How to Cancel a United Airlines Flight [Points or Cash Ticket]

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The process of canceling a flight can be both expensive and complicated, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

If you’ve booked a flight with United Airlines and need to cancel, you’re in the right place! Here’s all the information you need to navigate their cancellation policy and determine what policies apply to your situation.

United’s Cancellation Policy: Flights Paid With Cash or Points

All customers have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to cancel their reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of the fare selected.

Ticket TypeCancellation Fee
Basic EconomyNot permitted
Non-Refundable$200 for domestic flights and up to $400 for international flights depending on fare class
Refundable$0
Award TicketVaries (see category)

Basic Economy Ticket

United Airlines will not allow you to cancel a basic economy ticket unless it is within 24 hours from the time it was purchased.

Non-Refundable Ticket

If it has been more than 24 hours since you booked your ticket, you will pay a $200 cancellation fee on domestic flights and up to $400 for international flights depending on fare class.

After you pay the cancellation fee, you can apply the unused value of your ticket toward a future trip with United as long as your new trip begins no later than 1 year from the ticket’s original issue date, and you canceled the original ticket before the departure of the first flight.

Hot Tip: Non-refundable tickets can still be refunded in the event of the death of the passenger or passenger’s traveling companion or because of military orders. Supporting documentation is required.

Refundable Ticket

If you’ve purchased a refundable ticket, cancellations can be made anytime before the departure of your flight and the refund will be issued to your original credit card within 7 days (it should appear on your statement in 1-2 billing cycles).

Award Ticket

Cancel FeeGeneral Member Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
61 or more days before departure$75$50$25$0$0
60 or fewer days before departure$125$100$75$50$0
No-Show$125$125$125$125$125

The fee for canceling your award ticket and having your miles redeposited can vary greatly depending on your status level with United.

If you cancel your flight 61 or more days before departure, the fee is $75 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members, and $0 for Platinum and 1K members. If you cancel your flight 60 or fewer days before departure the fee is $125 for general members, $100 for Silver members, $75 Gold members, $50 for Platinum members, and $0 for 1K members.

If you no-show for your flight you will need to pay $125 to have your miles redeposited, regardless of your status level.

For same-day changes on award tickets, United charges $75 for Silver and general members. Elite members at the Gold level or above will have the fee waived.

Hot Tip: Looking for even more information about canceling award tickets? Explore our guide on canceling award tickets, including information on over 30 carriers, to learn more.

United’s Flight Change Policy: Flights Paid With Cash or Points

As with cancellations, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to change their reservation without being charged a fee, except for Basic Economy tickets.

Ticket TypeChange Fee
Basic EconomyNot permitted
Non Refundable$200 for domestic flights and up to $400 for international flights depending on fare class
Refundable$0
Award TicketVaries (see category)

Basic Economy

United Airlines will not allow you to make any changes to a basic economy ticket, even during the initial 24-hour window. If you’re still within the 24-hour window, your best option would be to cancel your ticket and book a new one.

Non-Refundable Ticket

After your 24 hour grace period has passed, United charges a $200 change fee for domestic flights and up to $400 for international flights. If you are changing your flight to a more expensive fare then you’ll need to pay that price difference as well.

For same-day changes, United charges $75 for Silver and general members. Elite members at the Gold level or above will have the fee waived.

Refundable Ticket

If you’ve purchased a refundable ticket you can make changes to your itinerary without needing to pay any additional fees. If you’re changing to a more expensive option, you will need to pay the difference in price. If you’re changing to a cheaper flight, the difference in fare will be refunded to your original method of payment.

Award Ticket

Change FeeGeneral Member Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
61 or more days before departure$75$50$25$0$0
60 or fewer days before departure$125$100$75$50$0
No-Show$125$125$125$125$125

Similar to the cancellation fees, the fee for making a change to your award ticket varies depending on your status level with United.

If you change your flight 61 or more days before departure the fee is $75 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members, and $0 for Platinum and 1K members. If you change your flight 60 or fewer days before departure the fee is $125 for general members, $100 for Silver members, $75 Gold members, $50 for Platinum members, and $0 for 1K members.

If you no-show for your flight you will need to pay $125 to have your miles redeposited, regardless of your status level.

For same-day changes on award tickets, United charges $75 for Silver and general members. Elite members at the Gold level or above will have the fee waived.

How to Cancel a Flight on United

Step 1: Log into your account on United’s homepage and select “My Trips.”

United Flight Cancel
Image Credit: United

Step 2: Once you’ve selected the trip you want to cancel, select “Cancel Booking.”

Step 3: The next screen will ask you to confirm that you want to cancel your booking. After you click “confirm” then your booking will officially be canceled, and you’ll receive an eCredit for any remaining funds after any potential cancellation fees.

How to Use a United Travel eCredit

United eCredit
Image Credit: United

If you’re using an eCredit that you received from a flight you changed or canceled, click the drop-down box under “United payment types,” then simply enter the PIN code, your last name, and the year you received the eCredit during checkout.

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried that you may need to cancel your flight and want to make certain you can get a refund, a refundable ticket will certainly be your best option.

Having to deal with canceling a flight can be difficult enough as it is, so consider adding a rewards card that provides compensation. Be certain to review fare rules closely so that you know what your options are both at the time of booking, and if you end up needing to cancel.


Frequently asked questions

What happens if I cancel my United flight?

That depends on what fare type you’ve purchased and whether or not you’ve purchased a refundable ticket.

If you’ve purchased a basic economy ticket, you are not permitted to cancel the ticket for a refund after the 24-hour grace period from when your ticket was purchased.

If you have a non-refundable ticket you will be required to pay $200 for domestic tickets and up to $400 for international ticket fees (depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare). Afterward, you will receive the remainder of your fare, minus the fee, in the form of an eCredit for use on a future United flight.

If you have a refundable ticket you can cancel anytime before the departure of your flight and you will be reimbursed on your original method of payment.

Can I cancel a United flight within 24 hours?

Yes, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to cancel their reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of fare selected.

What happens if you cancel a non-refundable flight?

To cancel a non-refundable ticket you will be required to pay between $200-$400 depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare. The remaining fare will be given to you as an eCredit for future use on a United flight.

When do United eCredits expire?

Your eCredit will expire exactly 1 year after its issue date.

Will United waive my cancellation fees?

A waive of fees really will depend on your reason for canceling the flight. If it’s due to an immediate family member’s death or sickness, or military orders, United may waive your cancellation fees, but they will likely ask for proof as well.

If you believe you have a legitimate reason to have your cancellation fees waived then it never hurts to call and ask!

Does United charge same-day change fees?

For same-day changes on both paid and award tickets, United charges $75 for Silver and general members. Elite members at the Gold level or above will have the fee waived.

Is there a fee to cancel an award ticket with United?

If you cancel your United flight 61 or more days before departure the fee is $75 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members, and $0 for Platinum and 1K members.

If you cancel your flight 60 or fewer days before departure the fee is $125 for general members, $100 for Silver members, $75 for Gold members, $50 for Platinum members, and $0 for 1K members.

Can you change a Basic Economy ticket within 24 hours of booking?

You cannot change a Basic Economy ticket on United, even within the 24-hour window. Your only option would be to cancel the ticket and rebook. Since this is still within the 24-hour window, you will not be charged a cancellation fee and will receive a full refund for the cancel ticket.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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2 comments

  1. Maggie Diaz January 9, 2020

    Due to the Puerto Rico earthquake, I may have to reschedule my travel. Can I have this option due to the emergency situation in Puerto Rico?

    Reply

    • Hi Maggie,

      Yes, that may be an option for you. You should contact the United customer service team directly for assistance with this.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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