Travel News

United Makes a New Schedule Change Policy That Lets Them Keep Your Money for a Year

Written by Charlie

A new United schedule change policy lets them keep your money for a year on international flight changes if you don’t use the flight credit.

United Airlines, like every airline, is facing a difficult time in this era of worldwide travel limitations. However, unlike every other airline, United is trying to inflate their cash reserves by keeping your money when they make schedule changes.

United Makes a New Schedule Change Policy – They Get to Keep Your Money for One Year

The first schedule change policy came as they said that any schedule changes that were up to 25 hours from the original schedule would not result in a refund. This was absolutely ridiculous and they changed it a couple more times to include a case-by-case basis system.

Now, a new schedule change policy for international flights lets them issue a travel credit for any schedule change of over 6 hours that does not work for you. To make it clear that they want your money, they will only issue an actual refund if you do not use the travel credit for 12 months. In other words, they are going to use customers’ money as an interest-free loan – for one year.

Here is the policy (found here and first highlighted by CrankyFlier on Twitter):

International rebooking: Our goal remains to automatically re-book as many customers as possible within six hours of their originally scheduled flight. For any customer whose international travel is disrupted by more than six hours because of schedule changes resulting from government restrictions, they will retain a travel credit equal to the value of their ticket. That credit can be used towards any flight, to any destination, for 12 months from the time of purchase. If the customer chooses not to use the credit, they will receive a cash refund at the end of that 12 month period. Importantly, this new way of helping customers manage through changing flight schedules also applies to residents from other countries who effectively can no longer travel to the U.S. because they would face a 14-day quarantine upon arrival as well as customers impacted more broadly by government-mandated travel restrictions or quarantines.


The translation of that? If they have a schedule change of more than 6 hours and the new flight option does not work for you, you get a flight credit you can use for any flight that will last for 12 months. Unlike normal travel credits that would expire, at the end of 12 months if you didn’t use it, you will get a cash refund.

That is ridiculous and should be a warning against booking any international flights through United during this time. That is, unless you like giving the airlines a nice loan without getting any interest should they change the schedule…

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • It is not so ridiculous, Charlie. These are hard times. They’re promising to take you from point A to B. And they’re going to reimburse you if a schedule change doesn’t work for you though not immediately. The least one can do is show willingness to play along for the sake of the employees.

    • Thanks, Andy. I understand the difficulty and I do feel for all the employees. But, there is the customer side that is being neglected by United, especially at times like this. If there is a change of 13 hours and (especially now due to the cut back of other airlines/suspension of services) they are unable to reroute you during that time, you are stuck at their mercy. If your schedule is such that you have to be somewhere, now you need to buy a separate ticket with another airline while United keeps your money. That policy forces you to come back to United just to use your own money or to wait a whole year to get your cash back. Plus, this is international fares so these are not going to be cheap either. If an airline is going to keep my money when I had booked with them for the schedule that worked for me, I will just go fly another airline that has a better policy like that and support the employees on domestic flights.