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I’ll admit it, I have no status with United Airlines. I don’t have it as good as some United Premier Platinum, 1K, or Global Services who can avoid pretty much any fee. As a result of not having status, when I want to modify or cancel an award, I have to pay attention to the fee schedule to avoid incremental fees.
United gives Non Premier members a few options to modify awards without penalty. This is helpful to change the award to improve routing, departure date, carrier, even seat preference, or tee up an award for a schedule change to then cancel the ticket for free.
The United fee schedule permits changing the departure date/time if the award is greater than 21 days out. In addition, members can add, change or remove connection points for awards that are greater than 21 days out.
In my example, I’ll change the departure date and the number of connections for no additional miles and only the incremental taxes and fees for the connection or carrier difference.
Steps To Modify United Award Ticket
1. Select Change Flights Option
Go to the “Manage Reservations” section of your United account and select “Change Flights” on one of your reservations. You will be prompted to select the passengers and flights that you want to change.
2. Enter Your New Flight Search Criteria
Next, enter your new flight search criteria. You can pick any date in the future, but to avoid the fee as a non-elite member, select a date that is greater than 21 days in advance.
3. Select New Flight
The next step involves selecting your new flight(s) for the award ticket. In my example, I ultimately wish to cancel the award for free, so I searched for an award with multiple connections and multiple carriers. I also looked for awards that had availability in the same class, this may help avoid headaches later.
4. Review Your New Trip Itinerary
Once you select your flight, the ticket exchange summary will appear which shows any difference you may owe or receive back from your award ticket change. In my case, I had to come out of pocket for $7.80 in additional taxes in fees due to an added connection.
5. Update Traveler Information
Update your traveler information, as needed.
6. Pay For Any Difference
The final step is to pay for any difference in the award price.
Some airlines require Non-Elite members to incur costly change fees to modify or cancel award tickets.
In my recent example, I cancelled a United award ticket when the scheduled changed by only 15 minutes. Another example, is when I changed an American Airlines award ticket timing earlier this year to improve the flight time.
If your airline does require a change fee and you wish to cancel your ticket, pay attention to whether or not there was a schedule change. Because if there was, you just might be able to cancel your ticket at no cost.
What other ways have you found to modify an award ticket for free?