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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 Oct 18, 19, 7:57 pm   -   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: raehl311
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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 Jan 14, 19, 7:34 pm
  #556  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: ORD/CLE
Programs: UA 1K HH Diamond
Posts: 264
Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Has to be the same. This is discussed extensively in the SDC thread. A weather waiver or decent delay is going to be needed to even try and get an airport changed without a fee.
Yes, as noted in SDC thread, changing to an airport in the same city is YMMV, even with a weather wavier. They refuse to budge even with a waiver on a "nearby airport" such as FLL/MIA/PBI, or ORD/MKE.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:34 pm
  #557  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
If they do that I may need to take AA up on their status match offer...

SDC flexibility is the biggest driver of my loyalty to UA.
I agree that SDC flexibility is a big plus for me, but AA's SDC rules are horrible compared to UA's current rules. Go read them.
https://www.aa.com/i18n/plan-travel/...day-travel.jsp

If this is where it is headed, It would greatly limit SDC options for "legitimate" needs (no more multiple connecting Hub options), ... well as eliminate SDCs for more PQM to chase yearly & lifetime status. I would probably become a free agent & save myself thousands a year.if they mimic AA.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:36 pm
  #558  
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Just to be clear, change of airports on an SDC is not YMMV. It's not permitted.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:49 pm
  #559  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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as an outlying datapoint, i was ticketed to fly OGG-SFO-EWR this past november in a cheaper economy fare bucket (probably K). UA put a waiver in place for the california wildfires.

via the app, i searched for an OGG-XXX-BDL itinerary and was shown several for $0/$0. i figured i'd get an error when i tried to ticket, but it actually worked. i also tried destinations father from EWR, and had luck with SRQ and DFW, IIRC. international destinations did not work, unfortunately haha.

again, this isn't the way it should work, but odd things do happen on occasion. most of the time, it's not in my favor. this was the ultra-rare instance where it was. of course, don't count on it.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:49 pm
  #560  
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Not possible. I have tried IAD/DCA and no luck as GS.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 8:27 pm
  #561  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
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Originally Posted by riphamilton View Post
as an outlying datapoint, i was ticketed to fly OGG-SFO-EWR this past november in a cheaper economy fare bucket (probably K). UA put a waiver in place for the california wildfires.

via the app, i searched for an OGG-XXX-BDL itinerary and was shown several for $0/$0. i figured i'd get an error when i tried to ticket, but it actually worked. i also tried destinations father from EWR, and had luck with SRQ and DFW, IIRC. international destinations did not work, unfortunately haha.

again, this isn't the way it should work, but odd things do happen on occasion. most of the time, it's not in my favor. this was the ultra-rare instance where it was. of course, don't count on it.
Weather waivers and SDC have different rules, no? Weather waivers provide greater flexibility (although surprised Dallas would be an alternative to EWR!).
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Old Jan 14, 19, 8:40 pm
  #562  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Weather waivers and SDC have different rules, no? Weather waivers provide greater flexibility (although surprised Dallas would be an alternative to EWR!).
Weather waivers generally allow for +/- 2 days and allow for same cabin rebooking as long as there is a single seat available in that cabin. SDC has a more strict timeline (wihtin 24 hours of your first flight) and requires that the same fare class you are booked in be available (on all legs, so broken fares is a headache).
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Old Jan 14, 19, 8:58 pm
  #563  
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Originally Posted by rob22 View Post
If I am within the 24 hour window and flying EWR to ORD, would they allow a (free) same day change for LGA to ORD? Or does it have to be the exact same airports? ...
The rules are very clear
Changes are only available for the exact origin and destination airport.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 9:16 pm
  #564  
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
Weather waivers generally allow for +/- 2 days and allow for same cabin rebooking as long as there is a single seat available in that cabin.
Weather waivers depend on the specific terms of the waiver, which can vary tremendously.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 5:26 pm
  #565  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by riphamilton View Post
as an outlying datapoint, i was ticketed to fly OGG-SFO-EWR this past november in a cheaper economy fare bucket (probably K). UA put a waiver in place for the california wildfires.

via the app, i searched for an OGG-XXX-BDL itinerary and was shown several for $0/$0. i figured i'd get an error when i tried to ticket, but it actually worked. i also tried destinations father from EWR, and had luck with SRQ and DFW, IIRC. international destinations did not work, unfortunately haha.

again, this isn't the way it should work, but odd things do happen on occasion. most of the time, it's not in my favor. this was the ultra-rare instance where it was. of course, don't count on it.
This has nothing to do with SDC. You can change your ticket, including origin and destination, at ANY time, as long as you pay the fare difference and any change fee. (Unless basic economy ticket of course.)

If there's a weather waiver, the change fee is almost certainly waived, which leaves you with the fare difference, which may very well be 0 or less.

A weather waiver may also allow other changes without regard to fare as long as seats in the same cabin are available.

But you definitely can not use SDC to change origin/destination.

Last edited by raehl311; Jan 16, 19 at 12:14 pm
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Old Jan 22, 19, 12:14 am
  #566  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Anybody had SDC success with case like this:

Discount business class (P) segments on UA 016 ticket:

AC operated with AC flight number: SFO-YVR-PVG

Can I SDC to UA operated SFO-PVG?
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Old Jan 22, 19, 1:23 am
  #567  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by sfo3388 View Post
Anybody had SDC success with case like this:

Discount business class (P) segments on UA 016 ticket:

AC operated with AC flight number: SFO-YVR-PVG

Can I SDC to UA operated SFO-PVG?
You should be able to call in and get that if space is available. UA should be happy to put you on their metal.

Your challenge will be P availability, which is probably how you ended up on the connecting flight to begin with.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 6:00 pm
  #568  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 79
Is anyone else having the issue that the United website is wanting to charge a $200 change fee for a SDC? The United app works flawlessly, but on the website (mobile or desktop) it wants to charge the change fee. I didn’t have any problems this morning with my outbound flight...
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Old Jan 23, 19, 6:16 pm
  #569  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Originally Posted by whipwhitaker View Post
Is anyone else having the issue that the United website is wanting to charge a $200 change fee for a SDC? The United app works flawlessly, but on the website (mobile or desktop) it wants to charge the change fee. I didn’t have any problems this morning with my outbound flight...
Not me...I just checked my itinerary on the website, and when I click the Check-In button (which is the only place I see the option to change my flight), I see at least 10 or 12 options, all with a $0 fee.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 6:21 pm
  #570  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 79
Thanks. It must’ve been a short glitch, now everything is working just fine. That website can be something else!
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