United Airlines flight credits: Everything you need to know

Asia's Tech News Daily

© Provided by The Points Guy MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Like many other carriers United Airlines has eliminated change fees on many flights and has been issuing credits for canceled trips since the height of the pandemic.

Following COVID-related cancellations, travelers have had to learn to navigate the world of travel credits in a serious for the very first time. And, whether or not it’s the airline’s intention, the intricacies of these various carrier-specific certificates can add yet another layer to the already complex process of booking a flight.

In most cases, if United cancels your flight, you’re eligible for a refund to your original form of payment. Meanwhile, if you are the one making the choice not to travel, you’ll most likely end up with what the airline calls a “future flight credit,” or an Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC), which are two different instruments.

Both types of credits can be used to book new travel, but there are some important nuances to note. For instance, future flight credits are valid for less time. They also can’t be redeemed for someone else unless you purchased your ticket on or before Aug. 31, 2021.

After reading this guide, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of United’s various flight credits, and how you can redeem them when booking a flight.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

Accruing electronic travel certificates

Of United’s two flight credit offerings, electronic travel certificates are the most useful since they’re valid for longer (two years from the issue date) than future flight credits. They can also be combined with other ETCs and can be redeemed for travel for someone other than the person whose original trip was changed. In short, they’re basically like money that you just happen to have to spend on United.

United customers who have experienced various service lapses are likely already familiar with ETCs. You’ll receive one whenever the airline issues any form of monetary compensation — an extra-long delay, broken in-flight entertainment system, involuntary denial of boarding and so on.

Until recently, customers taking advantage of United’s free-change policy had been able to request an ETC when voluntarily canceling a flight. The airline has since made that process a bit more complicated, but you may still be eligible for a certificate instead of a future travel credit. You’ll need to speak with a reservations agent at (800) 864-8331 to make the request.

Redeeming electronic travel certificates

United now lists travel credits on the “My account” page, which you can access right here when logged into your MileagePlus account. Unfortunately, the airline’s website only seems to track a portion of a customer’s available ETCs — I keep mine organized in a spreadsheet, and I recommend you do the same.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

ETCs can be redeemed for travel operated by partners, as long as at least one segment in the itinerary is operated by United and United Express.

If you’ve selected an eligible flight, you’ll see an option to redeem your ETCs on the payments page. Certificates can be used to cover the cost of seat assignments when selected during the purchase process, too, which adds another layer of usefulness.

Related: Here’s what to do if you need to cancel your trip

ETCs can be used multiple times — if the flight costs less than the value of the certificate, the balance will remain on your account. If you’re purchasing a higher-cost flight, you can combine ETCs with a credit card payment to cover the difference.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

After you successfully enter an ETC, including the year issued, 10-digit PIN code and the recipient’s last name, you’ll see the amount deducted from your flight total.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

United recently added the ability to combine up to 10 ETCs on the airline’s website. Alternatively, you can call the reservations line at (800) 864-8331 to have your certificates combined over the phone. Just note that when combining certificates over the phone, the expiration date may be updated to 24 months from the date the oldest ETC was issued, not 24 months from the date your ETCs are combined, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Future flight credit

Unlike ETCs, future flight credits can be used to cover the cost of partner flights, even those without a United flight on the same itinerary, as long as those flights are available to book via United, either on United’s own website or by calling reservations at (800) 864-8331.

These credits can normally only be used by the traveler whose name was on the original reservation. However, United is allowing credits issued for tickets purchased on or before Aug. 31, 2021, to be used to book travel for others.

To view your current future flight credits, log in to United’s website then head to the “My trips” page right here. From there, click the “Future flight credit” tab and select the “Book with credit” option to book a new trip.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

Unfortunately, I haven’t had success redeeming future travel credits for revenue tickets online — you can always give reservations a call at (800) 864-8331 to rebook if you receive an error, such as the one I’ve repeatedly encountered below.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

For a while, if you moved to a lower-cost flight, you lost any residual value. Luckily, United backtracked on this strict restriction in April 2021. You’ll now get a new future flight credit when rebooking to a less expensive flight.

