United “Cancel Without Redeposit Trick” Successful Beyond My Wildest Dreams; Having Old Awards Gives Backdoor Access To The Old Award Chart

In mid-December I advised folks to beat the United devaluation by booking awards and then cancelling them without redepositing the miles.

By doing that you would be able to fly Lufthansa First Class at the old rates (135K to Europe/150K to Tel Aviv) instead of the new rates (220K to Europe/280K to Tel Aviv) by just changing the dates close to when you want to fly.  You would pay a small change fee, but save a boatload of miles. Lufthansa typically only releases their first class award space within 14 days of a flight.  Their first class is great with planes like the 747-400 that give you a seat as well as a real mattress next to it.  Plus you get access to their first class terminal where you can indulge in kosher food and rare scotches before being driven in a luxury car right up to your plane as I wrote about in my Venice trip notes a few years ago.

The advice wasn’t without controversy.

United refused to confirm or deny and their Flyertalk liaison advised that I should take a more conservative approach (ha!).

Numerous Flyertalkers ridiculed the advice, though I’d wager that most of them had probably never even used that cancel without redeposit option.

One blogger reblogged my advice to which another blogger responded, “I would bet that the odds of this working as described are near nil….Repeating bad advice doesn’t make it true.”

And yet another blogger wrote “Dan is suggesting that before the travel date you cancel the trip…He seems convinced this will work for locking in the old rates. I don’t necessarily disagree, I’m just not as confident about United’s system working that way as he is.”

I then reiterated in a later post that I stood by my advice based on my experience with United awards but cautioned that we were in uncharted territory and that nobody could say for certain what would happen.

I made several reservations myself and finally got around to playing with them and what I found was fascinating.  Not only can simple date changes be made without paying more miles (the intention of the original trick) but just about every other change can be done as well under the old award chart.

For example I have a one-way itinerary from Frankfurt to Cleveland via Newark on a Lufthansa 747-400 that was cancelled without being redeposited. It currently looks like this:

 

uaa

 

 

 

 

And as predicted by choosing change flights I can change it without paying any additional miles.  In fact I could even change directions to have it go from Newark to Frankfurt without additional miles:

 

uae

 

But I didn’t stop there.  I tried changing my one-way into a round-trip and it only asked for an extra 67,500 miles per person for the return trip.  In other words by just having one of these itineraries I am able to book awards under the old rates (67.5K each way) instead of the new rates (110K each way).

uab

 

 

Compare that with the vile new award chart rates for a first class partner award for 2 passengers:

uac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But why stop there? Next I tried changing the one-way Lufthansa ticket into a round-trip business class ticket to Israel.  Those tickets used to cost 120K round-trip but are now 140K on United or 160K on partner airlines.

Once again, it priced it out as a ticket under the old award chart, asking for 120K per passenger:

uaf

 

Want to fly in your own private Asiana suite? That’s 240K per person now, but with an old ticket you can access the old rate of 140K per person:

 

uag

 

Seemingly with any old award you can make a change online and access the old award chart.  Pretty cool if you ask me!

Best of all as I booked several one-ways each of those can be transformed into round-trips to anywhere in the world at the old rates.

Did you use the cancel without redeposit trick? Were you too afraid? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

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59 Responses to “United “Cancel Without Redeposit Trick” Successful Beyond My Wildest Dreams; Having Old Awards Gives Backdoor Access To The Old Award Chart”

  1. Jalem Says:
    1

    My friend Mordichai did for First Class Lufthansa and now he’s the one laughing! (Just like Dan)

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan holds strong Says:
    2

    Dan stays at the top of his game! You are the king, you are BOSS

    ReplyReply
  3. D. Says:
    3

    Awesome. I knew my faith in you would be rewarded when I booked a TLV-FRA-EWR at the old rates and cancelled without redepositing! Now just need the award space to open up 15 days out…

    ReplyReply
  4. United Shareholder Says:
    4

    United will just go ahead and fix this issue.

    Fyi in the past I had a similar experience with United in a different Dept and they just need to match one part of intinary. But that is for another time my friends. It still lives on

    ReplyReply
  5. Joe Says:
    5

    Dan, when will they admit that you’re the lebron james of miles & points ?

