United Airlines Cancellation Policy

If you booked a flight with United Airlines during the coronavirus outbreak, it may sometimes be in your best interest to cancel your ticket. The good news is that you may be able to change your trip for free, as well as cancel it in some cases.

Below is all the information you need to know about United Airlines’ cancellation policy and learn which policies apply to your situation. 

United Airlines Flight Cancellation Policy


What is United Airlines’ cancellation policy for free cancellations?

An overview of United Airlines cancellations is provided below.

  • Regardless of the fare, you can cancel your reservation up to 24 hours from the time of booking without being charged a cancellation fee—provided you made the booking 1 week or more before departure.
  • If your United Airlines flight is suddenly cancelled, you have the option to: 
    • Cancel your flight without penalty and request a refund, or
    • Take the alternate flight offered by the airline, or
    • Postpone your travel a receive a travel credit

You may also be entitled to flight cancellation compensation benefits.

  • If your United Airlines flight departing from the European Union, Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland is: 
    • Delayed by 5 hours or more, you can cancel your flight without penalty and request a refund (plus compensation). 
    • Delayed by 3 hours or more, you are entitled to compensation if the cause of the delay was within the control of United Airlines.
  • All types of tickets are eligible for cancellations and refunds in case of death, certain types of illnesses, and jury duty. This includes tickets purchased by cash/check/credit card, award tickets, as well as promotional fares, bulk fares, and net fares.
  • Basic Economy tickets cannot be cancelled, but qualify for a full refund inside the 24-hour window provided you purchased the ticket 1 week or more before the flight’s scheduled departure date. 
  • United Airlines cancellation policies will depend on your billing address, as different policies apply for France, Columbia, Argentina, and Taiwan.
  • You may also be eligible to claim a refund on a travel credit issued for a flight that was disrupted between March 1, 2020, and June 6, 2020. To ask for a refund, you must fill out this refund form
  • Partially used tickets will only be refunded if they qualify for a refund. The refund will be on a prorated basis based on the rules that apply to the ticket and the segments flown. 
  • The processing time for credit card refunds is 7 business days. Other refunds are typically processed within 20 business days.
  • All refunds will be credited back to the original form of payment.
  • If you want a refund on a ticket issued through a travel agency/third party, you must contact the agency directly.

United Airlines Cancellation Policy Due to COVID-19

United Airlines flight cancellation policy due to COVID-19 allows applies to: 

  • Basic Economy tickets booked till April 30, and 
  • Premium Cabin and Standard Economy tickets booked between April 1, and May 31. 

Under the relaxed policy, you are allowed to cancel your existing flight and change or postpone it for up to 12 months from the original date of issue of your ticket without being charged a change fee.

United Airlines 24-Hour Cancellation Policy


How United Airlines free cancellation works

United Airlines’ 24-hour cancellation policy allows full refunds on tickets cancelled within 24 hours of purchase, as long as the booking was made at least 7 days before the travel date. This applies to all types of reservations—including Basic Economy tickets.

After you cancel your ticket within the 24-hour window, your refund will be credited via your original payment method. 

Note

  • If you booked with a United Gift Certificate, you will receive your refund as an electronic travel certificate. 
  • Tickets booked with e-certificates don’t qualify for refunds.
  • If you held your reservation with FareLock, the reservation fee will not be refunded. 

United Airlines Cancellation Policy Due to Death, Illness, or Jury Duty

The United Airlines ticket cancellation policy allows full refunds in case of death (of the passenger or a close relative), certain kinds of illnesses, and jury duty. The policy covers all types of tickets, including those purchased by cash, credit card, or check, as well as award tickets, promo fares, bulk fares, and net fares.

United Airlines Cancellation Policy for Basic Economy Tickets

According to United Airlines ticket cancellation policy, Basic Economy tickets cannot be refunded unless they are cancelled within the 24-hour window, and the purchase was made a week or more before departure. 

United Airlines Cancellation Policy for Non-Refundable Tickets

If you cancel a non-refundable ticket more than 24 hours after purchasing it, you will have to pay a cancellation fee of USD 200 on a domestic flight and up to USD 400 for an international flight depending on your travel class. 

