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Understanding/Using UA Electronic Travel Certificate(ETC) & Future Flight Credit(FFC)

Old Apr 9, 2020, 2:37 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
***************************************
The ability to extend FFCs and ETCs is a dynmaic situation and what work in the past is not working now
See the thread for most recent reports. Some paths do appear to exist but things are changing frequently.
**************************************


* In mid-2021, UA started a process that unify ETCs/FFCs and expand their usability, jointly they are called "travel credits"
* There are still a few differences - transferability and expiration are different
* Conversion of FFCs to ETCs are no longer an option
* See this UA announcement (27 Sept 2021) for some insight

FFC -- Future flight Credit issued when you voluntarily cancel or change a non-refundable flight
ETC -- A credit issued generally for a service related issue, broken seat, a significant delayed flight due to UA issues, ....
Refunds due to significant schedule changes or cancellations are different, see Schedule Change(Back to 2hrs)/Cancelation Refund,New DOT ruling,UA processing refunds

United travel credits
We have two types of travel credits, and both can easily be used to shop for flights and amenities on our website or app. Get to know future flight credits and travel certificates.

How do I redeem my travel credits?
Shop for your flight as you normally would. Once you get to checkout, all unused travel credits that are connected to your MileagePlus account will automatically appear once you select “Travel Credits” as a payment option. All you have to do is select the checkbox next to the credit and it will automatically be applied to your reservation.

If you don’t see one of your travel credits listed, or don’t have a MileagePlus account, you can also look up your credit directly from checkout and apply it to your cart.
Can anyone use my credits?
Who can actually use a travel credit varies based on credit type.

Future flight credits
Normally, a future flight credit is non-transferrable and therefore must be used by the same traveler it was issued to. However, all future flight credits that were issued for tickets purchased on or before August 31, 2021, can now be used to book travel for anyone, including yourself, friends, or family. If you have trouble using a future flight credit, please contact Reservations at 1-800-864-8331.
Travel certificates
These credits can be used by anyone.
What can I use my travel credits?
  1. All travel credits can be used to buy tickets on United, United Express and partner-operated flights. You can also apply travel credits toward non-ticket items, like Economy Plus® seating, Basic Economy seat assignments and preferred seating. (and pre-paid checked bags? never implemented)

To use travel credits with PlusPoints, you’ll need to book your ticket using your travel credit and then request a PlusPoints upgrade.
Do travel credits expire?
All travel credits do expire, but the expirations work differently for the two types of credits.

Future flight credits
Future flight credits have a “travel by” date as their expiration. This means the itinerary you apply a future flight credit toward must begin travel before the expiration date. In most cases, this date is one year after your original ticket was issued.

Please note, future flight credits issued on or before December 31, 2022, have had their “travel by” date extended to December 31, 2023.

Travel certificates
Travel certificates have a “book by” date as their expiration. Meaning, you must book your flight using this credit before the expiration date. In most cases, these credits expire up to one year after the date they were issued.

