All about United Airlines' unused ticket refund offer

Answers to popular questions about United's offer to refund unused tickets issued for travel after March 3, 2020

Update December 2022: This offer has been extended through December 31, 2023 with some changes including increased fees of $125, $250, $375 and $500 respectively, effective January 1, 2023. 

In order to process United refunds by the December 31 deadline all refund requests must be made with AmTrav by November 30, 2023.


United recently announced that many tickets sold through TMCs including AmTrav are eligible for refund, subject to cancelation penalties (see United's announcement for additional details). 

This refund offer is good through December 31, 2023, applies to certain United tickets issued for travel on or after March 3, 2020. Only tickets that originate in the United States and were issued by United on 016 ticket stock are eligible (i.e. a Frankfurt-Chicago roundtrip ticket is not eligible, and a United flight sold by another carrier like Lufthansa is not eligible).

The cancelation penalty for most tickets is $125 (so you receive a $375 refund for a $500 ticket), the cancelation penalty on tickets for travel outside North and Central America range from $250 for economy class tickets to $500 for business or first class tickets. Additional rules are here.


Questions and answers:


How do I see my United unused tickets eligible for refund?

Your Unused Ticket Report shows these tickets, although not all tickets will be eligible for refund.


Why doesn't AmTrav's refund estimate match my United unused ticket balance in my Unused Ticket Report?

There are a couple reasons why your AmTrav refund estimate won't match the balance of United unused tickets in your Unused Ticket Report. First, the refund estimate takes out the estimated refund penalty charged by United for refunding your tickets. Second, we've removed any United tickets that aren't worth enough to refund (the refund penalty is high relative to the remaining value) and any tickets that don't qualify because they don't originate in the US 50 states, they're for travel before March 3, 2020, they're ticketed in Basic Economy or another ineligible fare class, or they're credits instead of unused tickets.


Do I have to refund these tickets now, or can I wait?

United’s refund offer stands until the end of 2023 so you can wait until November or early December to have your tickets refunded. If you decide to wait, your team can continue to apply these tickets towards new trips or you can transfer these tickets to pay for other travelers’ trips.


When do these tickets expire?

United recently announced that most tickets (including these tickets that are eligible for refund) will not expire until December 31, 2023. Your Unused Ticket Report reflects this updated expiration date.


Which United unused tickets are eligible for refund?

This refund offer applies to certain tickets issued for travel after March 3, 2020. Basic Economy tickets, group tickets and certain "bulk" tickets are not eligible (AmTrav will determine this), nor are tickets originating outside the U.S. or tickets to China (except Hong Kong).


Are other United credits eligible for refund?

No. Certain United unused tickets are eligible for refund, other credit types including MCOs, ETCs and EMDs are not eligible for refund. AmTrav includes those credits in your Unused Ticket Report alongside your United unused tickets, however those credits are not eligible. 


If I decide to refund these tickets, how long will it take to receive the refund?

The refund process has three steps: you request the refund, we process your refund request to United, and United processes the refund. Once you request refunds, AmTrav will submit the United refund request for your tickets within two to four weeks of your request to refund them (this is unfortunately a manual process that we're including along with our day-to-day activities, so it takes a little while). Based on what we've heard from clients who've requested refunds, United typically processes the refund back to the original card within a week or two after the AmTrav request, although we at AmTrav have no visibility into the final refund to your card.


Are these United tickets refunded to the original card, or can we request that they be refunded elsewhere?

These United tickets are refunded to the original card used to purchase each ticket, United does not offer another option.


Are these United tickets refunded in one lump sum, or individually?

United tickets are refunded individually, one ticket at a time.


Can I get receipts for each refund?

Yes, your refunds will show up in several Travel Reports and your Credit Card Report will have invoices showing each refund. Once United has completed the refund the transaction will shows up on your credit card statement.


How do I see which credit card will receive the refund for my United tickets?

There are three ways to figure out which credit card will receive the refund. 1. In the Unused Ticket Report click on a booking ID and check the "Payment received via United" line item -- that's the credit card; 2. You can cross-reference your United unused tickets from the Unused Ticket Report with the transactions recorded in your Credit Card Report; and 3. Reply to our refund offer email or ask your Relationship Manager, we can email you a summary of the data with you showing which cards were used.


Does United allow us to transfer these tickets to different travelers instead of refunding them?

Yes, though United charges a $100 name change fee per ticket unless you have a corporate agreement with them. More about this process is in this Knowledge Base article.


Do United’s cancelation fees apply if we apply the tickets towards new travel instead of refunding them?

No, United does not charge the cancelation fee if you use the tickets towards new travel for the same traveler, and United has waived change fees on most of these tickets.


If a ticket isn't eligible for refund, what can I do with it?

Tickets and credits that are not eligible for refund may still be eligible to be applied towards new tickets using the existing unused ticket process (including with a name change).


Are other airlines offering this refund capability?

No, just United right now.


Will AmTrav refund personal trips booked through AmTrav or just business trips?

This offer is for business trips, however United tickets for personal travel are also eligible. We will reach out to travelers individually to offer them refunds on their personal travel tickets.


How does AmTrav charge the high-touch fee?

If AmTrav charges you agent fees, one high-touch fee applies for each ticket refunded (i.e. each passenger).


Is there any way to get AmTrav’s Travel Advisor fees waived?

AmTrav also offers a simpler flat per-trip pricing option. Clients who use the flat fee find that it encourages their Coordinators and Travelers to get the full value from AmTrav: they can contact AmTrav Travel Advisors for booking and as much post-booking assistance as they need for just one fee per trip, nothing additional. Please let us know if you’re interested in learning more about a flat fee, we’d waive the service fees on these refunds if your company switched to a flat per-trip fee.


Other questions about this refund offer? We get it, this stuff is complicated. Don't hesitate to reach out to your AmTrav Relationship Manager or reply back to the refund offer email, we're ready to help!


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