specifically, "Change Flights" button returns only S-class fares, while the actual lowest available is L-class. Is this a known bug? (Searching this excellent thread provided no answer.)

Also, is the 24-hour courtesy cancellation window granted on any flights i end up booking via the "Change Flights" button?
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Old Apr 14, 18, 12:18 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by medellinfein View Post
Searched for my new itinerary by clicking on the "Change Flights" button on my cancelled itinerary and requesting the "lowest economy fare."

But the fare class and, consequently, the fare options "Change Flights" button returns are much higher than the actual "lowest economy fare" readily available on united.com. Specifically, "Change Flights" button returns only S-class fares, while the actual lowest available is L-class. Is this a known bug? (Searching this excellent thread provided no answer.)

Also, is the 24-hour courtesy cancellation window granted on any flights i end up booking via the "Change Flights" button?
When you say the "actual lowest available," you mean, if you were to book that same itinerary as a new ticket? If that's the case, just call UA -- the online change flights tool has some serious issues.

There is no 24-hour grace period on changes.
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Old Apr 14, 18, 8:49 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
When you say the "actual lowest available," you mean, if you were to book that same itinerary as a new ticket?
That is precisely what i was clumsily attempting to say

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If that's the case, just call UA
Will do, thanks.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
There is no 24-hour grace period on changes.
Added to wiki!
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Old May 22, 18, 12:56 am
  #22  
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I made a super stupid mistake - I got confused and thought the first screen in the ticket cancellation process was the only step. I didn't scroll down far enough to click confirm. Non-refundable ticket, of course.

So now I'm stuck with a $2500 credit! That's a lot of money! (This was originally for a work trip that got changed and now I don't think I can expense what is essentially my mistake.)

Let's say I purchased this ticket on 5/19/2018.

Some questions:
  1. Could I spread this credit with the rest of my family (wife and kids)? Or is it locked to my name only?
  2. Assuming it's locked to my name, let's say I do book a trip, and it includes wife and kids. How do I apply this credit to just myself?
  3. Am I correct i understanding that I need to use the value up in bookings by 5/19/2019?
  4. Could I do something like book a 5/1/2020 trip on 5/18/2019, then cancel again, extending this to 5/18/2020? Or is there a "you can only cancel once"? kind of rule?

Last edited by dtc; May 22, 18 at 1:03 am
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Old May 22, 18, 9:59 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by dtc View Post
Could I spread this credit with the rest of my family (wife and kids)? Or is it locked to my name only?
The initial credit is in your name but on first use, any unused portion goes to an ETC which can be used by others. Note the change fee is just paid on first use (and needs to be "new" money). There is no fee to use the left over value in ETC
Note the ETC is dated based on the re-booking date not the original purchase date.
Originally Posted by dtc View Post
Am I correct i understanding that I need to use the value up in bookings by 5/19/2019?
The bookings need to be made by that date, travel can be later
Originally Posted by dtc View Post
Could I do something like book a 5/1/2020 trip on 5/18/2019, then cancel again, extending this to 5/18/2020? Or is there a "you can only cancel once"? kind of rule?
Canceling a booking made with a credit should go back to the original credit with the original date. Sometime UA will issue a new ETC but best not to count on it

Given the ETC is issued based on the date of the first rebooking and travel can be after the ETC exirationdate, you can get nearly three years

orginal puchase xx/xx/2018
last date to rebook xx/xx/2019, ETC for remaining credit expires XX/XX/2020
ETC needs to be used by xx/xx/2020 for travel by xx/xx/2021 (actually a month earlier)

The thread's wiki (top post) has a detailed step by step explanation of the process of using the credit.
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Old May 22, 18, 10:24 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by dtc View Post
I made a super stupid mistake - I got confused and thought the first screen in the ticket cancellation process was the only step. I didn't scroll down far enough to click confirm. Non-refundable ticket, of course.

So now I'm stuck with a $2500 credit! That's a lot of money! (This was originally for a work trip that got changed and now I don't think I can expense what is essentially my mistake.)