United Airlines flight cancellation policy states that after your cancellation fee is deducted, the unused value of your ticket can be applied later toward future travel, as long as:

  • You cancel your original ticket before the first flight departs 
  • Your trip begins within 1 year from the date of issue of the original ticket

Tip. You can refund a non-refundable ticket only in the following cases: 

  • If the passenger or co-passenger dies 
  • Receipt of military/jury duty orders by the passenger 

You must be able to provide supporting documentation to prove the reason for the cancellation.

United Airlines Cancellation Policy for Refundable Tickets

If you’ve booked a refundable ticket, you can cancel any time before your flight departs. The refund will be credited to your original form of payment. According to United Airlines flight cancellation policy, payments made by credit cards are typically processed within 7 business days (and appear on your statement within 1–2 billing cycles), and other payments can take up to 20 business days.

United Airlines Cancellation Policy for Award Tickets

United Airlines’ cancellation policy for award tickets works a little differently, as shown below.

United Airlines Cancellation Fee for Award Tickets
Cancellation FeeGeneral Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
31 or more days before departureUSD 0USD 0USD 0USD 0USD 0
Cancelling a U.S. flight 0–30 days before departure USD 125USD 100USD 75USD 50USD 0
Cancelling an international flight not originating in the U.S. 0–30 days before departureUSD 125USD 100USD 75USD 50USD 0
No-ShowUSD 125USD 125USD 125USD 125USD 125

United Airlines’ cancellation fee for award tickets will depend on your membership status.

  • United Airlines cancellation fee for award flight cancellations made at least 31 days before departure is: 
    • USD 0 for general members
    • USD 0 for Silver members
    • USD 0 for Gold members
    • USD 0 for Premier Platinum and 1K members
  • United Airlines cancellation fee for award flight cancellations made 0 – 30 days before departure is: 
    • USD 125 for general members
    • USD 100 for Silver members
    • USD 75 for Gold members
    • USD 50 for Premier Platinum members
    • USD 0 for Premier 1K members. 
  • United Airlines’ cancellation fee for a No-Show is USD 125, regardless of your membership level.
  • The same-day change fee for award tickets is USD 75 for Silver and general members, and USD 0 for Gold, Platinum, and 1K members.

United Airlines Cancellations—How to Cancel a United Airlines Flight 

United Airlines cancellations can be made by phone (+1-866-399-0587), online, or through your travel agent. If you had booked your ticket through an online travel agency (OTA), you will need to contact them directly for cancellation. 

If you had booked your flight directly from United, you can cancel your flight reservation online as explained below. 


A screenshot of United Airlines My trips tab (used for cancelling a flight)

  • Go to United.com
  • Click on the My Trips tab 
  • Access your trip by entering your:
    • Confirmation number
    • Last name 
  • Click on the Search button 
  • Choose the flight/trip you wish to cancel 
  • After selecting the trip/flight you wish to cancel, select the Cancel flight option 
  • On the next screen, you will be asked to confirm whether you want to cancel your booking. Once you click on the Confirm option, your booking will be officially cancelled. 

You’ll receive an eCredit for the funds after the cancellation fee is deducted.
If you can’t access your reservation online, you must call the third party (OTA or travel agent) you booked your ticket through to cancel your flight. 

United Airlines Cancellation Refund

Am I eligible for a refund on United Airlines?

  • Per United Airlines’ 24-hour flexible booking policy, you can get a full refund on your booking if: 
    • You cancel within 24 hours of booking.
    • You made your booking at least 7 days before your flight’s departure. 
  • To check the status of your refund:


  • Click on the Check status tab on the right
  • Enter your:
    • Last name
    • Ticket, document, or tracking number
  • Click on the Check status button

Your refund status will appear. 

