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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 dont see one of your travel credits listed, or dont 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, youll 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 arent a member or cant 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 youll 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 Dec 30, 2023, 3:57 am
  #616  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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I have no idea. I've tried logging out and then back in to check, and the information remains the same.
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Old Dec 30, 2023, 10:29 am
  #617  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Originally Posted by marcelduchamp
I have no idea. I've tried logging out and then back in to check, and the information remains the same.
Others have reported this. Save a screenshot of the 2024 date increase you need to dispute this. AT this point, it is doubtfully you will be able to get anything resolved before the end of the year -- but UA should honor the new date as most would not bother to look at the details.

If you want to test this more, make a dummy booking in 2024 and try applying the FFC. If it allows that (but don't purchase) you are fine because when using the FFC the start of travel needs to be before expiration.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 30, 2023, 6:20 pm
  #618  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 757
Did I inadvertently extend my travel credit?

I had 1700 dolloars stemming from a covid flight that was about to expire. I booked a flight to the dominican republic then canceled the flight when I realized I was flying into the wrong airport. 10 minutes later I cancelled the flight. Now my travel credit has a 2024 date. I would prefer to wait a couple days for more info (long story). But did I extend or will they correct it after the fact reverting to 12/31/23
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Old Dec 30, 2023, 6:42 pm
  #619  
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Originally Posted by dcpilgrim
Did I inadvertently extend my travel credit?.....But did I extend or will they correct it after the fact reverting to 12/31/23
Yep, you extended the expiration.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 2:37 am
  #620  
 
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Thank you for the tip!
marcelduchamp is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 6:56 am
  #621  
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 36
Hi there,

I have an ETC that is expiring today, 12/31/2023. I tried to book a ticket for my wife but when I tried to apply the ETC during checkout by clicking the checkbox next to the ETC, I get an error message saying:

"We are unable to process your request. Please try again later or contact united.com support in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-396-1751; the U.K. at 0800 028 5003; elsewhere use the {localPhoneNumberLink}."

Has anyone had a similar experience and any advice please?

Thanks in advance!
WannaTravelAgain is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 9:22 am
  #622  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: None - previously UA
Posts: 4,945
2x$2500 FFC's with travel by dates in mid March. Booked flights for 2 using all of FFC's + $50 credit card and would not ticket, threw an "Invalid date" error. Called up to get it manually fixed. Waited 48 hrs. Cancel page indicated I could cancel and get FFC valid through 2024. Cancelled, however it didn't return to a FFC, I got this error message when cancelling:

This reservation has been canceled. To use any remaining value toward a future flight, please select the button below.

We are unable to complete your change on united.com.

Certain types of trips are unable to be changed and/or canceled via united.com.
  • If you purchased your ticket from another airline, please contact the airline you purchased your ticket from to change or cancel your itinerary.
  • If your trip has not yet been ticketed, you may cancel this trip and rebook a new one if your plans have changed. Changes are not permitted to unticketed trips.
  • If you purchased your ticket via a travel agency, please contact your travel agent to change or cancel your itinerary.
  • If you are traveling as a part of a larger group and your travel has not yet begun, please contact your travel agent to change or cancel your itinerary. If your group has begun traveling and changes are necessary, please contact United Groups.
  • If your ticket does not fall under one of the categories above, please contact United Reservations.
Calling up agent, she said it was in a manual queue to be re-issued as FFC and would take 7-21 days?
escapefromphl is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 9:41 am
  #623  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Plat MM, CM Plat, Amex Plat, Hertz CP, Hyatt Globalist, SPG Gold, Vons Club
Posts: 6,855
Originally Posted by WannaTravelAgain
Hi there,

I have an ETC that is expiring today, 12/31/2023. I tried to book a ticket for my wife but when I tried to apply the ETC during checkout by clicking the checkbox next to the ETC, I get an error message saying:

"We are unable to process your request. Please try again later or contact united.com support in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-396-1751; the U.K. at 0800 028 5003; elsewhere use the {localPhoneNumberLink}."

