Just about two months ago I wrote about my experience using this workaround or trick to avoid paying for a close-in fee. United assesses a $75 fee to general members when booking an award ticket within 21 days of the departure date. The workaround allowed consisted of making your booking for a date outside the 21-day window and then change it to the desired date. The system wouldn’t recognize that the changed booking was within 21 days of departure and wouldn’t charge you the fee. Unfortunately, I had to make a sudden booking a few days ago and it’s clear that United IT has been hard at work. It doesn’t work anymore. I tried on three occasions and the system adjusted accordingly each time.
See the screenshot below:
As you can see, I have the applied credit from the reservation I made outside of the 21-day time frame, but I still get the close-in fee charged ($25 per passenger from my wife’s Gold Premier account). Boo!! I wish United had fixed their award calendar issues instead. In any case, I’d still try calling United and see if they wave the fee as a courtesy, especially if you fly them quite a bit.
Has this worked for anyone within the past month? If so, please let me know! But do know that like Yoda said: “there is another…(way to avoid this close-in fee)”.