Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Change Fees "Gone For Good"(WW ex-USA,non-BE), credit for lower fare!, Intl&BE waiver

View Poll Results: What do you think of the recent UA changes in Changes fees?
Good idea: No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual AND No Standby fee/Free SDC all elites
148
64.35%
Good idea: No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual but NOT No Standby fee/Free SDC all elite
25
10.87%
Good idea: No Standby fee/Free SDC all elite but NOT No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual
18
7.83%
Neutral /don’t care about either
30
13.04%
Don’t like / think either is a good idea
9
3.91%
Voters: 230. You may not vote on this poll

Change Fees "Gone For Good"(WW ex-USA,non-BE), credit for lower fare!, Intl&BE waiver

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jul 25, 22, 5:43 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: DELee
Wiki Link
Latest Update: 23 December 2021:

"Change fees are gone" (change fee waiver): https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ngefeesaregone
We've permanently gotten rid of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. There also won't be change fees for other international travel originating in the U.S. Learn more

For all other standard Economy and premium cabin tickets, change fees are waived through January 31, 2022. Basic Economy tickets can only be changed if they’re issued by December 31, 2021, for travel commencing by December 31, 2021. See terms and conditions
(change fee waiver) Terms and Conditions: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ChangeFeeTerms

Tickets: Applies to standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and January 31, 2022, and Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021.

Changes/Cancellations: Customers with Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, or standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and January 31, 2022, will be permitted to change without paying a change fee. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and standard fare tickets may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit. If you purchased your ticket from a third-party agency, please check with the issuing agency for the rules of your ticket. Contract fares such as special bulk fares sold by travel agencies (e.g., opaque) may not be eligible for free changes. Any changes or cancellations must occur prior to ticketed travel date.

Please note: As of August 30, 2020, we no longer have change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. We also no longer have change fees for international travel originating in the U.S. For more information visit united.com/changefee.

Fare validity: This applies to all standard fare tickets issued through January 31, 2022, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016. It also applies to Basic Economy fare tickets issued through April 30, 2021 or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points of sale, provided the ticket number starts with 016.

Miscellaneous: Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Seats are capacity-controlled and may not be available on all flights or days. Some fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

New fine print (1 April 2021)
  • You can change Basic Economy tickets without change fees if the ticket is issued by April 30, 2021,
  • and all other international travel without change fees if the ticket is issued by May 31, 2021.
  • If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit.
Updated 30 Sept 2021
Tickets: Applies to standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and December 31, 2021, and Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021.

Changes/Cancellations: Customers with Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, or standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and December 31, 2021, will be permitted to change without paying a change fee. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and standard fare tickets may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit. If you purchased your ticket from a third-party agency, please check with the issuing agency for the rules of your ticket. Contract fares such as special bulk fares sold by travel agencies (e.g., opaque) may not be eligible for free changes. Any changes or cancellations must occur prior to ticketed travel date.

Please note: As of August 30, 2020, we no longer have change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. We also no longer have change fees for international travel originating in the U.S. For more information visit united.com/changefee.

Fare validity: This applies to all standard fare tickets issued through December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016. It also applies to Basic Economy fare tickets issued through April 30, 2021 or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points of sale, provided the ticket number starts with 016.

Miscellaneous: Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Seats are capacity-controlled and may not be available on all flights or days. Some fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
I just went through the process on a post-April 1st itinerary and was issued the new FFC vs ETCs. The agent tried to explain the new FFCs in detail:

The Bad:
1. No more ETC
2. No transferability
3. No combinability
4. Given there is no combinability, there is no more date-pushing (meaning new expiration date is most favorable of combined cert dates)

The Good:
5. Can use multiple towards a single itinerary (up to 10 she said)
6. Can pull from multiple accounts (3 from yours, 3 from spouse), so you don't have to split the locator to use from multiple accounts
7. Can be used on partner itineraries as long as one segment is UA
8. The FFCs show up in the account of the recipient and the booker. So I can see my spouse's FFCs if I booked the itenerary
9. FFCs now show up as a payment method in the app booking flow. For multi-passenger FFCs, both passengers show up!

