United Follows Delta With 2 Year Travel Credit Extension

Following Delta’s lead, United Airlines is extending the validity of its travel credits to 24 months or two years from the date of issue. The policy is valid for all current travel credits and new ones issued on or after April 1st.

United is giving passengers validity of travel credits for two years. Photo: Steve Lynes via Flickr

United extends change free credits

On April 4th, United provided some guidance to passengers seeking to change travel plans. Currently, passengers scheduled to travel through May 31st can change their travel plans without any change fee. In addition, if you have to book future travel, perhaps as repatriation to get home after a lockdown, or are looking ahead to secure Thanksgiving or Christmas plans, United is waiving all change fees for tickets purchased between March 3rd and April 30th for all nonrefundable fares.

United plane runway getty images
Passengers can change their United flight for free if they are traveling through May 31st. Photo: Getty Images

If the best course for you is to cancel your flight, then United is offering an electronic travel certificate worth the amount of the ticket. These certificates are now valid for 24 months and applies to certificates that are currently valid and ones issued on or after April 1st. This change is pretty recent at United, however, so it may take some time for all electronic methods of changing your flight to reflect this new policy. As a reminder, if you are not traveling in the next 72 hours, please refrain from calling your airline.

United Follows Delta With 2 Year Travel Credit Extension
United’s electronic certificates are valid for the next 24 months. Photo: Tomas del Coro via Flickr

When do I get a refund and when do I get a credit?

Getting compensation for cancelled flights can be a confusing series of charts in the United States. For refundable tickets, no matter if you or your airline cancels your flight, you can get your money back.

However, most airline tickets are nonrefundable and this requires a bit more careful consideration. If you cancel a nonrefundable ticket, you will receive a credit from the airline worth the amount of the ticket that you can apply for future travel. However, if United or any other US airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a refund. While airlines may drag their feet on this matter, the United States Department of Transportation is on your side.

United Airlines
If your airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a refund. Photo: Getty Images

However, if you accept an alternative itinerary from the airline for your cancelled flight, then you are not entitled to a refund. Unless, of course, your altered itinerary is also cancelled.


More flexibility in using your travel credits is good for passengers whose travel needs are up in the air. Now, both United and Delta offer two years of validity on travel credits. The process of altering travel during a fluid situation can be nerve-racking.

Will United’s new policy extending travel credit validity positively impact you? Let us know in the comments!