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

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

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Jalem

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

Dan holds strong

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

D.

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…

United Shareholder

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

Joe

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

eric

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.

bklyn

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

shmu

Dan’s הוה אמינא is a ודאי for me..

netlevy

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!

yuneeq

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

Dan

@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.

david

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

E

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

Dan

@david:
Huh?

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

mo

Is it also possible to change the name?

NJMACMAN

Yasher Koach, the MAN!

david

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?

Anonymous

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

IAHTRVLR

@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?

Steve

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.

shmuel

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

ari

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

ari

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

Reuvenhunt

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

abe

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

whYME

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.

Dan's Unlicensed Unretained Attorney Pro Bono

@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.

Sang Kancil Guru

@IAHTRVLR: Same question too.

arye

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.

HM

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.

Meir

Are changes allowed on up to 1 year ?

jennifer

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

dan the man

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?

King James

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

mh

What is the $255.40 refund for?

Anon

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

lala

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??

Isaac

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

jay

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)

UA

If they read it, thats the end of it.

Dan

@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.

dan the man

@dan

i was kidding with that comment:) sorry

Isaac

@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?

Anonymous

@Anon: and therefor…?

Anon
Mark

Does this work to upgrade an economy ticket to business class

Catha

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.

UA Q

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

SOREN

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. =)

Alan

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?

Austin

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?

john

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

dave

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

DB

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.

Dan

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

wawa

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?

STAN

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

wawa

@STAN:

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

Barak

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?

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