United’s WiFi Day Pass Option Works Better Than Expected, And Qualifies For AMEX Reimbursement

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Last Thursday, I flew into Newark to be menachem avel DDF member AJK on the untimely passing of his mother. He and I “met” via the DansDeals Forums a decade ago and have traveled together from Palau to Zimbabwe and most places in between since then.

Once again, miles came to the rescue, as last minute paid tickets from Cleveland to NYC were $792. United wanted 30K miles round-trip, which is a good value, but I transferred 13K points to Lifemiles for the same United flights, which is an incredible value. Best of all, I got upgraded in both directions thanks to my United status!

I love United’s CRJ-550 and E175 regional jets, which are very comfortable planes in coach, but are exceptionally comfortable in first class when traveling alone thanks to the left side solo seats. I selected a flight going to Newark on the E175.

The one downside is that United’s regional jet WiFi is provided by Gogo, which means that it won’t work under 10,000 feet and the charge won’t be reimbursed by AMEX Platinum as an airline fee credit like mainline WiFi is. While Gogo is free for an hour with a T-Mobile number on American or Delta, that doesn’t work on United.

United does have free messaging and WhatsApp now, but I’d still rather be online when possible. I typically use my United card to pay for the Gogo WiFi as that gets a 25% rebate for in-flight purchases.

It’s worth noting that United does offer a free WiFi day pass on international flights to the US if you upload your COVID test and passport information to the Travel Ready center on the United app.

I was pleased to see United offer me the option to buy a WiFi day pass as an option on my itinerary the day before the flight. If United.com was offering it to me, perhaps it would qualify for full AMEX reimbursement?


And as I was flying in and out the same day, I wondered if the day pass would work for both flights, despite United trying to sell me the pass for both flights?

I spent $8 and bought a day pass for my outbound flight to Newark to try it out.

I didn’t get any instructions about the day pass, but I logged on as a member from my phone and was granted WiFi for the flight. I logged on for the return flight on a mainline United 737 flight and I got free WiFi for that as well, making a day pass an excellent value!

And sure enough, AMEX reimbursed me for the day pass. Score!


I added this data point to the airline fee credit post. Where else have you had airline fee credit success?

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27 Comments On "United’s WiFi Day Pass Option Works Better Than Expected, And Qualifies For AMEX Reimbursement"

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How do you get United Premier benefits when using Lifemiles?


And on an American Airlines flight from JFK to TLV they charged $35 even just for messaging!!! Is there any way to get around that? Why can they charge that much if it’s so widely available for cheaper?


Thank you! We will be taking several United flights this year so this is very helpful.


I bought a pass this week and was able to use ETC credit stored on my account


why not an avios ticket– wouldn’t that have been even fewer miles than 13K?




Well written post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks Dan Your great.

Ed Travel

For the record the internet is free the whole flight if you have t-mobile on Delta flights (and not just 1 hour as you say). And works the same way on some AA flights also.


Unless something changed recently, that is not necessarily true; the amount of free Wi-Fi time depends on your T-Mobile plan. For older plans and some newer plans, it’s only one hour free, as Dan posted. For newer plans, yes, you are right, that it is free for the entire flight.


How do you get lifemiles?


Capital One cards


Most cc points transfer to them.


I am trying to be proficient in earning/using miles to their maximum benefit, but I’m a little dense when it comes to transferring to different mileage programs for maximum benefit. How do you know where to look for the best value? Could you do a post for this in the “for Dummies” style?


I know this is not the answer to your question, but I hope it helps. First check if there’s saver award level availability on the airlines that fly the route you want to take. Then you can check there partners( the ones that you can transfer bank points to) to see what they’ll charge. Best of luck!


Thank you! I’ll explore those recommendations.


How do you get this UA free WiFi day pass ? I can’t see it even after uploading and checking in online


Even more awesome: I went for a weekend trip to Nassau on united a320 and selected the Free inflight messaging option. But I got regular wifi, it was pretty fast too, Even YouTube and WhatsApp video calling were working
Now I’m on my flight back and it’s working too for free