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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 Sep 4, 19, 2:11 pm   -   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 Jun 22, 19, 1:48 pm
  #1156  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
With an SDC routing change, CPUs will not transfer over.
Except when (a) using the app and (b) both segments are upgraded. With an E145-operated segment, no such luck.

That said,

OP: What’s your status? CLE-LAX is not an easy route to CPU, and EWR-LAX, which I suspect is what you were hoping for, isn’t going to have any PZ space available. (For that matter, neither will ORD-LAX, most likely).
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Old Jun 23, 19, 1:08 am
  #1157  
 
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I am 1k. I got an upgrade last month and I did a sdc from Chicago to lax via ewr.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 1:23 am
  #1158  
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Originally Posted by xcalibir View Post
I am 1k. I got an upgrade last month and I did a sdc from Chicago to lax via ewr.
You got extremely lucky; PZ is almost never available on EWR-LAX.

The one-class DCA-CLE flight is going to keep you from having any chance at getting lightning to strike twice. An agent isn’t going to preserve the CPU, and, if you do clear on CLE-LAX, the app isn’t going to let you change the routing.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 2:50 pm
  #1159  
 
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Are there still issues with SDC and CPUs? For some of my upcoming flights flexibility is more important than sitting in a first class seat, and would rather give up a first class seat.

If there are still issues can you still call in to be proactively removed from the CPU list? And if you are upgraded anyway can the premier line downgrade me after the fact? (Don't want to have to go to the airport to SDC)
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Old Jun 23, 19, 2:57 pm
  #1160  
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Originally Posted by quantumslip View Post
Are there still issues with SDC and CPUs?....
Not sure what issues you are referring to.
If you mean that once your CPU, the app will look for PZ flights. That issue can easily be avoided by calling and having an agent do the SDC

Originally Posted by quantumslip View Post
If there are still issues can you still call in to be proactively removed from the CPU list? ..
although many agents are unfamiliar with how to do this and will need time to consult with others

Originally Posted by quantumslip View Post
And if you are upgraded anyway can the premier line downgrade me after the fact? ...
Yes, although that can get tricky at times if you original fare is not available

As a UA Gold, you probably don't need to worry about CPU on mainline flights too often.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 8:53 pm
  #1161  
 
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Will the app allow me to choose earlier domestic leg which “breaks” the 24-hour stopover max? I have an upcoming LAX-IAH-EZE with 23 hours in Houston. Will there be earlier LAX-IAH SDC options? (Fare class is available earlier in the day.)
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Old Jun 25, 19, 9:09 pm
  #1162  
 
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
Will the app allow me to choose earlier domestic leg which “breaks” the 24-hour stopover max? I have an upcoming LAX-IAH-EZE with 23 hours in Houston. Will there be earlier LAX-IAH SDC options? (Fare class is available earlier in the day.)
You may be offered LAX-EWR-EZE would that work? Don’t know about the 24 hour rule though
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Old Jun 25, 19, 9:39 pm
  #1163  
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
Will the app allow me to choose earlier domestic leg which “breaks” the 24-hour stopover max? I have an upcoming LAX-IAH-EZE with 23 hours in Houston. Will there be earlier LAX-IAH SDC options? (Fare class is available earlier in the day.)
IME, it will treat LAX-IAH and IAH-EZE as independent due to the overnight connection, so it will likely allow you to SDC LAX-IAH on its own.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 10:20 pm
  #1164  
 
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post
Will the app allow me to choose earlier domestic leg which “breaks” the 24-hour stopover max? I have an upcoming LAX-IAH-EZE with 23 hours in Houston. Will there be earlier LAX-IAH SDC options? (Fare class is available earlier in the day.)
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
IME, it will treat LAX-IAH and IAH-EZE as independent due to the overnight connection, so it will likely allow you to SDC LAX-IAH on its own.
Recently I have a different overnight connection experience, which is that nothing was offered. The connection was only 18 hours, though.

I think currently it melds any connection less than 24 hours, so it will treat it as LAX-EZE. The only way to break it is on the way back, if you have EZE-IAH-LAX, and to do so after boarding EZE-IAH. And now it will only let you change once.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 11:22 pm
  #1165  
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Recently I have a different overnight connection experience, which is that nothing was offered. The connection was only 18 hours, though.
Did it give you all of the boarding passes when you first checked in? Was it treating your transfer point as a destination, or did it correctly identify that you were a through passenger? Was it going to check bags all the way through? Did you get INTL on both boarding passes?

