Fabulous Fridays: Free Cancellations & Changes On United Mileage Plus Award Tickets (Temporary Fee Waiver)

Our Fabulous Friday topic this week is about frequent flyer programs that allow you to change or cancel awards free of charge, even at the last minute, rather than charging high fees.

I’m currently on a 6-week trip and have booked several of my flights with United Mileage Plus, all of which required a change that United allowed to process entirely free of charge.

Mileage Plus doesn’t always enjoy the best critiques, and most would complain that awards are overall too expensive since the introduction of dynamic pricing.

In this particular case, I found the pricing very reasonable for my flights and that was my primary reason why I chose Mileage Plus to ticket these segments:

  • Frankfurt – Rome: 8,300 Miles for Lufthansa Economy Class
  • Palma de Mallorca – Duesseldorf: 9,600 Miles for Eurowings Economy Class (Smart)
  • Frankfurt – Bangkok – Seoul: 86,300 Miles for Thai Airways Business Class (second segment in Economy)
  • the last flight was changed to Frankfurt – Tokyo at the same 86,3k Miles for Lufthansa Business Class

Due to quite a few last-minute decisions of mine that included an extension of my cruise itinerary as well as my choice to fly to Japan rather than Thailand all of these tickets either had to be changed or canceled and rebooked.

What I found absolutely fantastic: Even as a low United Premier Silver member (via Marriott Titanium) I paid not a single dollar in change fees for any of this.

Reason is the current (temporary) waiver of United Mileage Plus for award ticket changes / cancellations:

Mind you, this is a temporary measure and I’m sure at some point the regular MIleage Plus service fees will be back, but until then, I’ve definitely gotten good value out of it.

Here is the passenger receipt that I received after the change of my Thai Airways ticket (6 hours before departure):

Even the refund of the taxes is usually processed within a week and most notably, United Mileage Plus doesn’t levy any airline surcharges which is probably – despite the sometimes higher award pricing – still a huge Plus compared to other programs that charge several hundred or even thousand dollars aside from real airport and government taxes.

Conclusion

United Airlines Mileage Plus still has a change and cancellation fee waiver in place that allows members who have ticketed award flights (even on partner airlines) to modify their tickets free of charge.

I had very positive experiences this month, having changed and canceled UAMP tickets four times and it was all done online within a few seconds and most importantly (for me): No need to talk to anyone on the phone. Credit where credit is due, this was truly excellent service by United!

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