Please note, travel certificates set to expire on or before December 31, 2022, or issued before December 31, 2022, have had their “book by” date extended to December 31, 2023.
Where do I find my travel credit info?
MileagePlus members can find a summary of their travel credits in their account. If you aren’t a member or can’t find your credit in your account, you can also use the lookup forms provided on this page to find your travel credit information, including the value and expiration date.
Can I use multiple credit info?
Yes, you can use multiple credits of the same type in a single purchase. Future flight credits and travel certificates cannot be combined. {Although in Sept 2021 UA hinted this was coming}
What if I have a travel credit issues for a flight originally booked through a travel agent?
You can still use your credit, but you’ll need to do it through the travel agency you used to book the original flight.
(ETC) Terms and conditions
Certificate terms and conditions
  1. Travel certificates are redeemable toward transportation on any flight operated by United Airlines, Inc., United Express, and partner airlines sold on United digital channels.
  2. You may redeem or view travel certificate details at united.com by clicking on Deals & Offers, Promotional certificates, and entering the promotion code and PIN in the offer code box. You can also call United at 800-UNITED-1 (800-864-8331). A fee may apply for redemption via telephone. You will be asked to enter the last name of the certificate recipient. Certificates may not be redeemed through a travel agency.
  3. The promotion code and PIN must be presented at time of ticket purchase and expire 24 months from original date of issue, unless otherwise noted.
  4. Travel certificates have no cash value.
  5. Travel certificates will not be honored in conjunction with prepaid tickets, fee-waived tickets, MileagePlus awards, tour packages or other service charges. You must pay for outstanding fees and ancillary purchases with a credit or debit card at time of purchase.
  6. If the face amount of a travel certificate exceeds the cost of the ticket for which it is surrendered, any residual amount will be applied to the same PIN for use toward another ticket until either the original issued amount is depleted, or the expiration date has been reached, whichever comes first.
  7. Travel certificates are not transferable and may not be sold, traded or bartered. However, the original recipient of a certificate may arrange travel for another person if done without selling or bartering the certificate. Any sale or barter of a certificate, or any offer to sell or enter into such a transaction, shall render a certificate null and void such that the certificate shall no longer be redeemable by any person, including the original recipient.
  8. Positive identification may be required when using a certificate toward the purchase of a ticket. United is not liable for loss, theft or unintended use of a certificate by a person other than the original recipient.
  9. United's Contract of Carriage applies to all travel on United Airlines and United Express.
Can I convert a FFC to ETC? Can I get an ETC instead of FFC?
You can not longer do either.
Occasionally, if there is an problem using your FFC, the agent will convert it to an ETC for immediate use. These are rare and at the agent;s discretion. Calling to ask converting an FFC to ETC for use by another traveler will likely not work -as the FFC was never intended for transfer
What if I only use part of the credit, what happens to the rest?
For both FFCs/ETCs the remainder of the credit is available for future use
But these credits must be fully used before the use of a credit card payment
Can FFCs or ETCs be used to pay award fees?
No
What happens if I cancel a ticket purchased with FFC or ETC in 24 hours?
Payment goes back to original form of payment, Note this can take some time -- a week or more, especially for the ETC.
What happens if I cancel a ticket purchased with FFC or ETC after 24 hours?
This becomes a new FFC (including the ETC value). This generally happens immediately.
ETC
ETCs can be used for internet access, E+, subscriptions, upgrades, bag fees

Comparison of TB, ETCs, & FFCs
  • They all have different pluses and minuses
  • TB can only be used on an all UA operated itin but can be used to book anyone. Deposited TB funds have up to 5 year expiration (special promos are funds are much shorter) and need to be used for a booking before expiration but travel can be later (up to 11 months)
  • ETCs can be used for any itin bookable by United and can be used by any traveler, Trips funded by ETC need to be booked by expiration but travel can be later (up to 11 months)
  • FFCs can be use for any itin bookable by United but can only be used by the named traveler, Trips funded by ETC need to be started before expiration
  • Only one of these can be used in a single booking, but multiple ETCs or Multiple FFCs can be used for a single booking
  • TB and ETCs can be converted to FFCs. FFCs can not (in general) be converted to ETCs (but occasionally will be if a legitimate FFCs usage fails).
  • FFCs or ETCs can not be deposited in TB.
Not working as-of April 2024.
Further changes in May 2024. See thread
However, you can follow the below to book a flight, then change it to a different flight after the expiration date.
Originally Posted by wiki
If you want to extend an FFC, the most reliable process is:

Purchasie a new non-refundable (non-BE) itin, for same passengers as the FFC. Do not use change of flight, start a new booking without using the FFC.
When you get to the payment page, then use the FFC as a form of payment
Wait a bit over 24 hours and then cancel.
You then will receive, essentially instantaneous, a new FFC with an expiration 1 year from the booking date.
The new FFC must be used for a trip starting before the new expiration
Deviations may not be successful
This will not work for FFC from a partial flown trip.

This works for extending ETC also except the ETC with be converted to a FFC and locked to the named passenger.

There is no guarantee this process will work in the future


Other useful threads
Extending a Credit/Travel/ETC Voucher by booking a refundable fare?

Now See All Your Electronic Travel Credit(s) (ETCs) on Your United.com Account!
Future Flight Credits (FFC) Available on My Trips page?
Issues with UA's online rebooking: Missing flights, higher prices, changed cabin, ..
Is UA enforcing No Residual Value restriction found in some fare rules?

