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United PlusPoints must be valid at the time of travel?
I just had an experience trying to use United PlusPoints and wanted to know if it consistent with otehr people’s experiences. My experience indicates significantly diminished the usefulness of PlusPoints relative to the previous GPU/RPU system.
As you know, both GPUs/RPUs and PlusPoints have expiration dates.
Under the old system, you needed to [U]make a reservation[/U] using the GPU/RPU before its expiration date, but the actual flight date could be [U]well after[/U] the expiration date. Thus, with GPU/RPU expiration dates typically being Jan 31 of a given year, I would typically make a reservation just before Jan 31 with soon-to-expire GPUs/RPUs, but the reservation would be for a flight later in the year.
Under the new PlusPoints system, it turns out that the actual flight needs to take place before the expiration date. I found out about it just today, when I tried to make a booking using PlusPoints that will expire Jan 31, 2020. It turns out that they can’t be applied to any flight taking place after Jan 31, 2020, making them virtually useless now.
I corresponded with a United customer service representative, who confirmed that “when using PlusPoints, the points must be valid at the time of travel.”
I don’t have much experience with United specifically, but if they are anything like American and Delta upgrade certificates, it’s always been day of travel, not day of booking. It’s been relatively well documented that if you are a high value customer to the airline (tens of thousands of dollars or year) agents could unofficially extend the expiration date past January 31st. But, I don’t think it was ever a formal policy.