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Choosing between UA Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) vs Future Flight Credit (FFC)

Choosing between UA Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) vs Future Flight Credit (FFC)

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Old Jul 13, 20, 11:16 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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More details on use of ETCs : UA Electronic Travel Certificates (ETC): General Q&A, ... now 2 year life

More details on use of FFCs : How to get residual value ("future flight credit") from non-refundable flight

In early 2020, UA changed the 1-year life of tickets and ETCs to 2 years and also change rebooked flights had to "commenced" in the original ticket's life vs the older, but unenforced "complete travel.

1) Canceled ticket credit / future flight credit (FFC) -- this is where the flight is canceled but the ticket is left open. In effect when you use this credit, it is a ticket change.
This change must be made within 1 2 years of the original purchase date. The present COVID-19 waivers state "Rebooked travel must commence within 12 24 months from the original ticket issue date". Previously there is some uncertainty if the new flight needs to be completed in the same 1-year window. In the recent past that was not true but same agents are claiming it is now required. (this may be a factor on how the ticket is changed, a simple change of date is probably limited to the original purchase 1-year window but a more significant change should be a new ticket and a new full-year window.)
The new ticket can be any itinerary that can be booked on United.com. The online re-booking / change tool is flaky and best to re-book with an agent.
The future flight credit will be listed online as a canceled flight. The new booking has to be in the same name as the previous booking but if the future booking is cheaper (and not originally booked after 2 March 2020) you will receive an ETC for the difference.
Future flight credit cannot be combined. You need to convert them to ETC if you want to combine more than one FFC for a new ticket.
Note: there is no 24-hour "flexible booking" for new tickets made with flight credit -- although all purchases today have no change fees.
As of 16 April 2020, appears FFC for cancellation 3 March and later, may be convertible to ETCs, check your ticket in Cancelled Flights (if any United payment types were used to book the ticket (an ETC, TravelBank credit, etc.) or purchased with Chase points, the ETC option may not be available)

2) Electronic Ticket Credit (ETC)-- this is where the ticket is converted is a cash value credit and you have 1 2-year from ETC issuance to book a new flight and that future new flight to be completed with-in 1-year of the new booking's date. So up to a total of two three-year window.
You will / should receive a voucher code to use in the future booking (you need to keep track of this but agents can look it up).
The ETC can be used by anyone but is limited to UA/UX operated flights ( a complicated workaround may work to book partner flights).
Fairly simple to use the ETC online and multiple ETCs can be combined if needed -- but the same ETC can not directly be used by multiple passengers on the same PNR.
Note if ETC covers the entire cost of the new flight, you can not use a credit card for the flight purchase and will not receive any of the benefits that come from using a credit card.
Appears for multi-passenger PNRs, ETCs go back to the "first traveler" and not the individual traveler (as FFC). "Note: If there are multiple travelers on a reservation, the total value will be issued in one certificate to the first traveler." Unknown what happens on split PNRs.

(Unverified thought) FFC of tickets purchased 3 March or later do not have residual value, so far as we know, that does not apply to ETCs at all, so ETCs are better than FFC if canceling new ticket purchases starting 3 March 2020 (till at least 30 April).

UA's -- What’s the difference between electronic travel certificates and future flight credit?
Electronic travel certificates are travel credit given to customers from a United employee for situations including denied boarding instances, customer goodwill, a fare difference during an exchange, and for irregular operations. Future flight credits are credit for the same value of your ticket for the original route given to the same customer(s) who has canceled their flight.

Future flight credits are valid for the same amount as the original ticket purchased and can be applied to new flights. They have a lot of flexibility in routes as they can be used for travel on any United, United Express, or partner-operated flights. Future flight credits must be used for travel within 12 months of the date your original ticket was purchased.

Electronic travel certificates also offer a lot of flexibility. You can use them to book a flight for anyone you’d like, and they can be used for travel up to 24 months from the date they’re issued. Electronic travel certificates must be used for United- or United Express-operated flights.

Note the Must rebook by 12 months for FFC is presently overridden by waivers stating
Cancellations: If the customer decides to cancel the flight they booked before March 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 24 months from the original ticket issue date. If the customer decides to cancel the flight they booked between April 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
A process for converting an ETC to Refund if the original situation nows qualifies for a refund
Originally Posted by LimeyFlyer View Post
....
Please visit united.com/refunds
Select Request Refund
Add all required information
Under purchases > Enter Receipt details
Customer should enter their ticket number in the 'Document Number' field
In details reason for request > "Cancel ETC and refund to original form of payment"
Enter email address
Submit ... .