The same applies when using the future flight credit tool to rebook canceled award tickets. If your new flight requires fewer miles or a lower cash co-pay, you’ll receive a refund for the balance once you reissue the ticket.

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of united.com

Your first instinct may be to cancel and redeposit the award, for added flexibility, but if you had been able to lock in a lower-rate award with your original booking, it may be advantageous to call in and request an agent’s help in making the change.

If United canceled your original flight and the airline still offers service between the same cities on your new travel date, a reservations agent may be able to reissue your award in the originally ticketed cabin at the original rate.

Related: Guide to the United MileagePlus program

For example, since United was responsible for the cancellation, in my case, an agent may be able to honor my original 60,000-mile award rate between Newark (EWR) and Dublin (DUB), even if a similar award is priced higher on United’s website today. There’s never any guarantee, but it’s certainly worth making the request.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to book a cash fare, you may be able to call United reservations at (800) 864-8331 to have your future flight credit canceled, with the balance issued in the form of an ETC, instead. That’s certainly your best bet if you’re looking to move to a lower-cost flight, or prefer to use your credit to book travel for someone else.

United TravelBank

United offers a third type of travel credit, via the airline’s TravelBank. Customers purchase these credits directly — they’re not issued following a customer service complaint or flight cancellation. It’s also possible to boost your balance with the since-discontinued United TravelBank Card.

The information for the United TravelBank Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Generally, it doesn’t make sense to tie up funds without some sort of additional return, but United does occasionally offer incentives for customers to add funds to their TravelBank, in the form of a percentage bonus or fixed mileage earnings, such as 5 miles for every dollar spent.

TravelBank funds can be redeemed for flights operated by United and United Express. Unfortunately, they cannot be combined with ETCs or future flight credits, and, since they offer the longest validity, I’d use up any other credits before tapping your TravelBank.

Related: Hotel and airline elite status extensions stretching into 2023

Expiration policy

While United miles no longer expire, all of the carrier’s travel credits are subject to expiration as follows:

  • Electronic Travel Certificates: 24 months from issue date*
  • Future flight credit: 12 months from original ticket issue date**
  • TravelBank: 5 years after last activity

*All electronic certificates due to expire prior to Dec. 31, 2022, will be extended until Dec. 31, 2022. 

**Future flight credits issued on or before Dec. 31, 2021, will be valid until Dec. 31, 2022

So keep these policies in mind if you have a few different types of credit since you’ll want to use the ones expiring soonest first.

Bottom line

Navigating United’s various travel credits and policies can seem daunting, and perhaps needlessly complex. Still, armed with this guide, you should have a much better idea of how to identify which credits you have at your disposal, and how to make the most of them when booking your next trip.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Bandenchef befreit: Bewaffnete stürmen Gefängnis in Mexiko

Unbekannte haben in Mexiko ein Gefängnis gestürmt und neun Insassen befreit. © Bereitgestellt von Blick Bewaffnete stürmen Gefängnis in Mexiko Die Bewaffneten verschafften sich in der Nacht zum Donnerstag Zugang ... Read more »

Stammspieler Pius Suter mit 11. Skorerpunkt

© KEYSTONE/AP/Paul Sancya Pius Suter skort in der Nacht auf Donnerstag. Der Zürcher in Diensten der Detroit Red Wings lässt sich beim 4:3-Sieg nach Penaltyschiessen über die Seattle Kraken einen ... Read more »

Otto Schily: Allgemeine Impfpflicht ist unverantwortlich und verfassungswidrig

© Bereitgestellt von Berliner Zeitung Der Jurist und frühere Spitzenpolitiker Otto Schily rechnet mit der aktuellen Corona-Politik ab. Schily, der nach eigenen Angaben bereit dreimal geimpft ist, hält eine allgemeine ... Read more »

Erdogan tauscht inmitten Lira-Krise Finanzminister aus

© picture alliance / AA | Mustafa Kamaci Der türkische Präsident hatte zuvor die Landeswährung mit seiner Kritik an hohen Zinsen auf Talfahrt geschickt. Inmitten einer schweren Währungskrise tauscht der ... Read more »

Chinesische Corona-Propaganda: Facebook löscht Hunderte Fake-Konten zu «Schweizer Biologen»