UA Electronic Travel Certificates (ETC): General Q&A, ... now 2 year life ...Closed
UA Electronic Travel Certificate & Codeshares/partner flights ...Closed
How to get residual value ("future flight credit") from non-refundable flight ...Closed

Archive:
Understanding/Using UA Electronic Travel Certificate & Future Flight Credit {Archive}
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Understanding/Using UA Electronic Travel Certificate(ETC) & Future Flight Credit(FFC)

Old Jul 19, 2024, 7:39 am
  #436  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: WAW
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I have two FFCs, one in my name, one in my wife's. I'm confused by the rules. Can I use both credits to buy a ticket for just one of us? Or is it only possible to use the credit for the respective credit holder? TIA
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Old Jul 19, 2024, 7:59 am
  #437  
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Originally Posted by AxelJF
I have two FFCs, one in my name, one in my wife's. I'm confused by the rules. Can I use both credits to buy a ticket for just one of us? Or is it only possible to use the credit for the respective credit holder? TIA
The latter. Each FFC must be used by the person whose name is on it.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jul 19, 2024, 10:43 am
  #438  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
OK, Starting to make more sense.

You can get E+ two ways, one way is part of the fare (and OK for FFC) and another way as a fee (not OK for FFC).
Suspect that is the source of your issue.
thank you.
My confusion stems from the way Economy Plus is displayed in between the economy column and the first column, it looked like a fare, not a fee.
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Old Jul 19, 2024, 10:51 am
  #439  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
thank you.
My confusion stems from the way Economy Plus is displayed in between the economy column and the first column, it looked like a fare, not a fee.
UA has started to market certain fares, in some markets, which include free Economy Plus seating (if available) as part of the price. If you select one of those fares, you can then select any open E+ seat for no additional charge.

If you select an Economy fare, you can then choose an Economy Plus seat, but you'll have to pay a seat selection fee which can differ between seats, and differ with time.
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Old Jul 22, 2024, 2:29 am
  #440  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Originally Posted by cfischer
put in a refund request. The old 'travel by date' is not relevant anymore ... when you bought the 'new ticket' with the FFC sets the new 'fly by date' for any FFC.
This depends on how the old FFC was created.
(1) If it was created from a fare difference, new FFC "fly by date" is real.
(2) If the entire flight was cancelled, new FFC "fly by date" is not real. When you reach the payment screen, the FFC "fly by date" will revert to the older date.
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Old Jul 22, 2024, 6:07 am
  #441  
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Originally Posted by mitchell
This depends on how the old FFC was created.
(1) If it was created from a fare difference, new FFC "fly by date" is real.
(2) If the entire flight was cancelled, new FFC "fly by date" is not real. When you reach the payment screen, the FFC "fly by date" will revert to the older date.
You are quoting a post from 1 year ago Things have changed since.
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 1:35 am
  #442  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
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Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Used my FFC for a $199 trip plus a $159 economy plus seat for a day prior to FFC expiration (which is March 4 for the expiration).

Now trying to change the date to desired date using the change flight function and it's only giving me a $199 credit to the new flight and the seat fee isn't moving over - it looks like I"m getting charged for the seat fee again.

When you use change flight feature, how is the seat fee returned to you? I'm guessing it will be as a FFC with a March 4 expiration.

Do I need to cancel and apply all of the FFC to an economy ticket and none for a seat, and then change the flight in order to extend the full credit?

Last edited by beachfan; Jul 23, 2024 at 1:40 am
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 6:44 am
  #443  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by beachfan
Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Used my FFC for a $199 trip plus a $159 economy plus seat for a day prior to FFC expiration (which is March 4 for the expiration).

Now trying to change the date to desired date using the change flight function and it's only giving me a $199 credit to the new flight and the seat fee isn't moving over - it looks like I"m getting charged for the seat fee again.

When you use change flight feature, how is the seat fee returned to you? I'm guessing it will be as a FFC with a March 4 expiration.

Do I need to cancel and apply all of the FFC to an economy ticket and none for a seat, and then change the flight in order to extend the full credit?
  • Can I get a refund for my Economy Plus seat?

    You can get a refund for Economy Plus if you buy it with your flight and cancel within 24 hours or if you have a refundable ticket and decide to cancel your trip.

