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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 7, 2024, 6:05 pm
  #841  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: BOS, YVR, ZRH
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Posts: 17,479
Originally Posted by SuperG1955
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.

Gotcha. No, you can't get a cash refund of the credit. If you book a refundable rate, the refund will be to "what was used to book" - which, if booked with a credit, means you get your credit back.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 6:12 pm
  #842  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC, MSY
Programs: DL DM, 1.5MM, NEXUS, Sky Club Lifetime, Admirals Club Lifetime, LowValueCustomer everywhere
Posts: 6,458
OK, Thanks for the info. UA and EWR it is for the first time in many years.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 8:07 pm
  #843  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by SuperG1955
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.
If what you suggested were possible, there'd be no such thing as nonrefundable tickets, because everyone would just do that.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 4:13 pm
  #844  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,782
Had a Future Flight Credit that expired 3/31/24. Booked a new standard non-refundable ticket that was a few dollars more than the original credit on 3/29/24.

Just cancelled it (today, 4/8/24) and was issued a new FFC that says it expires 3/29/25.

I know this might not be working anymore. Maybe they drew a line on FFC issued after 3/31?
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 7:52 pm
  #845  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,543
Originally Posted by wcalvert
Had a Future Flight Credit that expired 3/31/24. Booked a new standard non-refundable ticket that was a few dollars more than the original credit on 3/29/24.

Just cancelled it (today, 4/8/24) and was issued a new FFC that says it expires 3/29/25.

I know this might not be working anymore. Maybe they drew a line on FFC issued after 3/31?
The issue isn't that the date (in your United Wallet, or email, etc.) doesn't show the extended 1-year date.
It's that when you try to actually USE it (did you try to actually book anything?), when you get to the payment screen, it'll show the FFC, but with the Original expiration date.

Some said UA had acknowledged this was a bug, and supposedly fixed it, but I think at least 2 others have reported it's NOT fixed, and one person said it was.
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 7:56 pm
  #846  
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Originally Posted by hurnik
The issue isn't that the date (in your United Wallet, or email, etc.) doesn't show the extended 1-year date.
It's that when you try to actually USE it (did you try to actually book anything?), when you get to the payment screen, it'll show the FFC, but with the Original expiration date.

Some said UA had acknowledged this was a bug, and supposedly fixed it, but I think at least 2 others have reported it's NOT fixed, and one person said it was.
If that's the issue, then that's much more minor than it not being extendable anymore. If I have a screenshot and a confirmation email with an expiry showing 2025, you bet ill be calling United until they let me use my credit.
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 10:33 am
  #847  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Carmel Valley(was Hawaii)
Programs: United 1K 2.7 MM
Posts: 1,174
We cancelled tickets SFO-EWR and received FFCs worth about $7000. One year to use them.
Can these be used for international travel? Can they be used on another Star Alliance partner?
I read the fare rules and they not clear…😟
Thanks
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 11:25 am
  #848  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by mmack
We cancelled tickets SFO-EWR and received FFCs worth about $7000. One year to use them.
Can these be used for international travel? Can they be used on another Star Alliance partner?
I read the fare rules and they not clear😟
Thanks
Yes, you can use them for international flights and partner flights sold through united.com. Is this for a single passenger or multiple? Because FFC credit can only be used to book tickets for the named traveler so if it's for multiple pax each person can only use their amount.
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Last edited by friedablass; Apr 9, 2024 at 4:15 pm Reason: typo
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 11:58 am
  #849  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Latin America and USA
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Gold
Posts: 459
I have a 016 ticket purchased from UA's website, non-refundable normal (not basic) economy: ABC-PTY-IAH-SLC-IAH-PTY-ABC. ABC is a South American city. ABC-PTY and PTY-ABC are operated by CM, all other legs by United. I used PlusPoints on PTY-IAH-SLC-IAH-PTY and several legs have confirmed upgrades already.

I may be forced by acute illness to cancel the trip. Hopefully I can go, but if not, two questions:

-Will I receive a FFC that I can use in my name for a different routing at a later date? I will definitely use the value on United, but would not have any to reason to go to SLC later if I am too sick to make this upcoming trip.