Die Facebook-Mutter Meta hat nach einer mutmasslichen Propaganda-Kampagne aus China in sozialen Medien Hunderte Konten eines vermeintlichen Schweizer Biologen gelöscht. Diese hatten behauptet, die USA mischten sich in die Suche ... Read more »

Salman Khan, family not invited to Vicky-Katrina wedding, Arpita reveals

Will Salman Khan attend Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif’s wedding in Jaipur? Bollywood actors Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif are getting married in a few days and the buzz around ... Read more »

Ride hailing firm Ola aims to make India global EV hub

© Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee FILE PHOTO: An employee speaks over his phone as he sits at the front desk inside the office of Ola cab service in Gurugram (Reuters) -Indian ride-hailing ... Read more »

UAE National Day: what are the Covid rules for people attending events today?

© Provided by The National Visitors watch fireworks as part of the UAE’s 50th National Day celebration at Expo 2020 on December 1. Pawan Singh/The National. On Wednesday, the UAE ... Read more »

Why thousands of Iraqi Kurds risk their lives to reach Europe

© Provided by Al Jazeera Iraqi Kurds hold a rally to protest against corruption and scarcity of services in the city of Sulaimaniyah [File: Shwan Mohammed/AFP] Asos Hassan is among ... Read more »

Cage your pet birds, AVS warns after peacock thrashes toddler

Disclaimer: MSN advises its readers to use their discretion while reading this since the story’s details might be unsettling and can cause distress to some. Animal authorities warned pet owners ... Read more »

Shuttered Hong Kong democracy paper wins press freedom award

© Anthony WALLACE Apple Daily, formerly Hong Kong’s most popular pro-democracy newspaper, collapsed in June after authorities froze its assets under a national security law imposed by Beijing to curb ... Read more »

Ghislaine Maxwell 'looking pretty well' says brother Kevin in first chat in 500 days

the federal courthouse following testimony in their sister’s sex trafficking trial – AP/Yuki Iwamura Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother has expressed his “tremendous relief” at being able to see his sister in ... Read more »

The pandemic body: how the Covid era changed us – from hair loss to weight gain

This year, out of nowhere, my left heel has started hurting. Is it the onset of some degenerative condition, a normal byproduct of ageing, or simply pandemic life, I wonder. ... Read more »

COVID-19: UAE, Saudi Arabia report first Omicron cases

© Provided by DNA Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) detected the first cases of the new Omicron variant, recording the first known instances of new infections in ... Read more »

They trusted a coach with their girls and Ivy League ambitions. Now he's accused of sex abuse.

1 / 4They trusted a coach with their girls and Ivy League ambitions. Now he’s accused of sex abuse. The rowing season had already ended by the time the seven ... Read more »

Serum Institute seeks approval for booster shots of Covishield amid fears over Omicron

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has sought approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for booster ... Read more »

First Drive: The Genesis G70 Shooting Brake arrives as a stylish alternative to established rivals

What is it? The G70 feels agile on twisty roads Genesis is in a bit of a new model frenzy. Initially arriving on the scene with the G80 saloon and ... Read more »

Fingerprint leads Florida police to arrest man in 1983 cold case killing

A man was arrested Monday in the death of a woman in Delray Beach, Florida, 38 years ago after a fingerprint was identified, officials said. Ralph Williams was arrested in ... Read more »

Canada Goose under fresh fire in China over no-return policies

A sign of Canada Goose is pictured outside its store in Beijing’s Sanlitun area BEIJING (Reuters) – China's top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against “bullying” ... Read more »

YRF's first OTT project 'The Railway Men' to pay tribute to unsung heroes of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy

© Provided by DNA Yash Raj Films is venturing into the booming digital content (over-the-top or OTT) landscape of India. YRF’s streaming content production business will be called YRF Entertainment ... Read more »

Anupamaa, 2 December 2021, Written Update: Shah family discusses the topic of marriage

© Provided by Pinkvilla Today we see that the Shah family dances together and celebrates Leela and Hasmukh’s 50th wedding anniversary. Anuj dreams of dancing with Anupama but controls his ... Read more »

Uttar Pradesh COVID-19 Curbs: UP issues fresh guidelines for travellers amid Omicron concerns | Details here

