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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 Apr 5, 2024, 6:28 am
  #826  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York, NY
Programs: Independent
Posts: 470
Originally Posted by morpheus1234
Just yesterday I was able to use this method to extend travel certificate/credit by a year. When I go to book a new ticket I'm able to use the extended certificate(s) and the expiration date that is shown is the new, extended date. Given that everyone is reporting that this method is dead - am I missing something?
You had an ETC or an FFC?

If an FFC, perhaps it only works with a refundable fare, or it started working again yesterday.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 5:24 pm
  #827  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by hkcj
You had an ETC or an FFC?

If an FFC, perhaps it only works with a refundable fare, or it started working again yesterday.
I think it was ETC: It showed as "travel credit" on the main page and when redeeming it showed as "travel certificate" (I got it for a delayed flight).
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 10:23 am
  #828  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York, NY
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Originally Posted by morpheus1234
I think it was ETC: It showed as "travel credit" on the main page and when redeeming it showed as "travel certificate" (I got it for a delayed flight).
ETCs have always been a little different because they had a book-by date, so it would make sense that they'd still work.

That said, one of my manually processed refunds (book, change flight, cancel with part refund, part FFC) came back and those FFCs are working as expected with the extended date. It would be good to hear reports from some others who try the old method (book & cancel after 26 hours) to see if this was just a glitch that has been resolved.
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 4:33 pm
  #829  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45
Flight credit usage

Hi, this is my situation. I have a ticket which I booked for 3 people including me for $930. This was a economy tickets ( not BE), so I am able to cancel it . My question is, that if I do cancel the ticket can I use the flight credit again to book for someone else ? ( Including me).

To be specific, the current ticket is booked for me, spouse and son. If I cancel and get the $930 credit, can I book a different ticket for me, dad and mom. ( 3 different people) Or is the credit connected to the same individuals ( 310 each )
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 4:40 pm
  #830  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
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Posts: 67,326
Originally Posted by KUNALGH
Hi, this is my situation. I have a ticket which I booked for 3 people including me for $930. This was a economy tickets ( not BE), so I am able to cancel it . My question is, that if I do cancel the ticket can I use the flight credit again to book for someone else ? ( Including me).

To be specific, the current ticket is booked for me, spouse and son. If I cancel and get the $930 credit, can I book a different ticket for me, dad and mom. ( 3 different people) Or is the credit connected to the same individuals ( 310 each )
The credit is locked to the ticketed individual and there are no realistic workarounds.
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 5:18 pm
  #831  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
The credit is locked to the ticketed individual and there are no realistic workarounds.
Thanks, so how is the credit given? Since I made the payment, will it show up in my account only ? Also, if I book the tickets for the same three people, do I have to book them separately using the credits or can they be booked under the same ticket ( one is a minor ).
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Old Apr 6, 2024, 5:29 pm
  #832  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,326
Originally Posted by KUNALGH
Thanks, so how is the credit given? Since I made the payment, will it show up in my account only ?
The credit will show up in each account with a MileagePlus account attached to the booking but only their portion of the credit can be used.

If the individual does not have a MP account, at the payment stage you can choose to use the credit and there wil be an opportunity to enter the PNR and name, UA will then make the credit visible to chose.

Originally Posted by KUNALGH
if I book the tickets for the same three people, do I have to book them separately using the credits or can they be booked under the same ticket ( one is a minor ).
You can book together and if the names match, those individuals will have the credit applied. Those that have no name match will not get a credit.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 3:06 pm
  #833  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC, MSY
Programs: DL DM, 1.5MM, NEXUS, Sky Club Lifetime, Admirals Club Lifetime, LowValueCustomer everywhere
Posts: 6,468
I haven't flown UA in many years so I haven't kept up in the forum.
I booked 2 one way tickets as backups last September and didn't use them. Short sightly, I should have booked refundable tickets but they were very expensive. I now have travel credits that must be flown by 9/24/24. I've looked for an answer to the following question but can't find a definitive answer.

I know that I can book a trip and use the credits and the new fare will exceed the amount of the credit so that'll finish it off.

If I book a new trip, purchasing a fully refundable ticket, and the fare is greater than the amount of the credit and I then cancel the new trip, what will I get back?

