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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.
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* 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 Feb 20, 2024, 11:16 am
  #736  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Originally Posted by hanssen
A naive question on United ETC/FFC/TB, which of them can be combined? Seems to me only one of them can be used? Thanks.
Only one type can be used on a given ticket.

ETC or TB funds can be converted to FFCs (make a non-BE booking and cancel after 24 hours) and then can be used with other FFCs. Note FFCs are restricted to the named traveller and travel needs to start before FFC expiration.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 6:58 pm
  #737  
 
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Does anyone know how long Customer Service responds to complaints about a FFC? I have a situation where UA agent misinformed me about the expiration of my FCC (I asked clear questions about it and expiration) and it was a massive headache to change itinerary and book an additional expensive last minute return flight. An extremely helpful UA agent explained the situation and recommended I reach out to customer care about the misinformation to extend the FCC expiration or grant me some ETC for the residual value because of the inconvenience.

I put in the complaint last week and I thought I'd get an email confirmation with the number. I didn't get an email, but I did see the customer service ticket number when I submitted it on the United website, I just didn't save them. I assumed I'd get an email confirmation of the submission.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 8:36 pm
  #738  
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Originally Posted by InFlightJay
Does anyone know how long Customer Service responds to complaints about a FFC? ...
a week or two to never.

Originally Posted by InFlightJay
I have a situation where UA agent misinformed me about the expiration of my FCC (I asked clear questions about it and expiration) and it was a massive headache to change itinerary and book an additional expensive last minute return flight. An extremely helpful UA agent explained the situation and recommended I reach out to customer care about the misinformation to extend the FCC expiration or grant me some ETC for the residual value because of the inconvenience. ...
Just because one agent suggested filling does not mean this will get a positive response or any meaningful response.

Without any details of the situation , there is no way to provide on opinion on how this will play out.
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Old Feb 24, 2024, 7:35 am
  #739  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Maybe (relevant part bolded). The travel agent still controls the ticket, and they can't generate FFC. You might convince UA to take it over, but you might not.
I am in the same boat - originally an Amex Travel ticket which was canceled - and trying to figure out if it's possible to get it extended. I was able to call UA to use the credit (adding $10 in the process) but it looks like the agent just did a flight change as the new res retained the original PNR.

The only difference is it now says "Future flight credit - Please contact Customer Support to book a flight using this credit" instead of "contact the original travel agency" in the search for travel credits tool. Unsure if this means UA has taken it over?

The main issue here is it won't let me use credit online, otherwise I'd just create a new reservation using the old PNR as a payment method.

Last edited by yamanote8; Feb 24, 2024 at 7:42 am
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Old Feb 24, 2024, 9:31 am
  #740  
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Originally Posted by yamanote8
.... it looks like the agent just did a flight change as the new res retained the original PNR....
Yes that is the method they are instructed to use

Originally Posted by yamanote8
....The only difference is it now says "Future flight credit - Please contact Customer Support to book a flight using this credit" instead of "contact the original travel agency" in the search for travel credits tool. Unsure if this means UA has taken it over?....
Appears so

Extending tickets is not UA's preference, especially those book by TA
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Old Feb 25, 2024, 8:53 am
  #741  
 
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Odd issue with using flight credit today. I canceled a roundtrip flight, used the flight credit to rebook the same flights on different dates at a lower price. The transaction did not go through with a message about payment not authorized. Both the flight credit and old flights were gone (because they were canceled), and the new flights did not appear in my itineraries. I called reservations and was told that the UA system showed the canceled flights were sent to their "refund desk" for a refund, even though there was no mention of a refund when I had tried to rebook the new flights. After a bit of back and forth on the phone (during which time the new flights I had booked appeared unticketed in my reservations), the agent was able to restore the credit and issue the tickets as well as the FFC for the lower price. I canceled and rebooked many times, but never encountered this problem. Why would a ticket be sent for a refund after a FFC had already been issued for its value?
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Old Feb 25, 2024, 8:59 am
  #742  
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Originally Posted by lotemblizej
Odd issue with using flight credit today. I canceled a roundtrip flight, used the flight credit to rebook the same flights on different dates at a lower price. The transaction did not go through with a message about payment not authorized. Both the flight credit and old flights were gone (because they were canceled), and the new flights did not appear in my itineraries. I called reservations and was told that the UA system showed the canceled flights were sent to their "refund desk" for a refund, even though there was no mention of a refund when I had tried to rebook the new flights. After a bit of back and forth on the phone (during which time the new flights I had booked appeared unticketed in my reservations), the agent was able to restore the credit and issue the tickets as well as the FFC for the lower price. I canceled and rebooked many times, but never encountered this problem. Why would a ticket be sent for a refund after a FFC had already been issued for its value?
"IT Glitch"
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Old Feb 25, 2024, 12:07 pm
  #743  
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Originally Posted by InFlightJay

I put in the complaint last week and I thought I'd get an email confirmation with the number. I didn't get an email, but I did see the customer service ticket number when I submitted it on the United website, I just didn't save them. I assumed I'd get an email confirmation of the submission.
Typically (any org.) you get a confirmation. Often immediately, sometimes with a delay. I always keep the confirmation page open, and if I dont see an email within a couple of minutes, screenshot the confirmation.

as mentioned, UA response times can vary - could be a week or two, maybe longer, or maybe not at all.
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 8:12 am
  #744  
 
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Cannot Use FFC?