Other useful threads
Extending a Credit/Travel/ETC Voucher by booking a refundable fare?
UA Electronic Travel Certificate & Codeshares/partner flights
Now See All Your Electronic Travel Credit(s) (ETCs) on Your United.com Account!Future Flight Credits (FFC) Available on My Trips page?


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Old Mar 31, 20, 10:47 pm
  #1  
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Choosing between UA Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) vs Future Flight Credit (FFC)

Question about ETC's vs FFC's.... I have two paid tickets for ORD-LHR for May and certainly will not be making that trip. I will cancel the flights, but wondering whether an ETC or FFC option is best for my circumstances. I do not have any other Intl travel on the horizon until Nov 2021 and I am expecting to fly metal other than UA. And I don't expect any of my domestic travel for a single trip will come anywhere close to the cost paid for the LHR trip. With an ETC can I use the value as I go along, provided I use it all by the expiration date of the ETC? Or is it a use as much as you can on a single reservation and forfeit the balance? Regarding FFC's.... same questions? I thought I also saw somewhere on the United website, that if you are unable to utilize the FFC by the end of one year from the original ticket date (which would be Dec 26, 2020) they would issue a full refund...does that sound correct?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 31, 20 at 11:44 pm Reason: reversed merge, moved to existing discussion
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Old Mar 31, 20, 11:40 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
With an ETC can I use the value as I go along, provided I use it all by the expiration date of the ETC? ...
Yes
Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
Regarding FFC's.... same questions? ...
after first use the residual is converted to an ETC if the fare rules allow residuals ( note' March and April non-refundable tickets have a no residual clause

Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
I thought I also saw somewhere on the United website, that if you are unable to utilize the FFC by the end of one year from the original ticket date (which would be Dec 26, 2020) they would issue a full refund...does that sound correct?
Presently that is just for international tickets.

For more on ETC vs FFC, see https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32246313-post970.html and
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32247334-post979.html

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 31, 20 at 11:56 pm Reason: links
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Old Apr 5, 20, 2:08 am
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So the benefit of a future flight credit is the ability to use it on codeshare partners as well whereas the ETCs have an extended life, but can only be on United or United Express.
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Old Apr 5, 20, 2:41 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by skeeo View Post
So the benefit of a future flight credit is the ability to use it on codeshare partners as well whereas the ETCs have an extended life, but can only be on United or United Express.
While strictly true, there is a workaround
But future flight credit can only initially be used by the named traveler while ETC can be used by anyone (ETCs of different travelers can be combined)
Future flight credit can be flaky to use online but ETC does have those issues
ETC, if large enough to cover the cost of the new ticket, means you will not need to use a credit card -- meaning no credit card benefits.

The are other pros-cons, some here, there isn't a single right answer.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 5:48 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
what’s different between ETC and future flight credit? The latter has to be booked in original passenger name?
Posted some thoughts on the awhile back
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32246313-post970.html
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Old Apr 7, 20, 6:11 pm
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I need to cancel a flight to Rome this summer. I have two choices (see below). Why wouldn't I choose the ETC?
Select this option and you’ll receive a travel certificate by email which can be used for travel on United and United Express operated flights. Can be applied to book a new ticket up to 12 months from today, for travel up to 24 months from today.

  • Apply value to an electronic travel certificate
Select this option and you’ll keep the value stored on this reservation so it can be changed later. Change fees will apply unless you qualify for a change fee waiver. Travel must commence within 12 months from original ticket issue date.

  • Rebook later with future flight credit
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Old Apr 7, 20, 6:17 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by mmthomps View Post
Why wouldn't I choose the ETC?
Corporate travel departments may not like ETCs, but that aside, the main reason not to choose an ETC would be that they can't be used on partner flights. If that's a consideration, an ETC may not be the best choice.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 6:21 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by mmthomps View Post
I need to cancel a flight to Rome this summer. I have two choices (see below). Why wouldn't I choose the ETC?
....
BTW, ETC will be converted to 2-year certs automatically

There are pros and cons to each choice, see here for some

The single biggest issue against ETC is difficult to use for partner flights (UA states ETC are only for UA/UX operated, the workaround is a bit involved). The additional life and easy to use for other people is some of the ETC best features. There is not single answer but I suspect for many, ETC is the winner.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 8, 20 at 12:22 am Reason: UA, not US
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Old Apr 7, 20, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
When you (or UA) cancels a non-refundable fare, the default is future fight credit. In some cases, you may also get an option for ETC. Generally, UA is "discouraging" refunds but in case of UA cancelations that may be an option with some struggle.


