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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 “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 31, 19, 7:02 pm
  #1321  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
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Posts: 9,986
Yes, but you would need an agent's help to transfer the upgrade request into available PN space, and pay the SDC fee if applicable to your status.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:01 pm
  #1322  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Posts: 261
I am Premier Platinum, if I buy an award ticket for someone else who has no status, can they SDC/Standby? If they can, without the fee?

Last edited by skyccord; Jul 31, 19 at 8:02 pm Reason: edit
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:02 pm
  #1323  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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No, unless they are flying with you. [Yes, of course they can SDC/standby, but fee is based on their status.]

The ticket can be changed according to your status, which would have a lower fee ($50) than a non-status SDC ($75).
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Old Aug 5, 19, 5:03 am
  #1324  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3
Hello, First time here.

This Wed I'm flying IND-ORD-AMS with IND-ORD in B (economy) and ORD-AMS in P (polaris) with the fare rule PHUAX05 (in case that means anything to anyone on here; trip was booked through orbitz together with a hotel).

Before I spend hours on the phone tomorrow afternoon, is it possible to SDC to an earlier flight IND-ORD and potentially fly in a lower class to save the SDC fee of $75 because of the potential fare refund (e.g. Q fare is $233 vs. current B fare being $774 - I didn't pay that much though)?
Right now all IND-ORD flights this Wed cost the exact same price.

Thanks a bunch!

PS: This is a great forum.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 5:15 am
  #1325  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,676
Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
Hello, First time here.

This Wed I'm flying IND-ORD-AMS with IND-ORD in B (economy) and ORD-AMS in P (polaris) with the fare rule PHUAX05 (in case that means anything to anyone on here; trip was booked through orbitz together with a hotel).

Before I spend hours on the phone tomorrow afternoon, is it possible to SDC to an earlier flight IND-ORD and potentially fly in a lower class to save the SDC fee of $75 because of the potential fare refund (e.g. Q fare is $233 vs. current B fare being $774 - I didn't pay that much though)?
Right now all IND-ORD flights this Wed cost the exact same price.

Thanks a bunch!

PS: This is a great forum.
Welcome!

Probably your best bet is just to call and request the change to an earlier flight ('because you don't know your way around ORD' or 'you walk slowly' or ...) and see if they'll do it for free.

Your fare is almost surely a P fare from IND to AMS, so if you changed the IND-ORD segment to something lower than B you may well wind up owing more (IND-ORD in Q + ORD-AMS in P may total more than IND-AMS in P).

You can also just show up at IND and stand by for earlier flights. Probably you can get a seat, but sometimes they all go out full. Grab some excellent pastrami from Shapiro's and ogle the Indy/muscle cars while waiting if you get stuck.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 5:18 am
  #1326  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3
Thanks a bunch - will try that tomorrow PM and report back.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 5:44 am
  #1327  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NYC
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CPU

Just to confirm, if I want to SDC when my original flight is in F due to a CPU, there needs to be complimentary upgrade space available on the new flight, not just F seats, right?
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Old Aug 5, 19, 6:15 am
  #1328  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Just to confirm, if I want to SDC when my original flight is in F due to a CPU, there needs to be complimentary upgrade space available on the new flight, not just F seats, right?
App will likely downgrade you to economy. If you call (when PZ space is available) or talk to UC agent, you may get to a F seat.
Good luck.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 7:59 am
  #1329  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by MarkP24 View Post
Just to confirm, if I want to SDC when my original flight is in F due to a CPU, there needs to be complimentary upgrade space available on the new flight, not just F seats, right?
Policy is your original fare class available, and you will go back to Economy.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 4:41 pm
  #1330  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
Can confirm I'm seeing SDC options in the app on a flight departing in 2 hours to flights tomorrow.
Have you (or anyone else, for that matter) tried actually switching to one of the "tomorrow" flights? I see them in the app and on the web, but trying to change to any of the options results in "this flight is no longer available, please select a different one" error message.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 4:48 pm
  #1331  
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Originally Posted by legalalien View Post
Have you (or anyone else, for that matter) tried actually switching to one of the "tomorrow" flights? I see them in the app and on the web, but trying to change to any of the options results in "this flight is no longer available, please select a different one" error message.
the system has been bad recently. We needed to call from London last week w/ the same issues ... an agent was able to change it w/ no problems.
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cfischer is online now  
Old Aug 5, 19, 7:42 pm
  #1332  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Policy is your original fare class available, and you will go back to Economy.
Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post

App will likely downgrade you to economy. If you call (when PZ space is available) or talk to UC agent, you may get to a F seat.
Good luck.
Thanks!
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Old Aug 6, 19, 3:09 pm
  #1333  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3
Gee, tried SDC during check-in, wasn't even an option (app or online), called customer service and was told I had to pay the fare difference ($$$) - no. Then chatted - twice - until I was able to change to an earlier flight. It's never easy, but I'm all good now.
Thanks again for your help!
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:00 pm
  #1334  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SFO
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What are my SDC chances on the EWR-SFO route on a P fare? I am on the last flight on a September Sunday. Do you they usually open up P space on earlier flights?
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:28 pm
  #1335  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by fatlasercat View Post
What are my SDC chances on the EWR-SFO route on a P fare? I am on the last flight on a September Sunday. Do you they usually open up P space on earlier flights?
I'd judge your odds pretty decent of finding P space on at least one earlier Sunday flight.
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