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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 May 18, 2024, 9:48 pm
  #946  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Programs: Former 1KMM now free as UA Gold MM, former HH D, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,123
I am curious for some help here. I followed the wiki a few months ago and got my FFC extended into 2025. I have an email from United confirming the same. Now when I try to use it it defaults to and original date a few weeks from now. I’d like to use it later this summer. It’s not a vast sum, but still…
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Old May 18, 2024, 10:06 pm
  #947  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,274
Originally Posted by bmr12
I am curious for some help here. I followed the wiki a few months ago and got my FFC extended into 2025. I have an email from United confirming the same. Now when I try to use it it defaults to and original date a few weeks from now. Id like to use it later this summer. Its not a vast sum, but still
Unfortunately that has happen to a number of folks. Best advice is to read the last 50 or so posts and see if you can make sense out of it , I am have trouble figuring things out.
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old May 19, 2024, 11:39 am
  #948  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Programs: Former 1KMM now free as UA Gold MM, former HH D, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,123
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Unfortunately that has happen to a number of folks. Best advice is to read the last 50 or so posts and see if you can make sense out of it , I am have trouble figuring things out.
Ok, Seawolf's tip (below) seems to have worked for my needs.

Originally Posted by seawolf
What you can do with the $187 FFC is to book a reservation for a flight prior to Aug 4, 2024 and then change flight to the future. Currently, change flight functionality allows you to change flights to dates after the FFC expiration date.
.
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Old May 19, 2024, 1:02 pm
  #949  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: SJC
Programs: Does it matter any more?
Posts: 2,159
Recent experience. I had credits from canceling travel for May 8. I was trying to apply it to travel for Jun 12. Going through a fresh booking, I get to the payment page. I search for and find the credit. It chokes saying the credit is not valid for travel commencing after Jun 4. I give up

I pull up the email where I got the FFC in the first place. That has a `book with credit` button. I click that. pick my flight for Jun 12 and the credit is applied, ticketing completes without errors

Go figure!
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Old May 20, 2024, 5:57 am
  #950  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Houston
Programs: Continental, UA
Posts: 49
Originally Posted by legionnaire
Recent experience. I had credits from canceling travel for May 8. I was trying to apply it to travel for Jun 12. Going through a fresh booking, I get to the payment page. I search for and find the credit. It chokes saying the credit is not valid for travel commencing after Jun 4. I give up

I pull up the email where I got the FFC in the first place. That has a `book with credit` button. I click that. pick my flight for Jun 12 and the credit is applied, ticketing completes without errors

Go figure!
Thanks for that info. My email from UA does not have that "book with credit" button.
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Old May 20, 2024, 8:50 am
  #951  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: NYC
Programs: AA 2MM, Bonvoy LTT, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 14,719
Originally Posted by Hanalei
Thanks for that info. My email from UA does not have that "book with credit" button.
Same here. My email only has a "View your future flight credit in your account."

Perhaps the email is the one with subject "Your flight cancellation is confirmed." It doesn't have a button but it does have a hyperlink.

Thank you for choosing United
Now that your travel plans have changed, here's what to do next:
Go to My trips and enter the confirmation number from this email and last name on the reservation
- or book with credit now.
We look forward to seeing you on your next flight.
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Old May 20, 2024, 11:58 am
  #952  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Houston
Programs: Continental, UA
Posts: 49
Originally Posted by seawolf
Same here. My email only has a "View your future flight credit in your account."

Perhaps the email is the one with subject "Your flight cancellation is confirmed." It doesn't have a button but it does have a hyperlink.

Thank you for choosing United
Now that your travel plans have changed, here's what to do next:
Go to My trips and enter the confirmation number from this email and last name on the reservation
- or book with credit now.
We look forward to seeing you on your next flight.
My “Your flight cancellation is confirmed” email doesn’t look like above. It’s because I also have a refund.

My email says:

“We've received your request for a refund

Your reservation, xxxxxx, was canceled and we have received your request for a refund. If you are requesting a credit card refund, please allow seven business days for processing. If your credit card refund is not posted within one billing cycle, please contact your credit card company. For all other forms of payment, including cash refunds, please allow 20 business days for processing.”

