$63 to Chicago: United JFK-IAD-ORD to EWR-ORD

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t look forward to catching a 6am flight on a Saturday, especially when that flight connects out of the way, making the overall trip about 2 hours longer than it should be. That’s what was in store for Joann and me if we stayed with the original ticket we purchased, JFK-IAD-ORD.

As a United Premier Gold, one of the better benefits is United’s Same Day Change policy. It will allow you to change your flight and/or routing within 24 hours of your original departure.

When I woke up Friday morning, I decided to give United a call and see what I could do. I had already used Expert Flyer to find alternative flights that I could change to and I just fed them to the call center agent in the Philippines.

Without much trouble, I had our flight changed to the later 8am flight and our new routing was an easier EWR-ORD nonstop! I really did cherish those extra few hours of sleep. Without Premier Gold and up status, that change would have cost $75 per ticket. With it, $0.

We parked in long term and hitched a ride on the shuttle to Terminal C where Premier Access security was MUCH shorter than the regular lines, a very important elite benefit.

We got to the gate and they were boarding so we hit the Premier Access line and got to cut a few people (sorry guys!). We settled into 21E & 21F (21 is United’s exit row on all planes; non-elites will have to pay for these seats). To my surprise, row 20 didn’t have a window seat so I basically had unlimited legroom.

united economy plus exit row leg room

The lesson here? Premier Access/Elite is nothing to shake a stick at. You can get some helpful benefits that save you time and aggravation that adds up in the long run. Even if you don’t fly enough to make the bottom-tier elite level (Silver), at least get the credit card from your airline of choice (United, American, Delta)if it gives you some benefits like Priority Boarding or free checked bags.

Anyway, we were delayed leaving a bit because, well, it’s Newark Airport in the morning. Once we were wheels up, the flight was quick and we landed at O’Hare Airport in no time.

Then it was off to the United Club to wait for our friends…

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