Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

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

    Hide Wikipost
Old Nov 10, 19, 3:29 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: raehl311
Wiki Link
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}
Print Wikipost

Old May 22, 19, 12:58 pm
  #1051  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: CVG/YYZ
Programs: UA Gold, AC, AA, DL, Marriott Gold, SPG Gold
Posts: 11,640
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Whether or not there is a fare available is irrelevant. For free SDC, you need inventory in the correct fare bucket, but there does not need to be a fare that covers that inventory.
no, not really.

SDC is basically a waiver of the change fee, though fare difference still applies. As long as there is Y>0 on the flight one wants to change to, and is within the time limitations (within 24 hours of both current and new floghts), gold or above can SDC for free. Any additional $ needed is a fare difference, which really applies for any change. SDC itself is still free.

The app/site will only show options without a fare difference, but any gold or higher can SDC into a higher fare bucket by calling an agent and paying the fare difference. SDC remains free.

Originally Posted by ISTFlyer View Post
What I mean by Economy non-flexible is the column that I have squared the header in red.

Flexible vs. non-flexible is irrelevant for SDC purposes. As mentioned, itís fare class availability that matters.

Its going to vary, but you can have certain S fares, for example, that are flexible, and others that arenít. For SDC, and in order to not pay a fare difference, all that matters is that you are booked in S and there is S available on the new flights. Flexibility or not makes no difference. This goes on any (non-BE) fare class, from G all the way up to Y (though there probably arenít many flexible G fares, or non-flexible Y fares, but the point still stands).

Originally Posted by aricane View Post
sdc requires same fare bucket to be available on the flight you want to change to. United typically opens all fare buckets few hours before departure if there are seats open.
again, it does not require same fare bucket.

Per above, app will only show options with no fare difference. But an agent, either on the phone or at the airport, can process an SDC into a different bucket, but again, that requires payment of a fare difference.
emcampbe is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 1:15 pm
  #1052  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,755
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
SDC is basically a waiver of the change fee, though fare difference still applies. As long as there is Y>0 on the flight one wants to change to, and is within the time limitations (within 24 hours of both current and new floghts), gold or above can SDC for free. Any additional $ needed is a fare difference, which really applies for any change. SDC itself is still free.
I know this, and you know this, but it really, really complicates things, so I intentionally left it out.

Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
The app/site will only show options without a fare difference, but any gold or higher can SDC into a higher fare bucket by calling an agent and paying the fare difference. SDC remains free.
Yes, that's true, but when people are asking about SDC, they normally mean no-fare-difference SDC.
jsloan is online now  
Old May 22, 19, 1:23 pm
  #1053  

2019 Secret Santa
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England
Programs: DL GM, UA, B6, AA, WN, AS, AGR
Posts: 3,760
Originally Posted by myperks View Post


can one downgrade class from PP to Economy for SDC purposes?
Yes, but you'd have to call in because it requires agent intervention.
myperks and Flying Machine like this.

Last edited by diburning; May 22, 19 at 1:30 pm
diburning is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 12:04 am
  #1054  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: UA Mileage Plus Delta SkyMiles
Posts: 385
I thought you could SDC award tickets.
Or under what conditions can you SDC award tickets?
I booked an award ticket, that I plan to SDC in a over a month, and discussed with a very friendly agent, and she told be T<24 I can SDC it and improve the routing.

Was the agent misinformed? It would be good to know now...LOL

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
No.
HeidiInTheAlps is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 12:10 am
  #1055  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,755
Originally Posted by HeidiInTheAlps View Post
I thought you could SDC award tickets.
Or under what conditions can you SDC award tickets?
I booked an award ticket, that I plan to SDC in a over a month, and discussed with a very friendly agent, and she told be T<24 I can SDC it and improve the routing.

Was the agent misinformed? It would be good to know now...LOL
You can SDC award tickets, but only if the booking class is available. In other words, if you have an economy saver award, you can SDC onto other UA-operated flights with economy saver space, but you cannot SDC onto a flight without economy saver inventory.
jsloan is online now  
Old May 23, 19, 5:40 am
  #1056  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: UA Mileage Plus Delta SkyMiles
Posts: 385
So, looks like the agent gave me bad information ????

I booked a saver Business Award, and it seems pretty certain there will be business class seats available only 9 out or 48 sold with 60 days out. And she said I could SDC to business...

Would an agent do this? Or did she not understand the rules herself?

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
You can SDC award tickets, but only if the booking class is available. In other words, if you have an economy saver award, you can SDC onto other UA-operated flights with economy saver space, but you cannot SDC onto a flight without economy saver inventory.
HeidiInTheAlps is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 6:56 am
  #1057  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA 1K 2MM; Marriott Platinum; IHG Platinum
Posts: 3,305
Originally Posted by HeidiInTheAlps View Post
So, looks like the agent gave me bad information ????

I booked a saver Business Award, and it seems pretty certain there will be business class seats available only 9 out or 48 sold with 60 days out. And she said I could SDC to business...

Would an agent do this? Or did she not understand the rules herself?
By reading both of your posts, I think that the agent did give you the correct information. The key words are within 24 hr and that the saver business fare are available. For your specific flight with 60 days out, it is difficult to predict that saver business will be available on your travel date even though only 9 out of 48 seats are taken now.
Good luck.
Kmxu is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 9:26 am
  #1058  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,755
Originally Posted by HeidiInTheAlps View Post
I booked a saver Business Award, and it seems pretty certain there will be business class seats available only 9 out or 48 sold with 60 days out. And she said I could SDC to business...

Would an agent do this? Or did she not understand the rules herself?
If you booked a business saver award, you need business saver space to do an SDC. I just used economy as an example -- SDC is allowed on business too.

That said, as Kmxu says, it's way too early to tell whether or not there will be business saver space available for you on that flight. If the agent implied that it was an absolute certainty, then that was bad information.

Keep in mind that SDC is less valuable on an award ticket than on a cash ticket, because the change fees for award tickets tend to be lower. What status level (if any) do you have with United?
jsloan is online now  
Old May 23, 19, 9:29 am
  #1059  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: UA Mileage Plus Delta SkyMiles
Posts: 385
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If you booked a business saver award, you need business saver space to do an SDC. I just used economy as an example -- SDC is allowed on business too.

That said, as Kmxu says, it's way too early to tell whether or not there will be business saver space available for you on that flight. If the agent implied that it was an absolute certainty, then that was bad information.

Keep in mind that SDC is less valuable on an award ticket than on a cash ticket, because the change fees for award tickets tend to be lower. What status level (if any) do you have with United?
I'm a 1K. So if space shows up, it costs nothing to change it, but I was thinking I could SDC for any available business class space....
HeidiInTheAlps is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 9:33 am
  #1060  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 10,233
Originally Posted by HeidiInTheAlps View Post
I'm a 1K. So if space shows up, it costs nothing to change it, but I was thinking I could SDC for any available business class space....
SDC does not provide any additional inventory benefits - you would still need IN space on your new flight.

As a 1K, SDC actually provides no additional benefit at all on award tickets, because you can change your ticket for free anyway. In theory, you should also be able to waitlist for IN space on the alternate flight right now, assuming that makes sense (clearing the waitlist leaves you with a valid ticket).
jsloan and HeidiInTheAlps like this.
findark is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 9:49 am
  #1061  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: UA Mileage Plus Delta SkyMiles
Posts: 385
that's the other thing I was thinking... I think I'll try wait list.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
SDC does not provide any additional inventory benefits - you would still need IN space on your new flight.

As a 1K, SDC actually provides no additional benefit at all on award tickets, because you can change your ticket for free anyway. In theory, you should also be able to waitlist for IN space on the alternate flight right now, assuming that makes sense (clearing the waitlist leaves you with a valid ticket).
jsloan likes this.
HeidiInTheAlps is offline  
Old May 24, 19, 9:52 pm
  #1062  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Programs: UA GS, Marriott/SPG Amb, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 811
Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
This is now the new behavior. You can no longer SDC the IAH-YYZ segment to anything other than another non-stop IAH-YYZ segment on the *same day* via the app. You can still call United and have them make the change for you and they'll do it.
Haven't flown for a while nor seen any more recent reports. Is this still the case? If Iím flying ORD-BOS can I no longer SDC to ORD-EWR-BOS (or ORD-SFO-EWR-BOS &#128579 in the app? If true, have phone and airport agents recently been willing to accommodate these requests?
getagb is offline  
Old May 24, 19, 10:21 pm
  #1063  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by getagb View Post


Haven't flown for a while nor seen any more recent reports. Is this still the case? If Iím flying ORD-BOS can I no longer SDC to ORD-EWR-BOS (or ORD-SFO-EWR-BOS &#128579 in the app? If true, have phone and airport agents recently been willing to accommodate these requests?
You should still be able to SDC an ORD-BOS to ORD-EWR-BOS. However, once in ORD the app will only present EWR-BOS non-stops on the same calendar day making unlimited routing changes over an indefinite amount of time no longer possible.
WakeTurbulence is offline  
Old May 24, 19, 10:46 pm
  #1064  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: SPG Platinum, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond, AA EXP, AS MVP 75K, United 1K
Posts: 132
I have a CDG-EWR-SFO flight (P fare) that now might be anywhere from 2-3 days too early after an event got pushed out. A couple of questions:

1) Sounds like I can do multiple SDCs to extend my trip out a few days. Do the routings all have to be the same? For example, can I grab CDG-ORD-SFO then extend with CDG-SFO, and so on?

2) Is it better to grab the first routing available if later scheduled flights are not yet offered or should I wait for later options to minimize the number of times I need to SDC?

3) Any unforeseen issues I should look out for since this is my first time attempting multiple SDCs?

Thank you in advance for the help.
tigerwong is offline  
Old May 25, 19, 11:31 am
  #1065  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Francisco
Programs: 1K 2.2MM
Posts: 2,001
increasing layover with SDC

Must be answered already...not sure I have found it exactly...

LAX-SFO-NRT with 22 hour layover in SFO as permitted in rules about international layover. Can you SDC to an earlier LAX-SFO that would put the layover over the 24 hour layover limit, or would the system prevent that?
1k-all-the-way is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread