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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 Aug 17, 19, 11:33 pm
  #1381  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 45
I have an upcoming flight BOS-EWR-MUC booked on Z class. The layover in EWR is 8 hours, I was wondering if I can do SDC to a later BOS-EWR flight with no fee. I am 1K. IF yes, should I call at T-24 before my BOS flight or T-24 before the one I would like to SDC? Also, if no fare class is available in the later BOS-EWR flight, can I ask to downgrade to Y to avoid paying the change fee?
absdotan99 is offline  
Old Aug 17, 19, 11:49 pm
  #1382  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by absdotan99 View Post
I have an upcoming flight BOS-EWR-MUC booked on Z class. The layover in EWR is 8 hours, I was wondering if I can do SDC to a later BOS-EWR flight with no fee. I am 1K. IF yes, should I call at T-24 before my BOS flight or T-24 before the one I would like to SDC? Also, if no fare class is available in the later BOS-EWR flight, can I ask to downgrade to Y to avoid paying the change fee?
To SDC BOS-EWR, you will have SDC BOS-EWR-MUC -- so you will need Z open for both. Want to stay on the present EWR-MUC, you will need to call. You will not be able to do until you are within 24 hours of both the old and new flight. The problem with the downgrade is if your fare is for BOS-MUC (likely), you will have to break the fare and reprice the entire trip (could get ugly) You will need to call and ask -- explain your desire and see what happens -- and hope the Z is available.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:17 pm
  #1383  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: UA Gold
Posts: 57
I'm flying LHR-IAD-EWR with a 7 hours layover in IAD. Ticket is issued by Lufthansa, with a UA metal flight. Is it possible to SDC (or even standby) for earlier flight on the IAD-EWR segment? I'm Gold on united so typically SDC is free on 016 tickets. Thanks!
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Old Aug 18, 19, 1:29 pm
  #1384  
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Originally Posted by kalbear View Post
...Ticket is issued by Lufthansa, with a UA metal flight. Is it possible to SDC (or even standby) for earlier flight on the IAD-EWR segment?....
Standby -- yes (and no checked bags). Confirmed SDC -- not allowed by rules if not 016 ticket stock.

SDC is perhaps possible with an unaware agent if last segment on the ticket BUT expect the ticket to be in a mess - UA systems reflecting one thing and the ticket issuer not being updated -- leading to future segments being canceled for no show, flight crediting missing and other issues. Multiple reports of this going badly.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 6:15 pm
  #1385  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: UA Gold
Posts: 57
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Standby -- yes (and no checked bags). Confirmed SDC -- not allowed by rules if not 016 ticket stock.

SDC is perhaps possible with an unaware agent if last segment on the ticket BUT expect the ticket to be in a mess - UA systems reflecting one thing and the ticket issuer not being updated -- leading to future segments being canceled for no show, flight crediting missing and other issues. Multiple reports of this going badly.
Thanks, Winecountryua for the info. I’ll need the pqm for qualification so wouldn’t want it to get messed up. Is there a risk for missing credit if I do a standby (no checked bags)? The IAD-EWR would be my last inbound segment.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 6:24 pm
  #1386  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Posts: 47,589
Originally Posted by kalbear View Post
...Is there a risk for missing credit if I do a standby (no checked bags)? ....
Shouldn't be.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Aug 19, 19, 5:05 am
  #1387  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 41
I have the return portion of a ticket in paid economy W, YVR-SFO-LHR, with a waitlisted GPU applied, and a one hour connection at SFO. I would like to fly a couple hours earlier on the YVR-SFO leg to make a longer connection.

If the international portion SFO-LHR clears into PZ before the day, can I SDC the YVR-SFO portion only and still keep the upgrade for SFO-LHR intact? Do I need to call an agent, and not use the app? Does it make a difference to the answer whether the YVR-SFO portion also cleared upgrade before the day? (I think I read that in any case I lose the YVR-SFO confirmed/waitlist upgrade if I SDC the YVR-SFO flight unless the new flight has PZ>0).
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Old Aug 19, 19, 6:11 am
  #1388  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
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Originally Posted by under2100 View Post
I have the return portion of a ticket in paid economy W, YVR-SFO-LHR, with a waitlisted GPU applied, and a one hour connection at SFO. I would like to fly a couple hours earlier on the YVR-SFO leg to make a longer connection.