I can live with all this, in exchange for no change fees, and reclaiming residual!
The fine-print on the change rules:
  1. If the new ticket costs less, the residual value from the old ticket is lost
  2. Multiple cancelled reservations cannot be combined to pay for a more expensive ticket
  3. Strictly U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean only (excludes Canada) and excludes Basic Economy and International flights
    1. Worldwide until Dec 31, 2020
United Airlines Permanently Eliminates Change Fees
Applies to all Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.;
Airline also announces complimentary standby travel, becomes only U.S. airline that will let all customers in all classes of service fly same-day standby for free
With these new options, United gives more flexibility than any other U.S. carrier when customers' travel plans change
Video(1) Photos(1)

CHICAGO, Aug. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The only thing constant is change and at United Airlines, some of the fees associated with changes related to flying are gone for good. The carrier announced today that it is permanently getting rid of change fees on all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., effective immediately. And starting on January 1, 2021, any United customer can fly standby for free on a flight departing the day of their travel regardless of the type of ticket or class of service, a first among U.S. carriers, while MileagePlus Premier members can confirm a seat on a different flight on the same day with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket if a seat in the same ticket fare class is available.

United is also extending its waiver for new tickets issued through December 31, 2020, to permit unlimited changes with no fee. This policy applies to all ticket types issued after March 3, 2020 and is valid for domestic and international travel. With these improvements, no U.S. airline gives their customers more flexibility when booking – and changing – their travel plans than United Airlines.

"Change is inevitable these days – but it's how we respond to it that matters most. When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request," said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message to customers. "Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won't be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we're taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better."

The new change fee policy applies to all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S. 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights.

Additionally, United is giving customers more flexibility to change their flights on the day of their travel so they can head home if a meeting ends earlier or enjoy a few more hours on vacation. With the ability to list for same-day standby for free, customers will now have an option to take a different flight with the same origin and destination airports as their original itinerary if space is available at departure. This enhanced option will be available to all customers for travel within the U.S. and to and from international destinations beginning on January 1, 2021. Customers who want to switch flights will be able to add themselves to the standby list through United's award-winning mobile app, on united.com or at the airport no later than 30 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and one hour before departure on international flights.

The carrier is also improving the travel experience for its MileagePlus members including waiving all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure and allowing all MileagePlus Premier members to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel. As a way to thank MileagePlus Premier members for their loyalty, beginning January 1, 2021, all Premier members will be able to confirm a seat for free on a different flight with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket. This expanded option will allow MileagePlus Silver members and above to confirm a new seat in the same ticket fare class if space is available. Earlier this year, United announced that it will extend status for MileagePlus Premier and Global Services members through January 2022. United also reduced thresholds for Premier qualification by 50 percent for each status level, to make reaching an even higher status tier easier.

For more information on United's new flexible travel policies, visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...hange-fee.html.

......
Related Threads
AA Eliminates Many Change Fees, Other Benefits 31 Aug 2020
Delta to Eliminate Change Fees on Domestic Tickets [Consolidated Thread]
Alaska Eliminates Change Fees (9/1/2020)

UA will extend BE/International change fee waiver (In response to AA?)
Print Wikipost

