United flight credit / Chase rewards bizarre rules

I’m trying to finally figure out my plans for my flight credit from the Alaska (Anchorage Whittier to Vancouver) cruise I had to cancel last June due to a death in the family and I’m going out of my mind with all the rules that are applied to it—or supposedly are the rules. It seems like whomever I talk to at Chase Travel Rewards tells me something different than I was told by the previous agent (kind of like when you call Disney…).

Credit is for flights only; I did not book the cruise through Chase.

I understand these rules: only person traveling can be me b/c I was the person booked before, and it can only be on United b/c that is who had the ticket before. Ok, that’s all good. Here’s where it gets tricky:

  1. I originally was told travel had to be completed by April 27 b/c I purchased my ticket at that time in 2022 and it’s only good for one year. I have multiple emails from Chase saying so, but United has now extended those credits to Dec 31, 2023. Today I talked to one agent who said it had to be used by end April and one who said April but then changed to Dec 31. Both talked to United and said I have until Dec 31 but I don’t 100% believe them and don’t want to lose my $. 1st agent really didn’t change her mind, was very skeptical of whether I have til Dec.

  2. 1st agent said I still have to go to Vancouver b/c original ticket was Vancouver. United told her that was wrong, I could go anywhere.

  3. 1st agent said I have no choice but to leave from BWI b/c originally was leaving BWI. I had decided long ago to leave from IAD b/c I can get nonstop flights from there. So she sent me to 2nd agent who talked to United who said I am allowed to leave from IAD.

  4. 1st agent told me I can go anywhere but 2nd agent told me I have to stay within a region and therefore can’t get a European flight (Paris) b/c it’s a different region than my original ticket.

  5. months ago when I first started figuring out where to go an agent, in the middle of the night, told me that I am required to do one domestic and one international flight just like the original ticket. That agent really didn’t seem like he knew what he was saying so I thought I’d have better luck during the day. I was wrong.

Oh my word. What is real???

I’m also not sure I can do a multi city and that is what I’d have to do to use up the entire credit domestically. Some things the agents agreed on: I can’t use more Chase points if the flight is more expensive, and I have to forfeit any amount that isn’t used in my one booking. That is very disappointing b/c I had thought of making 2 smaller trips.

Thanks for any info. I have never used any sort of flight credit before. I’ve always been able to take my flights (and haven’t traveled much by plane overall).

Basically I think I have to be flexible and try to book something and see if it sticks. I’m also thinking about buying fully refundable flights this time b/c I don’t see them being very nice if I have an emergency again. I thought when I booked this before that travel insurance would cover a points ticket and was very surprised when I found out it doesn’t. (I was very happy however with the travel insurance for the cruise b/c I got back the entire cruise fare.)

The 2 options I’m most likely to do are either 1) Paris from IAD or 2) something with Las Vegas from IAD and also either seeing friends in San Antonio or some other city like San Francisco. If actually limited to BWI I’d do Chicago first b/c that is nonstop. If limited to Canada I do want to see some of Canada but wouldn’t have chosen it during the colder months…

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If you log into United, can you see the travel credit in your wallet in your account? It should give you the expiration date and amount. I have one from a work trip booked through a travel agent, and it also tells me to contact the travel agent to use it.

I’ve not used Chase points before (just Amex points) - but I cancelled a United trip to Mexico in December 2021, and used some of that credit to go to LA and the rest of it to go to Orlando. From United’s perspective, it was just dollars I was applying to the bill.

Also - you can cancel a flight within 24 hours of booking on United and get a refund. I’m not sure how quickly it will refund you, but something to keep in mind.

(edited to clarify the 24 hour rule)

Thanks! Yes, if I look on United’s website it shows my credit going until Dec 31, 2023. It doesn’t list any other restrictions that I remember. But it does say I have to book through Chase rewards b/c I originally booked through them (the same travel agent language you said) and when I talk to Chase their agents always think I only have until April 27. And the Chase agents tell me that I can only use the travel credit once and forfeit whatever isn’t used. They didn’t seem to think I could book 2 different trips at once and use it. I have to book on the phone with them.

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Every time we’ve had flight credits, they were basically dollars that we had to use with a single booking. But it’s been a few years since we’ve had flight credits (used to happen a lot, for various reasons).

I’d figure out what you want to do with the flight credits (assuming no restrictions) and try to book that. Even if they say it’s not possible, ask them to try anyway and potentially get a United person on the phone to get it done.