    ReplyReply
  6. eric Says:
    6

    I booked two round trip to Israel on Lufthansa First Class. Thanks Dan for your advice. I am glad it paid off. One of my segments, FRA-TLV booked as economy, but now I am convinced that if its available it will ticket it right.

    ReplyReply
  7. bklyn Says:
    7

    Mazel Tov!
    But not everything has to be posted….

    ReplyReply
  8. shmu Says:
    8

    Dan’s הוה אמינא is a ודאי for me..

    ReplyReply
  9. netlevy Says:
    9

    i followed your advice to HK and i now have an Asiana first class ticket to HK and a return with ANA!
    2 companies i am dreaming on trying!

    ReplyReply
  10. yuneeq Says:
    10

    Is it not a coincidence that United’s site is allowing free changes to all ticket types today?

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @eric:
    Have fun!

    @bklyn:
    And then nobody would know what they can do with their ticket?

    @netlevy:
    They’re both great, enjoy!

    @yuneeq:
    1. That’s not true. I tried on several tickets and so did others on DDF, you should stop by sometime 😉

    2. This worked before today as well.

    ReplyReply
  12. david Says:
    12

    Dan,

    Are you able to purchase a new flight and then cancel it and get all of your money back but keep the miles? Thanks

    ReplyReply
  13. E Says:
    13

    What if I have have old mileage rates booked to tlv and didn’t cancel will I have to pay more point and a fee for direct

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @david:
    Huh?

    @E:
    You can go direct without paying more miles!

    ReplyReply
  15. mo Says:
    15

    Is it also possible to change the name?

    ReplyReply
  16. NJMACMAN Says:
    16

    Yasher Koach, the MAN!

    ReplyReply
  17. david Says:
    17

    Meaning, lets say I buy a refundable flight, and i earn miles for buying the flight, or i earn points. Can i cancel the flight, get my money back, but keep the miles or points i earned?

    ReplyReply
  18. Anonymous Says:
    18

    @Dan: i was checking and they are charging me a change fee should i cancel and not redeposit and then rebbok when direct reopens

    ReplyReply
  19. IAHTRVLR Says:
    19

    @Dan, I have a bunch of tickets booked at the old award rate, did they have to be canceled before the change or can I still cancel them and rebook them accordingly?

    ReplyReply
  20. Steve Says:
    20

    I booked 8 one ways on Lufthansa first class from JFK , and EWR to TLV , and back. Canceled them all without re depositing them. I also have a dozen or so business class tickets that are still active from NY to TlV. Thanks Dan.

    ReplyReply
  21. shmuel Says:
    21

    I really don’t understand what you wrote even after rereading the whole thing Dan can you explain it a little better?

    ReplyReply
  22. ari Says:
    22

    @David.. If you don’t actually fly, u aren’t awarded miles at all

    ReplyReply
  23. ari Says:
    23

    correction: unless you pay and fly or pay and miss your flight, you aren’t awarded points

    ReplyReply
  24. Reuvenhunt Says:
    24

    @ari: I think David is hoping to get the cc Points. But when the charge is refunded, the points will be clawed back

    ReplyReply
  25. abe Says:
    25

    how does this work once you cancel you loose your ticket so how do you rebook it?

    ReplyReply
  26. whYME Says:
    26

    I have no skin in the game, but i wouldn’t worry about them closing this loophole now because of this post.

    It’ll probably cost them far more to plug it than it will to just let it play itself out with those few people who have these tickets.

    ReplyReply
  27. Dan's Unlicensed Unretained Attorney Pro Bono Says:
    27

    @Joe:

    Joe, we, or they will never admit that. Yes. Dan is in an elite category in his field, a category inhabited solely by him.

    But let us show a level of discretion and sensitivity and not use Lebrawn James as the symbol for that. For one, Dan would never leave Cleveland, even if he could earn more hardware (US Mint coins) and miles and get Elite Platinum VIP lifetime status with his DDF best buddies elsewhere.

