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Approach to summer trip? Cancel for credit by April 30 or wait? (Extended to 31 May)

Approach to summer trip? Cancel for credit by April 30 or wait? (Extended to 31 May)

Old Apr 23, 20, 8:51 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 25
Approach to summer trip? Cancel for credit by April 30 or wait? (Extended to 31 May)

We have international travel from California to Paris booked with UA for Aug 4. The intent of the trip was to celebrate a special family "anniversary" birthday, with family members flying in from 3 continents. Due to the current situation, and the fact that we have some senior travelers, we've collectively decided to cancel the trip. We may try again in 2021, but with momentum lost it likely won't happen now.

We'd pushed the boat out and had booked in business class, and so have a decent sized amount of money invested - almost $10K.

We know we currently have until the end of April to cancel for credit lasting for 24 months, but this doesn't appeal as it's very likely that we'd leave a large portion unused at the end of the 24 months. On the other hand I'm loath to miss the opportunity to grab the credit, rather than risk the situation where were "forced" to take the trip that we now have no purpose for.

I know there is no crystal ball, but am wondering if any of the more seasoned heads can offer their thoughts on how we should play this?

Thx!
temple is offline  
Old Apr 23, 20, 9:24 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by temple View Post
We know we currently have until the end of April to cancel for credit lasting for 24 months, but this doesn't appeal as it's very likely that we'd leave a large portion unused at the end of the 24 months. On the other hand I'm loath to miss the opportunity to grab the credit, rather than risk the situation where were "forced" to take the trip that we now have no purpose for.
Check the fare rules for your trip, which should be available linked from your itinerary page on United.com. Look for the change fee, as well as any rules about how the residual value is computed (and, also, whether or not it's actually a refundable ticket).

In most cases, the change fee would be about $450 per person, and residual value would be available in the form of an electronic travel credit when changing to a less expensive itinerary. If that's the case, that's what you'd actually be risking -- not the $10K, but rather $450 per person. Then, the only question is whether or not you want to wager $450 that the flights will be cancelled and that you'd be eligible for a refund. I'm not sure anyone can give odds on that right now.

It's also possible that UA will extend the travel waivers next week, giving you more time to make the decision. I certainly wouldn't cancel any earlier than April 30.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 9:38 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: ua Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver, Hyatt Gold, National Executive, Avis First
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We are in the same boat, although typically, I would have no problem getting the spend in over the 24 months (not sure now). If you wait, you are hoping basically hoping that United significantly reschedules your trip (at this point more than 6 hours change) you can get a full refund. It's extremely likely many international flights will be canceled or moved enough to qualify. But SOME of them will still fly, and its a gamble if it will be yours or not.

If you take the gamble and lose, you can still cancel your flight and reuse the ticket, but you'll lose the change fee. I don't know what type of credit (12 month, 24 month) you'll be able to get at that time, but it seems like it would be a 12 month future flight credit minus the change fees.
The other thing to know, if if you cancel by April 30, you'll get an ETC, which you can use to book a flight for anyone (not using partners) so even if you won't use the credit, if you have friends or family that might, you might be able to work out a deal.
I'll likely be cancelling by April 30th.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 9:41 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by z28lt1 View Post
The other thing to know, if if you cancel by April 30, you'll get an ETC, which you can use to book a flight for anyone (not using partners) so even if you won't use the credit, if you have friends or family that might, you might be able to work out a deal.
Note that selling or bartering ETCs is explicitly against the rules and can lead to the certificates being invalidated. Using one to buy a flight as a gift for a family member -- no problem. "Working out a deal" with a friend? Potentially problematic if UA were to find out.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 9:47 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: DUS
Programs: United-1K+1.97MM, Bonvoy-LifetimeGold, PriorityClub-Platin-Ambassador
Posts: 300
What would you do?

I have a flight in June : FRA-ORD-SEA-LAS-FRA-DUS booked in December 2019
another one in August : FRA-SFO-NRT-HND-SFO-FRA booked in February 2020
and one in Juy: FRA-SFO-HNL-SFO-FRA booked end of March 2020 with the use of a flightcredit for a cancelled April-flight.

