Reminder: check your flights for price drops

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Just a quick post to remind readers that in this time of highly flexible airline change and cancellation policies, it is worth monitoring any trips you have booked for price changes. This morning, I cancelled and rebooked a United flight for the fourth time in five days after the fifth price drop in as much time. What started as a $347 fare just 5 days ago was rebooked this morning for $155.

In the past, Southwest Airlines loyalists have loved the ability to easily cancel and rebook the same flight when fares have dropped. Southwest makes this very easy to do as you can select the very same flight that you already have booked. If the price has dropped, they easily show that your cost will be negative.

I am going to cancel a couple of seats on this itinerary, so the price may yet change again for others.

United makes this less intuitive, but it is still easy enough to do. I recently posted in Frequent Miler Insiders about how if you try to change a United reservation to the same date you have already booked, they will show the flight you currently have reserved as being “unavailable” for a change even if there are seats available for sale.

Therefore, you’ll just have to monitor the price of your flight on your own, either by doing obsessive compulsive searches several times a day or setting up a tracking alert via Google Flights. When you find that the price of the flight you want has decreased and you’d like to rebook that lower fare, you’ll have to first cancel your existing booking and then you can use the future flight credit from that booking to rebook the same flight.

Unfortunately, I’ve been running into a glitch where I can’t seem to use the flight credit immediately on United.com. I can enter the information and the system recognizes how much is available on the credit, but when I click the button to buy the flight, I get an error that tells me to call United. I’m sure that a phone agent could help me book using the credit over the phone, but my solution has been to use the United app. I’ve been able to immediately use the future flight credit when booking via the app even though United.com gives me an error.

Again, I have noticed price drops just about daily on the particular flight I’ve been rebooking. I had to change my point of origin, so last Wednesday I cancelled my original flight and rebooked my new itinerary at $347 as there were only 5 seats left on the flight I needed. The next day I saw the same flight was available for $249 and I rebooked for a $98 credit. A day or two later it had dropped to $219. After I cancelled my $249 booking, the additional open seat must have triggered something in the algorithm because the fare dropped from $219 to $177 as soon as I cancelled my $249 seat. Then this morning I saw that the price had further dropped to $155 so I rebooked again.

The problem is that I now have a bunch of separate smaller future flight credits (including this new one for just $22). That’s kind of annoying because United only allows you to use one future flight credit per booking, so I can’t combine the credits toward a single future booking. I’m hoping that United will follow American’s lead in making these future flight credits and electronic travel certificates easier to combine in the future. In the meantime, I’m continuing to monitor all of my other bookings for the potential to save and/or accumulate further future flight credits.

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