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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 Nov 16, 18, 10:20 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: All of them, UA-Plat, 1MM*G
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Originally Posted by w3bCraw1er View Post
Thanks. So I tried just few minutes back and I See that I was able to click on the link to re-use my credit. Very interesting thing is, I went all the way to pick new flights and I was able to book a new round trip ticket without any fees!! Shocking! Thanks for the help guys!! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!
It would be odd for UA not to charge a change fee. By any chance did you cancel your original flight within 24 hours of its booking. If that is the case then yes, you get to reuse the full amount of the original ticket without any fees.
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Old Nov 16, 18, 10:32 am
  #62  
 
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No. Booking was from 9/11
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Old Nov 16, 18, 10:34 am
  #63  
 
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SFO currently has a Travel Waiver, due to the Wildfires, for flights up to November 23rd. Maybe the new ticket meets the conditions for the waiver to avoid change fees.

https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/tra...elnotices.aspx
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Old Nov 16, 18, 10:43 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
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You are absolutely right about that. There was waiver until 16th and now they have increased to 23rd.

It is just luck I guess.
jsloan, drewguy, ajGoes and 1 others like this.
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Old Nov 16, 18, 11:45 am
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by w3bCraw1er View Post
You are absolutely right about that. There was waiver until 16th and now they have increased to 23rd.

It is just luck I guess.

So you're a real-life example of why advice on FT almost always is to hold off cancelling a ticket until the last minute in case there's a weather cancellation or schedule change you can use to get all your money back!
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Old Nov 19, 18, 9:09 pm
  #66  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 87
I was just on the app (about an hour ago) and cancelled a flight from LAX to EWR leaving around midnight. On the app, it stated that I would receive a credit via an e-mail (for future flight) for the full purchase price (no change fee/ no deduction) so I accepted. I haven't received the e-mail and when I go to the cancelled reservations, it is asking for a $200 change fee. Should I be expecting the e-mail a little later? Is it normal for it to be issued more than an hour after a cancellation?
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Old Nov 19, 18, 9:24 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by hoangtri1 View Post
I was just on the app (about an hour ago) and cancelled a flight from LAX to EWR leaving around midnight. ...
When did you book?
Was it a non-refundable fare?

LAX is under a travel waiver, so there are no change fees
Travel Waiver California Wildfires 9-23 November 2018
The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before December 2, 2018, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.
The app is not always good about applying waivers, but calling should not be an issue,
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Old Nov 19, 18, 9:49 pm
  #68  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Ticketed to fly SFO-ORD-SFO this weekend, and I no longer need the return leg, ORD-SFO. (I am flying ORD-BOS for work instead.)

I'm versed on waiting until the last minute to make any changes as their may be a travel waiver. However, supposing there isn't, am I correct in thinking that I can get $44 back on a $244 fare?

It's a W fare, and United.com shows the PQD earnings as $244.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 10:23 pm
  #69  
 
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Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
Ticketed to fly SFO-ORD-SFO this weekend, and I no longer need the return leg, ORD-SFO. (I am flying ORD-BOS for work instead.)

I'm versed on waiting until the last minute to make any changes as their may be a travel waiver. However, supposing there isn't, am I correct in thinking that I can get $44 back on a $244 fare?