2) Electronic Ticket Credit -- this is where the ticket is converted is a cash value credit and you have 1-year from creation to book a new flight and that future news to complete with-in 1-year of the new booking's date. So up to a two-year window. You will / should receive a voucher code to use in the future booking (you need to keep track of this but agents can look it up). The ETC can be used by anyone but is limited to UA/UX operated flights (there is a complicated workaround to book partner flights). Fairly simple to use the ETC online and multiple ETCs can be combined if needed -- but the same ETC can not directly be used by multiple passengers on the same PNR. Note if ETC covers the entire cost of the new flight, you can not use a credit card for the flight purchase and will not receive any of the benefits that come from using a credit card.

...
I have a question about ETC's.... what happens at the expiration of the ETC if you have not used the full value of the ETC. I have a sizable ETC possible if UA doesn't cancel a flight I have in late May for ORD-LHR, and I don't envision I will have enough UA flights within the two year window to utilize the full amount.

Last edited by Brostman; Apr 7, 20 at 11:22 pm Reason: grammar
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Old Apr 7, 20, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Brostman View Post
I have a question about ETC's.... what happens at the expiration of the ETC if you have not used the full value of the ETC.
It expires worthless. However, keep in mind that you don't have to fly before ETC expiration; you just have to buy your new ticket before ETC expiration. So, an ETC issued on May 1, 2020 can be used for travel through approximately April 1, 2023. If your travel plans haven't firmed up when your ETC is about to expire, buy a zero-change-fee fare with the remaining funds and then change it once your plans are set.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It expires worthless. However, keep in mind that you don't have to fly before ETC expiration; you just have to buy your new ticket before ETC expiration. So, an ETC issued on May 1, 2020 can be used for travel through approximately April 1, 2023. If your travel plans haven't firmed up when your ETC is about to expire, buy a zero-change-fee fare with the remaining funds and then change it once your plans are set.
By "zero-change-fee fare" would you be meaning a refundable fare, in which case if I cancelled the new flight would I be able to get the ticket amount refunded? At this point my primary interest is just getting a full refund, but I know that this will only happen if UA cancels the flight. Given my flight is late May, and that UA is only running flights to LHR from EWR through May, why isn't my ORD-LHR flight deemed cancelled?
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Old Apr 8, 20, 12:15 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
BTW, ETC will be converted to 2-year certs automatically

There are pros and cons to each choice, see here for some

The single biggest issue against ETC is difficult to use for partner flights (US states ETC are only for UA/UX operated, the workaround is a bit involved). The additional life and easy to use for other people is some of the ETC best features. There is not single answer but I suspect for many, ETC is the winner.

Can an ETC be used for an international flight which contains ANY non-UA metal?
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Old Apr 8, 20, 12:22 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
Can an ETC be used for an international flight which contains ANY non-UA metal?
Directly no, that is a major advantage of future flight credit
But with some effort, UA Electronic Travel Certificate & Codeshares/partner flights
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Old Apr 8, 20, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by radiowell View Post
I cancelled a reservation under the waiver on united.com, asked for an ETC (one of the options when cancelling, with the full price intact). But then at the end, it said it could not generate an ETC due to a "technical issue," please call. So I called (1K line), the agent agreed that I should get the full amount on the ETC. But the agent said that I need to wait a few days to get the ETC, even though all my successful online ETC cancellation and other instances yielded an immediate ETC email. Any thoughts? I understand that this may be normal to wait, but wanted to hear from the others.
We had a similar situation where we used a canceled PNR's value for a new ticket, and 1K desk said they'd send an ETC for the difference, but it could take up to 5 days. That was Sat, and we still haven't received it.
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Old Apr 8, 20, 10:36 am
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Trying to get a refund with United for a summer trip

Hi FlyerTalk members,

I'm not much of a traveler myself, but would like to gather some input, on trying to see if any of you would think United can give me a refund for a trip that I've booked for to NYC, from LAX-EWR.
I've been given two options thus far, given we're going through COVID-19 pandemic, and if a refund is not possible, which would you all choose?
1) Full credit toward a future flight but change fees apply
2) Apply Value to an e-Certificate (?)
Does anyone know how an e-certificate works?
I tried to attach a screen shot but it's not allowing me

Thank you in advance, and stay safe
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