United’s Secret Travel Voucher Expiration Grace Period & Redeeming an Expired Cert

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United Travel Voucher Use After Expiration

United Travel Voucher Use After Expiration

Last year I had a very mixed, but mostly negative experience flying United with my son to Europe. The trip wasn’t terrible per se, but it wasn’t pleasant or nice. The biggest issue we had was on our flight leg from LAS-ORD where a roof panel fell from the ceiling in first class during takeoff and the crew just stood there and fought about what to do for the next hour or so.

During this time while the entire coach cabin received beverages, first class passengers didn’t even get water. It took a near revolt by passengers to finally get the flight attendant to give us something to drink and then eventually they did do the meal service. It was a baffling and frustrating experience and one that wasn’t made better by the unapologetic crew.

I covered this experience on the blog and eventually decided to write a letter to United expressing my disappointment. We paid for first class (via miles) and didn’t get the service that is promised. To fast forward, they basically blew me off until someone realized I have a blog. Then, I suddenly received a phone call from someone in the Executive Office (to whom I had not complained) who gave my son and I each a $200 flight voucher. Too bad it takes having a blog to get them to do something.

Redeeming My Expired Voucher

United Travel Voucher Use After Expiration
My now expired voucher still worked!

Anyway, I had these vouchers and was only able to use one of them before the expiration. Luckily United has an unpublished grace period for expired vouchers of 30 days. The other day I needed to book a last minute flight that cost $235. Ouch! Then I remembered the voucher. I went online to use it and the system said I had to call in to the customer service line.

United Travel Voucher Use After Expiration

After going through the prompts I was connected to an agent to make a new booking. She then took the voucher information and said she could help. Even though it was expired, she was able to apply the full $200 to the $235 ticket without a manager override or even having to put me on hold. She even waived the phone booking fee since I couldn’t use the voucher online any longer.

Not Guaranteed

I do want to make it clear that while it seems agents have the ability to use these certificates without even an override, I do not believe there is any official grace period policy in writing. So, while they have been giving a grace period for years and I just successfully redeemed my expired voucher a couple of days ago, this could change.


While it is always a good idea to log your vouchers and set reminders to avoid having them expire on you, if you do make a mistake, it always pays to call the airline. United generally gives you 30 days and I have heard of cases of people using them much later than that. Feel free to share your expired voucher experiences with United & other airlines in the comments!

Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. Our ETC expires on 15 October, 2019. We called about an extension. I was told that a 30 day grace period is automatically added . Can we get this in writing ?
    Thank you so much.

  2. If it helps, I called and was just able to have United apply my expired voucher to my travel (although initially the agent said she had heard that it was not possible but she asked a manager and got it done. She did say there was a $25 per person fee for booking over the phone but since i read this blog post I knew it could be waived and asked if the fee could be taken off. She came back and said they could waive it. My voucher expired 6/20 and i was able to use it 7/1. Thanks for the blog post! At first i wasn’t even going to try until i saw this.

  3. Frontier only gives 90 days on voucher. I was trying to book a flight using the voucher today (May), but their reservation is not open for any day after November 14th. I called their customer service and was told I should make up my mind between losing the money or traveling in December. What an attitude!!! Airliner customer services are just getting worse and worse.

  4. I think you were just lucky…. now (2018) they give you one year expiration. I guess this varies to ppl. But for me was 1year. And my previous experiences with United…. expired is expired.

  5. I have two round trip travel certificates for First/Business class from the US to Europe expiring at the end of this year. I won them at a charity auction late last year. United has refused to extend them despite explaining to them we were unable to fly for most of the year due to a pregnancy. I imagined they would be able to extend out of good will. Sadly that is not the case.

    • …by won, I mean I bought them for $7700. My wife has been unable to fly since late April and we now have a beautiful 3-month-old girl. We feel she would travel well and so we have been trying to work with United for several weeks now to find us a flight but they are unable to, and unwilling to extend the certificates. Calling Reservations is useless since it seems they have no more access to the scheduling system than we do online. Of course there is no phone number for Customer Care..just a form which elicited the following response after a week:
      “I regret to learn that you may not be able to use your certificates before they expire, and I understand your request. Unfortunately, as travel certificates cannot be extended, or reissued, we’re unable to grant your request. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

      We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again soon.”


  6. Avianca would not do that at all!!! Tried to use a $300.00 voucher 24 hours after had expired, no help from anyone after speaking to three agents.

  7. I usually call United.com web support instead of the main United number for these vouchers. They tend to be familiar with them and also waive the booking fees without prompting.



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