I want to use a (substantial) future flight credit toward the purchase of a ticket from UA, on AC metal. UA is telling my travel agent that in order to use the FFC, I need to book a higher fare class than I want. I thought a future flight credit could be used toward the purchase of any published UA fare. Am I wrong about that? (The travel agent is trying to sort that out with their contacts at UA, but just wondering what your experience/knowledge is). Thanks.
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 8:20 am
  #745  
 
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Originally Posted by Chamor
but just wondering what your experience/knowledge is
Plenty of thoughts here: Understanding/Using UA Electronic Travel Certificate(ETC) & Future Flight Credit(FFC)
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 8:34 am
  #746  
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Originally Posted by Chamor
I want to use a (substantial) future flight credit toward the purchase of a ticket from UA, on AC metal. UA is telling my travel agent that in order to use the FFC, I need to book a higher fare class than I want. I thought a future flight credit could be used toward the purchase of any published UA fare. Am I wrong about that? (The travel agent is trying to sort that out with their contacts at UA, but just wondering what your experience/knowledge is). Thanks.
In general, future flight credit from a non-Basic Economy ticket cannot be used to book Basic Economy, if thats what you mean.

But I suspect its a deeper issue. Nearly all UA nonrefundable fares have a clause that states that residual value, when changing to a lower-priced fare, will be ignored. This clause is then ignored by UA when you book and cancel directly with them they give the residual amount as a new form of Future Flight Credit that was introduced in late 2020 or early 2021. Travel agents do not have the ability to issue this new residual FFC and must follow the fare rules. You may be able to get UA to take over the booking from the travel agent and change directly through them there may be a $50 fee. If this is a corporate travel agency, tread carefully, as cutting them out of the loop may violate your employers travel policy.
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 8:40 am
  #747  
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Originally Posted by Chamor
I want to use a (substantial) future flight credit toward the purchase of a ticket from UA, on AC metal. UA is telling my travel agent that in order to use the FFC, I need to book a higher fare class than I want. I thought a future flight credit could be used toward the purchase of any published UA fare. Am I wrong about that? (The travel agent is trying to sort that out with their contacts at UA, but just wondering what your experience/knowledge is). Thanks.
This may be a fare rule issue. TA purchased tickets may not be eligible for residual FFCs, that is, the amount not used for the new purchase is forfeited. UA waivers these fare rules for tickets purchased directly with UA but not for TA purchased tickets.

Where did travel start for this ticket, for tickets still with change fees, you get into another series of issues.
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 9:09 am
  #748  
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman
Yes, but be sure to book a non-refundable ticket and wait at least 24 hours before canceling. You will then get an FFC good for one year.
Can anyone confirm this is still working to extend FFC with all the recent IT changes?
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 9:39 am
  #749  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Originally Posted by jsloan
In general, future flight credit from a non-Basic Economy ticket cannot be used to book Basic Economy, if thats what you mean.

But I suspect its a deeper issue. Nearly all UA nonrefundable fares have a clause that states that residual value, when changing to a lower-priced fare, will be ignored. This clause is then ignored by UA when you book and cancel directly with them they give the residual amount as a new form of Future Flight Credit that was introduced in late 2020 or early 2021. Travel agents do not have the ability to issue this new residual FFC and must follow the fare rules. You may be able to get UA to take over the booking from the travel agent and change directly through them there may be a $50 fee. If this is a corporate travel agency, tread carefully, as cutting them out of the loop may violate your employers travel policy.
Neither my old (cancelled) ticket nor my new ticket was basic economy. (The old one was discounted first class and the new is a discounted economy fare, but not BE). And the cost of the new ticket is more than the amount of the FFC, so there is no issue of a residual after the FFC is applied. I think this would have all worked fine if I had just did it on the UA app. But I cannot do that now that the travel agent is holding my new reservation (and the fare they are holding is no longer available).
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Old Feb 28, 2024, 10:26 am
  #750  
 
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This morning, I canceled within 24 hours of booking a ticket booked with FFC + credit card.

Any recent experiences on how long it takes for the FFC to show up again after cancelling within 24 hours? I would like to use it again soon.
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