  • If your ticket qualifies for a refund and you purchased directly from United, you can cancel it online via My Trips and receive a refund.
  • Refund policies will vary based on your billing address country or region, and a cancellation fee may apply.
  • Most fares are non-refundable, but your ticket value may be adjusted (if eligible) toward a new ticket on a chargeable basis. 
  • Tickets are valid for 1 year from the date of issue—but tickets purchased between May 1, and March 31, are valid till March 31. You must begin your travel by March 31, and complete it within 12 months of the travel date.
  • The typical refund time is as follows: 
    • Credit card refunds Within 7 business days after your request
    • Other refunds Within 20 business days of your request
  • All refunds will be credited back to the original form of payment.

United Airlines Refund Policy

According to United Airlines refund policy:

  • If you purchase a ticket at least 1 week before departure and cancel within 24 hours of purchase, no cancellation fee will apply and you will get a full refund.
  • Basic Economy tickets cannot be refunded outside of the 24-hour window. This means you must have purchased your ticket at least 7 days before departure and cancelled it within 24 hours of purchase. 
  • Eligible tickets can be cancelled by phone or online via My trips. 
  • The cancellation fee will depend on the fare rules of your ticket. 
  • Non-refundable fares may not qualify for voluntary refunds but the value of your ticket may be converted into a Future Flight Credit for a fee. 
  • Flight tickets have a 12-month validity from the day of issue. However, the validity of tickets purchased on or before December 31, 2021, has been extended to December 31, 2022. This means your travel must begin no later than December 31, 2022, and be completed within 12 months from the date of outbound travel. 
  • The amount of refund will depend on multiple factors. The refund amount for partially used tickets will be calculated on a prorated basis, subject to the rules of the ticket and segments flown. Surcharges and fees collected for the ticket will be refunded only if the rules permit. 
  • Refunds for purchases made by credit card will be processed within 7 business days of your request. Other refunds will be processed within 20 business days of your request.
  • All refunds will be credited back to the original form of payment.
  • To check the status of your refund request, go to the refunds page and select the Check status tab.
  • Refund policies for certain international regions are as follows:
  • Argentina 
    • Unless you’ve purchased a refundable ticket, all tickets are non-refundable. 
  • Colombia
    • Under the Right of Withdrawal, you are allowed to cancel your ticket (except promotional fares) up to 24 hours before departure. However, United Airlines may refund 90% of your fare and keep 10% of it. 
    • Right of Retraction: If you purchase your ticket directly from United Airlines (website or call center), you are allowed to cancel your booking within 48 hours after purchasing and request a refund provided you cancel at least 15 days before your flight’s departure. If you cancel your booking, United Airlines may keep up to 10% of your fare or USD 50, plus service charges and non-refundable taxes.
  • France
    • If your ticket is no longer valid and you have not flown, you must fill out a refund request form for reimbursement of fees and taxes. You will receive your dues within 30 days without being charged an administrative fee if you provide your email address to United. 
  • Taiwan 
    • Taiwan’s 7-day refund facility offered to consumers under Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Act (Article 19) does not apply. 

How to Get a Refund for a Cancelled Flight 

After cancelling your flight, you can ask for a refund as follows:

  • Fill out the United Airlines refund form
  • United Airlines will let you know if you qualify for a refund.

The refund amount will depend on your fare type and the reason for cancelling your flight. In some cases, the refund will be credited to your original form of payment, and in other cases, you may receive a flight credit. 

How to Avoid Cancellation Fee on United Airlines

  • Cancel within the 24-hour grace period. If you book your ticket at least 7 days before your flight’s departure and cancel it less than 24 hours later, you can cancel your ticket without penalty. You will receive the refund to your original form of payment. However, this does not include group tickets and tickets purchased with an e-certificate. 
  • If your flight is delayed by 6 hours or more, you may be eligible to claim a refund in the form of a travel credit. If you don’t use the credit within 1 year, you can ask United for a refund to your original form of payment. 
  • If your flight is cancelled outright, either due to low demand, weather, or other problems, you may qualify for a full refund of your ticket.
  • Earn Elite status. If you’re holding Premier Gold or higher status, you can cancel an award ticket for free any time before your flight’s departure. 
  • If you cancel your flight due to an unavoidable emergency, such as the death of a co-passenger, a sudden military or jury duty order, you may qualify for a refund. 

