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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions -Free STBY for all, SDC for all elites

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions -Free STBY for all, SDC for all elites

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Old Sep 27, 22, 1:31 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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This wiki was created to distill SDC (and related standby) down to a set of rules in the hopes of benefiting others.

The official "rules" can be found here. In practice, some of the rules almost always apply, and some are more flexible.

Note there have been reports of SDC to one segment removing confirmed CPU upgrades on downline segments. If maintaining the confirmed upgrade is important then these changes should be handled with care.

Most Frequently Asked Question: When do I call/go online to make the change?
Follow this flowchart:
Question 1: Are you within 24 hours of your currently scheduled UA(*) operated flight that you're trying to change off of? If yes, continue to Question 2. If no, continue to answer 1.
Question 2: Are you within 24 hours of the first UA operated flight you're trying to change on to? If yes, continue to Answer 2. If no, continue to Answer 1.
Answer 1: No, you cannot call/go online yet to make an SDC.
Answer 2: Yes, then you can call/go online to make an SDC.

General Baseline Rules

These are the general rules that usually apply to SDC's; falling outside these rules usually requires payment of a full change fee and the fare difference:
  • Not available for Basic Economy (N class) tickets
  • The departure time of the first segment of the old itinerary and the departure time of the first segment of the new itinerary must both be within 24 hours of the moment that the change is made.
  • Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.
  • Must 016 UA ticket stock
  • Award tickets are eligible, but an award change may be a better option (not restricted to 24 hours)
  • The ultimate origin and destination airports must remain the same.
  • Routing can be changed (addition, deletion, or change of connection points) but the routing rules of the original fare usually apply.
  • All remaining unflown segments in a single fared itinerary are considered together (i.e., if you're flying WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, you can go to a kiosk at XXX and potentially fly XXX-AAA-ZZZ or XXX-ZZZ direct).
  • SDC can be done an unlimited number of times, and can, therefore, be used to extend a trip indefinitely (pending availability).
  • SDC costs $75 for non-Premiers Only premier members as of 1 Jan 2021
  • No fee for Premier (plus any applicable fare difference, see below). *G's may also get free SDC, although there is no mention of this in the official rules. Once in-route, fees for an earlier connecting flight may be waived per GG SDC Line 118.
  • Non-elites on the same PNR benefit from any waived fees for SDC.
  • No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class. Fare class availability in all classes often opens up after T-24 and almost always opens up at T-3 unless the plane is very full. The practice of fare leveling all fares for all flights at a specific time appears no longer in effective
  • SDC on bulk tickets, including United Specials, is not permitted.
  • SDC is permitted on both domestic and international itineraries.

How to SDC

SDC can be accomplished in a few different places (in rough order of likelihood of being able to get the rules bent):
  • United mobile app
  • Kiosk
  • Phone
  • On united.com, right now only the "Search Other Flight Options" button during On-Line Check-In (OLCI) works. This has spotty availability, particularly if the change would involve paying an additional fare due to fare bucket non-availability.
  • Counter/Gate (although reports are that most airport agents are not familiar with the SDC policy and may not allow you to SDC to a valid itinerary--you can try to direct them to look up GG SDC, but they often won't understand that what you're trying to do is permitted by those rules)

Please note that the United.com “change flight” link before checking in within T-24 is broken. The website may not show all available options and will often attempt to collect the change fee rather than the SDC fee (if any).

NB: An SDC where the original itinerary (in one direction) has three or more segments cannot be done online.

Nuances and Loose Rules

Now for the hard part: figuring out where the flexibility is in the rules. This list is compiled from the responses to people saying, "Can I do X?" where X is something that is not clearly permitted by the rules. One's likelihood of success here depends a bit on the method used for the SDC.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • Violating various non-routing fare rules (day/time, minimum stay, etc.): Y
  • Change destination to ultra-close airport (see the old S*FAR/STANDBY): A
  • Change destination to a co-terminal: N*
  • Change destination to an entirely different place: N
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to include illegal layovers (> 4 hours): N*
  • Change itinerary at the layover point (using kiosk, app, or agent) to create an otherwise illegal layover: Y
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to add a layover point not permitted by the routing rules: N*
  • Change itinerary at a layover point to add another layover not permitted (either in terms of number of segments or routing rules) by the routing rules: Y
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before the original flight, if the previous day's flight has been delayed: Y (based on one report)
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours after the original flight, if the original flight has been delayed: Y (at least in the app)
  • Combining separately-fared segments to do SDC (e.g. XXX-YYY+YYY-ZZZ -> XXX-ZZZ): A
  • Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A*
  • Change from UA metal to UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: N (see post 1813 for one exception)
  • Change from UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to a different UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: ??
  • Change on a non-UA ticketed segment: N* (with potentially dire consequences)
  • Change from an upgraded flight into Y on the new flight: Y
  • Change from a PointsPlus-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available PZ space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available PZ space on the new flight: A*
  • Non-elite on different PNR benefiting from Elite's waived-fee SDC: A
  • Change at origin airport after tendering a checked bag: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change at layover airport when a bag has been checked: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change a bulk fare: A*
  • Stand-By to later flight, then SDC after original flight departs to flight within 24-hours of new Stand-By flight: Y

If you encounter issues with an agent (phone or counter/gate), you can ask the agent to reference GG SDC. Additionally, GG SDC line 61 specifically references that fare classes are supposed to level out 3.5 hours before departure, so you might be able to use that to your advantage if fare classes have not leveled out and you're trying to ask an agent to open up the correct inventory or force you onto the flight.

