United Has a New Fee Policy for Changing Awards Flights

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If you’re enrolled in United Airlines’ MileagePlus rewards program, there is a new fee policy going into effect soon that you want to know about.

If you need to change or cancel a flight booked using rewards, the fee will be based on how close your new travel date is to your original travel date, as well as your MileagePlus status. Timeline dates are broken into two tiers: 61 or more days and 60 days or less.

For example, if you’re a general member, you’ll pay $75 if you change or cancel with redeposit 61 or more days prior to original departure date, and $125 if you change or cancel 60 days or less prior to the original departure date. However, if you’re at the highest tiers — Premier 1K and United Global Services — you won’t pay these fees, no matter when you change or cancel your travel plans.

Premium Platinum members can also escape the fee if they change or cancel with redeposit 61 or more days prior to original departure date. After that, they’re subject to a $50 fee. Premier Gold members will pay $25 if they change 61 days or more before departure, and $75 within 60 days or less of departure; Premier Silver members will pay $50 and $100, respectively.

These changes apply to all MileagePlus members and will be implemented on all flights using awards booked on or after October 6, 2016. (Previously, fees were based on a window of 21 days from departure.) Of course, certain restrictions and additional fees may apply, so you’ll want to check with your travel agent or a United representative before making any changes to your travel plans.

You Can Cut Some Travel-Related Fees

If you’re hoping to save on your travels, becoming a reward member of the airline and any hotels you frequent may be a good starting point. Beyond that, you may want to consider a travel credit card (you can read our roundup of the best travel credit cards in America here). Many airline credit cards offer free checked bags and other perks, while some hotel-specific cards offer benefits for their properties. Keep in mind, these cards are ideal for people who can pay their balances in full each billing cycle. Otherwise, you’ll lose most of the benefits to paying interest.

Before you apply, you’ll want to consider what type of card will benefit you the most for your travels as well as to make sure the annual fees that may be associated with it are worthwhile. It’s also a good idea to review your credit before applying, as many reward credit cards require a good credit score to qualify. By seeing if you fall in that category before applying, you’ll avoid getting hit with a hard inquiry that could hurt your score even if you don’t wind up with the credit card. To see where your credit currently stands, you can view your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.

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