If the international portion SFO-LHR clears into PZ before the day, can I SDC the YVR-SFO portion only and still keep the upgrade for SFO-LHR intact? Do I need to call an agent, and not use the app? Does it make a difference to the answer whether the YVR-SFO portion also cleared upgrade before the day? (I think I read that in any case I lose the YVR-SFO confirmed/waitlist upgrade if I SDC the YVR-SFO flight unless the new flight has PZ>0).
Yes, you will need to call an agent to do this. They can keep your long-haul upgrade in tact and just SDC the first leg (YVR-SFO). And you are correct..if you do clear YVR-SFO before you SDC and then attempt to SDC after that you will go back to your original fare class in coach.

The other thing to keep in mind is there is no waitlisting for upgrades within 24 hours of flight time. And since you can only SDC YVR-SFO within 24 hours of the new flight you want you technically cannot be put on the waitlist. So unless PZ is already open (highly unlikely), you would be on the regular CPU list for that assuming you are elite. Of course, it's up to you whether the peace of mind offered by a longer connection is worth the likely ride in coach for the short YVR-SFO flight. Also, if you do arrive SFO earlier you can enjoy the Polaris lounge assuming your upgrade to LHR has already cleared. If you have to wait until the gate for that one then no Polaris lounge access.

-RM
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Old Aug 19, 19, 6:24 am
  #1389  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 41
Thank you RobOnLI for clarifying that so quickly!
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Old Aug 19, 19, 10:43 pm
  #1390  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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So I have one PNR for 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 general. How will SDC work for the app? It's a domestic CONUS 2-segment both ways of a round trip. For outbound I'm trying to leave early 12 noon instead of 1 am, so there are 11 hours left after OLCI begins. Will I have to end up calling the elite line after midnight for a long processing of all 3 pax?
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:48 pm
  #1391  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Anywhere but home
Programs: UA 1K/MM; AA EXP; DL SM/MM; AClub, PC Plat; HH, MR Gold
Posts: 4,211
I have a ticket booked by a Chinese travel agent (016 ticket) in Premium Plus from ORD-SFO-HKG with fare class B/R. Will I be able to SDC to the direct ORD-HKG flight even though it does not have PP? If so, would it be booked into B class or something else? Thanks.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:28 pm
  #1392  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,590
Originally Posted by FlytheTail View Post
I have a ticket booked by a Chinese travel agent (016 ticket) in Premium Plus from ORD-SFO-HKG with fare class B/R. Will I be able to SDC to the direct ORD-HKG flight even though it does not have PP? If so, would it be booked into B class or something else? Thanks.
You will need help from a UA agent, and you will probably wind up in the lowest Y class open at the time of change, which could easily be, e.g., S. If that happens you will get auto-credit for 100% PQM, but I think some have reported success with getting it adjusted (maybe only IRROPS).
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:33 pm
  #1393  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Programs: NonePass
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by tetrahydrofuran View Post
I just did a SDC from AAA(domestic)-BBB(domestic)-CCC(international) to AAA-CCC. Phone agent told me I will get the refund for BBB airport tax!

That had never happened to me, but this is also the first time I did the SDC over the phone, i typically do it on the app or at the airport.
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Never received a refund (or a bill ) for taxes paid in excess or uncollected due to SDC. So I think you won't get any automatic refund, anyway.
I am happy to report that a $4.5 refund was posted on my CC account on 8/2 (for flight on 7/27 SDCed on 7/26).
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:08 pm
  #1394  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,590
Originally Posted by tetrahydrofuran View Post
I am happy to report that a $4.5 refund was posted on my CC account on 8/2 (for flight on 7/27 SDCed on 7/26).
Good for you! I imagine it was the agent that got it going.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:58 pm
  #1395  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K, DL Gold, Marriott Amb
Posts: 360
Apologies if this has already been covered ...

I fly DEN-EWR/LGA weekly (and sometimes the reverse depending on price vs DL) on a mix of Z/P/D/C fares. Starting about 3 weeks ago, SDC via the app *only* shows economy options (usually H and Q as far as I can tell). Before that the only options I would see would be first/business based on availability in my purchased fare bucket. And of course when the first/business cabins were full for all flight options I wouldn't even see an option to do SDC. And that was fine.

The new economy-only options behavior happens when I do a search right after check-in all the way up until its about time to board. I have not seen a single first/business option since this behavior started.

While I do appreciate seeing the economy options in the event that I want to fly regardless of cabin, it would appear that it isn't even possible to SDC into another flight in first/business at all anymore, at least on the routes I am on.

(I first noticed it the first week of August on a Z fare, and since then have noticed it on a C, P, and D fare)

Did I miss a rule change somewhere?
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