Old Aug 31, 20, 5:03 am
  #106  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1MM 1K, BA Gold
Posts: 400
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It's just that this inability to retain residual value is a very big deal for me, and I promise that it's going to be a very big deal for a lot fo other people also, because they're not going to understand it and they're going to get caught off-guard.
I have mixed feelings about the no residual problem, I wouldn't say it's a very big deal for me, but something I will consider. With a lot of bookings it will become a big tetris game to match which booking to change to what. Two other points:
1) I wonder what will happen to intl bookings where there is change fee. Will the no residual rule apply to those as well? That would be pretty bad news. As you pointed out earlier, this new practice gave me pause before booking intl P deals especially since March
2) No residual is not universal yet. I was messing around with some tickets (to use etc for non-UA operated flights) and to my surprise I did get an etc for a residual. It was only about $10 that I was planning to loose, because I couldn't optimize better. Now I didn't look at the fare rules for the original, but I assumed that UA had been only filing fares with the no residual rule since April.
fatlasercat is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 5:40 am
  #107  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: HaMerkaz/Exit 145
Programs: UA, LY, BA, AA
Posts: 13,129
Originally Posted by jmastron View Post
So basically moving to a system similar to Southwest -- no separate change fee, but you pay the fare difference (so the closer in you change, the more it costs). Definitely pros and cons of each, but seems like a good move with all the uncertainty that's likely to persist for a while.
How is that different than now where you pay the change fee plus the fare difference?
joshwex90 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 6:52 am
  #108  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Programs: UA: 1K 1.5MM, DL: DM 3.5MM, LH: exSEN 1MM, Bonvoy LT Titanium Elite, Hertz PresC
Posts: 250
Besides losing the fare difference if the earlier flight happens to be cheaper than the original purchased one, SDC within 24 hours "if the same booking class is available" is also very hard to achieve since most discounted fare classes are no longer available 24 hours before departure. That is currently also Delta's policy and it rarely works as flights are typically fully booked close to departure time. It will be interested to see how the other two traditional carriers (DL & AA) will adjust their rebooking fees as Delta currently will issue credits for residuals if the new ticket is cheaper.
Also, how does this new rule affect changes to LATER flights as it relates to SDC and standby flying?
Christefan is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 7:00 am
  #109  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: DAY
Programs: Rapid Rewards, Skymiles, Hilton HHonors, SPG/Marriott Rewards
Posts: 3,519
Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
Just as free bags were a given for eons, this could be a permanent change. But return on assets must be pursued at some point, either through the base fare, upgrade fees, permanent reduction in food service, etc. When just selling tickets becomes less of a miracle, there will be new initiatives to boost returns, even if change fees never* come back.
I wonder if UA is hoping to sell more regular economy fares from basic. I know this would push me that way.
Cledaybuck is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 7:45 am
  #110  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, CO USA
Programs: UA GS 3Million, Marriott/SPG LIFETIME Platinum - current Titanium, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 611
As regards standby, I can say after having to wrangle with Delta and pay $75 to get on an empty flight from SLC - MSP, I’m hoping that this is a successful strategy for UA, even though I haven’t had to worry about this for the past 20 years.
BlueHenFlyer is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 7:51 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 676
Correction. "This is a permanent change until demand recovers at which time we will reinstate it with slightly different terms and a different name."
iluv2fly and seanp7 like this.
glbltvlr is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 7:59 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 1,908
Originally Posted by Sherab Sherab View Post
still a major rip off! 50,000 for domestic one way coach that cost aorund $150 in cash or and 200,000 miles for asia one way coach award that cost$800 in cash most of the time is still a major rip off. so called saver awards almost NEVER exist. so this doesnt help on awards.
Any example of a 200k one way award US-Asia in Y? Even J I've only seen go up to 175k one-way for US-Asia.
lowfareair is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 8:00 am
  #113  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 12,540
Haven't kept up with the entire thread, but one assumes that despite the claim from the email that (bolding mine)

And starting this January, United® will be the only U.S. airline to let customers in all classes of service fly same-day standby for free.
it will remain functionally impossible to fly standby in any cabin other than Economy?
canadiancow likes this.
findark is online now  
Old Aug 31, 20, 8:14 am
  #114  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: NYC/SCF
Programs: IATA, Sabre, AvgeekAgent
Posts: 1,629
Originally Posted by Cledaybuck View Post
I wonder if UA is hoping to sell more regular economy fares from basic. I know this would push me that way.
For sure, and if it works, they can introduce "Basic+" (all fares booked in W class or lower):

Basic+ features all the great money saving features of Basic Economy, but with advance seating, full FF benefits AND free carry-ons!