It's a W fare, and United.com shows the PQD earnings as $244.
Well, SFO is currently under a travel waiver through Nov 23 (assuming you're flying SFO-ORD on or before Friday), but it's the type of waiver where you have to still fly the itinerary (ORD-SFO) before Dec 2. You could try a phone agent, though, maybe they'd let you keep it as a travel credit w/ no change fee. Or wait to see if flight is delayed/cancelled and ask for a cash refund.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 10:49 pm
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
Well, SFO is currently under a travel waiver through Nov 23 (assuming you're flying SFO-ORD on or before Friday), but it's the type of waiver where you have to still fly the itinerary (ORD-SFO) before Dec 2. You could try a phone agent, though, maybe they'd let you keep it as a travel credit w/ no change fee. Or wait to see if flight is delayed/cancelled and ask for a cash refund.
Interesting - well, this probably complicates things, but it's me and a companion on the same PNR. Flying SFO-ORD on Wednesday, 11/21, returning ORD-SFO on 11/24. I am now flying to BOS from ORD on 11/25, on a separate PNR, so I don't need my original return to SFO. Because I'll be in Chicago for an extra night due to work travel, my companion would like to stay an extra night as well. Due to the SFO travel waiver, which says it's good on flights with Original travel date(s): November 9, 2018 - November 23, 2018​, can I change my companion's return w/out fees, from 11/24 to 11/25?

Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
Interesting - well, this probably complicates things, but it's me and a companion on the same PNR. Flying SFO-ORD on Wednesday, 11/21, returning ORD-SFO on 11/24. I am now flying to BOS from ORD on 11/25, on a separate PNR, so I don't need my original return to SFO. Because I'll be in Chicago for an extra night due to work travel, my companion would like to stay an extra night as well. Due to the SFO travel waiver, which says it's good on flights with Original travel date(s): November 9, 2018 - November 23, 2018​, can I change my companion's return w/out fees, from 11/24 to 11/25?
And let's further complicate it - My ORD-BOS flight leaves at 2:00 PM on Sunday, 11/25. UA just changed our flights to the ORD-SFO flight that also leaves at 2:00 PM. I am still planning on changing / cancelling my return, however is there a point in time where UA will see that I have two flights booked to two different destinations at 2:00 PM on the same day? And if UA sees that, what will happen to my reservation? I'm assuming that I should cancel my ORD-SFO return before checking into my ORD-BOS outbound?

Last question - my companion and I are now both booked into B fares on the return, ORD-SFO. I had GPU's waitlisted when we were originally on a W fare the day prior. Because of the 1K Y/B/M upgrade perk, it would behoove me to take both GPU's back, correct?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 20, 18 at 12:46 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Nov 19, 18, 11:32 pm
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
Interesting - well, this probably complicates things, but it's me and a companion on the same PNR. Flying SFO-ORD on Wednesday, 11/21, returning ORD-SFO on 11/24. I am now flying to BOS from ORD on 11/25, on a separate PNR, so I don't need my original return to SFO. Because I'll be in Chicago for an extra night due to work travel, my companion would like to stay an extra night as well. Due to the SFO travel waiver, which says it's good on flights with Original travel date(s): November 9, 2018 - November 23, 2018​, can I change my companion's return w/out fees, from 11/24 to 11/25?
I'm not 100% sure. I have changed by return flight that was outside the waiver window in the same phone call at the same time I was changing the outbound, but I'm not sure if that's policy or just a nice agent. My outbound was on the same day, just changed routing to avoid the waiver city, and they let me change my return to 3 days earlier.

I would try online, and then I would try calling and HUCA once or twice. If there is another SFO-ORD flight on 11/21 you would prefer to your current one, and it has two seats, you could try changing outbound and return as one change to see if the agent likes that better. I know that day does not exactly have the lightest loads and you may have schedule constraints, so maybe not possible.

Additionally, the fire waiver for SFO has already been extended twice, so if you wait a few days they might extend it again and the 11/24 flight might be inside the waiver window.