Note -- as of 11/27/2017: A datapoint indicates that UA may have updated its GG rule regarding leveling out to state the following:

Code:
EVERYDAY AWARD AND REVENUE BUCKETS ARE TO LEVEL OUT WITHIN 2H OF DEPARTURE

The practice of fare leveling all fares for all flights at a specific time appears no longer in effective -- it does happen in some case but appears to be more variable

Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may standby if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. There is no longer a fee for Standby. In these cases, the same-day change fee will apply, but will not be charged unless you are assigned a seat on your alternate flight. Changes in routing are not allowed when standing by. Standby may be requested on the day of departure at an airport kiosk or with a United representative at the airport. Once you are added to the flight standby list, you can check your real-time standby status at united.com/flightstatus or on your mobile device at mobile.united.com/info.

Instead of paying a same-day change discounted fee, can I stand by for my desired flight for free?
Yes No. The only time you may standby for free is when the fare does not have any penalties for making changes, or when standing by involuntarily due to a flight irregularity.

Can I pay the same-day change discount fee with cash?
Cash will only be accepted by a United airport representative when the change is available to be confirmed, not for standby travel.

Standby Nuances and Loose Rules

All nuances assume request is made within 24 hours of scheduled departure to a flight within 24 hours of the request.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
K = Perhaps not officially permitted, but kiosk will allow.
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • To a flight the previous calendar day: A*/N*
  • To a flight after your ticketed flight, on the same calendar day: Y
  • To a flight the following calendar day: N*
  • Request Standby at an airport other than departure airport: ?
  • Make request calendar day before scheduled flight to flight same day as scheduled departure: K

Mileage Credit after SDC
SDC is considered a voluntary change, so your credited PQM & PQS will be credited based on the route you actually fly. Your PQDs should not change and therefore for your RDMs will not change. Occasionally if you fly a fewer number of segments, your PQD will credit wrong, but a call to MPSC should correct that.

Previous threads:
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}
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Old Jan 1, 20, 1:13 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
It depends on how you do this, but if you call and ask to upfare into first on your present flight, then in that case it would work, if the same first fare class is available at SDC fir the new flight -- again a question the agent can handle.

There should be no change fee for the upfare, if the agent is not sure ask them to refer to "GG BUYUP"
Thanks, I just tried that and apparently it would cost $600 to upfare (the app is still showing $189 for the upgrade), so I declined.
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Old Jan 1, 20, 4:09 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Sariellet View Post
Thanks, I just tried that and apparently it would cost $600 to upfare (the app is still showing $189 for the upgrade), so I declined.
The app was then offering a non-refundable / non-transferable upgrade fee and those may not book into a paid fare class,
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Old Jan 1, 20, 4:55 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
The app was then offering a non-refundable / non-transferable upgrade fee and those may not book into a paid fare class,
In general, GG BUYUP / change is not going to be a compelling replacement for SDC for domestic routes. Due to differential-based pricing, the currently available J/F fare is going to consist of the fare difference (between what OP paid originally and the lowest-available Y now) plus the add-on for the fare class differential. In other words, it’s “whatever it would cost to SDC, plus the upgrade fee.”

It never hurts to check, of course, but I’d be surprised if it worked out frequently.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 12:00 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 19
Update:

I showed up at the airport (IAH) to try to see if I could get an SDC or if they would do standby. I went to Terminal E first. The person who claimed to be the lead guy there insisted that SDCs can only be done on the same calendar day, and that there was no way for them to allow a standby that the check-in kiosk wasn't providing. He clearly wasn't interested in looking into this, so I decided to head to Terminal C.

The person at the desk there also incorrectly thought that SDCs could only be same day, but at least she believed me when I stated otherwise. She voluntarily called the help desk, and they couldn't do an SDC due to availability, but she booked me as standby for a full flight, which I was ultimately able to get on.

Thanks everyone!

P.S.: The United Club does consider a standby boarding pass to be a boarding pass.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 12:27 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by Sariellet View Post
I showed up at the airport (IAH) to try to see if I could get an SDC or if they would do standby. I went to Terminal E first. The person who claimed to be the lead guy there insisted that SDCs can only be done on the same calendar day, and that there was no way for them to allow a standby that the check-in kiosk wasn't providing.
It might not have helped, but there is a specific FAQ for this on the united.com SDC page:
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html
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Old Jan 2, 20, 12:36 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by wcj1 View Post
It might not have helped, but there is a specific FAQ for this on the united.com SDC page:
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ay-change.html
I explicitly told at least one of them that united.com says 24-hours, not same calendar day.