-Will the PlusPoints be redeposited for the upgrades that already confirmed?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 12:21 pm
  #850  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Carmel Valley(was Hawaii)
Programs: United 1K 2.7 MM
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Originally Posted by friedablass
Yes, you can use them for international flights and partner flights sold through united.com. Is this for a single passenger or multiple? Because FFC credit can only be used to book tickets for the named traveler do if it's for multiple pax each person can only use their amount.
yes, same passengers. I just decided that I would rather use the $$$ on international travel than flying to Newark.
have more trips planned this year!
Thanks
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 12:23 pm
  #851  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York, NY
Programs: Independent
Posts: 470
Originally Posted by Smiley90
If that's the issue, then that's much more minor than it not being extendable anymore. If I have a screenshot and a confirmation email with an expiry showing 2025, you bet ill be calling United until they let me use my credit.
It's minor - in that you will probably get them to fix it - but it might take a lot of time on the phone or chat.

My workaround (book, change, cancel, forcing a manual refund) ended up with one flight with truly extended dates (even at booking) and another flight with four FFCs (for the four passengers), all in one passenger's name. Fortunately "fixing" it involved a conversion of all of them (from both flights, because the agent fixed the wrong flight by mistake) to a single ETC so it bought me an extra year to worry about it, but it wasn't fun.
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Old Apr 11, 2024, 4:13 pm
  #852  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: Mileageplus
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I had a FFC in my "wallet" and I tried using it online for a domestic F booking. I saw the credit, the screen had to box to check for booking using the credit and I got all the way to ticketing but the credit was no where to be found. When I entered the PNR locator in the "find credit" boxes it came back saying it wasn't found. After a few tries I called an agent who made the booking for me. She was able to use the credit and her explanation was the new itinerary had to be in the same PNR where the previous ticket was issued (hence, where the credit was). And true enough, the same PNR locator is what came back. I cancelled the original booking over a month ago. I felt the IT wasn't figured out on this situation as it was a shame to have to call an agent for what should have been a very easy online booking.
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Old Apr 11, 2024, 7:10 pm
  #853  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2,300
Originally Posted by wcalvert
Had a Future Flight Credit that expired 3/31/24. Booked a new standard non-refundable ticket that was a few dollars more than the original credit on 3/29/24.

Just cancelled it (today, 4/8/24) and was issued a new FFC that says it expires 3/29/25.

I know this might not be working anymore. Maybe they drew a line on FFC issued after 3/31?
Based on what you're describing you originally had an ETC expiring 3/31/24 and now have an FFC expiring 3/29/25, else everything else you described wouldn't have been possible.

If you truly had an FFC expiring 3/31/24, then you would have had to begin travel by 3/31/24 in order to book with it, and if you waited until 4/8/24 to cancel you would have long no-showed and lost all value for anything you booked to meet that 3/31/24 fly by date if it had been an FFC.

ETC expiration extend by a year as an FFC still works (since ETCs are basically like cash buying a new ticket). FFC expiration extend by a year as an FFC seems mostly dead under the existing method with the exception seeming to be to trigger a manual review which gets mixed results depending on the agent..
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Old Apr 11, 2024, 10:05 pm
  #854  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,107
Originally Posted by 1kprem
.... She was able to use the credit and her explanation was the new itinerary had to be in the same PNR where the previous ticket was issued (hence, where the credit was). ...
Not true but that is UA's preference. ANd will not work at all if using multiple FFCs

Originally Posted by 1kprem
.... I felt the IT wasn't figured out on this situation as it was a shame to have to call an agent for what should have been a very easy online booking.
Having done this many times and based on reports on FT, generally works but occasionally does not and a call with agent rebooking is a last resort when it does not.
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Old Apr 12, 2024, 3:03 pm
  #855  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC, MSY
Programs: DL DM, 1.5MM, NEXUS, Sky Club Lifetime, Admirals Club Lifetime, LowValueCustomer everywhere
Posts: 6,458
I had posted upthread about 2 FFC's, 1 for me and one for my wife with fly by dates in September 2024. After learning that the best I could hope for was extending the useful life of the FFC's I decided to give it a try. When checking for a flight we could use before that ,I was unable to find a usable flight on the date we needed. I then booked a flight on that date for both of us and when I got to the payments page I was able to select the 2 FFC's and additional charges of $19 each. I booked the reservation and was somewhat surprised that I received a new PNR. I plan on cancelling the reservation in the next two weeks and am hopeful that I receive a new, year expiration date on the new FFC's. I'll post the result when I cancel this PNR.
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