    So…maybe we or they will admit he is the Kyrie Irving of miles and points. or maybe The Points Professor. The Rewards Rebbe. The Miles Moshiach.

    But not the Lebron James.

    ReplyReply
  28. Sang Kancil Guru Says:
    28

    @IAHTRVLR: Same question too.

    ReplyReply
  29. arye Says:
    29

    united.com has a habit of erroring out on the final page when trying to change/ticket tricky award res. at that point u would need to call in and deal with a live agent. ie, until someone actually goes all the way through with one of these changes we wont know if it works.

    ReplyReply
  30. HM Says:
    30

    I don’t read DD much but I love this post. I would name names and show that most bloggers have no idea what they are talking. They are reactive and not proactive.

    ReplyReply
  31. Meir Says:
    31

    Are changes allowed on up to 1 year ?

    ReplyReply
  32. jennifer Says:
    32

    @dan are you saying you just go into your reservation on line and click the change dates instead of cancel/redeposit?

    ReplyReply
  33. dan the man Says:
    33

    I am sure this will be a well read topic so let me be the first one; Dan, whats a good credit card to open?

    ReplyReply
  34. King James Says:
    34

    Don’t make lebron James jokes Dan is from Cleveland
    He probably misses me

    ReplyReply
  35. mh Says:
    35

    What is the $255.40 refund for?

    ReplyReply
  36. Anon Says:
    36

    @arye:
    Dan knows more than live agents. Way more…

    ReplyReply
  37. lala Says:
    37

    would you be able to help me? i want to go for lag bomer to Israel and don’t know what is best time to get tickets??

    ReplyReply
  38. Isaac Says:
    38

    Dan, it looks like I & many others want to know, will the cancel (today)& not redeposit trick still work?

    ReplyReply
  39. jay Says:
    39

    I know it’s just wishful thinking but is it possible that this any canceled flight without redeposited access the old chart? (Ie even tickets booked now)

    ReplyReply
  40. UA Says:
    40

    If they read it, thats the end of it.

    ReplyReply
  41. Dan Says:
    41

    @mo:
    No.

    @Anonymous:
    A small change fee ($50 or $75) applies for non-elites as I said in the December post.

    @abe:
    Read the original post.

    @HM:
    It’s not my style to name names like that.

    @Meir:
    Yes. Perhaps more. Perhaps not.

    @jennifer:
    Try that first.

    @dan the man:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/credit-cards
    http://www.dansdeals.com/forums/index.php?topic=8028.0

    @mh:
    Taxes for one-way flight departing Europe vs. US.

    @lala:
    Check prices daily.

    @Isaac:
    It may work by just clicking change flight, did you try?

    @jay:
    No.

    @UA:
    See comment 26.

    ReplyReply
  42. dan the man Says:
    42

    @dan

    i was kidding with that comment:) sorry

    ReplyReply
  43. Isaac Says:
    43

    @Dan:
    Yes Dan (& everybody), I have a one way TLV-NY ticketed for 60k in business class (old rate), if I click on ‘change flights’ I can search for a first class seat, by adding a additional 15k points instead of the new incredible 140k!
    The interesting part is only, that when I search for Feb 25 it gives me LH with one stop, but when I search using ‘change flights’ it only gives me with 2 stops?

    ReplyReply
  44. Anonymous Says:
    44

    @Anon: and therefor…?

    ReplyReply
  45. Anon Says:
    45

    I was responding to this comment:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/40712/comment-page-1#comment-551281

    ReplyReply
  46. Mark Says:
    46

    Does this work to upgrade an economy ticket to business class

    ReplyReply
  47. Catha Says:
    47

    Hi Dan,
    I have a reservation made last year on United that I cancelled via a phone agent. She said that I just need to rebook before six months (which will be in March) and I will be fine. Now I want to rebook online but I’m getting an error and tells me to call United, I’m wondering if it expired or if I shouldn’t have cancelled? I didn’t request a redeposit.

