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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 Jul 20, 19, 1:37 pm
  #1246  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 269
Been a long time since I used SDC and I would appreciate some advice, please.
Have booked a Saver Award for next month with a horrible routing, and am counting on SDC to save me, assuming nothing opens up in the meantime...

I will have checked bags so I need to SDC before departure or I am stuck with this long day...

SHD 6:30 - IAD 7:16
IAD 8:15 - CLT 9:38
CLT 4:15 - DEN 6:04
DEN 6:55 - MFR 8:35

I want to take first flight to IAD and then SDC from IAD - MFR

I can see a bunch of different options that are so much better than this including:

IAD 8:15 - LAX 10:36
or IAD 9:00 - LAX 11:24
connecting to
LAX 12:35 - MFR 2:49

or

IAD 12:45 - SFO 3:23
SFO - 4:05 - MFR 5:39

What is my best strategy to SDC out of IAD? Start looking at T-24 from IAD departure of 8:15? or at T-24 of LAST flight I want to change to — such as 12:35 Pacific out of LAX, 4:05 Pacific out of SFO, etc… or ??

Any tips are most appreciated, thank you!
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Old Jul 20, 19, 1:49 pm
  #1247  
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Location: Austin, TX
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Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
What is my best strategy to SDC out of IAD?
Your chances of SDC here are minimal. Your chance of advance SDC here is almost zero.

You can try to SDC 24 hours prior to your departure from SHD. However, you're going to need saver award inventory on SHD-MFR to do that. In other words, one of those routes that wasn't showing up as Saver before is going to have to open Saver space, in its entirety, for SDC to work.

When you arrive at IAD, you would "only" need inventory on IAD-MFR. The chance of Saver inventory on that is marginally better. In theory, you could still change to the 9 AM or 12:45 PM departures you identified -- the rule for en route SDC with checked luggage is that the flight you want to change to must be an hour in the future, so that they can move your bag (in theory -- in practice, expect your bag to show up late).

All that said, what I'd do is check SHD-MFR regularly -- even daily -- and call to change if you see anything better. Depending upon your status, it may be more expensive than SDC, but it sounds like it may be worth it to avoid that travel day.
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Old Jul 21, 19, 11:41 am
  #1248  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Will I have SDC options?

Sorry if this is posted up thread. Did a search but could not find an answer.

I am on a revenue flight EWR - BRU - MAD originally booked in K class. I then used an MUA to get into premier plus for the EWR-BRU overnight leg which I believe books into RN class?

My question is, since the direct EWR-MAD isnt equipped with PP, will I be given any SDC options? I am assuming if I can find K class on EWR-MAD I would be able to change to this flight? I am UA *G.

If this is possible, will I receive the 20k miles MUA refund?

Thanks in advance
Dpetryszyn is offline  
Old Jul 21, 19, 12:16 pm
  #1249  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Gold 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 47,551
Originally Posted by Dpetryszyn View Post
... I am on a revenue flight EWR - BRU - MAD originally booked in K class. I then used an MUA to get into premier plus for the EWR-BRU overnight leg which I believe books into RN class?

My question is, since the direct EWR-MAD isnt equipped with PP, will I be given any SDC options? ...
Until recently the answer was No, you will have to call

It appears that SDC may have gone back to purchased fare class but I will still guess you will need to call.

Originally Posted by Dpetryszyn View Post
... I am assuming if I can find K class on EWR-MAD I would be able to change to this flight? I am UA *G. ...
suspect this will be possible but also suspect only by calling

Originally Posted by Dpetryszyn View Post
... If this is possible, will I receive the 20k miles MUA refund?
yes but the question is will there be a redeposit fee for a canceled upgrade -- I would hope not.

Given the EWR-MAD is 10 across seating in economy, I might stay on the EWR-BRU-MAD with PP TATL
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Old Jul 21, 19, 12:30 pm
  #1250  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Until recently the answer was No, you will have to call

Given the EWR-MAD is 10 across seating in economy, I might stay on the EWR-BRU-MAD with PP TATL
Thanks for the advice! UA 51 is showing as a 763, 2-3-2 on my date, but if this is a mistake and I am going to be on a 3-4-3 I will most definitely stay in PP for the TATL.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 8:32 pm
  #1251  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 74
Does moving up the date of departure, i.e. Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning, still work via the 1K hotline?
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Old Jul 22, 19, 8:42 pm
  #1252  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,181
Originally Posted by whipwhitaker View Post
Does moving up the date of departure, i.e. Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning, still work via the 1K hotline?
Yes, provided you're within 24 hours of both flights, and there's space in your fare class on Wednesday night (or you're willing to pay the fare difference).
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Old Jul 22, 19, 8:43 pm
  #1253  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 74
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Yes, provided you're within 24 hours of both flights, and there's space in your fare class on Wednesday night (or you're willing to pay the fare difference).
Thanks!
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whipwhitaker is online now  
Old Jul 23, 19, 9:26 am
  #1254  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K, AMC A List
Posts: 109
Apologies in advanced if this has been answered, sorry I'm new to United. Looking to take advantage of SDC for the LAX-EWR PS route, I understand the fare class I booked under has to be available for the change.
Does anyone know if historically if this route is favorable to using SDC where fare class inventory evens out and opens up at ~T-3 hours?
I'm looking to take advantage of a less expensive fare using, using an RPU and then SDC to a 787-10 flight and hoping the RPU clears again. Curious how others have handled this route and open to any recommendations/best practices to this approach.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 9:39 am
  #1255  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,564
Originally Posted by FobbyFlyer View Post
Apologies in advanced if this has been answered, sorry I'm new to United. Looking to take advantage of SDC for the LAX-EWR PS route, I understand the fare class I booked under has to be available for the change.
Does anyone know if historically if this route is favorable to using SDC where fare class inventory evens out and opens up at ~T-3 hours?
I'm looking to take advantage of a less expensive fare using, using an RPU and then SDC to a 787-10 flight and hoping the RPU clears again. Curious how others have handled this route and open to any recommendations/best practices to this approach.
You can't waitlist within 24h, so you can't do SDC (with a direct flight) and waitlist an upgrade. If you want a change and an upgrade you need to find open space on the new flight, either at the time of change or after. I wouldn't count on booking a different flight and then getting onto the 781 flight; only try that if you're OK with not getting the change and/or the upgrade.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 9:45 am
  #1256  
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Originally Posted by FobbyFlyer View Post
Apologies in advanced if this has been answered, sorry I'm new to United. Looking to take advantage of SDC for the LAX-EWR PS route, I understand the fare class I booked under has to be available for the change.
Does anyone know if historically if this route is favorable to using SDC where fare class inventory evens out and opens up at ~T-3 hours?
I'm looking to take advantage of a less expensive fare using, using an RPU and then SDC to a 787-10 flight and hoping the RPU clears again. Curious how others have handled this route and open to any recommendations/best practices to this approach.
Though it was many years ago, that is no longer a viable strategy on these routes due to lack of upgrade space.

Premium t-cons are mostly WJBJ (want J, buy J).
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Kacee is offline  
Old Jul 23, 19, 9:49 pm
  #1257  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: UA 1K, AS MVP
Posts: 191
Any recent experiences with trying to do a same day change at the layover point. I just experienced a data point where the United app is not showing any trip options after coupon was lifted for the first segment of a connecting itinerary.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 10:18 pm
  #1258  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Gold 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 47,551
Originally Posted by VWang1111 View Post
Any recent experiences with trying to do a same day change at the layover point. I just experienced a data point where the United app is not showing any trip options after coupon was lifted for the first segment of a connecting itinerary.
Assumig there was availability, did agents have any trouble? The Website?
Numerous reports the app has been dumbed down.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 3:02 am
  #1259  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: YVR
Posts: 249
Could use some advice here.

Flying YVR-SFO-ORD-SDF - P fare, *G no UA status

Currently on a 757 for the SFO-ORD leg, but noticed there is a 777 leaving 15 minutes earlier.

I am looking for the best way to switch to the 777 and it's lay flat beds. I tried to do a switch online, but they wanted $350 to do it (not worth it). So I am looking at at same day change or standby, assuming space available. Which is my best option in your opinion?
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Old Jul 24, 19, 4:27 am
  #1260  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: EAU
Programs: UA 1K, CO Plat, NW Plat, Marriott Premiere Plat, SPG Plat, Priority Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 4,550
SDC to a lower cabin?

Currently booked on 016 FCO-FRA-ORS on LH codeshare in R. Would prefer to fly UA FCO-EWR/IAD-ORD. Those flights don't offer R. I know I can't do it online, but would I otherwise be able to SDC if Y is available?

I figure this would be the same as SDC on an F/J fare into Y when F/J wasn't available, but that's not documented in the wiki.

Trying to go from a Thursday 1:25 departure to Friday 9:50 AM.
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