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

Old Apr 9, 2020, 2:37 pm
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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 Jan 14, 2024, 10:54 pm
  #691  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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sorry i missed this and have noted it now-many thanks
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Old Jan 16, 2024, 1:29 pm
  #692  
O62
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by O62
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?
So far I have called an agent who said contact UA via their webforms. Customer service said they can't help until after travel, refund department denied saying "Our records indicate the amount you paid is the amount quoted to you. This is the correct airfare for your travel plans. Therefore, we are unable to comply with your request."

Wondering what next steps are to find this residual amount.
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Old Jan 16, 2024, 2:13 pm
  #693  
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Originally Posted by O62
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?
Originally Posted by O62
So far I have called an agent who said contact UA via their webforms. Customer service said they can't help until after travel, refund department denied saying "Our records indicate the amount you paid is the amount quoted to you. This is the correct airfare for your travel plans. Therefore, we are unable to comply with your request."

Wondering what next steps are to find this residual amount.
Where did you first purchase this trip?
What method did you use -- change flight for the FFC? or use the FFC as a payment method?
Did you use an agent to repurchase the flight(s)?

Use a FFC to directly repurchase the same flight, same cabin can be problematic.
Best way to handle UA price drop

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 16, 2024 at 2:18 pm Reason: Best way to handle UA price drop
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Old Jan 16, 2024, 7:47 pm
  #694  
O62
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Where did you first purchase this trip?
What method did you use -- change flight for the FFC? or use the FFC as a payment method?
Did you use an agent to repurchase the flight(s)?

Use a FFC to directly repurchase the same flight, same cabin can be problematic.
Best way to handle UA price drop
Purchases original ticket on UA with a CC and an ETC. Cancelled reservation and used FFC to rebook exact same flights. New ticket numbers but same PNR
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Old Jan 16, 2024, 8:55 pm
  #695  
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Originally Posted by O62
.... New ticket numbers but same PNR
That;s the problem. You used FFC as the starting point and rebooked the same flight and therefore maintained the original PNR. No residual in that case.

If you had changed to a different flight, did another cancel and then rebooked the original flight - keeps the original PNR but then the residual FFC is generated
or (my preference)
you do a new booking (ignoring the FFC) and then at the end apply the FFC as a form of payment This creates a new PNR and a residual (original) FFC

From the thread's wiki
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

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 16, 2024 at 9:05 pm Reason: wiki quote
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Old Jan 17, 2024, 10:37 am
  #696  
O62
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 331
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
That;s the problem. You used FFC as the starting point and rebooked the same flight and therefore maintained the original PNR. No residual in that case.

If you had changed to a different flight, did another cancel and then rebooked the original flight - keeps the original PNR but then the residual FFC is generated
or (my preference)
you do a new booking (ignoring the FFC) and then at the end apply the FFC as a form of payment This creates a new PNR and a residual (original) FFC

From the thread's wiki
Ah good learning lesson. In the end it was "bonus" money that I had no anticipation of getting back when I booked the fare originally, so life moves on. Thanks for the help!
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 10:50 am
  #697  
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
ETC and TravelBank can not be used together
There is a workaround:

First, find an non-BE, UA-metal itinerary that is at least as much as the difference between the ETC and desired itinerary (e.g., you have a $500 ETC and want to buy a $800 ticket, find an itinerary that costs at least $300 - it may take a bit of searching to find the one for the right amount, but Google Flights and the price sort function on united.com are helpful here). Book that itinerary using TravelBank.

Then, call to change that itinerary to the desired itinerary, paying the difference using ETC. United.com will only let you pay by credit card, but the phone agent can do it, as long as the ETC (one or multiple) covers the entire price difference; you cannot pay with a combination of ETC and credit card.
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 11:38 am
  #698  
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Or convert both to FFCs and use together to book desired flight. No agent needed
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 2:36 pm
  #699  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 931
UA .bomb issues in Foreign Languages with ETC and Date Format Convention

While out of the country, a temporary US resident who lives abroad but doesn't speak good English showed me an issue he and his spouse were having. They exclusively use .Bomb in a foreign language, their language.

.Bomb was showing on the top right that they each had an ETC credit. Another screen showed that the ETCs expired by a certain date. However, when they went to purchase, they kept getting an error that the ETCs expired. Since I speak the foreign language, I was confused (after I confirmed that they were ETCs and not FFCs). For the first time ever, I even read the wiki in this thread!

Wanting to help, I called the Premier Line. CS told me the ETCs expired on Jan 2, 2024 and not Feb 1, 2024. On the foreign language website, it read 01/02/2024. I explained that the foreign country--like much of the rest of the world--uses the format DD/MM/YYYY and how could any reasonable person know that UA IT is so ethnocentric that it does not employ a country-specific convention? I also emphasized that even if that were not true, the top right of the screen showed that each still had an ETC--the only one--to use. CS said there was nothing she could do except to refer me to customer care.

After a couple emails to/from CC, got ETCs extended but only for 3 months. I think it should have been 1y bc they offered to exchange the tix they had just bought and have UA reissue with the certs. UA declined.

Finally, I cannot help but wonder if UA's conduct is unlawful somehow. The result seems deceptive, unintentionally most likely, with the facts as presented. Yet, could this really be the first time someone has complained about this? I suspect not. Someone in the know on FT should contact UA IT and just have them spell out the month to obviate any foreign date format conventions.

PS In the Wiki, it refers to having a FFC transformed to an ETC and that such is rare. As another data point, I successfully did that for a family member a few months ago when I called CS.
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 5:45 pm
  #700  
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Originally Posted by dcpdxtrans
Finally, I cannot help but wonder if UA's conduct is unlawful somehow.
Of course not. Theyre in the US; theyre seeing US dates. Furthermore, I know that Ive seen the date written unambiguously when I click into the cert (although i dont have one at the moment to test).
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 5:56 pm
  #701  
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UA allows you, in your UA profile, to set a date display order preference, that likely overrides the country-specific conventions. It overrides the USA convention.
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 6:15 pm
  #702  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
UA allows you, in your UA profile, to set a date display order preference, that likely overrides the country-specific conventions. It overrides the USA convention.
This is the choice I see. Neither one applies to FFCs, which use mm/dd/yyyy format.

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Old Jan 22, 2024, 6:20 pm
  #703  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Of course not. They’re in the US; they’re seeing US dates. Furthermore, I know that I’ve seen the date written unambiguously when I click into the cert (although i don’t have one at the moment to test).
If I display my ETC on the German UA site ... it doesn't show it unambiguously. I can definitely see how this is confusing for non-US folks. UA wants to be a global airline - they IMO need to fix this. The translation is also hilarious.

Informationen zum Reisegutschein

Ablaufdatum01/03/2025
Kostengnstig100,00 USD
PIN [redacted by Moderator]
Ausstellungsdatum01/03/2024
Aktionscode24TCVA
Empfngercfischer

Last edited by Pat89339; Jan 22, 2024 at 9:05 pm Reason: Redact PIN
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Old Jan 22, 2024, 6:32 pm
  #704  
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman
This is the choice I see. Neither one applies to FFCs, which use mm/dd/yyyy format.
The choice offered is day, month or month, day -- which could be applied in either case.
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Old Jan 23, 2024, 10:43 am
  #705  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Of course not. Theyre in the US; theyre seeing US dates. Furthermore, I know that Ive seen the date written unambiguously when I click into the cert (although i dont have one at the moment to test).
My bolding. Incorrect. I stated I was recently out of the country when they (and I) were viewing the website.
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