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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 11, 2024, 12:21 pm
  #676  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 394
I purchased directly off united site on 12/31 using a travel certificate that was expiring that day and paying $20 difference in cash. Yes it was a refundable ticket.

Last edited by givingitatry; Jan 11, 2024 at 12:26 pm
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 12:33 pm
  #677  
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Originally Posted by givingitatry
I purchased directly off united site on 12/31 using a travel certificate that was expiring that day and paying $20 difference in cash. I believe it was refundable. I
As refundable ticket, FFC would have not been an option, UA refunds to the original payment of payment, ETC and cash, in your case. As the original ETC had expired, this normally is manually processed and there have been a variety of results. ETCs and refundable is a problematic combo and best avoided.

If you need more time, Use the ETC to purchase a non-refundable ticket, wait 24+ hours and see what happens. Should be a FFC with 1 year. It will be restricted to the named traveler and travel needs to start before expiration, so not as generous as ETC but the date should be extended.
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 12:39 pm
  #678  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 394
Thanks, was ready to take the loss on the travel certificate on expiry date and just tried this to see if it works. Before the expire date in Feb I will rebook something else and go with the FFC option.

Last edited by givingitatry; Jan 11, 2024 at 12:47 pm
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 4:04 pm
  #679  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 63
"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)"

If I use the ETC for travel 8 months after expiration, and I cancel the flight after the original expiry date, will I lose the ETC, or will I get a FFC (and if so, when is new expiration).
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 4:18 pm
  #680  
O62
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Howdy folks. I noticed a fare drop in my itinerary so I cancelled the reservation and got an email with a FFC credit for X amount. I then used the FFC to rebook the new flight at X-250. When I went to look at how to use the remaining $250, it's no where to be seen. I called an agent who did his best to try to find it, but couldn't see any residual value. I have clear emails from UA stating ticket cancelled at X, separate email saying here's the FFC for X, and a new email from the new ticket showing price X-250. Any tips on how to find the residual value?
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 4:23 pm
  #681  
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Originally Posted by Irazabul
.... If I use the ETC for travel 8 months after expiration, and I cancel the flight after the original expiry date, will I lose the ETC, or will I get a FFC (and if so, when is new expiration).
If non-refundable, you will get a FFC and 1 year from booking date, the expiration date of the ETC has no impact.

If you use an ETC in a refunadable situation, the results is variable. It may go back to the original ETC, you may get a new ETC but the new expiration is hard to predict. A recent posting stated the new ETC only extended by a month. There have been other others. Seems to be a manual process and not predictable. No reports of losing the credit
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:18 am
  #682  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 4
If I booked a flight on UA with a United Travel Certificate received as EU261 compensation for a trip booked with my United Explorer Card, do I get trip delay/cancellation insurance? Or if I upgrade my cabin with a credit card with travel protections (i.e. CSP or Capital One VX), do I get trip delay/cancellation? I couldn't find a way to split payment between a card and the UTC.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:34 am
  #683  
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Originally Posted by J31415
If I booked a flight on UA with a United Travel Certificate received as EU261 compensation for a trip booked with my United Explorer Card, do I get trip delay/cancellation insurance? Or if I upgrade my cabin with a credit card with travel protections (i.e. CSP or Capital One VX), do I get trip delay/cancellation? I couldn't find a way to split payment between a card and the UTC.
If the ETC covers 100% of the fare, you will not be provide an opportunity to use a credit card and get the insurance coverage that way. This is a deficient in UA's process. Note for TravelBank fund, UA allows you to select the $ amount and use a credit card. But you can not transfer the ETC to the TB.

As the card only needs to be used in conjunction with the airline travel, some have purchase checked bag fee, E+ access or upgrades (as you queried) with the card to get coverage. Not sure if internet access or inflight food purchases would work.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 3:49 pm
  #684  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: SFO
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Posts: 61
Originally Posted by Ativantage
So I think I may have been hoodwinked by OMAAT (thanks, Lucky). He said in a 2023 post on United FFCs that credits can be extended by booking a more expensive ticket (ie purchase $150 with a $100 FFC), and then cancelling after the 24 hour grace period.

I followed these steps and now I have the original FFC (with the original expiry still), and a new FFC with an expiration of 1 year. Am I missing something?
I too have $5k in FFC expiring at the end of this month, and read the OMAAT article. Could you confirm that it works and will extend the expiry of the FFC by a year?


Originally Posted by t325
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:

Is that something I should be concerned with? Worried it's going to draw extra scrutiny and the trick won't work.
Could you confirm that the book and cancel trick worked? TIA!
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 4:28 pm
  #685  
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Originally Posted by santhosh.kharvi
I too have $5k in FFC expiring at the end of this month, and read the OMAAT article. Could you confirm that it works and will extend the expiry of the FFC by a year?
There are two ways to use an FFC - by "changing" the reservation (the wrong way) or as a form of payment on a new ticket (the right way).
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 5:21 pm
  #686  
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Originally Posted by santhosh.kharvi
I too have $5k in FFC expiring at the end of this month, ....
Works as of Jan 2023
Originally Posted by wiki
If you want to extend an FFC, the most reliable process is

Best approach is by purchasing 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
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 12, 2024 at 5:30 pm Reason: There is no guarantee this process will work in the future
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 1:49 pm
  #687  
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 99
ETC and Travel wallet in the same itinerary

Sorry I think I have seen this in reddit but wanted to double check.
I can only toggle between ETC vs Travel wallet on the payment page.
So I wanted to ask to be doubly sure, there is no way to pay using both funds at the same time right? I called United and agent said no.
Thanks!
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 3:40 pm
  #688  
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Originally Posted by yinxzon
Sorry I think I have seen this in reddit but wanted to double check.
I can only toggle between ETC vs Travel wallet on the payment page.
So I wanted to ask to be doubly sure, there is no way to pay using both funds at the same time right? I called United and agent said no.
Thanks!
ETC and TravelBank can not be used together
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Old Jan 14, 2024, 7:07 pm
  #689  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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so ETC can be used by others but not the future flight credit as i understand..have a ffc expiring in july is there any way to extend for a few months??
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Old Jan 14, 2024, 7:28 pm
  #690  
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Posts: 67,542
Originally Posted by bryanwallace
so ETC can be used by others but not the future flight credit as i understand..have a ffc expiring in july is there any way to extend for a few months??
Yep --- process detailed in wiki or 3 posts prior to yours
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