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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

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Old Nov 30, 19, 2:45 am   -   Wikipost
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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
  • 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 Members and Silvers - the fee is waived for Golds and up (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.
  • 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 GPU-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R 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
Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may stand by if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. 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?
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
original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal

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 Sep 30, 19, 9:45 am
  #1501  
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GS flying YYC-SFO-BOS, booked in XN, upgraded to PN with GS RPU.

I want to change YYC-SFO to an earlier flight. It has PN and XN. They say I'll lose the SFO-BOS (J1 PN0) upgrade if they make the change, even though we're not touching that segment.

Assuming this is true (though let me know if it isn't), will SDC be possible without the same upgrade loss? It's sitting on a 44 minute connection in SFO that pax can't afford to miss, and he's fine flying early and sitting around for 5 hours.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 10:08 am
  #1502  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
GS flying YYC-SFO-BOS, booked in XN, upgraded to PN with GS RPU.

I want to change YYC-SFO to an earlier flight. It has PN and XN. They say I'll lose the SFO-BOS (J1 PN0) upgrade if they make the change, even though we're not touching that segment.

Assuming this is true (though let me know if it isn't), will SDC be possible without the same upgrade loss? It's sitting on a 44 minute connection in SFO that pax can't afford to miss, and he's fine flying early and sitting around for 5 hours.
Why are you asking about SDC? You get free award changes. No need to wait until T-24.

You can absolutely change the first segment without losing the upgraded second segment. If the agent expresses any hesitation, HUACA, you don't want that person touching your reservation.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 10:13 am
  #1503  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Why are you asking about SDC? You get free award changes. No need to wait until T-24.

You can absolutely change the first segment without losing the upgraded second segment. If the agent expresses any hesitation, HUACA, you don't want that person touching your reservation.
I agree with HUACA however be mindful of married segments and stopover greater than 4 hours.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 10:15 am
  #1504  
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Originally Posted by iwc View Post
be mindful of married segments and stopover greater than 4 hours.
Married segments impact booking inventory; shouldn't affect ability to make a change on an all UA operated itinerary assuming inventory is available.

International tickets get 24 hour connection time.

Last edited by Kacee; Sep 30, 19 at 10:47 am
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Old Sep 30, 19, 11:07 am
  #1505  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Married segments impact booking inventory; shouldn't affect ability to make a change on an all UA operated itinerary assuming inventory is available.

International tickets get 24 hour connection time.
But is Canada considered International? According to rez rules of award travel say "no" for Canada/ US however booking at .bomb say "yes".

Revenue tickets break the fare with a stopover over 4 hours which indicates that US / Canada fares are not international.

As I said HUACA.

As far as married segments for the most part a rez agent is hesitant to rebook unless both segments come up in inventory.

As I said HUACA.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 11:10 am
  #1506  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Why are you asking about SDC? You get free award changes. No need to wait until T-24.

You can absolutely change the first segment without losing the upgraded second segment. If the agent expresses any hesitation, HUACA, you don't want that person touching your reservation.
Because she said if she did it, we'd lose the SFO-BOS upgrade. So I'll take this as a helpful response to the "Assuming this is true (though let me know if it isn't)" part of my post

Originally Posted by iwc View Post
I agree with HUACA however be mindful of married segments and stopover greater than 4 hours.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Married segments impact booking inventory; shouldn't affect ability to make a change on an all UA operated itinerary assuming inventory is available.

International tickets get 24 hour connection time.
Looks like the desired flight would be about 5, but I thought it was "North American", not "domestic" for the 4 hour rule.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 11:51 am
  #1507  
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Canada is 4 hours for a stopover, although original award pricing allows 24 hours for any itinerary.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:27 pm
  #1508  
 
