United Airlines Now Waiving Award Redeposit Fees

Filed Under: Awards, United

Airlines have been all over the place when it comes to their policies for changing and cancelling tickets. For some airlines, finding a way to avoid ticket refunds has become a necessity in order to not run out of money.

Among US airlines, United Airlines has been the worst when it comes to their methods for actively trying to avoid refunds. We’ve seen them change their policies several times, but overall they’ve been extremely customer unfriendly, in my opinion.

Well, there’s at least one bright spot with United right now, as noted by @Haplo859 — United MileagePlus is now willing to redeposit the miles for award tickets in those situations where flights have been cancelled. This applies whether travel is on United Airlines, or one of their partner airlines.

This seems to be a recent change, and it’s kind of unbelievable that this hasn’t been happening all along. You’d think you’d get your miles back in situations where your flight has been cancelled, but instead United has only been willing to waive change fees, rather than redeposit fees, on awards.

This change in policy isn’t officially published, but there have now been many data points of people being able to have miles redeposited for MileagePlus award tickets in situations where flights were cancelled. If you’ve had issues with this policy, maybe give it another try.

Interestingly American AAdvantage and Delta SkyMiles have been pretty good about allowing award redeposits all along. For that matter, in general American and Delta have been better than United when it comes to refunds.

What has your experience been like with trying to cancel award tickets in light of the current situation?

  1. A month ago I called United to cancel 4 award tickets scheduled for travel April 1-7. The agent was very helpful, immediately cancelled those tickets, redeposited the miles, got the taxes and fees back within a few days, and waived the redeposit fees. I am a simple Silver member, my wife has no status with United.

  2. About time – utterly ridiculous they did not do this sooner. I fly out of ORD and I am EP on American and Platinum on United. I booked a United award ticket for my brother to come see me in December 2019 and the entire trip was cancelled March 23rd for a March 25th and April 1st flight. I called to ask about the redeposit fee and was told I would still have to pay it. It wasn’t worth the cost for me to pay the redeposit as the fee was more than the actual ticket. Needless to say, United has lost my business once COVID 19 has passed. Yes, I realize there are bigger things going on right now than discussing a 55k mile award ticket, but what companies fail to realize is the way you treat your customers now can build or destroy brand loyalty going forward once this is over. I fly over 150 times a year for work – United just lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars from me going forward over the rest of my flying life over $125 because they have tunnel vision and can’t see the big picture.

  3. I just did it for 2 award tickets for my wife (total of almost 200k miles).

    Up until today it was requiring $250 redeposit fees, but today it should no charge. I happened to read your article and did it immediately and it worked! Thank you.

  4. I have a round trip in mid June to France with Lifemiles. On air Canada and Swiss air. Anybody know if they will redeposit?

  5. United is awful I had a doctors letter requesting me not to fly as I am in the high risk category for the virus due to age and health problems. I am out of the US and the borders were closed my flights canceled by the Airlines and they still won’t refund. I am a senior living on Social Security going to LA for a death in the family. United took advantage of me in the worst times. Fly another Airlines I will use my vouchers because I paid for them after that I will never fly United again I will fly any other airlines possible.

  6. In case it helps anyone – For a May 31 award reservation where the flight had not yet been cancelled, I was able to get all my miles back, no fee. For a July 26 award reservation – even though the “travel waiver” box popped up on the reservation, they wanted to charge me the redeposit fee.

  7. I just called and cancelled two award tickets with United to australia. Fees waived and miles and taxes refunded. Thanks Ben.

  8. Lucky, or anyone… Any idea if Lifemiles are likely to waive the ridiculous $200pp redeposit fee? Got JFK-ZRH booked in Swiss in June.

  9. I hope this applies to all flights that were canceled in March. I would like to get my redeposit fee refunded.

  10. Do you need to cancel award tickets by phone with United rep or online cancellation to get miles redeposited?

  11. I can confirm for another data point. Had to cancel reservation and hold the miles earlier for a flight in April-May. 2 agents refused to waive redeposit fees. after reading boardingarea today, called and got the miles back without the fees. Agent even mentioned getting a memo from central office and that they are doing it for all flights till may end i believe.

