For years, there was a way to book United award tickets within 21-days without ever having to pay a close-in ticketing fee (which is $75 for those without any status).
In summary, one could simply book their desired award ticket on a date that was 21 days out, wait a few minutes for the award to ticket, and then change the ticket to the desired date within 21 days. It was a surefire way to avoid the hefty fee at all costs.
Well I am sad to report that it seems like it’s an end of an era. Yesterday, a friend brought it to my attention when he tried to book a last-minute award using the trick, and saw that he was being charged the $75 close-in ticketing fee when he went to change his ticket on United.com within 24 hours.
Unsure if what he was saying was true, I decided to try for myself.
For experimental purposes, I booked a simple award from EWR-FLL departing on June 20:
Then once the itinerary ticketed, I went to change the booking for the same saver award for May 31, which as we know is within 21 days.
There it was- the $75 fee.
I am not at all surprised that this loophole has closed, but it sure was a nice way to book a last-minute award ticket for a hot minute.
Did you notice that this trick was dead? Have you ever used it in the past?