Using United Certificates as a non-US resident

united logo 2

Some weeks ago I wrote a post on ‘The anatomy of a delay’ about a very long delay on United when flying from Washington DC to Fort Lauderdale. United responded by providing a number of options under their Customer Appreciation scheme – a 10% reduction on a future fare, a $200 credit or 8,000 miles.

I took the $200 credit and received an offer code. United knew I was a non-US national as I provided my Mileage Plus number when accessing their compensation site. However, when I came to use the certificate, the UK web site would not accept it. Apparently only US nationals can use these certificates. I have read the voucher and don’t see where it says this.

Whilst you can go through the whole booking process on the US site, entering the code, choosing the flights and getting as far as paying, when the site realises that you have a non-US credit card it switches back to the UK site, sends you back to the start of the booking system and then tells you that only US residents can use the certificate.

Come on United, why did you issue it to me in the first place.

I assume I could have called them but I wanted an online solution as I wanted a couple of odd flights. And it was Christmas Day.

So I wondered what would happen if I changed the billing address to a US one for my UK Amex Gold Card. This card, I have found, tends not to request the zip/post code when a merchant checks for authorisation. And it worked!

I was able to use a US billing address on my UK issued card, and the United system accepted this, approved the sale and has now issued the ticket.

So, if you are stuck with the same problem, try the trick. Let me know if it works for you.



  1. don’t know if it has anything to do with nationality or country of residence – i too had a code (US citizen living in San Francisco) and when it came time to use it, the system did not cooperate – i wound up talking to actually very helpful people in their customer service group after sending an email thru the website about my disappointing experience

    who knows what went wrong in our individual cases? cool that your solution (altho pretty klugy) did work

Comments are closed.