How to Cancel a United Flight

Cancel online or by phone, but you'll have to submit a refund request separately.
Apr 22, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

If you’re considering flying with United Airlines anytime soon or already have something booked, it’s a good idea to learn the cancellation and refund rules. This way, if something comes up and your travel plans change, you’ll know how to cancel your flight.

Here’s what to know about canceling a United Airlines flight — whether you purchased the ticket outright or redeemed MileagePlus miles to book your ticket.

Which tickets can be canceled and when?

Most United tickets are technically nonrefundable, but you may have more options than meet the eye. Here is the United flight cancellation policy.

Canceling within 24 hours of booking

  • Most ticket types, including basic economy, are eligible for a full refund within 24 hours of booking so long as you booked your trip at least a week before departure and booked directly with United. This rule is due to the airline’s 24-hour flexible booking policy.

  • Your refund will be credited as cash back to your original payment unless you booked with a United Gift Certificate. If this is the case, the refund will be credited in the form of an electronic travel certificate.

  • Tickets booked using e-certificates aren't eligible.

  • If you paid a FareLock fee to hold a reservation, you can’t get that fee refunded.

Canceling more than 24 hours after booking

More than 24 hours after booking, cancellation rules vary depending on the ticket type purchased.

  • Basic economy: No cancellations are allowed beyond 24 hours from booking.

  • Nonrefundable tickets: Most United tickets are nonrefundable, which means you're not going to get cash back. However, you may be eligible to apply the value of your ticket toward the price of a new ticket with its travel credits.

  • Refundable tickets: If the ticket purchased is refundable, you can cancel and get a refund in cash back to your original form of payment before the flight departs. Depending on the fare type (there are over 20 different kinds), you may need to pay a cancellation fee.

  • Award tickets: If you redeemed MileagePlus miles for your flight and want to cancel, you’ll be given the option to redeposit the miles or use the miles for another trip in the future. If you choose to redeposit your miles for a flight departing in 30 days or less, redeposit fees will apply. More than 30 days in advance, there’s no redeposit fee.

Is it better to cancel a flight or change it?

If you know you’ll want to rebook your United flight and you already know the dates, changing your flight instead of canceling outright could save you money. Most United flights paid for with cash are no longer subject to change fees.

Basic economy flights and international flights originating outside the U.S. ticketed after the cutoff date may incur change fees.

How to cancel your United flight

Wondering how to cancel a United flight? There are two ways.

  1. Call 800-864-8331 to request a cancellation.

  2. Log in to your United Airlines account and select "My trips." Verify your trip details, then select "Manage." From there, you'll see "Cancel options" to the far right.

how to cancel united flight

Then, you'll see a confirmation screen, including details to how the value of your ticket can be accessed for future flights.

canceling a united flight

As expected, this main cabin economy fare will turn into a United flight credit that is applicable towards flights before its expiration date.

3. You can click "Cancel trip" to complete the process.

Canceling your flight online is likely the quickest option, especially if call wait times are long.

Can I cancel a United flight booked with miles?

If you paid for your ticket with United MileagePlus miles, you can cancel your flight online or by calling customer service. If you cancel at least 31 days before departure, there’s no fee to cancel an award flight and have the miles redeposited into your MileagePlus account.

To cancel an award ticket 30 days or less before departure and have the miles redeposited, you’ll pay a fee. For general members, the United miles redeposit fee is $125. For elite members, fees can go as low as $50 for Premier Platinum and are free for Premier 1K members.

United Airlines refund for your canceled trip

If you’ve canceled your United flight and think you're entitled to a cash refund, follow this process to get reimbursed.

  • Fill out a refund form, and United will contact you to let you know if you qualify for a ticket refund.

  • You can also use the refund form page to check the status of your refund.

The type of refund you will be offered will depend on the type of ticket you purchased and the reason for canceling. In some cases, you may get a refund straight to your original form of payment, or you may be eligible for a flight credit.

How to use a United future flight credit to rebook

If you canceled a United Airlines flight, you might have a future flight credit to use. Here’s what you’ll need to do to use the credits to rebook.

Future flight credits have a “travel by” date as their expiration; usually, this is 12 months after the date of issue. However, future flight credits issued on or before Dec. 31, 2022, have had their “travel by” date extended to Dec. 31, 2023.

Final thoughts on how to cancel your United flight

In most cases, you can cancel a United flight. Just call United Airlines customer service or complete the task online. Whether you’re charged fees or eligible for a full refund or flight credits depends on the type of ticket purchased. Knowing United’s cancellation rules will help you book with confidence and handle any unforeseen change of plans.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.