How to Use Credits from Cancelled Flights


Can you tell me about United Airlines’ credit for cancelled flights?

United Airlines offers 3 types of credits: 

  1. Electronic Travel Credits (ETCs)
  2. Future Flight Credits 
  3. United TravelBank Credits

Only the first two credits (ETCs and Future Flight Credits) can accrue from cancelling a flight or a service, whereas United TravelBank Credits can be purchased to boost the balance with the now-discontinued United TravelBank Card. 

Electronic Travel Credits (ETCs). ETCs are valid for 24 months from the date of issue. You can use your ETCs for future travel by phone (1-866-399-0587) or online. To access your ETCs online, log into your MileagePlus account via My account

You can redeem your ETCs (up to 10 together, multiple times), including for partner-operated travels if at least one segment in your itinerary is operated by United Airlines/United Express. After you select a qualifying flight and proceed with your booking up to the payments page, you’ll find the option to redeem your ETCs on it. If the cost of your new flight is less than the value of your ETCs, the balance will remain in your account for future use. If the cost of your flight is more than the value of ETCs, you can pay the difference with your credit card. 

If you’re redeeming your ETCs by phone, call 1-866-399-0587 and ask the United Airlines agent to combine your ETCs when booking your new itinerary.  

Note

  • The date of expiration of your ETC will be updated to 24 months from the date of issue of the oldest ETC and not 24 months from the date of combining your ETCs.
  • The expiration date of ETCs expiring before Dec. 31, 2022, has been extended to December 31, 2022. 

Future Flight Credits. Future Flight Credits are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. You can use them to pay for partner flights booked through United Airlines, even they don’t include a United Airlines flight on the same flight booking. You can do this over the phone (1-866-399-0587) or online via United.com.

Note

  • The expiration date of future flight credits valid till December 31, 2021, has been extended till December 31, 2022.

United TravelBank Credits. United Airlines’ TravelBank Credits are valid for 5 years and can be purchased directly from United. These credits are not issued after flight cancellation or complaints but allow you to boost your credit balance with the United TravelBank Card, now discontinued. You can redeem TravelBank credits for United Airlines and United Express flights, but can’t combine them with the other two credits, i.e., ETCs or Future Flight Credits. However, since they’re valid for 5 years, you should use up your other credits before touching your TravelBank credits.


Frequently Asked Questions on United Airlines

Yes, you can cancel your United Airlines flight in some situations. If you’ve purchased a refundable ticket, you can cancel it any time before your flight’s departure. Basic Economy tickets cannot be cancelled after the 24-hour grace period (as long as you purchased 1 week or more before departure). 

If you’ve purchased a non-refundable ticket, you will have to pay USD 200 as cancellation charges for a domestic ticket and up to USD 400 for an international ticket, depending on your route and fare type. After you cancel, you will receive the balance fare (minus cancellation fee) in the form of an eCredit for future travel on United Airlines.

Yes, all passengers can cancel their tickets 24 hours from the time of booking without being charged any cancellation fee, as long as they had purchased the ticket a week or more before departure. This applies to all types of tickets, even non-refundable ones. 

If you cancel a non-refundable ticket, you will be charged USD 200 for cancelling a domestic flight, and up to USD 400 for cancelling an international flight, depending on your fare type and route. The balance fare will be provided to you as an eCredit for future travel on United Airlines

United Airlines eCredits expire 1 year after the date of issue. 

That depends on the reason for cancelling your flight. If a family member or co-passenger is seriously ill or dies, you receive military jury duty orders, United may waive your cancellation fees. However, you will be required to provide valid proof. If you believe you have a good reason to have your cancellation fees waived, you should definitely ask!

If you’re cancelling a United award ticket at least 61 days before departure, you will be charged a cancellation fee of USD 75 if you’re a general member, USD 50 if you’re a Silver member, USD 25 if you’re a Gold member, and USD 0 if you’re a Platinum or 1K member.