Has anyone had a similar experience and any advice please?

Thanks in advance!
im not an expert, but dont you have to enter the ETC number, year and PIN code. Perhaps trying to enter it all manually, Rather than using the checkmark?? I know its the last day thats why Im only providing this others more experienced will know for sure
Flying Machine is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 11:12 am
  #624  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2,305
Originally Posted by WannaTravelAgain
Hi there,

I have an ETC that is expiring today, 12/31/2023. I tried to book a ticket for my wife but when I tried to apply the ETC during checkout by clicking the checkbox next to the ETC, I get an error message saying:

"We are unable to process your request. Please try again later or contact united.com support in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-396-1751; the U.K. at 0800 028 5003; elsewhere use the {localPhoneNumberLink}."

Has anyone had a similar experience and any advice please?

Thanks in advance!
Thats their generic checkout error message. Could be entirely unrelated to the credit.
Flying Machine likes this.
Lux Flyer is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 11:25 am
  #625  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,325
Originally Posted by WannaTravelAgain
Hi there,

I have an ETC that is expiring today, 12/31/2023. I tried to book a ticket for my wife but when I tried to apply the ETC during checkout by clicking the checkbox next to the ETC, I get an error message saying:

"We are unable to process your request. Please try again later or contact united.com support in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-396-1751; the U.K. at 0800 028 5003; elsewhere use the {localPhoneNumberLink}."

Has anyone had a similar experience and any advice please?

Thanks in advance!
This occasionally happens, hope you have already called to process.
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 12:26 pm
  #626  
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Posts: 1
Credit and Cancellations Question

I have credit that must be used by Feb 1 - meaning travel must begin by Feb 1. I can't travel until later in the year though.
if I book an economy flight right now for, lets say, Jan 31, and then cancel the flight a few days in advance, would I lose the travel credit or would new credit with a new date be issued?
thank you
tsum is offline  
Old Dec 31, 2023, 12:45 pm
  #627  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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The credit will show the same expiration date - Feb. 1. It is still considered an unused credit.
thinking of something else

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Dec 31, 2023 at 4:05 pm
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:42 pm
  #628  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,325
Welcome to FT!, tsum
Originally Posted by tsum
I have credit that must be used by Feb 1 - meaning travel must begin by Feb 1. I can't travel until later in the year though.
if I book an economy flight right now for, lets say, Jan 31, and then cancel the flight a few days in advance, would I lose the travel credit or would new credit with a new date be issued?
thank you
Up to now and assuming UA continues to do the same, if you use the credit as a form of payment (and not as a flight change which an agent will do), when you cancel, if after 24 hours for a non-refundable ticket, you will get a new FFC (in the travelers name) with expiration 1 year from the purchase date.
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 5:38 pm
  #629  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Platinum
Posts: 216
I was trying to book a flight using a $245 flight credit that was expiring today (12/31/23) and kept getting "We are unable to process your request. Please try again later or contact united.com support in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-396-1751; the U.K. at 0800 028 5003; elsewhere use the {localPhoneNumberLink}."

I tried calling and was left on hold for over an hour. I had to leave and when I returned a few hours later, I tried booking again. When I pulled up the travel credit the expiration date had changed to 01/02/24. They must have had a lot of people with booking problems. I wonder if everyone has been extended 2 days. I applied the credit to my trip purchase and this time it went through without a problem. Debating whether or not to cancel tomorrow and see if the expiration date is extended another year. Should I wait 24 hours before I cancel?

Last edited by TH310; Dec 31, 2023 at 5:44 pm
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 6:37 pm
  #630  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,325
Originally Posted by TH310
.... When I pulled up the travel credit the expiration date had changed to 01/02/24. ...
Interesting
Originally Posted by TH310
..... Should I wait 24 hours before I cancel?
YES, maybe a few extra hours also, it can be refunded to original form of purchase if done in less than 24 hours
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WineCountryUA is offline  

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