I don’t have any experience to relate with flight credits but I can empathize with your frustration dealing with Chase Rewards. I normally just transfer my Chase points to Southwest, but recently I decided to use them for our upcoming trip to Universal for hotels. Initial booking was fine, but we then needed to add one person on to both reservations. I couldn’t modify online, and Chase Rewards wasn’t able to either and referred me to Universal. Universal’s agent was able to add one guest to one (Royal Pacific) but not the other (Cabana Bay).
Then later when I decided to shift where we stayed when, when I cancelled the existing reservations the Cabana Bay points came back immediately but the Royal Pacific ones took much longer. When I tried to rebook at least one of them (need my points back for the other) I kept getting an error message. I called Chase Rewards and the agent tried to reserve for me and got the same error. She forwarded me to an upper level and that agent could not find the hotel in the system, even when I literally spelled the entire name out. Granted, Universal’s Lowes Royal Pacific Resort is ridiculously convoluted of a name! After over an hour I finally got off the phone with him and called back later and had to start the whole process over. While the new agent did her thing I just tried using a different email address (than the one on my chase account and which I had used for the prior reservation) and the reservation went through. Crazy and a huge waste of my time.
But lesson learned, I will definitely not be using Chase Rewards for anything other than points redemption and never for airfare. I can only imagine the nightmare you are having dealing with them plus an airline!


Wow, that sounds difficult. We’ve booked airfare with chase points, and a hotel or 2, over more than 15 yrs I think and usually don’t have trouble. But, this is the first time we weren’t able to take the trip exactly as planned with chase points. I honestly thought before reading the fine print that trip insurance covers points airfare but it doesn’t. Also if I had had an economy flight it would have been points lost. It was a nonrefundable flight. I got an upgrade because I was trying to not catch covid.

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I hope you can get this worked out with Chase/United @Kitty_Ellas_Mom!

I generally also only transfer Chase points to Southwest, but I used our Chase points for our Covid-cancelled trip to Hawaii on Hawaiian and Delta. Delta credited us with Delta points which we were able to use on any Delta flights as long as they were the same two people traveling. We were able to use them in October and they were to expire 12/31/2022. Hawaiian put a credit on our Chase account but it was a huge hassle to get Chase to allow us to use it (not points, just a credit notation on our trips tab.) I contacted Hawaiian and Chase several times and Hawaiian finally credited it back as Chase points in the original amount. It was around 90,000 points so a big deal. No expiration now as long as we have the card so I’m using some of them but saving a big portion for a future big trip.

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I stopped booking through Chase travel rewards 2 years ago when they couldn’t figure out how to modify my Jetblue EWR-MIA ticket to a multi-city EWR-MIA / MCO-EWR . Talking to multiple agents over several hours, it was clear nobody had a clue.

After that experience, I book directly with the airline and use my Chase UR points strictly for cashback. I still have the Chase travel redemption bonus through their Pay-yourself-back program.

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Thanks everyone. I am strongly considering the use of some of the other chase points for a hotel in Vegas. Specifically, I am thinking of seeing if I can turn them into IHG points for the Venitian, but I am not convinced yet that that is where I want to stay, so I haven’t approached chase about it. I am pretty sure i’m going to try to book a multi city trip with my United credit for Dulles to San Antonio, then to Vegas, and then back to Dulles. I hope they let me do this, as my friends out there agreed to my dates. Fingers crossed…I am doubting they will say no to a multi city b/c my original ticket was a multi city…

If my talk with my friend goes well tomorrow I’ll be trying to book with this credit tomorrow night for late Feb, eek! Their website doesn’t say no to multi city trips, but it does say you have to book with them on the phone instead of online–which I was going to do anyway. Fingers crossed this all works out. I’m definitely looking fwd to having this credit used, and I’m using it before the earliest expiration to be sure of being able to use it. Plan is IAD to SAT, SAT to LAS, and LAS back to IAD. I’ve been to San Antonio before but never Vegas, and it will be my first experience with Dulles airport. I’m seriously considering use of more Chase points to book a nice hotel in Vegas but based on comments on this forum I think I’ll transfer them to the hotel chain and then book myself, instead of booking through Chase, in order to remain as flexible as possible.


It didn’t work!!! :frowning:

I spent 30 min on the phone with Chase rewards going through all my multi city flights (3 legs and 4 flights total, b/c there was a connection in the middle leg) and I was told that United wouldn’t accept the 3rd leg b/c my original ticket only had 2 legs. Their explanation is that the original ticket is “on hold” and I have to replace it. Why doesn’t this just act like money? The bottom line is that she said to call United myself and ask them to do it but she was very negative about my chances. I’m too tired right now to try so will do tomorrow. I knew that this might not work, but I feel badly b/c I spent a long time today talking to my friend I’m supposed to see and now it might not happen.