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Called in today for same day change. I had a connecting flight booked in domestic first, in Z class. Non-stop flight Z class opened up, called in for same day chance. Agent wouldn't switch me to the new flight as she was saying my flight was a economy class ticket which was auto upgraded? My receipt says Z, says Z online, so not sure what she was talking about. When I booked my original ticket it was for first class, not an auto upgraded ticket. HUCA and next agent switched it no problem. Any idea why first agent was so confused?
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:31 pm
  #1509  
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Originally Posted by lagunas2k View Post
Called in today for same day change. I had a connecting flight booked in domestic first, in Z class. Non-stop flight Z class opened up, called in for same day chance. Agent wouldn't switch me to the new flight as she was saying my flight was a economy class ticket which was auto upgraded? My receipt says Z, says Z online, so not sure what she was talking about. When I booked my original ticket it was for first class, not an auto upgraded ticket. HUCA and next agent switched it no problem. Any idea why first agent was so confused?
See a few posts upthread - all domestic First fares except full J have a secondary inventory requirement in the Economy cabin for pricing control. Evading it during SDC is YMMV.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:37 pm
  #1510  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
See a few posts upthread - all domestic First fares except full J have a secondary inventory requirement in the Economy cabin for pricing control. Evading it during SDC is YMMV.
Thanks. I did just read that. How long has this been in play? I've never had this come up as an issue. How would I even find my "economy cabin requirement"? Is this even listed anywhere? Seems silly.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:57 pm
  #1511  
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Originally Posted by lagunas2k View Post
Thanks. I did just read that. How long has this been in play? I've never had this come up as an issue. How would I even find my "economy cabin requirement"? Is this even listed anywhere? Seems silly.
I would guess something like ten years, although it's been long enough I'm not really sure. I don't know a concrete way of doing this on united.com, but for domestic fares it will almost always be the first letter of the fare basis (e.g. TAA4AFFN would be a P fare with a secondary T inventory requirement).

It might sound silly, but it's an integral component of how the domestic premium cabin is priced. This allows them to float it a relatively fixed amount more than Economy, since it doesn't really make sense to sell a First ticket for $499 if Economy is nearly full and costs $639. All US carriers do this now; the last holdout was VX (ended with the AS takeover) and you could indeed find cases on VX where F was less than Y.

Thread from almost 4 years ago analyzing the practice: A Comprehensive Look at Domestic First Class Monetization (FCM) on United
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:26 pm
  #1512  
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Originally Posted by lagunas2k View Post
Thanks. I did just read that. How long has this been in play? I've never had this come up as an issue. How would I even find my "economy cabin requirement"? Is this even listed anywhere? Seems silly.
Agents have been enforcing this sometimes but not the app. Appears the app may now be also enforcing, force more to the agents.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:36 pm
  #1513  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I would guess something like ten years, although it's been long enough I'm not really sure. I don't know a concrete way of doing this on united.com, but for domestic fares it will almost always be the first letter of the fare basis (e.g. TAA4AFFN would be a P fare with a secondary T inventory requirement).

It might sound silly, but it's an integral component of how the domestic premium cabin is priced. This allows them to float it a relatively fixed amount more than Economy, since it doesn't really make sense to sell a First ticket for $499 if Economy is nearly full and costs $639. All US carriers do this now; the last holdout was VX (ended with the AS takeover) and you could indeed find cases on VX where F was less than Y.

Thread from almost 4 years ago analyzing the practice: A Comprehensive Look at Domestic First Class Monetization (FCM) on United
While I get the logic, I still see instances where a discounted first class ticket is more than the lowest priced economy ticket.

Just today I saw a first class ticket priced at $799, while the economy ticket was $899.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:39 pm
  #1514  
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Originally Posted by lagunas2k View Post
While I get the logic, I still see instances where a discounted first class ticket is more than the lowest priced economy ticket.

Just today I saw a first class ticket priced at $799, while the economy ticket was $899.
What route? For anything marketed as United First, this shouldn't be possible barring some bugs..
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:40 pm
  #1515  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
What route? For anything marketed as United First, this shouldn't be possible barring some bugs..
I saw it SFO>BOS today while doing my SDC. No longer there, I just checked. It could have been a bug, but there must have been a few cancellations or changes as there was J4 where as yesterday it was J1. That is what opened up the Z inventory for me today.
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