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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.
 
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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 Jul 4, 19, 8:30 am
  #1186  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Yeah, at first I thought it would be fun, but I'm now less thrilled with it, especially given the other curtailments of the app SDC function. But I agree, it doesn't look like they have any priorities to fix the PZ usage.
I did take advantage of it the other day to SDC PN->PN on an instant upgrade B RBD (domestic portion of a PE R fare where I got an instant upgrade).

That one made sense to me, though, because if Iíd been put on the new flights in B, I could have instant-upgraded them back into PN anyway. Itís really just CPUs into PZ that are broken and need to be fixed. For instruments, or for instant upgrades, I do like the change.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 8:41 am
  #1187  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

I did take advantage of it the other day to SDC PN->PN on an instant upgrade B RBD (domestic portion of a PE R fare where I got an instant upgrade).

That one made sense to me, though, because if Iíd been put on the new flights in B, I could have instant-upgraded them back into PN anyway. Itís really just CPUs into PZ that are broken and need to be fixed. For instruments, or for instant upgrades, I do like the change.
Yes, I agree that it seems reasonable for instant / supported upgrades. For most of my discount Y domestic flights, I feel it's been more limiting to schedule flexibility. For me, the particular pain point is in connecting from an international flight to a domestic one, when I prefer to book 2h of connection time or more. Then, while in the air if it appears we'll not be delayed or even might arrive early, formerly I could easily change flights to squeeze the connection time. Now it takes a phone call or agent, so I can't do it until on the ground, and then I want to clear CBP and TSA before doing anything, which easily means I'm making the change 30min later, and all the options are different (worse). Once I did luck into keeping PZ while moving to a shorter connection, but I feel I can't predict when and for which flights they'll level out the upgrade space.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 8:51 am
  #1188  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: AAdvantage Executive Platinum
Posts: 433
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Yes, typically having a cleared CPU reduces your SDC options. With CPU it looks for PZ space, which is usually less than space for whatever your original basis is. You can do a search for origin - destination and see which options show your economy basis (e.g., S, L, etc.) with availability. Then call and ask an agent to put you on that particular itinerary. If you don't know the basis, check your original receipt.
Thanks! Whatís the best way to search by economy basis other than EF?
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Old Jul 4, 19, 8:56 am
  #1189  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,660
Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post


Thanks! What’s the best way to search by economy basis other than EF?
You can activate expert mode, and then in the app or on the website, the inventory will appear in the details of each flight option.

link: Expert Mode Update: better upgrade visibility and opt-in to see fare bucket data.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 7:10 pm
  #1190  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Two separate questions for the pros:
1) If you have a inbound return flight the next day, could you do a SDC the outbound flight after the inbound flight?

2) If you SDS for a later flight, and donít clear or miss it. Is the return flight cancelled?

Last edited by silverforumsurf; Jul 4, 19 at 7:49 pm
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Old Jul 4, 19, 9:54 pm
  #1191  
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Originally Posted by silverforumsurf View Post
Two separate questions for the pros:
1) If you have a inbound return flight the next day, could you do a SDC the outbound flight after the inbound flight?

2) If you SDS for a later flight, and donít clear or miss it. Is the return flight cancelled?
1. No. The app wonít allow it, and I canít imagine an agent would either.
2. In general, if you miss a flight, the rest of the itinerary is cancelled. There is one person on the board who has reported regular success with being able to standby for a flight later than the one that theyíre booked on, but Iíve never figured out how on earth that works. At some point,though, youíre going to have to convince UA to remove the outbound flight from your itinerary. I donít think itís going to let you fly the coupons out of order.

