My problems redeeming a United Airlines e-certificate

I may have spoken too soon regarding my smooth sailing with the United Airlines system changeover. Earlier this week, I tried to redeem an e-cert (customer appreciation certificate) online for a new booking and received an error message that the cert couldn’t be found.

a screenshot of a computer screenI called United and the agent asked me to build a new reservation online without entering the certificate number and on the payment page, select “phone order page.â€

a close up of a white background Doing so generated a record locator without me having to make a payment and the agent then documented the record, extended the ticketing time limit and asked me to use the forum to get in touch with customer service so they could research the issue with my cert.

I figured it would take a couple of days for a response and after not hearing anything now on the third day, I decided to call back to see what could be done. This new agent couldn’t find the original reservation – nor was it in my online profile – so I had to start from scratch again, but fortunately I was connected with a “better†agent. The same fare was also still available, fortunately.

After being transferred to web support (thankfully) and spending an hour on hold, this new agent returned to advise that my new reservation was built, it was documented for the ticketing department to deduct $200 from the fare as her research found that my e-cert wasn’t previously used, and she sent me an email with the itinerary. It seemed to be okay.

Then I went online to take a peek and saw a $25 call center fee that wasn’t reflected in the email confirmation.

a screen shot of a price listI called back to contest it as I’m exempt from that fee as a top-tier 1K and this new agent read through all of the documentation and did see a note that it should be waived when the reservation is ticketed, along with confirming the $200 e-cert credit. We’ll see what happens and I’ll definitely make a new post if it doesn’t go as planned.

Now… here’s what I think happened. After the system changeover on March 3, I went in and began to make a new reservation to see if the e-cert would be recognized and it did indeed work and deducted $200 from the quoted fare. I never completed the booking as I was simply testing the process, but I think it deactivated the cert number because it was “used†during a flight booking process. This is total speculation, of course, and I’m too afraid to try another cert in case I encounter the same problem when I’m actually ready to redeem another one.

So… while everything had been smooth sailing for me since the system conversion, this is now my first encountered glitch with the new United. I’m hoping it’s the last.



  1. I ran into the same problem last week when i tried to redeem a $400 voucher. Took about 3.5 hours to be resolved. At the end i got an additional $200 voucher

  2. Oh my gosh. I thought I was the only one facing this problem! I went through six agents, with the last agent spending a little over 117 minutes with my order (she was being very nice about it mind you, and got her supervisor to assist). Worse yet, I was charged a booking fee AND I didn’t get my voucher redeemed. It’s ridiculous.

    • @Adrian: I’m waiting to see what charge actually hits my credit card and then I’ll have to escalate if it’s not correct. Did you get resolution?

  3. I have an eCertificate from United’s CEO’s office… and it doesn’t work. I waited on hold for 40 minutes before speaking to the “agent” in India somewhere. I got absolutely no resolution from him and was told there was nothing he could do. I had to book my flight tonight… so there is little chance that I will ever get to use this certificate.

    My certificate number begins with 1016 and has 18 digits total. Does yours? Do you have a number to call of someone who knows what kind of certificate this is and how to redeem it?


    • @Jim: Yes, that’s exactly the same type of certificate I have. The best thing to do is call back until you get an agent who knows what to do. Sadly, sometimes it’ll take a few calls. Ask to speak to “web support” on your next try… that’s who did it for me.

  4. Let me tell you my state of woe after spending nearly six hours attempting to reach the MileagePlus “Service” Center to resolve an elite membership issue. The agent refused to forward me to a supervisor or manager. Certified letters and social media barrage to commence shortly.

    • @Jim: I know it wouldn’t be your reason for a barrage, but it seems United’s stance on social media is not to respond/reply to customer complaints. A friend tells me his posts on Facebook were even deleted.

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