    Economy Plus upgrades from Economy or Basic Economy are nonrefundable.

    https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/tra...nomy-plus.html

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Old Jul 23, 2024, 7:31 am
  #444  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
Now trying to change the date to desired date using the change flight function and it's only giving me a $199 credit to the new flight and the seat fee isn't moving over - it looks like I"m getting charged for the seat fee again.
Correct.

Originally Posted by beachfan
When you use change flight feature, how is the seat fee returned to you? I'm guessing it will be as a FFC with a March 4 expiration.
The default behavior is for it to be refunded to you after travel -- as an FFC with a March 4 expiration. You might be able to call and get it refunded earlier, although I can't guarantee that would work.

Originally Posted by beachfan
Do I need to cancel and apply all of the FFC to an economy ticket and none for a seat, and then change the flight in order to extend the full credit?
Yes, or book a fare that has Economy Plus included as part of the fare, rather than as a seat selection fee.

Originally Posted by hoangtri1
Economy Plus upgrades from Economy or Basic Economy are nonrefundable.
I realize you're quoting United here, but that's not really correct. What they mean is that you cannot, having purchased an E+ seat, later look at the seat map and say, "never mind, I'd like to sit in regular economy; please move me back." In the next bullet point, "Will my Economy Plus seat transfer if I change my flight?" United adds: "No. If you change your flight, you will get an automatic refund and have to repurchase Economy Plus for your new flight." So, clearly, E+ is refundable iff you change your flight, which is what OP is doing.
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 10:20 am
  #445  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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When booking Economy Plus bundle, it only allowed $199 of my FFC to be used , not the additional for Economy Plus.

Seems like the extension trick does not work for seat charges.
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 10:38 am
  #446  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
When booking Economy Plus bundle, it only allowed $199 of my FFC to be used , not the additional for Economy Plus.

Seems like the extension trick does not work for seat charges.
It does not. When you purchase a seat access fee for E+, it is not a fare component. as explained a few posts back how you purchase E+ matters.

The E+ seat access fee will be refunded on changes. You will need to repurchase on a change. The refund for the original E+ access will go back to your original purchase method. For years the refund do not come until the original travel date or if you specific request sooner, recent reports suggest it is coming sooner.
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 2:49 pm
  #447  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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The E+ refund came as an ETC
The ticket came back as FFC.

Agent said they can be combined but they cannot.

i guess if I want to combine them, i use the ETC to buy a flight, wait 24 hours and then cancel.

Can an ETC be used to upfate from coach to business?
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 4:07 pm
  #448  
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Another data point on new expiration dates:

I combined three FFCs with a credit card to purchase a ticket last week. I realized I had reversed the O & D and canceled within 24 hours. The refund needed to be manually processed. When it was processed a couple days later, the VISA card was fully credited, and the combined three FFCs became one new FFC with a 7/16/2025 expiration date.
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 9:06 pm
  #449  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Originally Posted by cfischer
You are quoting a post from 1 year ago Things have changed since.
Thanks. I didn't realize that this FFC behavior was from a recent change (Jan-Feb 2024?, first reported in this thread on 2/29/24 via some reddit discussion). I only noticed it on my FFCs about 2 months ago. Using old about-to-expire $10-50 tiny vouchers may set a very old "Fly by" date on new flights (if they are later cancelled).

(1) Made notes in my travel spreadsheet on some flights with "Do NOT cancel after XXX date". I may end up making an "Oldest voucher used" column...
(2) Check new FFCs (have 5 currently) by going partially through a random flight booking to see real "fly by date" restrictions.

Note: (another weird IT problem) Occasionally when trying to book with FFCs, some FFCs will say "Name does not match" (when it's definitely for me) and they will be greyed out (unselectable). After a few days, the mismatch problem will disappear. So I don't bother to call customer service about these.

Last edited by mitchell; Yesterday at 12:33 am
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Old Jul 23, 2024, 10:00 pm
  #450  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by wpcoe
Another data point on new expiration dates:

I combined three FFCs with a credit card to purchase a ticket last week. I realized I had reversed the O & D and canceled within 24 hours. The refund needed to be manually processed. When it was processed a couple days later, the VISA card was fully credited, and the combined three FFCs became one new FFC with a 7/16/2025 expiration date.
I will give this a try. I think the manual processing is the key.
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