United Tickets Booked Through Travel Agents Are Now Refundable

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Saying goodbye to Gate 35X (HT: @crucker)

  • There are now different rules for making changes to United Airlines tickets for those purchased directly and those purchased through travel agencies and good luck ever getting a credit or refund booking with an online agency.

    United is allowing someone who books to switch to a lower-priced itinerary and keep the residual value for future travel. But that is only allowed if you book directly with the airline.

    …United has made all tickets issued through travel agents refundable minus a fee, except for basic economy, of course. Domestic tickets carry a $100 fee. International coach tickets are at $200, international premium economy tickets are at $300, and international business class tickets are at $400. In a way, this is really allowing travelers to make a decision on refundability after purchase instead of before. Right now, these penalties are nearly equal to the amount someone could pay above the lowest fare to get a refundable one. (That United pricing scheme is in place through the summer.)

    What this means is that travel agents now have an advantage over booking United directly, and that seems weird. You’d think United would want to encourage people to book direct — and it does that in the narrow case where someone wants to exchange for a lower fare and can do that without paying a penalty if they book direct…

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen this anywhere online before, but the person who designed the GHA Discovery hotels unpublished “Red” invitation-only elite level published its contents as part of their portfolio. So we know about guaranteed suite upgrades at booking at 9 p.m. late check-out.

  • Qantas elite status fast track is back and it’s tempting, since my family’s address in Australia works with my Qantas account and they’re even matching against Delta, United and Air Canada (but not partners American or Alaska). [HT: @drdoot]

  • Boeing is selling its commercial airplanes headquarters campus

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — So, what do you have to do be invited to RED? Sounds right up my alley.

  2. Thank you for writing great content as always Gary. Not always going to agree with the politics (I’m very right-wing, more than Trump), but you have good analysis and eye-opening news.

  3. @gene – that’s the big question – would love to learn how to earn red status !

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