United FareLock Fee: Worth It, or Use a Free Hold?
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Hilary Stockton

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United FareLock Fee-Worth It or Use a Free Hold?


Is United FareLock worth it? FareLock allows you to hold a great fare or award ticket you've found and purchase it either 72 hours or 7 days later, for a fee. The actual fee varies, depending on the flight and your hold period, but is usually in the $5-$20 range. I considered it briefly for a United award flight I'm taking later this year, but decided against it in favor of a free hold, which I'll describe later.

FareLock Pros:

  • Only way to hold a United fare for 7 days
  • Reasonable fee
  • Gives you time to transfer miles or price shop
  • Small price to pay if your plans aren't certain or you think there may be a fare war leading to even lower fares


FareLock Cons:

  • Fee is not credited toward your flight, even if you book it (as with any option or insurance)
  • Advance purchase only; not offered for flights close to your day of departure (so forget trying to game the system and circumvent 14-day advance purchase fare policies)
  • Not offered for Star Alliance, other partner flights or codeshares; only United metal
  • You may not be offered the 7 day hold period if you have enough miles in your account


Keep in mind that you do have other options:

1. You can cancel a purchased fare within 24 hours of purchase with no penalty

2. If it's a United award ticket, you can cancel and redeposit your miles for free as a top United elits (Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum) or pay $150 to do so as a non-elite ($125 as Premier Silver, $100 as Premier Gold)

3. It's still possible to hold a United fare for free until midnight of the following day (up to 48 hours) by selecting the Phone Booking option

How to Hold a United Fare for Free

1. To get a free hold, don't select FareLock and instead proceed to the payment page. instead of paying with a credit card, select the phone order page link

United FareLock or Free Hold? Click Phone Order Page Link


2. On the Phone Order Page, you'll see your confirmation number. 

United FareLock or Free Hold - Phone Order Page Confirmation Number


3. You can now go to the Reservations drop down, select "Change/View Existing Reservations," and see your held reservation. You can also see how long it's held for. If you held it shortly after midnight, you'll be able to hold it 48 hours, until midnight the following day. You can click the "More" link to purchase it online

FareLock Fee or Free Hold"


4. After clicking "More" you'll be able to click on the link "Complete this purchase now" to finish purchasing online, with no fee.

United FareLock or Free Hold? Up to 48 hours for free hold


Since in this case I didn't have a need for a long hold, the free 2 day hold was fine for my needs. Have you used this, or United FareLock? What was your experience?


Related Posts

Airline Hold Policies: Tips and Tricks

United Continental Merger Integration: What Frequent Flyers Need to Know

Best United Miles Bonus Offers

How to Find Star Alliance Award Space


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Avatar_60_matt Matt B. commented 20 Oct 2012
Doesn't sound like it's worth it for only seven days. For two or three weeks would be a better deal.
Picture?type=large Matthew R. commented 16 Jul 2013
Does the phone order trick still work? I was testing it out and can't seem to find the link to the "Phone Order Page". Thanks for your help!
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 16 Jul 2013
Matthew, I tried it just now and still see it, after I get to the final payment page (you must enter in traveller details and select a seat). Which route are trying to put on hold?
Picture?type=large Richard H. commented 24 Sep 2013
You are awesome Hillary! Best travel booking advice I have gotten in surely a decade! Sure enough each screen matched yours in your post above.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Sep 2013
Thanks Richard, so glad it worked well for you!
User_avatar_default Bobby H. commented 19 Mar 2014
It defintely is worth it you happen to spot a good price on an overseas flight where United's prices tend to fluctuate wildly like BKK. I spotted a very cheap ticket to BKK and used 7 day farelock while I decided whether I wanted to go or not. Good thing too since the same ticket was over $700 when I checked a few days later.
Picture?type=large Nathan M. commented 28 Oct 2014
Tried the free 2-day hold at 12:15am on October 28; allowed me to hold until midnight on October 30, so that seems to be approximately 60 hours of hold time. Is that correct, or is it midnight (like 12:00am on October 30), which would only be approximately 36 hours? Thanks Hillary!
Picture?type=large Jessica B. commented 09 Dec 2014
If you do the phone order option but don't end up booking that flight are you charged at all?
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