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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 Mar 17, 2024, 8:17 pm
  #781  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,543
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Some more details
Hmm, not sure if this is still working, or UA's system takes longer to update.
I had an FFC that was expiring in Sept. of this year.
Used it to book a First Class (not refundable ticket) 10 days ago.
Cancelled that ticket today. Issued me an FFC that says (both in the email) AND in my United Wallet -> Travel Credits as:
Begin Travel by March 7, 2025.

OK, go to book the new itinerary. One way, ALB-PVR on 12/7/24 (which I'm pretty sure is before 5/7/25).
I've tried First and First Refundable (since the FFC is $660.81)

When I get to the checkout screen, it shows my FFC with the original Sept, 2024 expiration and won't let me use it.

Even if I go to the Wallet -> Travel Credits, click on the ONLY credit, and then click on the "book with credit" link, it still won't let me use it.

Does one need to wait more than 24 hours after cancelling for the new credit window to update across UA's system?

Last edited by hurnik; Mar 17, 2024 at 8:28 pm
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Old Mar 17, 2024, 9:24 pm
  #782  
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Odd, give it a day and then call if still having issues. Occasionally FFCs get messed up and unusable. If necessary the phone agent can get supervisor approval to convert to ETC.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 8:50 am
  #783  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Programs: UA 1P
Posts: 314
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Directly no. What you can do is use the ETC to make a booking (see the steps a few posts back, important not to deviate) and wait over 24 hours. This will result in an FFC good for 1 year from booking. FFC is not as flexible as ETC, FFC is limited to the named traveler (versus anyone) and travel must start before expiration (versus being booked before expiration for an ETC). But this does extend the life of the credit.
Thank you, I can report that my ETC did convert to FFC, valid for one year.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 5:04 pm
  #784  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,543
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Odd, give it a day and then call if still having issues. Occasionally FFCs get messed up and unusable. If necessary the phone agent can get supervisor approval to convert to ETC.
so I got impatient, LOL

i put the ticket on farelock where i knew I couldnt use the FFC. Anyway I played dumb and the agent was super nice and immediately converted it to an ETC and then purchased the ticket.

of course now well never know if a day wouldve fixed it but thats on me. LOL
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Old Mar 19, 2024, 9:34 am
  #785  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, AA Plat Pro, VS Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 838
Used the website to change flight to a cheaper alternative. For the first time ever, the residual was sent as an ETC. The original flights were booked with FFC. Policy change?
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Old Mar 20, 2024, 8:01 am
  #786  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Programs: United MM, Alaska MVP, Marriott Plat
Posts: 568
I’ve got an issue with a travel credit. When I log in to my Wallet, it shows travel credit of $239 expiring in August. When I try to book a flight for June, it says I can’t use the travel credit because it expires May 27. Any ideas?
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Old Mar 20, 2024, 9:31 am
  #787  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,107
Originally Posted by buzglyd
I’ve got an issue with a travel credit. When I log in to my Wallet, it shows travel credit of $239 expiring in August. When I try to book a flight for June, it says I can’t use the travel credit because it expires May 27. Any ideas?
Is this a travel credit from a reservation booked with an earlier travel credit? a second generation credit?

There have been some prior reports of this and you may need to call to apply.
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Old Mar 20, 2024, 10:21 am
  #788  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Programs: United MM, Alaska MVP, Marriott Plat
Posts: 568
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Is this a travel credit from a reservation booked with an earlier travel credit? a second generation credit?

There have been some prior reports of this and you may need to call to apply.
It could be. I honestly cant remember. I will call.
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Old Mar 20, 2024, 2:13 pm
  #789  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,543
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Is this a travel credit from a reservation booked with an earlier travel credit? a second generation credit?

There have been some prior reports of this and you may need to call to apply.
Yeah, sounds exactly like what happened to me. Hopefully this isn't a change in UA's FFC "extension procedure".
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Old Mar 20, 2024, 3:38 pm
  #790  
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I am having issue apply a FFC to a new reservation and had to call the support desk. The support desk person confirms that there is an issue with united.com applying FFC at the moment, and there is no resolution time. For the time being, you'll need to call to book a reservation to apply a FFC.
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Old Mar 23, 2024, 1:35 am
  #791  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Posts: 4,590
Originally Posted by PTahCha
I am having issue apply a FFC to a new reservation and had to call the support desk. The support desk person confirms that there is an issue with united.com applying FFC at the moment, and there is no resolution time. For the time being, you'll need to call to book a reservation to apply a FFC.
Not sure if the same exact issue, but Ive been having a problem on the website where I cant apply certain FFCs on the payment page. I check off the FFC I want to use, but it does not apply the credit. Whats strange is that other FFCs still work normally.

Doesnt seem to be a problem on the app though.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 1:07 pm
  #792  
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Join Date: Aug 2001
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Here's my data point, which may or may not be applicable to anyone else because of the way it happened..
Had FFC from a canceled 3 person reservation (nonrefundable r/t fare) with a travel by date of 10/31/24.
Used it to create a new reservation, one-way refundable, for the same 3 people in July 2024. Paid an extra $12/person.
26 hrs later, changed the new reservation to a departure date in Nov 2024. Paid an extra $8/person to keep it refundable. (which was the desired outcome)

I guess the takeaway here is that buying a refundable new reservation did not pose a problem later on. YMMV of course.
Everything was done on the app.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 1:12 pm
  #793  
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Originally Posted by izzik
.. Paid an extra $8/person to keep it refundable. (which was the desired outcome)

I guess the takeaway here is that buying a refundable new reservation did not pose a problem later on. YMMV of course.
Everything was done on the app.
You can pay a refundable fare with FFCs BUT the FFC portion of the fare is non-refundbale, only the new dollars are refundable.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 8:15 pm
  #794  
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 1
Cool United Travel Certificate

I have a travel certificate that will expire before I can use it. I asked United to extend the date. They said company policy does not allow them to do that, a typical corporate answer. Is there any way that I can extend it or get around their policy?

For instance, if I buy a flight using the travel certificate and then cancel that flight, will I get a new travel certificate reset for one year from the date I cancel the new flight reservation (i.e. would I be issued a new travel certificate with a new expiration date)?

If so, are there restrictions, such as does the flight value have to at least be equal the dollar value on the original travel certificate? Do I risk losing my original travel certificate if I cancel my flight? Any help/advice would be great as I would hate to eat that money. Thank you.

Last edited by dmlgold; Mar 25, 2024 at 8:23 pm
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 11:32 pm
  #795  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,107
Originally Posted by dmlgold
I have a travel certificate that will expire before I can use it. I asked United to extend the date. They said company policy does not allow them to do that, a typical corporate answer. Is there any way that I can extend it or get around their policy? ...
This has been working
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
Originally Posted by dmlgold
For instance, if I buy a flight using the travel certificate and then cancel that flight, will I get a new travel certificate reset for one year from the date I cancel the new flight reservation (i.e. would I be issued a new travel certificate with a new expiration date)?
Yes but follow the outline steps and do not deviate.

Originally Posted by dmlgold
If so, are there restrictions, such as does the flight value have to at least be equal the dollar value on the original travel certificate? ..
No, you will have residual credit that can further be used
Originally Posted by dmlgold
Do I risk losing my original travel certificate if I cancel my flight? ....
No
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