United Increases Award Ticket Change and Cancellation Fees for Non Elites
Hilary Stockton

My Award Booking Service helps travelers book first class and business class with miles and points. As an independent affiliate of Cadence, I also have access to Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Peninsula Hotels PenClub, Dorchester Diamond Club, Ritz-Carlton STARS, Starwood Luxury Privileges, Rocco Forte and other 5-star hotel partners, so I can book, for no extra cost, your perfect luxury hotel or luxury cruise with VIP amenities not available anywhere else. Become a client and upgrade your stay!

Have a travel question we haven't covered yet? Want to share your secrets for traveling well for less?

United has increased its award ticket change and cancellation fees for non-elites, effective today, June 19, 2013. 

For non elites (United MileagePlus General Members):

  • Changes 21 or more days before the date of travel to cabin, award type, carrier, date or time (no change to origin or destination) go from no fee to $75
  • Changing the origin or destination at any time, or any change fewer than 21 days prior to the date of travel increases from $75 to $100
  • Canceling your trip and redepositing your miles increases from $150 to $200

United Increases Award Ticket Change and Cancellation Fees for Non Elites

Back in April, United and other airlines increased paid ticket change fees to $200-$300 so this move isn't wholly unexpected, although I'm not happy for my Award Booking clients to have to tell them this, or for that matter, my own personal travel as a United non-elite.

Do These United Award Ticket Change Fees Apply to Tickets Purchased Before June 19?

No: per United, only tickets issued on or after June 19, 2013 are subject to the new higher ticket change fees. The old change fees apply to United award tickets issued prior o June 19, 2013.


Are United MileagePlus Elites Affected By These Award Ticket Fee Increases?

No, United elites (Premier Siler, Premier Gold, 1K, Global Services) are not affected--their award change fees or waived change fees remain the same.


How Do I Avoid Paying the Inreased United Change Fees?

Your best options are:

  • Be a United Elite for Reduced or Waived Award Ticket Change Fees: Although note that United just added a revenue requirement for elite status for U.S. MileagePlus members, so it's getting harder.
  • Use Another Frequent Flyer Program for Award Bookings: American AAdvantage so far doesn't charge for date changes (keeping origin and destination cities the same) that are more than 21 days in advance. And if you upgrade your class of service, you'll only be charged the difference in miles/taxes, no change fee (although you are charged a change fee if you downgrade your class of service. Don't forget that British Airways Avios doesn't have any close-in fees, for ticketing an award less than 21 days prior to departure, and Avios, Singapore KrisFlyer, and some other frequent flyer programs have much more reasonable change and redeposit fees than United and other U.S. legacy carriers.
  • Flight Delay, Cancellation or Travel Waiver: If your flight is delayed or cancelled, or if there's a travel waiver issued due to terrible weather or other catastrophe (currently the Boston Marathon bombings), you should be able to change your award flight for free. 
  • Schedule Change: If you've booked your award flight months in advance there may well be a schedule changes (or several) prior to your date of departure. This is your "get of out jail free" card, since it could legitimately cause you to miss a connection or a meeting. Make sure you have contact info listed or otherwise monitor these changes, so you can avoid the award ticket change fee.
Related Posts


United Business First Review

Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel through us.

If you enjoyed this, join 90,000+ readers: please follow TravelSort on Twitter or  like us on Facebook to be alerted to new posts. 

Become a TravelSort Client and Book Your Hotel with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred VIP Amenities!

  • |
  • Print
    print |
Related Articles
  This American 767-300 Business Class review for a flight to Europe from NYC JFK is part of a trip report. For the prior post, please see Review: American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge JFK Terminal 8. While this wasn't an aspirational...
Kids and jet lag--for other parents out there, don't let worries about this stop you from taking a long international trip, at least if you're able to book the flights as first class or business class award travel. We're currently...
Avatar_60_img_0373 NATE S. commented 20 Jun 2013
I have a Chase United Club Card. Will it affect the above mentioned charges/fees ?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 20 Jun 2013
The United Club Card does exempt you from the close-in booking fee for United operated flights, when booking an award fewer than 21 days before departure. My understanding though is that you are not exempt from the change fees that I mentioned in my post, including a change you make to an existing award within 21 days of departure. The original $75 close-in award booking fee hasn't changed, for non-elites, only the change and cancellation fees have.
Leave a Comment
Get Free Email Blog Updates
Popular Articles
For Cathay Pacific First Class awards should you earn Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles or AAdvantage Miles? TravelSort reader Lei comments on my post How We Earned 1 Million Miles and Points This Year "You mentioned you anticipate an AAdvantage miles...
  How do you upgrade or waitlist a United award for Business Class? TravelSort reader Calvin writes: "I booked an Economy Saver from CDG – SFO on a United Partner connecting flight. 1. Can I waitlist for Business Saver on the United Partner flight?...
Earn 50K AAdvantage Miles for Opening a Citigold Checking Account, if you're a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select cardmember. Here are the offer details: Must have a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and be targeted for this Citigold offer Open a new...
  Is the 100K British Airways Visa offer worth it? There are currently two British Airways Visa offers, which are both listed on the Best Travel Credit Cards page. Update: there is now only the up to 100K offer, with...
Can you transfer Citi ThankYou points to a family member's frequent flyer account or combine ThankYou points? TravelSort reader Sam writes "I got the Citi Prestige card to earn points that can transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer. When I go to...
  My review of Air Berlin Business Class on the A330 from Berlin TXL to New York JFK is part of a series of trip reports from my family's trip to Berlin and Italy this past summer. For more about...
  The 50K Lufthansa Miles & More card offer and several other offers are expiring soon, so here's a roundup, in case any of these cards or offers are ones you don't want to miss: 1. 50K Lufthansa Miles &...
  This Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Review is part of a trip report including Vienna and Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia. Our Vienna stay transpired because it was a convenient overnight from Florence (see our reviews of the Four Seasons...
  This Four Seasons Moscow Hotel Review is part of a trip report including Vienna and luxury hotels and dining in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. For the previous posts please see: Review: Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Labstelle Wien Vienna Restaurant Review...
  This Review of the InterContinental Berlin follows a fantastic trip to Italy, including stays at the Monastero Santa Rosa on the Amalfi Coast, Castello Banfi Il Borgo in Tuscany, and the Portrait Firenze Hotel in Florence. I had to...