If you’re cancelling your flight within 60 days of departure, you will be charged a cancellation fee of USD 125 if you’re a general member, USD 100 if you’re a Silver member, USD 75 if you’re a Gold member, USD 50 if you’re a Platinum member, and USD 0 if you’re a 1K member.

Yes, you can cancel even a Basic Economy ticket on United Airlines within the 24-hour window. However, to qualify for this, you must have booked your flight at least one week before its departure.

United Airlines cancellations can be made in 2 ways—by phone and online. If you purchased your ticket directly from United Airlines, you can cancel your flight by phone or online through the My trips tab on the homepage. If you purchased from a travel agent (online or by phone), you will need to contact them directly to process your United Airlines cancellations. 

If United Airlines cancels your flight, you can opt for the new flight offered to you, rebook your flight at your convenience, or cancel your flight and ask for a refund. 

United Airlines cancellation fee for non-refundable tickets is USD 200 for domestic flights and up to USD 400 for international flights, depending on your route and fare. 

The cancellation fee for award tickets cancelled at least 61 days before departure is USD 75 for general members, USD 50 for Silver members, USD 25 for Gold members, and nil for Platinum and 1K members.

The cancellation fee for award tickets cancelled within 60 days of departure is USD 125 for general members, USD 100 for Silver members, USD 75 for Gold members, USD 50 for Platinum members, and nil for 1K members.

After you cancel a United Airlines flight, you will receive an eCredit that is valid for exactly 1 year after the date of issue. However, if United Airlines cancels your flight and you can’t be rebooked on a flight that gets you to your destination within 6 hours of the original flight’s arrival time, you can claim a full refund. 

To use your United Airlines flight credit from a cancelled (or changed) flight, you must retrieve your certificate details. This information is provided in the mail you would have received when the certificate was issued to you. Alternatively, you can access it from this page by entering the year of issue, 10-digit PIN, and your last name, or from My Account (if you have one).

After you have found the details, simply apply the credit on the payment page when booking your new flight.

United Airlines cancellation phone number (toll-free) in USA and Canada is +1-866-399-0587. This phone is open for calls 24/7.

United Airlines allows free cancellations within 24 hours of booking as long as the booking was made at least 1 week before departure. This applies to all types of fares, including non-refundable fares and award tickets. However, group bookings and tickets purchased with e-certificates are not included. 

United Airlines trip cancellation policy allows you to cancel any trip in your itinerary and receive a full refund if you cancel it less than 24 hours after booking and your flight departs after at least 7 days. 

United Airlines credit for a cancelled flight depends on who cancels the flight—United Airlines or you. If United cancels your flight, you can either get a refund in the form of a flight credit/travel certificate or ask for a full refund. 

However, if you cancel a non-refundable ticket, the applicable cancellation fee (USD 200 for domestic flights and up to USD 400 for international flights) will be deducted from your fare and the balance credited to your account in the form of a flight credit/travel certificate for future use.

United Airlines has cancelled flights to the following 11 U.S. due to COVID-19:

  1. Watertown, South Dakota.
  2. Twin Falls, Idaho.
  3. Pierre, South Dakota.
  4. Mosinee, Wisconsin.
  5. Monroe, Louisiana.
  6. Lansing, Michigan.
  7. Killeen–Fort Hood, Texas.
  8. Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan.
  9. Evansville, Indiana.
  10. Columbia, Missouri.
  11. College Station, Texas.

United Airlines’ cancellation number in Canada is +1-866-399-0587. This phone is open for calls 24/7 and toll-free if you’re calling from Canada or the United States. 

United Airlines cancel flight phone number is +1-866-399-0587. This phone is toll-free if you’re calling from the United States or Canada and open for calls 24/7. 

United Airlines can issue you a credit for a cancelled flight or service either in the form of an Electronic Travel Credit (valid for 24 months) or a Future Flight Credit (valid for 12 months).

No, you can’t change a Basic Economy ticket within the 24-hour window. However, you can cancel your ticket and rebook it. Since you’ll be cancelling within the 24-hour window, you won’t be charged a cancellation fee. This means you’ll receive a full refund, and can rebook your ticket per your requirements.

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