Earlier this year I had to cancel a non-refundable flight (6 tickets) on United. We were told that they would hold the fare value as a credit for 12 months, but that if we wanted to use that credit the original change fee would still apply.

So my question is, will the change fee be deducted from the fare credit if new fares are more than $200 cheaper than the original fares? Or is the change fee over-and-above the fare and must be paid separately?

e.g. Lets say original tickets were $300pp
New tickets (different destination on same airline) are $100pp
Can I just use the fare credit to cover that $100+$200 change fee, or will it be $100 from the credit and the fee covered by me?

I'm just trying to determine whether it will actually be worth looking for a new destination or just write off the $1800 originally paid rather than coming up with another $1200 just to cover that fee.


In almost all cases, United requires "new money" for the change fee. ie, the change fee does NOT come out of the value of the ticket/credit, but you are required to pay the full cost of the change fee, and you will then get the full value of the credit.

In the example you've given above, you would need to pay United $200 dollars, which would then unlock the full $300 value you have in your ticket - which would need to be use to purchase a ticket in the same name as the original ticket.

If you were to then buy a new $100 ticket with that money, you would receive a $200 (ie, $300 - $100) "Travel Certificate", which can then be used to book a future flight in any name, although with some restrictions such as it only being useable on United Airlines flights (not codeshares/etc).

Given you're talking about 6 tickets, you would need to hand over $1200 in change fees in order to unlock the value in all of them.

There are a small number of exceptions to the above, but they are generally either country-based, or for corporate customers - neither of which I'm presuming are relevant here.

  • This is not what I'm wanting to hear. I'm hoping the other answer is correct, but I'm picking this is probably the right answer
    – Midavalo
    Jul 18 '19 at 3:03

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