Please note, Basic+ tickets are non-refundable, and as with all Basic Economy tickes, no changes or standby are permitted. All standard economy fares will continue to enjoy the permanent elimination of change fees and free standby.

Sarcastic predictions aside, all they (or DL or AA) have to do is start adding feature bundles to basic economy tickets that will drive prices higher for those that may value the bundled features (advance seats, bags, FF benefits, free meals, etc), but are not willing to pay for the soon to be much higher "regular economy" fare with free changes and standby. Not now, but when pricing power returns...

Last edited by NYC Flyer; Aug 31, 20 at 8:23 am Reason: sp., grammar, amplification
NYC Flyer is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 8:20 am
  #115  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ORD / MDW / FLL
Programs: DL DM/1MM, AA EXP, SPG Platinum, Hyatt Platinum, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 2,211
I look at this new "enhancement" and think...mheh. It's great for non-elites but as a 1K offers me very little. AA and DL offer same-day confirmed at no cost to top-tier elites regardless of fare class booked and whether or not that fare class is still available. With UA, any advanced-purchase fare class is likely zeroed out by departure day so, even though there is not a change fee, I am still socked with a fare difference if I want to confirm a different flight.

I would encourage UA to think long-term here. Biz travel will return and the day will come when that is what matters again so UA needs to be thinking about how to take care of their best customers...people who are not transactional customers.
SOBE ER DOC is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 8:50 am
  #116  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,345
Originally Posted by fatlasercat View Post
1) I wonder what will happen to intl bookings where there is change fee. Will the no residual rule apply to those as well? That would be pretty bad news. As you pointed out earlier, this new practice gave me pause before booking intl P deals especially since March
Way too soon to tell for sure, but the handwriting is certainly on the wall. There were already some no-residual fares filed prior to March; LH group was particularly fond of them. Of course, that pales in comparison to the no-changes-allowed rules on some LH-group P fares...

Originally Posted by fatlasercat View Post
2) No residual is not universal yet. I was messing around with some tickets (to use etc for non-UA operated flights) and to my surprise I did get an etc for a residual. It was only about $10 that I was planning to loose, because I couldn't optimize better. Now I didn't look at the fare rules for the original, but I assumed that UA had been only filing fares with the no residual rule since April.
The text has been in the waiver since it was first put into place in March, but I didn't check to see if the fare rules were updated at that time.

Originally Posted by Christefan View Post
Besides losing the fare difference if the earlier flight happens to be cheaper than the original purchased one, SDC within 24 hours "if the same booking class is available" is also very hard to achieve since most discounted fare classes are no longer available 24 hours before departure.
I frequently purchase discounted economy fares, and I'm frequently able to SDC. I'm not always able to get the exact flight that I want, but I'm usually able to get close. And I suspect that diminished demand means more availability...

Originally Posted by Christefan View Post
Also, how does this new rule affect changes to LATER flights as it relates to SDC and standby flying?
I don't personally believe there was an intent to change the way that SDC works, but it would be nice if there were clarification. The only reason that they would make the change to eliminate later flights is if they were tired of the abuse from people moving their flight by a week, 12 hours at a time. I think it's more likely the case that for 99% of the non-FT community, the desire is an earlier flight, not a later one. As for standby -- there is one person on the board who has claimed to be able to standby for a later flight on a regular basis, but for the most part, the intention of standby is to catch an earlier flight, because you still have a confirmed reservation if you don't get onto it. I suspect that standing by for a later flight is something that will happen as part of flat-tire rule accommodation: you miss your flight, so they put you on standby for the next one.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
it will remain functionally impossible to fly standby in any cabin other than Economy?
For CPU routes, I'd say that's accurate -- they will continue to clear CPUs well before they'd clear any standbys. For non-CPU routes, I'd be tempted to file this under wait-and-see. It does seem that they're rewriting the software that handles list clearance, so it's possible that they're going to clear lists independently.

