Skirting United’s $75 Close-in Booking Fee One Last Time

Spoiler alert: It worked on the first try, calling 1-800-421-4655.

Update 11/1/19: Just saved another $75 for a last minute United award I decided to book. I called 1-800-4655 number, and the first agent I spoke to tried to charge me close-in booking fee for moving my flight from December 2 to November 10. I hung up and called back, same number, and the second agent did not mention it whatsoever and re-booked for free.

United MileagePlus charges $75 to book an award less than 21 days before departure.

You Can Still Avoid the United $75 Close-in Booking Fee

Update 7/14/19: The trick just worked for me again, this time on the first try! I spent under 5 minutes and saved $150. This time I started by calling the number that ended up working for me last year, 1-800-421-4655, on the first try and the nice representative waived the fee. She originally told me that we would be charged $75 per person--$150 total--and I told her it was my understanding that since I had booked within the last 24 hours I could make free changes. She agreed and waived the fee.

You Can Still Avoid the United $75 Close-in Booking Fee

Update 7/14/19: The trick just worked for me again, this time on the first try! I spent under 5 minutes and saved $150. This time I started by calling the number that ended up working for me last year, 1-800-421-4655, on the first try and the nice representative waived the fee. She originally told me that we would be charged $75 per person--$150 total--and I told her it was my understanding that since I had booked within the last 24 hours I could make free changes. She agreed and waived the fee.

United $75 Trick NOT DEAD

Edit November 18, 2017: Three more positive reports in the last two weeks. This trick may never die. :)

In Don’t Pay the $75 Close In Fee on United (Trick!), Scott wrote about an easy way anyone can avoid the fee United charges non-elites for booking an award within 21 days of departure.

Using Schedule Changes to Save on Re-Deposit Fees

While we're on the topic of United tricks, I thought I'd take the opportunity to remind you all of how to avoid the cancellation/re-deposit of miles fees typically collected on awards.

Normally canceling a United award and re-depositing your miles incurs a $200 per ticket fee if you don’t have United status.

Recently a reader wrote to us asking the following:
"I have held reservations on United since Sept 2016 for flying from Savannah to Copenhagen on June 1, returning June 13.

Awesome Trick To Get More Space in Coach

Note from Sarah Page: Scott wrote this post back in 2014, but I am re-posting it now because it's an invaluable trick. Every economy flight I fly I check my armrest for the secret lever under the joint of the arm and four times out of five, it's there. 

I fly a lot of flights in economy class. While all my long-hauls are in business or first, when I fly domestically or hop around Southeast Asia, Europe, or Australia, it's almost always in coach.

It's just not worth using airline miles to book short flights in first class.

Don’t Pay the $75 Close In Fee on United (Trick!)

Update: I used this trick successfully. Here was my experience.

As I led a session at the Chicago Seminars this weekend on "Special Awards," someone chimed in with an intriguing tip:

There is a simple method to avoid the $75 "close in ticketing fee" on United awards that is triggered when you try to book a ticket within 21 days of departure.

I tested out the proposed method yesterday, and I have some input on how it works.

TRICK: Put Your British Airways Account in France for Big Savings

British Airways is happy to handle a number of transactions in dollars, pounds, or euros.

Trick: How to Load the Old United.com (Better for Award Searching)

Update 2/12/16: United brought back the nonstop calendar. The single column for Saver and Standard economy space remains.

I covered two months ago why the new united.com stinks for award searching. My biggest complaint is that even if you specify a "nonstop only" search, the search calendar does not show you nonstop only results.

I used to be able to see space on a route for two months at a time on united.com, now I can see it one day a time.