Advice on airline travel credit

I’ve never had an airline credit before but now I have one that I can only use with United b/c of my cancelled flights for my Alaska cruise. Other restrictions are that travel has to be completed before the end of next April (when I bought the tickets), that only I can use it, and that all the money has to be used at once or the rest forfeited. This will be difficult to achieve b/c my DH is having a surgery in August where he won’t be able to walk for many months, and also I can’t just rebook my Alaska cruise for next summer b/c the tickets have to be used by April, when most Alaska cruises aren’t yet running and I can’t be away anyway b/c of the kids and school stuff. It feels awfully selfish of me to even be thinking about this now but I want to get ideas flowing so that I can book something maybe in the fall for the next winter, as I see Jan - Mar as the timeframe when I could be away for a week, perhaps (right now isn’t good for such an ambitious trip b/c DH has to be away more to deal with the death in the family). I would welcome any ideas of what to do. I looked briefly at other cruises and wasn’t thrilled b/c I bought everything for the colder weather cruise but most are for warm weather. These were expensive plane tickets b/c I was flying first class to try to avoid covid, so most places I’d usually think of going don’t get up to the $ level of the ticket. I’d love to spend a week somewhere in Europe etc but still worry that travel rules will suddenly change again and trap me, during the school year when I can’t be away too long. Overall I just wish I’d booked with $ instead of points b/c then I could have put the tickets on my travel insurance. I thought I was smart booking with points, b/c they had built up during the pandemic; at least I’m getting a credit for the flight instead of losing all the points. I think I should call United and clarify all of the rules for using the credit, but they are spelled out pretty clearly on my cancellation email so I don’t expect anything really different. It would be so nice if I could split this over 2 passengers or 2 trips instead of just one for me. But, it’s also kind of luxurious to think that I have to spend this money only on me. In an ideal world right now my biggest wish would be to go to Paris.

Go to Paris!!!

(I cannot envision the travel rules tightening again since they did not this winter.) And generally they do allow people to get home regardless!

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If I had taken my cruise as planned and disembarked in Vancouver, then tested positive, I would have had to quarantine in a Vancouver hotel for 10 days under the rule that’s about to end. That’s the kind of thing I’m worried could come back although I agree it seems unlikely.

Agree with Paris! I’m so glad we went a few years ago. I’ve got friends going this summer, and few TP users are planning trips on WDW chat.

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I like your Europe thought. I am very hopeful that travel rules are not going to change to go backward, but a really good question for which you’d probably have to call to ask would be what happens if you rebook using this credit and things DO change that are 100% outside of your control and prohibit or strictly inhibit your ability to take the scheduled flight. I would hope that the deadline for use would be extended yet again.

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If you have always wanted to go to Paris, this is clearly a sign you should go! I’m assuming you are a mom based on your username - it’s hard for us moms to do things for ourselves.

Otherwise, I would call and see what your options are. Sometimes the agents can make exceptions.

Did you pay with United miles or credit card points? If you paid with United miles, you could ask if they will refund them back to your account.

I would also ask what happens if another event occurs or emergency. If you book a March flight and need to cancel, would you be able to change your flight? I suspect yes as United has a pretty generous change policy now.

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I booked with Chase card points. I was given a credit for the amount of the flight in dollars.

Go to Paris!!!

I was looking at flights and can get a RT for around $1200 from LAX to most places in Europe if one doesn’t mind regular economy. Even less if you don’t mind basic economy.

Sit on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower and eat bread. This is my plan in a few months.

Take the trip!!!

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I did go to Paris once but it was a day trip on the Eurostar train from London so I never saw anything at night. I was impressed that I was able to interact with people without knowing much French but that is likely due to the fact that we only visited the most touristy places. Seeing Paris at night has been on my bucket list ever since and I’m realizing that part of why I am thinking of Paris is that my relative who just passed away always wanted to go but didn’t. I also have a long running plan to take my family to London and go to Paris also on the Eurostar, but if budget / time constraints interfere I could see us not doing the Paris part of that idea. I’ve basically been waiting for covid to ebb to do this plan b/c I really want to do it before DS15 graduates HS and leaves.

BTW DS, who will be 16 next summer, has the opportunity to go on an Italy trip with his school next summer. It’s one of those things with a tour that goes all over the country for 10 days. I wonder if it will be fun or if they would spend all of their time on a bus being transported from one city to another; it goes to maybe 8 cities. A good friend who’s spent a lot of time in Europe told me to just choose one Italian city and stay there for a week. But, this is a special trip for just his one language class, which is a close knit class that he loves. I’m thinking it might be a good experience for him but am not sure I’d want to join. I can’t use my flight credit for this b/c it’s too late. Thoughts?