Originally Posted by SOBE ER DOC View Post
With UA, any advanced-purchase fare class is likely zeroed out by departure day so, even though there is not a change fee, I am still socked with a fare difference if I want to confirm a different flight.
Again, that simply doesn't match my experience. I'm not going to claim that classes level X hours prior to departure, as they once did, but I've been able to do numerous free SDCs. I generally fly discount economy fares, and it's a rare flight that I'm not examining my SDC options, at the very minimum. While there are occasionally flights where I have no options, those are the exception, not the rule. The biggest challenges that I've faced are during the times when the app has decided to allow you to keep your upgrade during SDC, which is contrary to policy (and shouldn't be allowed for CPUs). In that case, the app is only looking for PZ space -- or, if I've been upgraded on one leg of a connecting flight, PZ space on that leg and my original booking class on the other leg, transiting the same city -- but a phone call has been able to get what I want.

As a simple test. For today's flights, and only looking at non-stops:
SFO-FRA: Available in all classes except IN/I and G, the latter of which isn't used.
SFO-EWR: the next flight is available in all fare classes except IN/I. The red-eye is sold out in J but available in all Y fare classes. Every intervening flight is available in every fare class.
MIA-ORD: sold out in J; zeroed out below W
AUS-IAD: available in every fare class
DEN-CLE: earlier flight is available in everything except IN/I; later flight is available in all fare classes.

This isn't a handpicked list; this is every city pair I tried (except LAX-CLE, because there weren't any nonstop options on that route).
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 8:56 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: EAU
Programs: UA 1K, CO Plat, NW Plat, Marriott Premiere Plat, SPG Plat, Priority Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 4,678
One of the reasons I've stuck with United is the 24-hour change window for Golds and up.

Does this mean that benefit is going away in favor of a same calendar day policy?

That would be a huge negative change for me.
raehl311 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 9:22 am
  #118  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 51,162
This is potentially good news, but the devil is ultimately going to be in the details - specifically, how Basic vs "regular" Economy is priced vs. the market.

I fly multiple routes already where the legacy-carrier "Basic" matches the Southwest fare. In that case, the WN fare remains a far better value. I've seen the legacy "regular" fare double this amount.

If this is cover to just move more and more traffic to Basic economy fares - make that the new standard leisure fare and make "regular" economy the typical business-traveler fare - then this isn't all that valuable to me. A free SDC on business trips would be nice, but it's kind of moot with so few frequencies these days.
SPN Lifer likes this.
pinniped is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 9:38 am
  #119  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: San Francisco
Programs: UA 1k, AS 75k, Marriott Titanium, AA Plat Pro, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 534
I'm going to remain neutral on these changes until I see how they work out in practice. It doesn't look like SDC is functionally any different if you already had it free as an elite benefit, but I'm not 100% certain from the wording. If SDC is restricted at all, or availability somehow decreases, that would be a pretty big value hit for me. SDC is pretty much the only benefit that has actually influenced me to purchase a ticket from United as opposed to Alaska.
zymm is offline  
Old Aug 31, 20, 9:40 am
  #120  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,345
Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
Does this mean that benefit is going away in favor of a same calendar day policy?
No, they have explicitly kept the 24-hour language in the SDC announcement. There are some questions about whether or not it will continue to apply to changing to a later flight as well as an earlier one. I suspect it will, but I acknowledge that it's ambiguous.

Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
If this is cover to just move more and more traffic to Basic economy fares - make that the new standard leisure fare and make "regular" economy the typical business-traveler fare - then this isn't all that valuable to me. A free SDC on business trips would be nice, but it's kind of moot with so few frequencies these days.
It doesn't make any sense to try to eliminate change fees as a way to move traffic to BE. UA wants to drive passengers away from BE. The fact that BE fares can't be changed, including SDC, was actually the primary reason I never booked one. If anything, free changes on regular economy make BE even less appealing.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread