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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
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 “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 Jul 15, 19, 8:14 pm
  #1216  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SAN
Posts: 139
So is it possible to sdc from SFO- Tokyo NRT to SFO - HND?
All flights are pure United....

Thank you
thinthin is offline  
Old Jul 15, 19, 8:18 pm
  #1217  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by thinthin View Post
So is it possible to sdc from SFO- Tokyo NRT to SFO - HND?
All flights are pure United....

Thank you
The wiki says “A.” You need an agent to make the change. You may have to call multiple times to get it done.
Good luck.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 8:29 pm
  #1218  
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
The wiki says “A.” You need an agent to make the change. You may have to call multiple times to get it done.
Good luck.
The wiki lists "ultra-close airport" as A and "co-terminal" as N*. I'm not sure what the difference between the two is intended to be, but suffice it to say that recent reports are not promising -- no LGA to EWR, no IAD to DCA, etc.

OP: You can call and ask, but absent a delay of some kind, expect that you'll need to keep your original airport.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:33 am
  #1219  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: IAD
Programs: UA Gold; Hilton Diamond; Global Entry; TSA Pre✓
Posts: 709
Why dont I see SDC options to fly day before scheduled flight?

Tomorrow 7/17 I'm flying DFW-DEN-PHX (UA5870 0730-0829, UA2273 0920-1017) on a L fare.

Checking in right now, I'm offered 3 SDC options all flying tomorrow (the day of my scheduled flight). I see no options at all to 1 day earlier (today 7/16).
Doing a normal flight search for DFW-PHX 7/16 shows lots of options with L fare bucket availability.

So why is it I'm not offered any of that as a $75 SDC option?
FlyingHighlander is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 8:14 am
  #1220  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Programs: United-1k, Marriott-Lifetime Plat
Posts: 110
Singapore trip with a Standby question

Hello!

Tomorrow on a 7:50a flight from Denver to SFO (upgraded via GPU) on my way to Singapore which leaves at 11:25. I would have roughly a 1:30 in sfo. i cleared on the SIN portion when booking.

There is a 6a from Denver that would give me another two hours to relax in the Polaris lounge in sfo.

Question.... I don’t want to risk losing the GPU from SFO-SIN by calling 1k desk or doing it through the app. Can I just standby for the 6a flight or would you just recommend staying on the 7:50 flight? Don’t really care about the upgrade to SFO from Denver.

just going for meetings so no checked bags either.

Last edited by bwg03; Jul 16, 19 at 8:24 am
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:19 am
  #1221  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SAN
Posts: 139
Originally Posted by FlyingHighlander View Post
Tomorrow 7/17 I'm flying DFW-DEN-PHX (UA5870 0730-0829, UA2273 0920-1017) on a L fare.

Checking in right now, I'm offered 3 SDC options all flying tomorrow (the day of my scheduled flight). I see no options at all to 1 day earlier (today 7/16).
Doing a normal flight search for DFW-PHX 7/16 shows lots of options with L fare bucket availability.

So why is it I'm not offered any of that as a $75 SDC option?
you may have to call the reservation desk...
feel like SDC on earlier days may not work so "automatic"
i saw only DFW-IAH-PHX has L availability at DFW 2:15pm and 4:14 pm departure
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thinthin is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 8:36 am
  #1222  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: SAN
Programs: 1K, *G, 1MM
Posts: 1,910
Call the 1K desk. You will not lose the UG on the international portion.

Polaris lounge @sfo is worth the extra time.

I am on the same SFO-SIN flight as you tomorrow and on the 6.15am flight from SAN but I chose the earlier flight not for the Polaris lounge but because I do not want a flight delay into SFO to cause me to miss the flight.

I would ask for the 1K desk for the earlier DEN-SFO flight so you do not misconnect
Aussienarelle is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 8:56 am
  #1223  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Programs: BA Bronze, United 1K, HH Gold, SPG Platinum, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 3,468
Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Call the 1K desk. You will not lose the UG on the international portion.