I recommend you split the PNR before making a change to your companion's reservation if possible. If you move your ticket with their ticket, you would have have two incompatible itineraries (11/25 ORD-BOS and ORD-SFO) which UA might catch in a sweep and cancel one of them. It does mean you'd be traveling on the outbound on different PNRs, though.
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Old Nov 20, 18, 8:11 am
  #72  
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Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
And let's further complicate it - My ORD-BOS flight leaves at 2:00 PM on Sunday, 11/25. UA just changed our flights to the ORD-SFO flight that also leaves at 2:00 PM. I am still planning on changing / cancelling my return, however is there a point in time where UA will see that I have two flights booked to two different destinations at 2:00 PM on the same day? And if UA sees that, what will happen to my reservation? I'm assuming that I should cancel my ORD-SFO return before checking into my ORD-BOS outbound?
UA may definitely see that you have two flights to two different destinations at the same time. If you’re lucky, they’ll call you before they decide which one to cancel. If you’re not, they won’t. It’s possible that they’ll miss it, of course, but they have software that specifically looks for this.

Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
Last question - my companion and I are now both booked into B fares on the return, ORD-SFO. I had GPU's waitlisted when we were originally on a W fare the day prior. Because of the 1K Y/B/M upgrade perk, it would behoove me to take both GPU's back, correct?
Unless your companion also has status, you’d basically be depending upon using your status for a flight you didn’t intend to take to get an upgrade for someone else. Not sure how full your personal karma bank is. Prior to the gate, it’s definitely true that the Y/B/M instant upgrade would have higher priority than the GPU. That said — unless you see PN space now, I’m not sure how likely it is to appear on ORD-SFO. You’d still be behind GS members, and, well, they sell a lot of F inventory on that route.

Also, whenever you decide to cancel your ORD-SFO flight, your companion would lose your status for the purposes of the upgrade.
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Old Nov 20, 18, 9:48 am
  #73  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

UA may definitely see that you have two flights to two different destinations at the same time. If you’re lucky, they’ll call you before they decide which one to cancel. If you’re not, they won’t. It’s possible that they’ll miss it, of course, but they have software that specifically looks for this.
They definitely saw it...I woke up to an email from TripActions, my work travel agency. TripActions was notifying me that United had made them aware of a duplicate booking with flights that contradict each other.

I called UA this morning and advised them that I needed to change / cancel my ORD-SFO return flight. The 1K rep advised me that there would be a $200 change fee (that he was going to waive), and that there was an add-collect for repricing my outbound as a one-way, now that the return was going to be canceled. I took exception to this as United would not be able to reprice my one-way after the fact (as they wouldn't have known it was a one-way unless I called them.) So I asked the agent to just leave my flights alone for the time being, and that I'd call back tomorrow night, after flying SFO-ORD, in order to cancel my ORD-SFO return. In the meantime, my companion has been split to a separate PNR altogether.
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Old Nov 20, 18, 9:57 am
  #74  
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Originally Posted by LRMErnst View Post
I took exception to this as United would not be able to reprice my one-way after the fact (as they wouldn't have known it was a one-way unless I called them.)
Of course they can, if you’d like to be able to use the residual credit for anything that won’t combine with an SFO-ORD outbound.

Now, if the agent was asking you to buy up to the current lowest one-way fare on the flight, then I agree — they won’t do that after the fact. But if there’s no one-way fare filed for your class of service, I’m not entirely sure what they would do.

If the add/collect was less than $200, I would have taken that in an instant, as there’s no guarantee the next agent would waive the change fee. If it was more, I’d probably have done what you did.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 3:12 pm
  #75  
 
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Flight Credit Also Covers E+ Seats?

I have a credit from a previously cancelled flight I'd like to use to book an itinerary in economy, but I'd like to book exit row seats (E+...and since I no longer have status on UA those will cost me extra). The value of the flight credit is ~$900, the new itinerary is ~$650 and the exit row seats are ~$150 total across both flights, so there's enough value to cover it.

When I go to change flights from the cancelled reservation online, the interface only lets me select seats after confirming the itinerary change and using $650 of the existing flight credit (plus the $200 change fee). I'm worried that if I were to follow through, rebook on the new itinerary, and then go to select seats I'd have to pay the $150 for exit row seats out of pocket and I'd be left with $250 of the remaining flight credit. Is there a way to book the whole thing (E+ seat cost included) using the flight credit?
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