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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 Dec 11, 19, 1:49 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 ďchange flightĒ 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 Oct 22, 19, 4:01 pm
  #1576  
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Originally Posted by whipwhitaker View Post
Would an SDC to the nonstop still be possible or up to the phone agent on the 1K line?

It's definitely a YMMV situation.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 4:16 pm
  #1577  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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I have an booking on UA with a very tight connection in EWR. I suspect the nonstop will still have plenty of seats open right before departure.

The one problem is that my ticket is issued by AC (return is on AC) for premier qualification purposes.

So is the 016 requirement ridged or can I possibly get it SDC.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 3:34 am
  #1578  
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Originally Posted by Seby12 View Post
....
So is the 016 requirement ridged or can I possibly get it SDC.
Yes being on 016 ticket stock is requirement and there have been bad results for those that have convinced an agent to do something. AC does not have visibility of the change. see wiki

You can go to the gate and try to do standby but some agents will not do standby after T-30 or do standby to a non-stop.
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Old Oct 24, 19, 8:54 am
  #1579  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
You can go to the gate and try to do standby but some agents will not do standby after T-30 or do standby to a non-stop.
I will try to do standby to an earlier flight to EWR then.

For standby do I just go to the gate, or can this be done over the phone?
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Old Oct 24, 19, 11:28 am
  #1580  
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Originally Posted by Seby12 View Post
I will try to do standby to an earlier flight to EWR then.

For standby do I just go to the gate, or can this be done over the phone?
You can only standby at the airport and will have to be at the gate before departure.
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Old Oct 25, 19, 11:02 am
  #1581  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: IAH
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Posts: 6
Hi, Iím currently on a flight from LHR to EWR and will be arriving early. My connection is to IAH, but now that Iím arriving early I want to do SDC to the earlier flight (10pm to 8:05pm).

My question is about PQM earnings. Iím booked in first class on my original 10pm flight, but if I SDC to the earlier flight, only economy seats are available. If I switched, would I still get the 2x PQMs or just 1x given Iíll be in economy? Would United true me up after the fact if I called in?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 25, 19, 12:10 pm
  #1582  
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Originally Posted by wenstinator View Post
....
My question is about PQM earnings. I’m booked in first class on my original 10pm flight, but if I SDC to the earlier flight, only economy seats are available. If I switched, would I still get the 2x PQMs or just 1x given I’ll be in economy? Would United true me up after the fact if I called in? ...
SDC to a different cabin will take an agent's assistance.

If you voluntarily downgrade yourself, your mileage accrual will be based on the new ticket you chose. So if you agree to economy, you will get economy mileage.
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Old Oct 25, 19, 12:21 pm
  #1583  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
SDC to a different cabin will take an agent's assistance.

If you voluntarily downgrade yourself, your mileage accrual will be based on the new ticket you chose. So if you agree to economy, you will get economy mileage.
Thanks for the quick response. Is that true even if there is no refund? I paid a crazy expensive roundtrip biz fare to LHR and back!
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Old Oct 25, 19, 12:36 pm
  #1584  
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Originally Posted by wenstinator View Post
Thanks for the quick response. Is that true even if there is no refund? I paid a crazy expensive roundtrip biz fare to LHR and back!
Yes. Theoretically there is a difference in fare due, but if you are effectively changing classes of service other than at a fare break point, that refund would not be a positive amount.
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Old Oct 25, 19, 3:40 pm
  #1585  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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SDC: 2 segments to 3 segments, but not 3 segments to 2 segments on App

THis is just a data point from a colleague. He changed two segments to three segments using App: from xxx-IAD-PEK to xxx-EWR-ORD-PEK today. But when he tried to reverse back a two-segment itinerary, no options were given. Both were surprising to me, especially, from 2 to 3 segment SDC. Of course, he could call 1K line to change from 3 segments to 2 segments (fare class was available).

Edit: My colleague told tonight that the fare class was bumped up after changing from two segments to three segments. This is very strange indeed!

Last edited by Kmxu; Oct 25, 19 at 9:44 pm Reason: Fare class change
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Old Oct 30, 19, 1:04 pm
  #1586  
 
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It is a known issue that if your itinerary has 3 segments you have to call in to change it.

I share your surprise on being able to switch TO 3 segments however.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 2:27 pm
  #1587  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: UA Gold, KE Morning Calm
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I have a upcoming trip with two PNRs.
Reservation 1 - Domestic + Domestic on UA metal departing Saturday 1PM (arriving Saturday 6PM).
Reservation 2 - Domestic + International on UA metal departing Sunday afternoon (first flight departing 4PM).

Original plan was to have dinner with my friend Saturday night.
Now the dinner is canceled, so I would like to SDC to Reservation 1 to Sunday morning.

Question 1: Will UA system think I have 4 segments so that SCD is not available online?

Question 2: Reservation 1 is on G fare class. My understanding is fare class opens up several hours before the departure. Therefore, higher chance for SDC to earlier flights with G T S L fare class. But not working for SDC to later flights. Realistically, do I have a chance to SDC to Sunday 6AM flight (reservation 1)?

Thanks, in advnace.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 3:30 pm
  #1588  
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Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
Question 1: Will UA system think I have 4 segments so that SCD is not available online?
No, not with the overnight break.

Originally Posted by poohhead80 View Post
Question 2: Reservation 1 is on G fare class. My understanding is fare class opens up several hours before the departure. Therefore, higher chance for SDC to earlier flights with G T S L fare class. But not working for SDC to later flights. Realistically, do I have a chance to SDC to Sunday 6AM flight (reservation 1)?
Fare class leveling has not been a guarantee for a while now. Realistically, you can SDC if the flight isn't nearly full.. if at least Y9 and nothing unusual going on it will have G space. But if it is tight right now and only selling more seats I would not count on being able to SDC.
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Old Nov 1, 19, 12:01 am
  #1589  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Yes being on 016 ticket stock is requirement and there have been bad results for those that have convinced an agent to do something. AC does not have visibility of the change. see wiki.
This is interesting, as AC allows SDC on other stock as long as all AC metal for routing change.. Called UA res. On P ticket for Munich to Vancouver over Chicago, and because bought on 014 stock, would not SDC, as I see better routing over SFO.

oh well ✈️
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Old Nov 1, 19, 2:39 pm
  #1590  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It does not carry over. If you do the change by phone, an agent might or might not apply it to the new flight.
So the advice is to hang up and keep calling until you find an agent who applies it to the new flight? [I am booked on a W fare ORD-IAD-AMS with a waitlisted GPU but would prefer ORD-AMS direct when that flight appears to have many more open J seats 24h before.]
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