United's Free 24-hour Refund vs. FareLock?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tzoom84, Feb 2, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tzoom84
    Original Member

    tzoom84 Silver Member

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    This is the first time I noticed United's FareLock program when about to book an award flight on United.
    FareLock is $9.99 for holding tickets for 72-hours.

    ... but United offers 100% refund on award tickets if cancelled within 24 hours.

    So my questions are:

    (1) How is your experience with United's refund process on award tickets within that 24 hour window?

    (2) Is there any value in using the FareLock vs. just booking, cancelling within 24-hours, booking again, ... repeat ? (Other than the inconvenience of course).
     
  2. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    1. Usually works fine online. I had to call in once to get the refund, but it was easily resolved.
    2. Just the convenience. If I hold, I typically do the 7-day option.
     
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  3. tzoom84
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    tzoom84 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    Any idea how quickly award refund gets processed? I like the convenience of the FareLock ... but I'm booking a bunch of tickets so the week long farelock ends up being $60+. So I may just rely on the 24-hour refund option until I get final confirmation from a friend within a few days.
     
  4. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    If I remember correctly, my refunds have typically posted within 7 days. Right or wrong, it's never been an issue for me. When I fly to SJO without a return flight booked, they won't let me on the plane. It's Costa Rican law. Buying the cheapest flight I can find from SJO to the USA resolves that issue, then I just cancel as soon as I'm home.

    That said, I never stay in Costa Rica for 90 days (the maximum allowed stay without residency), so while I may be tricking the system, I'm not breaking the law.

    Re: FareLock, I have used it before. With a lot of luck, it can have some pretty cool advantages. I won't state them publicly, as I don't want them to fix it. :D

    OTOH, I recently booked a 7 day FareLock for a trip that was uncertain, and it firmed up about two hours later. I can't remember what it cost me, but it was less than $20. It still made me mad at myself when I paid for the ticket two hours after paying to hold it for a week.
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    The risk with doing the book, cancel, robook strategy is that fares could shoot up and you would be forced at that time to actually keep the current ticket or go to the much higher fare to continue your cancellation option. In that sense, it may not be any better than avoiding booking until you're sure. Remember that cancelled seats might not return in the same fare bucket.
     
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  6. tzoom84
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    tzoom84 Silver Member

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    Thanks everyone for the great feedback.

    Here's what ended up going down. I booked tickets for a sub-optimal travel day and to wait to hear back from a travel buddy.Today I saw the optimal day opened up minutes before the 24 hour window closed and was able to cancel and re-book.

    1:08PM Saturday: Booked the tickets under 24-hr policy for a suboptimal travel day.
    1:06PM Sunday: Cancelled within 24-hr window.
    (Immediately after cancellation: Points re-deposited into my account
    1:10PM Sunday: Able to book the more optimal date with re-deposited miles.

    I was worried that my miles weren't going to re-deposit immediately since the cancellation confirmation page said it could take up to 7 days. But I guess I got lucky :)

    Had they not re-deposited immediately, I would have purchased FareLock on the optimal dates to hold them until my miles re-deposited.
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You can also call in to the MPSC and ask them to process the mileage refund immediately as you need the points to process another booking. I've been quite successful with that approach in the past.
     
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