Do they not include this information in the check-in agent training?
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Old Jan 6, 20, 6:20 am
  #22  
 
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Perhaps a simple question, but seemed hard for me to figure out... Currently in Taipei and have a flight out to SFO on Friday. I currently am booked in R going from TPE->NRT->SFO (with TPE->NRT on ANA). I've applied an upgrade request for the TPE -> NRT segment, which looks quite likely to clear. I would love to change the flight to direct TPE->SFO if possible using same day change and also get the upgrade there (no current PZ, but looks likely to have most/everyone clear), but there are a few possible complications...

(1) My partner flight (non United) from TPE to NRT.
(2) Premium Plus is currently oversold on TPE->SFO, so they probably won't open up R to let me SDC change into R and hope for the upgrade...

So is my only hope for PZ fare bucket to open up for the direct and do the switch? Is it just not really possible due to (1)?
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Old Jan 6, 20, 8:05 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by A Little Cow View Post
(1) My partner flight (non United) from TPE to NRT.
(2) Premium Plus is currently oversold on TPE->SFO, so they probably won't open up R to let me SDC change into R and hope for the upgrade...

So is my only hope for PZ fare bucket to open up for the direct and do the switch? Is it just not really possible due to (1)?
PZ space wouldn't really make any difference, except for UA's willingness to preserve the upgrade. You're still going to be asking an agent to break a couple of rules for you: the TPE-NRT flight technically makes the reservation ineligible for SDC, and you'd still need R space to be able to move the underlying ticket, even if PZ space were available.

The first rule is regularly ignored when changing to an all-UA itinerary. As for the second, you might be able to get someone to move you into economy and then upgrade you from there, but you'd presumably have to pay the difference in PlusPoints.

I'd get my expectations low, then prepare to call, explain the situation, and just say "is there any way I can get onto the nonstop," and hope that the agent is in a good mood. Good luck!
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Old Jan 7, 20, 3:23 pm
  #24  
 
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Just when I thought I had this figured out again. SDC via the app completely broke the fare rules I have and allowed me to connect via ORD/IAH on a fare that only allows connections via IAD. The flights I wanted through ORD didn't appear in the list (because the app only shows "x" number of options and all the earlier flights in the day took these up). The phone agent had no problem making the SDC change.

So are routing rules being followed or not again? My experience says not. Note: "K" fare.

-RM
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:06 pm
  #25  
 
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Not sure if this applies to here or the GPU (now Points) thread.

I’m waitlisted for IAD-FRA in biz. I might be able to SDC to IAH-FRA. I know there was a rule that you could not apply a GPU within 24 hours of your flight; I don’t know if that’s still in effect for Points but if I already have it applied, does that carryover if I’m able to SDC?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 6:08 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Not sure if this applies to here or the GPU (now Points) thread.

I’m waitlisted for IAD-FRA in biz. I might be able to SDC to IAH-FRA. I know there was a rule that you could not apply a GPU within 24 hours of your flight; I don’t know if that’s still in effect for Points but if I already have it applied, does that carryover if I’m able to SDC?
You can apply PlusPoints to your reservation within T-24 h. If it does not work on App or Web, you need to call. You can remove the upgrade request before it is cleared and then SDC and reapply PlusPoints to the new flights.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:58 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Just when I thought I had this figured out again. SDC via the app completely broke the fare rules I have and allowed me to connect via ORD/IAH on a fare that only allows connections via IAD. The flights I wanted through ORD didn't appear in the list (because the app only shows "x" number of options and all the earlier flights in the day took these up). The phone agent had no problem making the SDC change.

So are routing rules being followed or not again? My experience says not. Note: "K" fare.

-RM
In November the fare rules were followed and I got nothing on my app that would have broken fare rules. But, I was on G.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 4:50 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Just when I thought I had this figured out again. SDC via the app completely broke the fare rules I have and allowed me to connect via ORD/IAH on a fare that only allows connections via IAD. The flights I wanted through ORD didn't appear in the list (because the app only shows "x" number of options and all the earlier flights in the day took these up). The phone agent had no problem making the SDC change.

So are routing rules being followed or not again? My experience says not. Note: "K" fare.

-RM
On an S fare I was offered DTW-IAD-FRA to DTW-SFO-FRA yesterday, actually every hub except DEN. I moved to IAH..Guessing DTW-SFO-FRA isn't in the routing rules.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 6:50 am
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
You can apply PlusPoints to your reservation within T-24 h. If it does not work on App or Web, you need to call. You can remove the upgrade request before it is cleared and then SDC and reapply PlusPoints to the new flights.
Does the same apply to mileage upgrades? My current intl flight only has a Y cabin, but I was thinking of SDC-ing to an earlier flight that has Premium Plus. Could I do that and then upgrade to PP if space is available inside of 24h?
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Old Jan 10, 20, 2:29 pm
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by Say Vandelay View Post
Does the same apply to mileage upgrades? My current intl flight only has a Y cabin, but I was thinking of SDC-ing to an earlier flight that has Premium Plus. Could I do that and then upgrade to PP if space is available inside of 24h?
I had a 1k agent tell me her supervisor said that it had to be within 10 hours, but on the PP thread, they're saying its even closer. So yes, this shouldn't be an issue.

EDIT: sorry, you said mileage upgrades, not points.
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