Let's say I purchased this ticket on 5/19/2018.
First of all, did you cancel your non-refundable ticket before flight time? If not, your ticket most likely does not have any value.
Some questions:
  1. Could I spread this credit with the rest of my family (wife and kids)? Or is it locked to my name only?
After paying a change fee, you need to purchase a ticket for yourself first. You will then be given a promotion code and certificate PIN number for remaining value. You can purchase tickets for anyone with provided promotion code and cert PIN number until all remaining value is used.
  1. Assuming it's locked to my name, let's say I do book a trip, and it includes wife and kids. How do I apply this credit to just myself?
    Am I correct i understanding that I need to use the value up in bookings by 5/19/2019?
    You need to purchase a ticket before 19 May 2019. Assuming you purchase a ticket on 18 May 2019, your residual value is valid one year from 18 May 2019 or 18 May 2020.
    1. Could I do something like book a 5/1/2020 trip on 5/18/2019, then cancel again, extending this to 5/18/2020? Or is there a "you can only cancel once"? kind of rule?
    Residual value cannot be extended. You can purchase a ticket and travel 330 days out.

    Please note when using Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) you can only fly on UA and United Express, code share is not allowed.

    Good luck.
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    Last edited by 1KChinito; May 22, 18 at 10:47 am
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    Old May 22, 18, 10:44 am
      #25  
     
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    Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
    Canceling a booking made with a credit should go back to the original credit with the original date. Sometime UA will issue a new ETC but best not to count on it.
    My uncle paid for two business class tickets on UA for us last year. We had to cancel. UA would not refund to his credit card after paying a change fee. We were given ETCs instead.
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    Old May 22, 18, 10:47 am
      #26  
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    Originally Posted by 1KChinito View Post
    My uncle paid for two business class tickets on UA for us last year. We had to cancel. UA would not refund to his credit card after paying a change fee. We were given ETCs instead.
    For non-refundable tickets canceled outside of the 24-hour window it will not go back to credit card. DId you change to new flights and get an ETC for the remainder or did you get ab ETC directly-- the latter is not the usual method but still kept the funds captive to UA.
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    Old May 22, 18, 11:23 am
      #27  
     
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    Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
    For non-refundable tickets canceled outside of the 24-hour window it will not go back to credit card. DId you change to new flights and get an ETC for the remainder or did you get ab ETC directly-- the latter is not the usual method but still kept the funds captive to UA.
    Our tickets were cancelled well after initial ticketing. After paying a change fee, UA allows us to use full value of our tickets. After purchasing a ticket in passenger's own name, an ETC was issued. Luckily I know the drill, so we will fully utilize our large sum of ETC credit.
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    Old May 22, 18, 11:37 am
      #28  
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    Originally Posted by 1KChinito View Post
    Our tickets were cancelled well after initial ticketing. After paying a change fee, UA allows us to use full value of our tickets. After purchasing a ticket in passenger's own name, an ETC was issued. ....
    That is the standard process for non-refundable tickets. As described in the wiki

    Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
    Canceling a booking made with a credit should go back to the original credit with the original date. Sometime UA will issue a new ETC but best not to count on it.
    This may have confused you -- note the word credit, not credit card. If you purchase a ticket with an ETC ("a credit") , and then cancel that ticket, the ETC / credit is reinstated with the original expiration date.

    Canceled tickets purchased with a UA credit / ETC are handled differently then tickets purchased with $$$ / credit cards -- hence the comment.

    Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 22, 18 at 11:43 am Reason: goung back to original comment
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    Old May 24, 18, 9:50 pm
      #29  
    dtc
     
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    Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
    The thread's wiki (top post) has a detailed step by step explanation of the process of using the credit.
    Thanks - this thread has been super helpful.

    I noticed this post from 2013:
    When, if ready, to use the credit, call and book new itin.

    Is that still the case 5 years later? Or is there a way to do handle all of this online/self serve?
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    Old May 24, 18, 10:01 pm
      #30  
    Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
     
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    Originally Posted by dtc View Post
    ....
    I noticed this post from 2013:
    When, if ready, to use the credit, call and book new itin.

    Is that still the case 5 years later? Or is there a way to do handle all of this online/self serve?
    I would recommend calling. There is no additional fees for doing this by phone.

    It is possible to do online but the online tools may not provide as many options and is known to occasionally provide ridiculous pricing.
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