Would you cancel the itins before 30th of April? And what would you take, ETC or FFC?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 9:56 am
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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I assume the chances are high they'll extend the waiver beyond April 30, no?
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Old Apr 23, 20, 10:07 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MFR
Programs: United, Alaska
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I have an August trip to the UK that I'd like to take if possible. UA has already changed the return itinerary to depart 3 hours earlier and arrive 2 hours later. So I qualify for a FFC or ETC credit no matter what, right? Any reason to worry about the current April 30 deadline?
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Old Apr 23, 20, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by PDXpress View Post
I have an August trip to the UK that I'd like to take if possible. UA has already changed the return itinerary to depart 3 hours earlier and arrive 2 hours later. So I qualify for a FFC or ETC credit no matter what, right? Any reason to worry about the current April 30 deadline?
I've only just noticed that our trip times have also already been rescheduled. We had originally booked direct between SFO and CDG, but have now been rescheduled by UA to go via EWR (both ways) - as follows:

Outbound:
  • Leave SFO 6+ hours earlier
  • Arrive CDG almost 3 hours later
Inbound:
  • Leave CDG 30 muniutes later
  • Arrive SFO 5+ hours later

I'm not familiar with the credits referenced...but it looks like perhaps this changes things a little bit?
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Old Apr 23, 20, 10:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Programs: UA Gold
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I'm also in a similar boat. Hopefully flying to TLV end of July to see some family there, then to AMS (separate PNR on Swiss) for a wedding, and then spend some time with the wife and head home from BRU.

At this point I'm not changing anything. My logic is that I really want to go on the trip (or go literally anywhere that isn't my apartment), and if the world is in a place where I can't go to any of these places, I expect to still have the ability to cancel for credit, even if not for an ETC.

I suspect this is a fairly personal decision for each individual. I think I skew to the younger side of the demographic here, and don't consider myself to be a high risk group for COVID-19. Which isn't to say it couldn't kill me, but so could the uber to the airport.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 10:44 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by temple View Post
I've only just noticed that our trip times have also already been rescheduled. We had originally booked direct between SFO and CDG, but have now been rescheduled by UA to go via EWR (both ways) - as follows:

Outbound:
  • Leave SFO 6+ hours earlier
Call and ask for a refund due to the schedule change. Explain that the new times are unacceptable. UA will do refunds for schedule changes more than 6 hours. If they try to put you on a partner airline instead, tell them that you specifically booked United and don't want to fly a partner.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 10:53 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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do you think there is any chance this gets extended past April 30th? i got a really great business class fare to Portugal last August for June 2020 travel and would like to push this to May 2021 but the schedule doesn't exist yet. i really don't want any more ETC or a refund. i want the cheap fare in 2021
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Old Apr 23, 20, 11:10 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by temple View Post
I've only just noticed that our trip times have also already been rescheduled. We had originally booked direct between SFO and CDG, but have now been rescheduled by UA to go via EWR (both ways) - as follows:

Outbound:
  • Leave SFO 6+ hours earlier
  • Arrive CDG almost 3 hours later
Inbound:
  • Leave CDG 30 muniutes later
  • Arrive SFO 5+ hours later

I'm not familiar with the credits referenced...but it looks like perhaps this changes things a little bit?
You are absolutely due a refund. Both under UA's COC and under DOT rules. You may be offered a voucher or a reroute, but have no obligation to accept either. Just be polite but firm. If it were to come to it (it won't), this is an easy chargeback, so just go ahead and ask for the refund.
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Old Apr 23, 20, 11:14 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jasonp622 View Post
do you think there is any chance this gets extended past April 30th? i got a really great business class fare to Portugal last August for June 2020 travel and would like to push this to May 2021 but the schedule doesn't exist yet. i really don't want any more ETC or a refund. i want the cheap fare in 2021
UA is not waiving fare differences. If the flight is more expensive now, you'd be expected to pay the difference when you change to it. I don't think that changes if they extend the waiver further (which I do think is likely).
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Old Apr 23, 20, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
You are absolutely due a refund. Both under UA's COC and under DOT rules. You may be offered a voucher or a reroute, but have no obligation to accept either. Just be polite but firm. If it were to come to it (it won't), this is an easy chargeback, so just go ahead and ask for the refund.
I called them and was told the 6 hour window only applies to refundable flights. Is this correct? If not then how can one escalate?
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Old Apr 23, 20, 12:51 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by temple View Post
I called them and was told the 6 hour window only applies to refundable flights. Is this correct? If not then how can one escalate?
No, it's not correct. HUCA.
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