    ReplyReply
  48. UA Q Says:
    48

    Hello Dan,
    Booked on phone one way TLV-NYC via Frankfurt. at the time was not confirmed by LH yet, so didnt want to ask for more. now, when confirmed, is it simple to add a US leg without a need to call? is there a change fee for addition?
    Thank you

    ReplyReply
  49. SOREN Says:
    49

    Was hesitating and too busy week leading up to 2/1.
    Then was tempted when I noticed I had another day or two.
    Then really hating life for not doing it ever since.
    When are you going to stop boasting about it?
    It makes me so jealous. =)

    ReplyReply
  50. Alan Says:
    50

    If I get a new ticket this way via cancelling, what will the date of issue of the ticket will be? One year from the old date or one year from the new date? I have a few one way tickets from Japan to china at the old rate, and I want to convert them to round trips but I won’t be able to fly until summer 2015. Would this trick be possible?

    ReplyReply
  51. Austin Says:
    51

    I read the post but didn’t act by cancelling before 2/1 in fear I would lose my biz tix. Was this the key (cancel before the new pricing chart became in effect)? Or if I cancelled now, the old chart would still be reflected?

    ReplyReply
  52. john Says:
    52

    Has anyone confirmed whether you can still get the old rates even if you need to call to rebook?

    ReplyReply
  53. dave Says:
    53

    I’ve tried dozens of changes, i have a EU-IL-EU flight booked in Biz for 55K pre-devaluation that same ticket now costs 90K, whatever change i make they want to reprice the whole thing according to the new chart! I tried cancelling the return, they’ll only give back the diff of the new price for the outbound, I tried changing the return’s date, identical flight the next day, they want more miles to meet the new chart, this is crazy! what do i do? I’m already up to my 7th round of HUCA

    ReplyReply
  54. DB Says:
    54

    Dan, thanks for pioneering the way on this. I did the cancel re-book later with an original ticketing date of January 28th, 2014. The United System allowed me to re-book for April of 2015 which is more than 1 year after the original ticketing date and I was given new ticket numbers. I have called United multiple times and they have said the reservation shows as ticketed & confirmed on their end and that when I rebooked I was given a new ticketing date. I have called the partner airlines the booking is with (Thai and Asiana) who also confirmed the reservation looks good. I have also pulled up the reservation of Saudia’s website to see fare construction. The original ticket numbers show an “Issue Date” of January 2014 and are now listed with Coupon Status of “Exch/Reissued”. The new ticket numbers show with an “Issue Date” of July 2014. I have screenshots of all of the above as well as the Rep IDs of 2 different United agents I spoke with.
    Despite all of this, I am still worried that this reservation will dissapear on me come January 2015 and I will be left in a bad spot having lost the miles I used and being without a ticket in April.
    My questions are, can you think of any other steps I can do to get assurance of whether this booking will be honored? Can you think of any other steps I should take to protect myself for the case of the ticketing getting cancelled on me once 1 year has passed?
    I could make an alternate booking home for 2 days later with Lifemiles and cancel in the event the flight goes smoothly. I am reluctant to do this because they are such a pain to cancel with.

    ReplyReply
  55. Dan Says:
    55

    @DB:
    Based on my experience it should be fine.
    United doesn’t enforce the 1 year rule.

    ReplyReply
  56. wawa Says:
    56

    Anyone else successful with this at this point? I tried to change ticket. It’s a multicity ticket JFK-FRA-ICN-MLE and it won’t let me even price out a one way from JFK-FRA. It keeps on saying there is no availability. When I check on regular mileage redemption, there is availability on that date. Any tips, Dan?

    ReplyReply
  57. STAN Says:
    57

    Still works –changed ticket from march 2014 issue date to Sept 2015 travel –at the old rate -new tkt nbr but same locator nbr as march

    ReplyReply
  58. wawa Says:
    58

    @STAN:

    Hi Stan,
    Please email me wed dot tigger at gmail if you will. I am going bonkers. TIA

    ReplyReply
  59. Barak Says:
    59

    Dan@ – would this trick work on regular economy award (using new award chart) to try to avoid $75 change or $200 cancellation with redeposit fee?
    If not – any recommendations for this scenario?

    ReplyReply

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