Good to know about these different scenarios.
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Old May 20, 2024, 12:54 pm
  #953  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: NYC
Programs: AA 2MM, Bonvoy LTT, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 14,719
Originally Posted by Hanalei
My Your flight cancellation is confirmed email doesnt look like above. Its because I also have a refund.

My email says:

We've received your request for a refund

Your reservation, xxxxxx, was canceled and we have received your request for a refund. If you are requesting a credit card refund, please allow seven business days for processing. If your credit card refund is not posted within one billing cycle, please contact your credit card company. For all other forms of payment, including cash refunds, please allow 20 business days for processing.

Good to know about these different scenarios.
Sounds like this email is due to cancellation done within 24 hours of booking.
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Old May 20, 2024, 1:51 pm
  #954  
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Posts: 19
Trying to help others out with expiring ETC (not expiring FFC). I understand I am losing a lot of flexibility but I had no concrete plans anytime in the future to use this ETC so I wanted to extend it. It looks like I was successful in converting an expiring ETC to a FFC expiring one year from now and giving myself more time. Steps taken:

1. Book economy flight for slightly more than ETC (non refundable economy), use credit card for difference
2. Wait 24 hours and cancel booking
3. Entire amount was issued back as a FFC to be used by 5/19/2025.

It is showing up in my United account. I will let anyone know if this breaks somewhere along the way.
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Old May 20, 2024, 9:30 pm
  #955  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: SJC
Programs: Does it matter any more?
Posts: 2,159
Originally Posted by seawolf
Same here. My email only has a "View your future flight credit in your account."

Perhaps the email is the one with subject "Your flight cancellation is confirmed." It doesn't have a button but it does have a hyperlink.

Thank you for choosing United
Now that your travel plans have changed, here's what to do next:
Go to My trips and enter the confirmation number from this email and last name on the reservation
- or book with credit now.
We look forward to seeing you on your next flight.
I found it in the mail with the subject "Your flight cancellation is confirmed" that lists the PNR of the booking you canceled. That has a "Book with credit" button/link.
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legionnaire is offline  
Old May 28, 2024, 3:57 am
  #956  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Germany
Programs: BA Silver + AY Platin + DL Silver
Posts: 440
Originally Posted by seawolf

So you need to find a cheaper fare in any market (say IAH-VCT), change to that itin so that it genuinely kicks out a new FFC with 1 year expiration so you minimize the amount (IAH-VCT) keeping Aug 2024 date.
Looks like this isn't working anymore, either. Changed an existing booking to a cheap domestic flight. FFC issued for the fare difference is still expiring Aug. 2024
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Old May 30, 2024, 5:54 am
  #957  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: NYC
Programs: AA 2MM, Bonvoy LTT, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 14,719
Originally Posted by delpiero223
Looks like this isn't working anymore, either. Changed an existing booking to a cheap domestic flight. FFC issued for the fare difference is still expiring Aug. 2024
still working for me. Just made a change this morning.

Booking first made May 27 2024 with FFC expiring May 5 2025 for PM LGA ORD.

Fare drop by $30 this morning mine and an AM flight.

Changed to AM flight ($30 cheaper). $30 FFC issued expiring May 27 2025 (booking date of itinerary plus 1 year).

Changed AM flight back to original flight.
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Old May 30, 2024, 6:07 am
  #958  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Germany
Programs: BA Silver + AY Platin + DL Silver
Posts: 440
Originally Posted by seawolf
still working for me. Just made a change this morning.
That's weird. Not sure why it didn't work for me, then.
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Old May 30, 2024, 2:18 pm
  #959  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 102
Anything I can do to push back travel credit?

I was not aware that I have a travel credit with united for $618. I need to start trip by 06/18/24. Are there any tricks to use it later? e.g. buy a ticket and change it?
nikleb is offline  
Old May 30, 2024, 7:37 pm
  #960  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,274
Originally Posted by nikleb
I was not aware that I have a travel credit with united for $618. I need to start trip by 06/18/24. Are there any tricks to use it later? e.g. buy a ticket and change it?
You can convert the ETC to FFC good for 1 year. Purchase an itin before 18 Jun, wait 24 hours and then cancel. You will get a FFC good for any itin starting before 1 year from the purchase. (May.June 2025 depending on when you use the ETC). Note unlike the ETC, the ETC is locked to the name used on the first purchase.
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