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As the emergence of the newly found COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which is said to be more infectious than previous ... Read more »

'Sacrilege' in Parliament cannot be justified: Venkaiah Naidu

Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu issued a statement on Thursday, December 2, saying that propaganda to justify ‘sacrilege’ in Parliament is being spread. “A message is sought to be sent ... Read more »

Two of four charged in killing of Dakota County man plead guilty to aiding an offender

Dec. 2—Two of the four suspects involved in a burglary that resulted in the death of a Dakota County man in July pleaded guilty Wednesday. Timothy William Tuit, 36, of ... Read more »

Michigan school shooting: Ethan Crumbley, 15, charged with terrorism and murder of four teens

A 15-year-old gunman who killed four fellow pupils in a school shooting in Michigan had reportedly posted a countdown on social media and written “Now I become death – destroyer ... Read more »

Coin Master free spins and coins links (December 2, 2021)

© Provided by GamePur The main objective of Coin Master is building your village by spinning a slot machine and collecting coins to buy upgrades. Additionally, you can raid and ... Read more »

Air pollution: SC raps Delhi govt over 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' campaign

The Supreme Court on Thursday came down hard on the Delhi government over its ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign to curb vehicular pollution, saying it was nothing but a ... Read more »

No govt jobs, until when youth should keep patience: Varun Gandhi

BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Thursday highlighted lack of government employment opportunities for the young and wondered how long should they keep patience. “First, there are no government jobs. Still, ... Read more »

India hits out at UN human rights body for comments on J&K

India on Thursday hit out at the UN human rights body OHCHR for its adverse comments on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it “betrays” a complete lack of ... Read more »

Dam Safety Bill, 2019 to be discussed in Rajya Sabha today: Key features of proposed legislation

© Provided by Firstpost Dam Safety Bill, 2019 to be discussed in Rajya Sabha today: Key features of proposed legislation The Dam Safety Bill 2021 was moved in the Rajya ... Read more »

At 8,954, India sees marginal rise in daily Covid cases

© Provided by The Statesman At 8,954, India sees marginal rise in daily Covid cases India on Wednesday reported 8,954 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, a marginal ... Read more »

Exclusive THE BIG DAY: Is Katrina Kaif getting married to Vicky Kaushal today or tomorrow?

© Provided by Pinkvilla Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s hush-hush wedding next week on December 9 is the talk of the town. While the traditional Punjabi wedding will be held ... Read more »

Aamir Khan and ex-wife Kiran Rao look happy as son Azad cuts birthday cake. Watch

Aamir Khan’s son’s birthday celebration. Aamir Khan and his ex-wife Kiran Rao’s son, Azad Rao Khan, turned 10 on November 25. The two came together for the special occasion. The ... Read more »

SC raps Delhi govt for reopening schools despite rising air pollution

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Delhi government why schools were still open in the national capital despite high pollution levels. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions in Delhi ... Read more »

The `Aashiqui Aa Gayi` song featuring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde is the love anthem of the year

© Provided by Radio City Prabhas`s pan-India film Radhe Shyam is gearing up for it`s release. Set to be one of the biggest movies of 2022, the film is a ... Read more »

Turkey seeks Ukraine-Russia de-escalation, opposes sanctions on Moscow - Anadolu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib in Beirut ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is in contact with Ukraine and Russia to ... Read more »

People ‘microdosing' on psychedelics to improve wellbeing during pandemic

Photograph: Maartje Blijdenstein/AFP/Getty Images The pandemic has seen a shift towards recreational drug users taking tiny doses of psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, to improve their wellbeing and ... Read more »

23ABC Weather for Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Today’s weather for Wednesday, December 1, 2021 brought to you by 23ABC’s Rosaura Simone. Read more »

Man shot by police in Forest Lake has died

Dec. 2—A man shot during by police in Forest Lake on Sunday has died, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Wednesday. Bradley George Erickson, 47, was injured in a ... Read more »

Netflix UK releases in December 2021 – every new movie and TV show coming this month

The final month of 2021 is here – and it’s a big one for Netflix. There will be not one, not two, but three Oscar-friendly films released this month: Jane ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic