And now an example of when not to use SDC

Yesterday I shared an example of using the same-day change options from United to make my travel a bit better. I’m basically doing the same trip three consecutive days now so I figured I’d try again on day two, maybe making things better again. This time I was looking for more miles, not more time, and I figured that the less direct routings via Chicago or Houston would likely do better for me. Just looking at the map it seems quite obvious that the IAD connection is the shortest:

And it is true; the IAD connection comes to 2388 total miles while ORD is 2401 and IAH is 2628. And yet the IAD connection was still my best choice.  That pesky 500 mile minimum credit for elites got in the way. The total miles I’d earn for the ORD and IAH routings would not change; both segments are on each itinerary are longer than 500 miles. But the Philly-Dulles segment is only 135 miles in the air. With the 500 mile minimum credit for that segment added in the routing credits a total of 2753 miles, 125 more than the IAH option.

Sure, 125 miles one way or the other isn’t a huge deal. But in this case I decided it wasn’t worth bothering with even trying to tinker with the routing.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Seth, I’d imagine there’s some sort of calculus involved here in upgrades as well? If I thought I had a good shot at a IAD-SAN upgrade, I’d definitely go that same route, but if IAD-SAN had limited space in first class, I’d probably go for one of the other routings where I might at least have a chance to get upgraded on one of the legs.

  2. If upgrades are important for you then, by all means, include them in the calculations. So long as I have a window seat in E+ (bonus for bulkhead) I don’t usually care so much about the upgrade. For 300 miles I’d probably consider trading for an upgrade, too, though in my specific case it was a moot point.

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