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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 20, 19, 8:12 pm
  #1396  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 8,165
Originally Posted by espostor View Post
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?
No fare rule change to worry about. The app is broken most likely. My guess is you are buying "UP" fares which map to specific economy buckets and the app is looking at the fare basis instead of the booked fare code. For example, you may book a flight using fare basis "TAA3TCFN" but it books to "P". When the app attempts SDC it only sees you booked in "T" and that's what it offers. My guess is if you selected that option you will be put in coach and put on the CPU waitlist. The only real way to SDC these flights is to call the 1K line. Be prepared to argue with several agents who will also attempt to book you in "T" class because they can't understand how the UP fares work.

Separately, I believe this is probably how United decided to solve the "problem" of SDC'ing straight to the upgraded cabin of "PZ" that we all used to enjoy. Now it determines the original fare class by looking at the fare basis. Not the right way to do it!

-RM
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Old Aug 21, 19, 1:45 am
  #1397  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K, DL Gold, Marriott Amb
Posts: 360
Really appreciate the response RobOnLI.

Yup, that's it. Fare basis for my trip this week is Qxxxxxxx, booked into D.

Highly disappointing that the app was changed to behave this way.

And here I thought that arguing with agents over -UP fares ended a decade ago. Guess not.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 11:00 am
  #1398  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 387
I'm booked SFO-IAD, non-stop, on a flight late in the day. I would like to add an overnight stop in LAS if I can do so without too much cost. I understand that a connection of more than 4 hours is considered a stopover, and thus not a valid SDC option. Presumably for that reason, the only SDC change option presented through LAS is an AM flight SFO-LAS, to the last LAS-IAD flight of the day (early afternoon). I won't be able to catch that early SFO flight -- it leaves too early. But if I change to that routing, would I then be able to change again to a later SFO-LAS flight (after the last LAS-IAD departure for the day), and then be booked on the next LAS-IAD flight which is the next morning, getting me my overnight without triggering a stopover and taking me out of SDC? Or is this just not possible given the four hour rule?
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Old Aug 22, 19, 11:56 am
  #1399  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 9,876
If the app is not offering the overnight connection (it might), then I doubt you are going to be able to get it any other way. You can't SDC one segment independently of the other, which is I think what you're getting at.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:31 pm
  #1400  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 8,165
Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Separately, I believe this is probably how United decided to solve the "problem" of SDC'ing straight to the upgraded cabin of "PZ" that we all used to enjoy. Now it determines the original fare class by looking at the fare basis. Not the right way to do it!

-RM
Further data to support my theory. I'm on a ticket completely screwed up by IROPS yesterday at LGA. Through several 1K agents (for various reasons) and an agent at LGA I got rebooked through the same connecting city for the next day. The new flights were booked in "D" and "P". Note that my original fare class was in coach and I used an RPU.

SDC offered me some flight changes but ONLY in my original coach class. It completely ignored the fact that I was booked in "D" or "P". The same is true as I hit my connection point. SDC only offered options in coach.

The other thing to note which really annoyed me is there are apparently no alternative airports to select flights from for IROPS. The app knew I was on an IROP ticket and was allowing me to change my flights to the future. However, it refused to look up flights except from my origin airport (LGA). EWR was not an option. Why did they change this behavior? In the past on an IROPS ticket you could select any nearby airport including EWR, HPN, etc.

-RM
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:38 pm
  #1401  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Posts: 10,205
Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
But if I change to that routing, would I then be able to change again to a later SFO-LAS flight (after the last LAS-IAD departure for the day), and then be booked on the next LAS-IAD flight which is the next morning, getting me my overnight without triggering a stopover and taking me out of SDC?
Despite what you may see in SDC, or even on a search, LAS is not a valid transfer point on an SFO-WAS fare. Therefore, any option that it's giving you to travel via LAS is a gift, and not something that you should expect.

Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
SDC offered me some flight changes but ONLY in my original coach class. It completely ignored the fact that I was booked in "D" or "P". The same is true as I hit my connection point. SDC only offered options in coach.
I'm not sure how much I'd read into that, beyond that it's no longer blindly using the booking class of the current segment instead of looking at the fare.

Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
The other thing to note which really annoyed me is there are apparently no alternative airports to select flights from for IROPS.
That's odd. I had the full set of IRROPS options as recently as Sunday.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:44 pm
  #1402  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 387
Originally Posted by findark View Post
If the app is not offering the overnight connection (it might), then I doubt you are going to be able to get it any other way. You can't SDC one segment independently of the other, which is I think what you're getting at.
Thanks. Correct, the app isn't offering it. So it's as simple as that? Agents can't force otherwise legal routings for SDC that the app isn't showing, and/or override the system?
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:56 pm
  #1403  
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Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
Thanks. Correct, the app isn't offering it. So it's as simple as that? Agents can't force otherwise legal routings for SDC that the app isn't showing, and/or override the system?
Yes, they can force otherwise-legal routings. SFO-LAS-IAD is not a legal routing.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 1:30 pm
  #1404  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 9,876
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I'm not sure how much I'd read into that, beyond that it's no longer blindly using the booking class of the current segment instead of looking at the fare.
It sounds like it blindly using the first letter of the fare basis, which is not great either.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Yes, they can force otherwise-legal routings. SFO-LAS-IAD is not a legal routing.
They can force otherwise-illegal routings too, but usually won't. It helps to have a reason why a normal person would want to make the SDC ("I don't want to leave at x o'clock and this lets me leave at a more reasonable hour and get there quickly") that probably doesn't apply to adding overnight in LAS.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:02 pm
  #1405  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
It sounds like it blindly using the first letter of the fare basis, which is not great either.



They can force otherwise-illegal routings too, but usually won't. It helps to have a reason why a normal person would want to make the SDC ("I don't want to leave at x o'clock and this lets me leave at a more reasonable hour and get there quickly") that probably doesn't apply to adding overnight in LAS.
'Not great' seems a bit understated.

Anyone have reports about SDC shoveling the ticket out of PN (or preserving it)? That used to be the exception to SDC logic, but then PZ got lumped in with that behaviour, and now it seems their fix for PZ might be creating (what I see as) bigger problems.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 3:03 pm
  #1406  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Anywhere but home
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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.
Despite three separate calls to different premier agents over time (two of which spoke with the fare desk), numerous checks online as well as the UA app, I could not SDC. I was only given the option to pay a change fee plus difference in fare. However, I was able to find an agent at the airport who, by her admission, was well skilled in fares. After 10+ minutes of typing, she was able to change my flight to ORD-HKG and into R class, even though the fare does not exist for this flight. From there, I upgraded into Polaris.

Based on my experience, it is not possible to SDC from a PP fare onto a flight without a PP cabin, except at the airport, and only if you find a well-skilled agent willing to figure it out.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 10:53 pm
  #1407  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
It sounds like it blindly using the first letter of the fare basis, which is not great either.
Yep, that's exactly what two of us have reported now. Me through the questions I asked a poster above and then my own experience yesterday. They are only reading the first letter of the fare basis. Scary!

It means anyone who has purchased a domestic first class fare (except possibly full J) will need to call for SDC because I believe every first class domestic fare is an "UP" fare. At least someone has said that in the past.

-RM
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Old Aug 23, 19, 1:09 am
  #1408  
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
They are only reading the first letter of the fare basis.
The thing is, your experience shows nothing of the sort. You had an economy ticket, so the SDC options should have been economy. Being able to SDC in the rebooked P/D cabins would have been nice, but the fact that it wasn't possible doesn't imply anything about the underlying system beyond "they're looking at the original ticket."

As for passengers on an -UP type ticket: my personal opinion is that free SDC should require both fare classes to be open -- the underlying economy seat that's used for inventory control, and the first/business class seat that's used for actual seating. So, on a T-UP fare that books into P, my feeling is that the system should allow you to change to any flight that has both T and P inventory. That said, I certainly don't think it should be forcing people to downgrade to Y in order to SDC.

FWIW, I have a confirmed RPU for travel later today, and my SDC options are for my original booking class (G). The ability to SDC into PZ space on an instrument-supported upgrade would be nice -- and was nice, while SDC for PZ was broken -- but I don't think it was ever supposed to work that way.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 10:02 am
  #1409  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 2
Adding extra segments during a layover?


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
If my itinerary is AAA-BBB-CCC and I’ve already flown AAA-BBB, can I change it while at BBB to now go AAA-BBB-XXX-CCC? If so, how is that done?

Last edited by Jlpledger; Aug 23, 19 at 10:04 am Reason: Corrected the quote
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Old Aug 23, 19, 10:06 am
  #1410  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
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Posts: 9,876
Originally Posted by Jlpledger View Post
If my itinerary is AAA-BBB-CCC and I’ve already flown AAA-BBB, can I change it while at BBB to now go AAA-BBB-XXX-CCC? If so, how is that done?
Yes, just pull up the app and see what it offers. Much harder to do with an agent.
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