I spent a summer in Germany in high school and a semester in Vienna in college. Both of those involved multi day bus trips that are part of my core memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Even the one where I froze my BEHIND off in Dresden. I can still remember that cold 15 years later. 1000% send your son to Italy! Top to bottom Italy is probably only like a 14 hour drive so spread over 10 days that’s not really much time on a bus. It will be awesome. I do agree about picking a city and going deep in general (I’m on day 2 of a week in a tiny Scottish city as I type.). But there is also a time and place for multi city trips. I have no doubt he’ll be back and you can go with or visit him next time he has more time in one place.

Send me a private message if you want help planning your Paris trip!

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I just noticed something weird. All the info from Chase rewards says I have to use the flight credit by the day I originally booked the flights, which was end of April. But in my United account it says I just have to begin travel by Dec 31, 2023—which would be sooooo much better. Does anyone know what’s going on here? I know I need to call them but expect to be on hold a long time with united…

7-Night Mexican Riviera Cruise from San Diego on DCL? Fly first class to San Diego?
February 25 - March 4, 2023
Not as cool as Alaska, but DCL?

I’d do an extravagent cruise. I just love being waited on on a ship!
Panama Canal.
South America
Western Med.

I don’t know how far flight money gets you.

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It would get me to San Diego I’m sure, and if not I don’t mind going over. I just don’t want to lose any of the flight credit by not using up to that amount of $. Those cruises are something to think about. My original idea, 3 yrs ago (!), was DCL. I got interested in cruising b/c I saw a post on this forum where someone showed their DCL cabin. I ended up choosing Princess b/c it was cheaper and seemed very traditional and I wanted to try traditional cruising.

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One thing I would clarify with the airline is whether the credit can only be used for you personally (as in Southwest’s policy) or whether you have to be on the booking but others can be also (as in Frontier’s policy). That may make a difference in using the funds up.

Did you book directly with United or through Chase? If you click on the travel credit from your account page in United it should give you more info.

I have a “credit” from a business trip I cancelled in March 2020 which was booked through my company’s Concur portal. It’s still showing up on my account as a credit available through Dec 31, 2023, but when I click on it it tells me to contact my travel agent. It also occasionally shows up as a $15,000 credit when I check out on the United flight (it was not that expensive of a flight!)

The United chat is very good and typically pretty fast. If you click on the Help Center, there’s a link for it at the very bottom of the page.

It’s very specific that only I can use the funds.

I’m reviving this thread to say that I still haven’t booked anything with my United travel credit. I’ve made a plan to go see a friend in Texas and also go to Vegas, but it’s tentative. The idea was for January or February, as the credit would end at end of April and spring is too busy, but the United website is very clear that they have extended all of these until Dec 31, 2023, which means that I have a lot more time to use it, and during easier times to travel (such as next summer). I’ve gotten excited about this trip but at the same time haven’t had the gumption to book anything. It all seems too much. I guess I am still worried about getting on a plane and catching covid (or, now, all those other viruses going around…) and I’m overwhelmed with house hunting and might move in spring (in town move). I’m torn between truly needing to get away for a week versus that it would just be too hard to get away for a week. I also still have my 2 cruises on the books for Aug or Sept, I will choose one, and I sort of feel guilty for planning 2 trips for myself in the same year. But, the cruise is to make up for having to drop a cruise a week before disembarkation when we had a death in the family. We’ve had so much death, estate stuff, and surgery these past 2 years…and I have no idea how i’m going to move all these objects from move house to another…I want a lot of them to not come with us but that is painful so…maybe go to Vegas? The last solo trip I took longer than a weekend was in summer 2017 and I really need a vacation…plus, I might have to cancel both cruises if we’re moving then or the transition to new schools is too tough. I have until early May to decide on the first cruise and early June for the 2nd. I am leaning heavily towards the 2nd which means I don’t have to make that decision until June.

Reminder to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.

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Thanks. I am typically very good about carving out time for myself. One of the things keeping me from booking a trip is that I’ve had a series physical problems, very unusual for me, which turned out to be 4 different chronic illnesses. I’m finally getting a handle on them after about 9 months of seeing all sorts of drs trying to figure out what was wrong. I’m not sure if I can travel that far and still feel good when I get there, but I think I can. These are not serious but all together they were making me miserable. I find having the time to take care of myself, while stuff’s been happening like DH having surgery that rendered him unable to walk, has been very difficult. If I didn’t have a travel credit that would expire then travel would be the last thing on my mind. Usually it is my joy.

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Maybe a weekend away is just what you need. Take advantage of the assistance available through United and in the airports to make at least that part of your trip easier on you.