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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
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Last edit by: raehl311
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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 Sep 10, 19, 12:04 am
  #1471  
 
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
Originally Posted by nautikal View Post
(FWIW, this is a bit different, but I do know that SDC now does not work for changing to a later day on a second leg, because of the fare rules and presumably because this could only be done through a SDC, not standby (since you cannot standby onto a later flight). E.g., I recently tried at the airport to SDC my second leg to the following day, and two separate agents gave me the same answer that this wasn't possible due to the fare rules)
The agents won't do it (or at least they have to do some magic to override their system), but if there is fare class availability, pretty sure the app will. (As in I've done it, although not super-recently. You do have to wait until your first leg flight closes out.)

You can absolutely, however, standby for a later flight. You just lose your confirmed flight.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
OP has a Saturday BP and wants to standby a Friday flight. While TSA might allow the use of the Saturday BP on Friday, having a Friday Standby BP-thingy can at least reduce the trouble with TSA.

UA's SDC policy is not calendar day, but hour based.
A few notes on that:

- TSA shouldn't let you through with a boarding pass for the next day (where next day is after 3 AM or so, obviously your midnight-2 AM departures are an exception.)
- UA probably will not let OP standby for a Friday flight with a Saturday ticket.
- UA will let OP Same Day Change to a Friday flight if there is fare class availability, or he wants to pay the fare difference (change fee would be waived.)
raehl311 is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 5:22 pm
  #1472  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 149
Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
The agents won't do it (or at least they have to do some magic to override their system), but if there is fare class availability, pretty sure the app will. (As in I've done it, although not super-recently. You do have to wait until your first leg flight closes out.)

You can absolutely, however, standby for a later flight. You just lose your confirmed flight.
I could only SDC to a later flight that same day, but not to anything the following day even though there was availability. This was via the app and two different agents. Both agents cited the stopover and fare rules as the reason why the system did not allow the change. It seems that there's logic built in to the system lock the BBB-CCC flight to the same calendar day if the fare is AAA-CCC with a stopover in BBB (versus two separate one ways). I'm sure they could override, but my attempted cuteface didn't get me anywhere on this


Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
You should be able to, for with standby, fare classes, fare rules,... are out the window -- just same day, space available, no routing changes.
Thanks, I'll give it a go!

Last edited by nautikal; Sep 10, 19 at 5:29 pm
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Old Sep 10, 19, 6:50 pm
  #1473  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 80
Originally Posted by nautikal View Post
I could only SDC to a later flight that same day, but not to anything the following day even though there was availability. This was via the app and two different


Did the app show the available next day departures though and produce an error when you tried to select one of them, or did it just show the same-day departures?
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Old Sep 12, 19, 3:07 am
  #1474  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AY+ Gold
Posts: 122
Hi there!

I booked for me (Gold) and +1 (Member) the following ticket in K:

SEP 10: AMS-GIG
SEP 17: GIG-ORD
SEP 20: ORD-TXL

We are hoping to extend our stay in ORD.
Therefore we are hoping for an SDC on ORD-LHR-TXL.
Very nice would be also to change the connection ariport to something else because 1) we don't like LHR and 2) LHR-TXL is operated by Germanwings ...

I did read the wiki but I'm not 100 % sure since it's going to be the first time for me ...
  1. SDC only possible within 24 h before flying ORD-LHR
  2. If tickets in K are available I could SDC to a flight within +- 24 hours of my initial ORD-LHR schedule. Then do the same the day after ...
  3. SDC is free for me and +1 (same PNR)
  4. SDC online should be possible because 1) less than 3 legs
  5. changing the connection airport should be possible even though it's non UA.

Is that all correct? To me everything was clear until I read the following part: Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*

So, over the app it shouldn't work, so I have to call the gold line 24 hours before departing ORD-LHR and ask for a SDC to the next day? If that doesn't work then HUACA?

My hope is to at least do the following over the app: To a flight after your ticketed flight, on the same calendar day: Y

Standby isn't really an option since we have to drive to the airport 4 hours ...

What are my chances?

Thank you for this thread and thank you for any response in advance!
jimaras08 is offline  
Old Sep 12, 19, 5:02 am
  #1475  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,680
Originally Posted by jimaras08 View Post
Hi there!

I booked for me (Gold) and +1 (Member) the following ticket in K:

SEP 10: AMS-GIG
SEP 17: GIG-ORD
SEP 20: ORD-TXL

We are hoping to extend our stay in ORD.
Therefore we are hoping for an SDC on ORD-LHR-TXL.
Very nice would be also to change the connection ariport to something else because 1) we don't like LHR and 2) LHR-TXL is operated by Germanwings ...