In general, as soon as staff figured out what youíre trying to do ó skip your outbound ó theyíre not going to be helpful.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 10:27 am
  #1192  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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SDC with UA partner on first segment

I had no luck for SDC with Air China first segment (rest on UA). I ended with paying change fees ($120), but the agent got her supervisor to waive the fare difference (>$700 with U original fare) after she were unable to get my original routing back. I guess that Air China stopped selling ticket with UA segments (according to my search result). The new itinerary is all on UA.
Just a data point!
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Old Jul 5, 19, 10:30 am
  #1193  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
I had no luck for SDC with Air China first segment (rest on UA). I ended with paying change fees ($120), but the agent got her supervisor to waive the fare difference (>$700 with U original fare) after she were unable to get my original routing back. I guess that Air China stopped selling ticket with UA segments (according to my search result). The new itinerary is all on UA.
Just a date point!
SDC does not work when one of the flights in the itinerary is being operated with an airline other than United or United Express.
SDC is a United perk and their partners are not obliged to waive fare differences but in your case, you were lucky.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 1:01 pm
  #1194  
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Originally Posted by ISTFlyer View Post
SDC does not work when one of the flights in the itinerary is being operated with an airline other than United or United Express.....
SDC off a partner flight to all UA (while not policy) has occasionally (see this thread for multiple examples) been done, generally just at airports

On rare occasions, folks have reported the app making such offers.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 1:18 pm
  #1195  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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=== Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A ===

Tried this; didn't work. Had a UA codeshare AC metal, UA-issued ticket 9 PM EWR-YYZ. I got to the airport a little early and went to the UA premier check-in desk to ask to switch to the 8 PM EWR-YYZ flight on UA metal.

First they stalled, acting as though they had no idea what I wanted. Then they said they'd have to re-issue the whole ticket and contact air Canada. They they started talking about charging me a $250 change fee (or something like that).

Finally, I just rolled my eyes and walked away and stuck with my original flight.

Maybe it would have been better to speak to someone in the UC or on the phone - I don't know.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 2:31 pm
  #1196  
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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Originally Posted by sh76us View Post
=== Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A ===
....
Maybe it would have been better to speak to someone in the UC or on the phone - I don't know.
Similar experience earlier this year. HUCA the 1k line like 3 times, but they couldn't do it either. Perhaps wiki should be updated to A*?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 10:05 am
  #1197  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: AAdvantage Executive Platinum
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Agent on the Premier line just informed me that same day change only works for getting on a flight that is 24 hours or fewer BEFORE the original ticketed departure time, not after. Am I correct that this is patently incorrect?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 11:51 am
  #1198  
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Agent on the Premier line just informed me that same day change only works for getting on a flight that is 24 hours or fewer BEFORE the original ticketed departure time, not after. Am I correct that this is patently incorrect?
Certainitly that has not been true in the past, seems like a HUACA time

Mostly like a confused agent mistaking the time requirement for the original flight with the separate time requirement of the new flight,

No change in the website
[quote]
  • The same-day flight change option will be available within 24 hours before your originally scheduled flight. The requested flight must be departing within 24 hours from the time the request is made and can include any fare class, though you may be required to pay the difference in fare. Changes must be made prior to your original scheduled flight.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:22 am
  #1199  
 
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I am trying to SDC from UA1551 (BOS-EWR @ 2PM) to UA1202 (originally scheduled to depart yesterday at 6PM but now scheduled for 2:16PM today) - the delayed flight has wide-open cabin, and I figure itíd be not only an easy CPU but a very quiet flight. However, I canít get the flight to show up on the website for booking, nor could the phone agent do anything. Any suggestions - or do I just have to visit the UC / gate at BOS and see what is possible?
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:54 am
  #1200  
 
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I am trying to SDC from UA1551 (BOS-EWR @ 2PM) to UA1202 (originally scheduled to depart yesterday at 6PM but now scheduled for 2:16PM today) - the delayed flight has wide-open cabin, and I figure itíd be not only an easy CPU but a very quiet flight. However, I canít get the flight to show up on the website for booking, nor could the phone agent do anything. Any suggestions - or do I just have to visit the UC / gate at BOS and see what is possible?
All flights are zeroed out BOS-EWR because the 9am was cancelled. Not sure when it cancelled (or why) but getting on a different flight today from BOS to EWR is not possible at the moment.

-RM
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