Will I get the full new ticket price as refund?
Will I get a split of a credit for the original credit amount and a refund of the portion that I paid in cash for the new refundable ticket?
Will I get a credit for the full amount of the new ticket? (That would seem to be a option.).

And, if any portion of what I get back is a credit, will it have a new fly by date?
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 3:28 pm
  #834  
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Originally Posted by SuperG1955
I haven't flown UA in many years so I haven't kept up in the forum.
I booked 2 one way tickets as backups last September and didn't use them. Short sightly, I should have booked refundable tickets but they were very expensive. I now have travel credits that must be flown by 9/24/24. I've looked for an answer to the following question but can't find a definitive answer.

I know that I can book a trip and use the credits and the new fare will exceed the amount of the credit so that'll finish it off.

If I book a new trip, purchasing a fully refundable ticket, and the fare is greater than the amount of the credit and I then cancel the new trip, what will I get back?

Will I get the full new ticket price as refund?
Will I get a split of a credit for the original credit amount and a refund of the portion that I paid in cash for the new refundable ticket?
Will I get a credit for the full amount of the new ticket? (That would seem to be a option.).

And, if any portion of what I get back is a credit, will it have a new fly by date?

Did you read the last couple pages here?

It used to be that booking a NON-refundable ticket in excess of the credit was the surefire way to extend it by a year from date of booking. Recent posts indicate that may not be the case anymore but I haven't tried it myself recently.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 3:47 pm
  #835  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Smiley90
Did you read the last couple pages here?

It used to be that booking a NON-refundable ticket in excess of the credit was the surefire way to extend it by a year from date of booking. Recent posts indicate that may not be the case anymore but I haven't tried it myself recently.
Yes. I read more than the last couple of pages and am aware that none of the posts had a definitive answer.

I posted this, not to post pad, but to hope that someone now had an answer.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 3:51 pm
  #836  
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Originally Posted by SuperG1955
Yes. I read more than the last couple of pages and am aware that none of the posts had a definitive answer.

I posted this, not to post pad, but to hope that someone now had an answer.
If you book a non-refundable flight in excess of your credit and cancel that flight after 48 hours, you USED TO get the full ticket price as a new credit expiring one year from booking. Feel free to try that and let us know if that still works, or if recent posts are correct and it doesn't work anymore.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 3:56 pm
  #837  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Smiley90
If you book a non-refundable flight in excess of your credit and cancel that flight after 48 hours, you USED TO get the full ticket price as a new credit expiring one year from booking. Feel free to try that and let us know if that still works, or if recent posts are correct and it doesn't work anymore.
I asked about booking a REFUNDABLE ticket in excess of the credit for the non-refundable.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 4:40 pm
  #838  
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Originally Posted by SuperG1955
Will I get a split of a credit for the original credit amount and a refund of the portion that I paid in cash for the new refundable ticket?
This.

Originally Posted by SuperG1955
And, if any portion of what I get back is a credit, will it have a new fly by date?
Indeterminate. Maybe yes, maybe no.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 5:34 pm
  #839  
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Originally Posted by SuperG1955
I asked about booking a REFUNDABLE ticket in excess of the credit for the non-refundable.
But your ultimate goal is extending the credit, correct? Because if so, you shouldn't book a refundable rate.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 6:04 pm
  #840  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I wasn't clear about it, I'll try to clarify.

I have identical credits for 2 people, my wife and myself. We have to make a one way trip at the end of May which is before the fly by date of the credits in September.

My preference would be to get a full refund from UA and fly another carrier where we have status and a more convenient destination airport (LGA vs EWR), and a better schedule. If we can't do that, we'll fly UA for the trip.

Extending the credit isn't worthwhile playing with. I'd rather get it off the books if possible and if it isn't, we'll use it.

The credits are large enough to almost cover a non-refundable fare for the trip but an additional $250-300 each to purchase refundable tickets. It isn't worthwhile for us to experiment with spending the additional $ only to have them possibly come back as a credit. If we can get a full refund for the amount of the credit and the additional $ to purchase refundable tickets, great. If not, we'll suck it up and book nonrefundable tickets with the credits on UA.
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