[...clip...]
Sorry, no chance to use SDC of any kind. The rules:
Originally Posted by United SDC rules
The itinerary must be operated by United or United Express®, and the ticket number must begin with 016.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 5:20 am
  #1476  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AY+ Gold
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Sorry, no chance to use SDC of any kind. The rules:
Thank you for your quick response.

My ticket number is 016 stock. First flight is with UA, my second isn't. So the itinerary isn't all UA operated, therefore no chance?

What about that general rule in this wiki: Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.

Additionally the wiki here also says: Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A*

Is there any other options?

Last edited by jimaras08; Sep 12, 19 at 5:44 am
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Old Sep 12, 19, 5:48 am
  #1477  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,680
Originally Posted by jimaras08 View Post
Thank you for your quick response.

My ticket number is 016 stock. First flight is with UA, my second isn't. So the itinerary isn't all UA operated, therefore no chance?

What about that general rule in this wiki: Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.

Is there any other options?
That's right. The wiki's statement, 'may be possible' is if you get an agent to bend the rules, and IME that is most likely only when you're in transit and at the airport. You can try calling of course to see if someone can put you on ORD-EWR-TXL, but I would say chances are quite low, so I wouldn't spend much effort on that.

The point to keep in mind is that it's not allowed by the rules, so you shouldn't plan on being able to do it.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 1:05 am
  #1478  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 10
App SDC options - no PZ retained

Adding a data point, not sure if this is old news for the community:

1k flying IAD-EWR-SFO 1 day out. Confirmed RPU PZ on EWR-SFO, but not IAD-EWR
App SDC options shows a bunch of options, of course, including IAD-EWR-SFO, but none of them show me retaining PZ on EWR-SFO
Maybe this is a p.s. route restriction?
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Old Sep 14, 19, 8:48 am
  #1479  
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Originally Posted by oneone4 View Post
Maybe this is a p.s. route restriction?
No; they fixed the app so that it puts you back into Economy if you SDC on an upgraded ticket, regardless of the manner of upgrade. If there is PZ space on the flight you want to take, an agent can move you and preserve the upgrade.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:48 pm
  #1480  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 149
Originally Posted by whipwhitaker View Post

Did the app show the available next day departures though and produce an error when you tried to select one of them, or did it just show the same-day departures?
It only showed same-day departures, even though there was plenty of availability the next day (this was SFO-LAX)
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Old Sep 15, 19, 6:41 pm
  #1481  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by nautikal View Post
It only showed same-day departures, even though there was plenty of availability the next day (this was SFO-LAX)
There was availability in your purchased fare class?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:39 pm
  #1482  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 260
It looks like the last many attempts in this thread to SDC a UA codeshare to UA metal haven't worked out. But this used to have a better success rate, right?

I have YOW-YYZ-IAH coming up on AC and UA, respectively. I'd like to SDC to YOW-IAD-IAH all on UA. At worst, if I couldn't pull that off, I could still SDC the last leg once I board at YOW, right?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 10:59 pm
  #1483  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: New Zealand (most of the time)
Programs: NZ Elite *G, HHonors Diamond, IHG Platinum Elite
Posts: 4,492
I have a UA flight from SFO-LAS in a few weeks that is a Air NZ codeshare on NZ 086 ticket stock. I'm familiar with the SDC rules on UA issued tickets and have changed these a few times in the past as *G, but I'm wondering if anybody has any recent experience of whether UA will change a ticket that's not on UA ticket stock?

I'm pretty sure a few years ago that I changed a NZ issued ticket at the airport and the Premier Access agent was happy to do this. Is anybody aware of whether this is something they will still do even though it's not in the rules?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 11:38 pm
  #1484  
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Originally Posted by sbiddle View Post
I have a UA flight from SFO-LAS in a few weeks that is a Air NZ codeshare on NZ 086 ticket stock. I'm familiar with the SDC rules on UA issued tickets and have changed these a few times in the past as *G, but I'm wondering if anybody has any recent experience of whether UA will change a ticket that's not on UA ticket stock?
You don't want them to do that. They can't reissue the ticket, so you can end up in a bad state: with no reservation for the old flight and no ticket for the new flight.

You can standby for an earlier UA-operated flight. If there are IRROPS, UA can take over the ticket and issue you a new one. But, otherwise, you need to follow NZ's rules, because you have an NZ ticket.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 11:52 pm
  #1485  
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Originally Posted by sbiddle View Post
....
I'm pretty sure a few years ago that I changed a NZ issued ticket at the airport and the Premier Access agent was happy to do this. Is anybody aware of whether this is something they will still do even though it's not in the rules?
The only case where this does not turn into a disaster is for the last segment on the ticket, and even then it is against policy. Any other cases you chancing getting the rest of the ticket canceled as NZ will not be aware of the change.

One traveler that regretted that decision
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