    Thanks Boardingarea.

  12. You can cancel online (website only, not app) and get miles redeposited for free. The flight does NOT have to be cancelled by the operating carrier. I just did this online for 2 intra Japan award flights that ANA was still operating in April. No mention of redeposit fee and miles instantly showed up back in my account.

  13. I canceled my Award flights a couple of weeks back for travel at the end of April. Noticed the redeposit fees ($75 per ticket) and contacted United two days back. They refused to refund the fees but agreed to provide travel credit valid for 1 year.

  14. I had a flight booked using points from SFO-KIX-SFO that United cancelled on me. I called last week and got my points back, but paid a redeposit fee of $125 per passenger. Rep and supervisor would not budge on the redeposit fee. I just called a few minutes ago requesting a refund of the redeposit fee I paid. Rep advised me that I would not get a refund. Instead, they offered a travel credit good for 12 months from today. I’d have to book within 12 months from today and travel within X months afterwards. I also asked what do new callers get if they wanted to redeposit miles due to a cancelled flight by UA. She replied, the new callers don’t pay the redeposit fee.

  15. I’m trying to cancel my flight for 30 April on United’s website. The flight was booked via Chase using points however, United’s website is only giving me the option to “Apply value to an electronic travel certificate” or “Rebook later with future flight credit:”. I don’t want either. I’d like the points back without a redeposit fee. Is there something in United’s cancellation process that I’m doing incorrectly that’s not allowing the points to be credited back to my chase account and no redeposit fee? Or am I supposed to cancel via Chase’s website?

  16. All United flights to Paris were cancelled, yet my app still reflected my flights and seat assignments, along with a notice that I qualified for a flight waiver. Just called United and agent redeposited my points and refunded my taxes on flights from ORD-CDG, and back, for late April, early May. Also redeposited my husband’s points without charging a redeposit fee. Waited 2-3 minutes for an agent. Inspired to call after reading this post, thanks Lucky!!

  17. Hey Vince, I also am flying domestic in Japan in April (one flight is with IBEX airlines, one flight is with ana wings, but both were booked through united’s website) that I paid 10,000 miles/$0 taxes for total. These flights were not cancelled by either of the Japanese airlines. I cancelled my flight online through united and I did not get the miles redeposited (been about 3 hours so far). Did you get any kind of error message when cancelling? I received the error “Your refund requires special attention. Please contact the Electronic Support Desk at 1-800-300-1547 for assistance.” even though the flight was successfully cancelled. These flights aren’t until mid-April so I won’t be calling just yet but my wife has a separate itinerary for domestic Japan flights so I want to make sure I do things correctly for her.

  18. I was charged redeposit fees when I cancelled an award trip 2 weeks ago (I am a Platinum with United), which seemed to be a little petty (the fees are only $50 per ticket). But I was able to message them on Twitter yesterday and get a voucher for the amount. I didn’t press for a refund as I know they are in a world of hurt and I’ll be travelling on United sometime in the next year.

  19. Have 2 sets of award flights booked for May: ORD – SFO – ORD (75K miles + taxes/fees) = all miles and taxes/fees were refunded with no redeposit fees; was able to process this easily on the website on 4/1/20.
    Second set of flights for May throughout Japan: SFO – ICN – KIX – HIJ – HND – NGO – ICN – SFO (420K miles + taxes/fees) = website shows I can get a refund of all taxes/fees but the award redeposit is 0 miles?!! All tickets are “016” issued by United… I’ve been saving miles for years to take this trip as a graduation present for our son. I’m a platinum status traveler and I’ve been very happy with United. I know they’re hurting but I really hope I can get my miles back on this ticket!!

  20. I don’t trust United, when I hear and read the stories here and other places seems to be a crap shoot with some paying redeposit fees and others having them waived. How can United get away with robbing fliers. If they cancel, why should anyone be charged.

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