One other thing I don’t get is that on my end these flights were over $3K (from United’s website) but on her end they were on the lower end of $1K. I made sure she had the first class and she did. But she wasn’t able to tell me how much credit I would use to just do the first 2 legs.

Also, she reiterated what another person at Chase said before: that I can’t use the credit to go to Paris (my other idea) b/c it’s in a “different region” than my original flights. I was supposed to go, last June, from BWI to Anchorage, and then from Vancouver back to BWI—b/c there was a cruise in there. But without the cruise that makes no sense. She told me that US and Canada are a different region than Europe. But, to use up all this $ in one transaction I have to go to Europe or do multi city.

It would be possible, if they actually did extend my credit to Dec 31, to go on the Alaska cruise in August I booked and book those flights again. But, they have increased in price since last April when I booked them and I don’t feel like paying that much right now (I can’t use more points to make up the difference, only credit card). Also, I don’t feel like my first time flying after the pandemic to be really long flights across the country. I could see myself possibly doing this but I was really thinking about canceling that cruise b/c I’d rather go on the other one I booked, with a group, and I can do only one.

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Ok, so now…it will work???

I called United yesterday and they said yes to every single thing that Chase travel rewards said no to the previous day.

Yes to 3rd flight, yes to the credit is extended to Dec 31 (to be fair several times Chase said this, but sometimes they didn’t), and even yes to Paris if I decide to go that route.

Most importantly they said yes to letting me keep the remainder of my credit if my flight doesn’t equal that amount of money. I saw on the Points Guy that in April 2021 United changed that rule and now allows this. I am assuming that is true and that Chase just didn’t get the memo, although that is a long time to not get the memo.

In any case, I am hoping very much that the next United agent I talk to will still let me do all this b/c once I found out I wasn’t bound to using all the $ in one fell swoop I decided to go back to the drawing board. If I could use it for 2 small trips instead of one big one it would just be easier. Problem is, since this isn’t 100% solo b/c I involved friends it’s hard to change things now without hurting feelings. I really, really wish Chase had had the right info from the start so I didn’t spent all that time trying to figure out a multi city so that I could use all that $ at once.

After sleeping on it I started thinking to just go ahead and go in 2.5 weeks with my original plan. It’s mostly b/c life will be so busy from Mar - June that there wouldn’t be any time for stuff like this, and then in summer we have other stuff going on. I don’t want to get close to the end of the year and be rushed to use the credit. I also desperately need a break. And I still am not sure I really want to go on either cruise I booked for Aug or Sept (one requires expensive flights and the other not).

So, I will be calling United back as soon as I can get a hold of my friend again to confirm that we are still ok for that weekend. My timing is unfortunate as she has a big trip of her own just starting, so I’ll have to be patient. But I am very excited about seeing her and going to Vegas for the first time.


What a runaround! I hope it works out for you!!

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Yeesh, I have no words of wisdom for your predicament.

I’ve been doing some learnin’ over on points and rewards groups this last year and most people say to avoid booking through the Chase & Amex or other portals because they just can’t get anything straight when something changes.

Plus, from personal experience in general I can tell you that every single Chase rep has their own opinion on any particular topic and will tell it to you with confidence even when everything you know tells you they are wrong.

Only time I’m using the portals for bookings is to get annual credits that require booking there, otherwise I’m all about transferring Chase and Amex points to partners for higher redemptions and less headaches.

Hope yours gets sorted out!


I still need to book the flights tonight, but am wondering about my hotel. Dare I try to book through Chase Travel Rewards with my points? I don’t think there is enough time to transfer points to IHG and then book it after the transfer b/c the hotel is selling out. I’ve read terrible things on here about Chase re: hotels though. I might just save the points for later, but it would be nice not to have that hotel bill right now.

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I haven’t used my Chase points but how long does it take to transfer points?

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I read somewhere about it taking awhile but I can’t remember where. I might have even been reading something else. The main thing that put me off of this is that on the website for the hotel (Venitian) when I looked up point rooms all it offered me for my dates were several ADA compliant rooms which lack some of the features I wanted, like the sunken living room, and included bath features I don’t want / need. Plus I’d feel bad taking up an ADA room someone else might need. It is possible though that I somehow did the search wrong. But the hotel is obviously getting sold out of a lot of the room types I saw earlier when I looked so I think it’s just getting full.

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Update: I’m not going to try to use points for the hotel after all b/c the price went down by more than $600 overnight for the total stay, making it cheap enough that my points are better used elsewhere. So I immediately booked it before the prices could go up again. I know these things can change all the time but didn’t expect that…I’ve been watching this one for a few months and it steadily climbed higher and higher…


100%, me too!

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Awesome save but such a game to play! :chess_pawn:

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