American Airlines AAdvantage members can now use miles plus a $350 cash co-pay for a one-class upgrade from published fares in O and Q class for travel between North America and Europe, Asia, India or Latin America. These fare classes are discount coach fares and previously were ineligible for upgrades. Business class fares booked in I class are now allowed with a $175 co-payment plus 15,000 miles within the U.S. and Canada. For travel between North America and India, I class can be upgraded for 40,000 miles plus a $550 co-payment and between North America and all other destinations, the redemption will be 25,000 miles plus a $550 co-pay. This change also means that Executive Platinum elite members can now use their systemwide upgrades on flights booked in I, O or Q class. Elite members can view their systemwide upgrade balance online under the “View My Upgrades” tab from their account page. The site will show you how many upgrades are available, when they were deposited and when they will expire.
Effective Dec. 1, 2009, the co-pay for upgrade awards will be increasing $25 on some routes. The co-pay for upgrade awards on discount coach fares within and between the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico and Caribbean is increasing from $50 to $75 and the co-pay on upgrade awards between the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Hawaii will be increasing from $150 to $175. The 15,000 miles required for these awards will remain the same.
Bottom line: While most AAdvantage members will welcome the addition of I, O and Q class to the list of fare classes eligible for upgrades, there are a couple of disadvantages. With more upgradeable fare classes, more members now have the ability to upgrade and there will be more competition for the few seats in the front of the plane. And while the $25 co-pay increase on select routes isn’t a large sum of money, it still represents more expensive upgrades for those routes. Executive Platinum members who aren’t required to pay a co-pay when using systemwide upgrades will benefit the most from this change. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?1879 for more information.