Polaris lounge @sfo is worth the extra time.

I am on the same SFO-SIN flight as you tomorrow and on the 6.15am flight from SAN but I chose the earlier flight not for the Polaris lounge but because I do not want a flight delay into SFO to cause me to miss the flight.

I would ask for the 1K desk for the earlier DEN-SFO flight so you do not misconnect
I had the same situation in June on my way to PVG with the ORD-PVG segment already upgraded. When I called the 1K desk to do a SDC from a 7:50 AM flight to ORD to the 6:00 AM flight (my wife was on that earlier flight), the agent told me that the system did not allow her to do it as it was trying to reprice the whole trip. She suggested to just standby the next day which is what I was going to do. When I showed up at the airport at 5:00 AM, there was availability so the agent just put me on the flight without putting me on the standby list. There were about 5 standby passengers that all cleared at the gate.
StuckinITH is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 9:11 am
  #1224  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Programs: United-1k, Marriott-Lifetime Plat
Posts: 110
Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Call the 1K desk. You will not lose the UG on the international portion.

Polaris lounge @sfo is worth the extra time.

I am on the same SFO-SIN flight as you tomorrow and on the 6.15am flight from SAN but I chose the earlier flight not for the Polaris lounge but because I do not want a flight delay into SFO to cause me to miss the flight.

I would ask for the 1K desk for the earlier DEN-SFO flight so you do not misconnect

I called and made the switch. Feel much better with a long layover but no worries of missing the flight. Lost the upgrade but don't care when I have it on the SFO-SIN portion.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:53 pm
  #1225  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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SDC from F to Premium Transcontinental Service

Can a flight be SDC'ed from regular F to Premium Transcontinental Service, i.e. if original flight is EWR to SEA via DEN, any reason I can't SDC to EWR to SFO to SEA, thereby getting the Premium Transcontinental Service product?
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:17 pm
  #1226  
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Can a flight be SDC'ed from regular F to Premium Transcontinental Service, i.e. if original flight is EWR to SEA via DEN, any reason I can't SDC to EWR to SFO to SEA, thereby getting the Premium Transcontinental Service product?
Subject to availability, yes it's possible.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:32 pm
  #1227  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Subject to availability, yes it's possible.
Thanks!
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Old Jul 16, 19, 9:34 pm
  #1228  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Programs: United Premier Gold, United Club
Posts: 569
What's the rule for SDC if the first segment doesn't upgrade but the 2nd does? (All Domestic CPU). Will I get SDC options still or since there's a mismatch of classes I'll have to call it in? (Don't necessarily care about keeping the upgrade)
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Old Jul 16, 19, 10:31 pm
  #1229  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Subject to availability, yes it's possible.
It's possible, in that the app may allow it, but it's against the rules, in that the fare doesn't. So, if the app doesn't give you the option, don't be surprised if an agent refuses to move you. It may be moot anyway, as availability can be limited up front on those flights.

Originally Posted by quantumslip View Post
What's the rule for SDC if the first segment doesn't upgrade but the 2nd does? (All Domestic CPU). Will I get SDC options still or since there's a mismatch of classes I'll have to call it in? (Don't necessarily care about keeping the upgrade)
If the app offers anything, it will be flights through the same hub with the same fare classes on both legs -- so, if you're flying AUS-IAH-DTW, and AUS-IAH upgraded to PZ and IAH-DTW is in L, then the app will only offer you itineraries that are AUS-IAH (PZ) / IAH-DTW (L). If you call, you should be able to change to any flight with availability in the original fare class (L, in this example), subject to the rules of the underlying fare.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 11:06 pm
  #1230  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It's possible, in that the app may allow it, but it's against the rules
Yes, well OP didn't ask about the rules, he asked if it's possible

I've done this successfully, most recently just four weeks ago (SFO-LAX-BOS to SFO-BOS).
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