Good news for United Airlines flyers, as the carrier has backtracked on its punitive policy of voiding residual value when modifying tickets if the new itinerary was cheaper.
United Airlines Now Provides Residual Credit When Your New Flight Is Cheaper
Starting immediately, if you change your flight on United and your new itinerary is cheaper than your old itinerary, you will receive the difference in the form of an electronic travel certificate (ETC).
Up until now, if your new ticket was cheaper, you forfeited any residual value.
Reader UA-NYC first noticed this when changing a ticket and alerted me. I reached out to United to confirm and a spokesperson noted:
“To give our customers more flexibility and more time to use the value of their original ticket, United will provide customers with a credit when they rebook their flight and the new flight is less than the previous flight.”
Currently, this option is only available over the phone (800.United1) but United plans to soon make this automatic online.
This is an important move which matches the policy of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Practically, it will lead to more business from me and many readers who will be more willing to choose United knowing that if plans change, they won’t lose money due to an arbitrary administrative matter.
Here’s an example. I had an $89 credit with United recently and needed to go to San Francisco. Fares were $59 on United. I could have used the $89 credit, lost the $30, and not paid anything out-of-pocket. But instead I booked American Airlines. This move will certainly keep me in the United camp more often.
Keep in mind that United does not charge change fees on domestic flights as well as those to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Basic Economy tickets generally are not modifiable (use it or lose it), but a waiver has been extended on these flights until April 30, 2021.
ETCs function like a gift card and can be used as a form of payment during checkout when you purchase a flight.
This is great news from United Airlines and also very appropriate considering the more generous policy of its competitors. If your new flight is cheaper on United, you will no longer forfeit the difference.