I know UA has been working on their SDC functionality recently, so it wouldn't surprise me if they'd tightened up this loophole too. I haven't had a long transfer like that in a while. However, this is the first report I've heard of its systems actually recognizing an overnight transfer as anything but two consecutive flights on the same PNR.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 8:08 am
  #1166  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Did it give you all of the boarding passes when you first checked in? Was it treating your transfer point as a destination, or did it correctly identify that you were a through passenger? Was it going to check bags all the way through? Did you get INTL on both boarding passes?

I know UA has been working on their SDC functionality recently, so it wouldn't surprise me if they'd tightened up this loophole too. I haven't had a long transfer like that in a while. However, this is the first report I've heard of its systems actually recognizing an overnight transfer as anything but two consecutive flights on the same PNR.
Yes, it gave me all of the boarding passes and treated it as simply a connecting itinerary. I didn't try checking bags, but it did have INTL on all the BPs.

I was a little bit surprised as well, since that was a stopover in the sense of going from a not-the-last-of-the-day flight to a next-day flight. But I don't think the fare actually included a stopover, so I'm not sure what to make of it. The itinerary was put together with google flights, since the UA search wasn't giving me what I wanted (the overnight).

Last edited by fumje; Jun 26, 19 at 1:55 pm Reason: tyop
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Old Jun 27, 19, 12:41 pm
  #1167  
 
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UA Flight Change Clarification

TWO QUESTIONS:

1. First about free same day changes: For a free same day change, my understanding is that the entire existing itinerary in one direction needs to be on UA metal AND the entire new itinerary must be on UA metal as well. Is that correct?
For example:
If you are in SIN and you have SIN-SFO-TPA (All UA flights), the only change option would be another SIN-SFO flight because that is the only connection UA has from SIN. You could not switch to SIN-NRT-SFO-TPA, for example, as SIN-NRT is an NH codeshare.

Also, if you already had SIN-NRT-SFO-TPA, you could not change to SIN-SFO-TPA because you could not change the SIN-NRT NH codeshare at all. However, once you reached NRT, you could switch to a different flight out of NRT if one is available.


2. Does the above also apply to $120 change fee changes >24 hours? In other words, can you change flights that contain codeshares to flights that do not (and vice-versa) if you pay the change fee?

I'm asking because my return from SIN is quite far out and I want to leave as much flexibility as possible to switch it when and if PZ space becomes available.
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Old Jun 27, 19, 1:04 pm
  #1168  
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Originally Posted by TomA View Post
.1. First about free same day changes: For a free same day change, my understanding is that the entire existing itinerary in one direction needs to be on UA metal AND the entire new itinerary must be on UA metal as well. Is that correct?...
While the rules suggest it needs to be all UA to SDC, the practice is to allow partner flights to be changed to an all UA result. Partner flights cannot be in the new itin (in a direction).
Originally Posted by TomA View Post
.You could not switch to SIN-NRT-SFO-TPA, for example, as SIN-NRT is an NH codeshare.
Correct

Originally Posted by TomA View Post
. if you already had SIN-NRT-SFO-TPA, you could not change to SIN-SFO-TPA because you could not change the SIN-NRT NH codeshare at all.
As SIN-SFO-TPA is all UA, it is possible

Originally Posted by TomA View Post
2. Does the above also apply to $120 change fee changes >24 hours? In other words, can you change flights that contain codeshares to flights that do not (and vice-versa) if you pay the change fee? ...
SDC and standard ticket changes are two separate actions.
Remember SDC can only be done within 24 hours of the original departure and the new departure.
Changes other times are governed by the ticket change rules and space / fare availability. Formal changes (outside of SDC) are likely to have significant fare changes (depending on the purchased fare).

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 27, 19 at 1:09 pm
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Old Jun 27, 19, 1:27 pm
  #1169  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
SDC and standard ticket changes are two separate actions.
Remember SDC can only be done within 24 hours of the original departure and the new departure.
Changes other times are governed by the ticket change rules and space / fare availability. Formal changes (outside of SDC) are likely to have significant fare changes (depending on the purchased fare).
The change fee for most flights ex-Asia is $120 now. No idea why they've done this, but I love it. I've changed TPE-SFO to SIN-SFO before (all UA) and just paid the $120. So no issues with changing to/from codeshares when paying the change fee then?

So I guess for greatest flexibility, book a codeshare and switch to a non-codeshare if a good seat comes up.

Thanks
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Old Jun 27, 19, 1:36 pm
  #1170  
 
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Originally Posted by TomA View Post
The change fee for most flights ex-Asia is $120 now. No idea why they've done this, but I love it. I've changed TPE-SFO to SIN-SFO before (all UA) and just paid the $120. So no issues with changing to/from codeshares when paying the change fee then?
No issues (assuming routing is legal), but it will usually reprice using fares in effect today if you change the routing like that.
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