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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

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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 Jan 7, 2024, 10:24 pm
  #661  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA;[url=tel:35887363
35887363[/url]]You need to book a non-refundable ticket (and not let an agent do this) and use your present FFC as a form of payment, do not use the change flight approach.

For an FFC expiring in 9 months, if you did this, you will only be getting 3 months extension.
That may be the issue, an agent completed the booking.

So if I had done it myself, non-ref, and waited 24 hours to cancel, the new FFC would be the combined value but a reset expiry?
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Ativantage is offline  
Old Jan 7, 2024, 10:33 pm
  #662  
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Originally Posted by Ativantage
That may be the issue, an agent completed the booking....
Bingo, when an agent does it , they use the change flight approach and the booking re-uses the old PNR, so when you cancel a new PNR (with a new date) is NOT generated

Originally Posted by Ativantage
So if I had done it myself, non-ref, and waited 24 hours to cancel, the new FFC would be the combined value but a reset expiry?
Yes, but most important. , make a new booking without referencing the old PNR but at the payment page, use the old FFC as a form of payment. Then when you cancel it will get a new FFC with a date 1 year from booking.

But why are you doing this now? Any only getting 3 months?
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 10:50 pm
  #663  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA;[url=tel:35887387
35887387[/url]]Bingo, when an agent does it , they use the change flight approach and the booking re-uses the old PNR, so when you cancel a new PNR (with a new date) is NOT generated

Yes, but most important. , make a new booking without referencing the old PNR but at the payment page, use the old FFC as a form of payment. Then when you cancel it will get a new FFC with a date 1 year from booking.

But why are you doing this now? Any only getting 3 months?
Thanks! The reason for the timing is all I need is an extra month, so I can use it to travel to a wedding a month after the FFC will expire.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 3:28 am
  #664  
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
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How can I combine a Electronic Travel Cert with TravelBank?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 8, 2024 at 10:31 am Reason: formating
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 5:28 am
  #665  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2,300
Originally Posted by lowkeyflyer
How can I combine an Electronic Travel Cert with TravelBank?
Book a ticket with travel bank, cancel after 24 hours to create a FFC.
Also book a ticket in the same name as before with the ETC, cancel after 24 hours to create a FFC.
Use both FFCs for a new itinerary, cancel after 24 hours.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 8, 2024 at 10:32 am Reason: quote updated to reflect Mod edit
Lux Flyer is offline  
Old Jan 8, 2024, 9:27 am
  #666  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: STL
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I had an FFC for 2 passengers (2 FFCs per person actually, not sure how they got split) that were expiring in February and wanted to extend the expiration with the book and cancel trick.

Managed to find a flight leaving later this month for 90 cents over the combined FFC price, so I booked those. Used the FFCs and paid the $1.80 with a credit card.

I am still within the 24 hours and was going to wait of course to cancel, but I decided to check out the Cancel page anyways. On that page, it says:

A billing agent needs to manually process your refund
Once our agent processes your refund, we will confirm the transaction via email. We typically process manual refunds within 10 business days, but please allow up to 30. We appreciate your patience.
Is that something I should be concerned with? Worried it's going to draw extra scrutiny and the trick won't work.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 11:41 am
  #667  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
Book a ticket with travel bank, cancel after 24 hours to create a FFC.
Also book a ticket in the same name as before with the ETC, cancel after 24 hours to create a FFC.
Use both FFCs for a new itinerary, cancel after 24 hours.
Thanks for the quick and concise answer. 2 followup questions.

1. What is the purpose of the last step? "Use both FFCs for a new itinerary, cancel after 24 hours." Why do you need to cancel if both FFCs are already applied on the ticket that you need?

2. Are FFCs the most flexible of the 3 types of credits?
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 12:02 pm
  #668  
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Originally Posted by lowkeyflyer
1. What is the purpose of the last step? "Use both FFCs for a new itinerary, cancel after 24 hours." Why do you need to cancel if both FFCs are already applied on the ticket that you need? ...
Just a way to create a single FFC

Originally Posted by lowkeyflyer
2. Are FFCs the most flexible of the 3 types of credits?
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 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.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 9:58 pm
  #669  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I had an ETC expiring 12/31/2023. I combined the ETC + cash and booked an international business class trip from Canada to Europe on a mix of UA/AC metal by the ETC expiration date.

Because of a schedule change on the AC flight (rescheduled for 2 hours earlier), my connection on the return part of the flight became impossible, so UA automatically rebooked me on their metal. Problem is it now arrives about 7 hours later than originally planned which truly doesn't work for me. The trip doesn't work if I can't get booked on AC because UA connections to YYC are slim.

What happens if I cancel now? I want my cash portion refunded and the ETC returned into a renewed ETC with extended expiration date. Is there any chance they'll let that happen? I called today and got an agent who felt that the "2 hour" change (which caused the connection to break) wasn't "significant" and I couldn't wait on hold long enough for them to get a supervisor (not that I had any faith they knew what they were doing).
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 9:50 pm
  #670  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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What is the latest word on cancelling a United flight ticket in regular Economy (non-Basic) booked via Expedia? Can this be done on the United website/app to skip dealing with 3rd party to obtain a United FFC that will save to my profile? This is a 016... ticket number on a wholly United operated itinerary. Or does one have to call United reservations and pay a fee to accomplish this?
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 10:18 pm
  #671  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2,300
Originally Posted by kinglobjaw
What is the latest word on cancelling a United flight ticket in regular Economy (non-Basic) booked via Expedia? Can this be done on the United website/app to skip dealing with 3rd party to obtain a United FFC that will save to my profile? This is a 016... ticket number on a wholly United operated itinerary. Or does one have to call United reservations and pay a fee to accomplish this?
If Expedia made the booking via NDC channels (0162 ticket number) then it will give an FFC no different than if you had booked through UA directly. If Expedia booked via GDS (0167 ticket number) then it will be like travel agency ticket and have the fee for United to take the ticket over.
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 11:48 pm
  #672  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 829
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Canceling within 24 hours means refund to original payment method, in reality many times it means voiding the purchase. Sometimes it will work (as it did for you earlier) but it is not the recommended approach although it did maintain the ETC credit. Canceling ETC purchase in side 24 hours is an unreliable approach for extending credit -- not sure how to predict when it will work or not.

To extend the credit, do not purchase BE, purchase non-refundable and wait 24+hours, 36-48 is better. However this will be FFC.
Finally I use ETC $80 (expire in 12/31/2023) and ETC $680 (expire in 12/22/2024) to book a ticket $89 (not BE), cancel in few hours, successful get a new ETC $89 expired in 12/22/2024 looks like trigger has to be 2 ETC combined and not Basic Economy.
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 12:15 am
  #673  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,452
Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
If Expedia made the booking via NDC channels (0162 ticket number) then it will give an FFC no different than if you had booked through UA directly. If Expedia booked via GDS (0167 ticket number) then it will be like travel agency ticket and have the fee for United to take the ticket over.
Interesting. Did not know the specifics so thanks for the detailed explanation. What determines whether it will book via NDC or GDS or is it entirely random on Expedia?

Last edited by kinglobjaw; Jan 11, 2024 at 12:16 am Reason: Inserting quote to which I am replying to
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 10:45 am
  #674  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 394
in case this helps anyone, I used a Travel Certificate, not future flight credit that expired Dec 31,2023 for a ticket in March 2023 and paid small cash difference. I just cancelled that ticket and was issued a new travel certificate with an expiration date of Feb 11, 2024, so it only extended it one month. It didn't give me an option for a future flight credit with 1 year expiration.
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 12:15 pm
  #675  
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Originally Posted by givingitatry
in case this helps anyone, I used a Travel Certificate, not future flight credit that expired Dec 31,2023 for a ticket in March 2023 and paid small cash difference. I just cancelled that ticket and was issued a new travel certificate with an expiration date of Feb 11, 2024, so it only extended it one month. It didn't give me an option for a future flight credit with 1 year expiration.
The years in the post seem odd.

What was the purchase date of the ticket you cancelled?
Did you book with an agent or book a refundable fare?
WineCountryUA is offline  

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