AAdvantage upgrade snag

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by rwyeager, Apr 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. On a recent trip to Brussels we purchased the upgrades to fly from TUS via ORD (overnighting) them ORD to BRU. We were waitlisted for the flights but were not cleared until we got to ORD. This meant we did not get upgraded from TUS via DFW to ORD. The seats were available from TUS-DFW-ORD to BRU but the waitlist did not get cleared. Inasmuch as we paid for the upgrade of the entire outbound trip we watched in amazement as the upgrades from TUS to DFW to ORD were given out to people who used upgrade points versus paying the fee and 25k miles. It does not seem to be a fair practice to permanent Gold members to be treated this way. Your AAdvantage desk Cus Svc did nothing to adequately explain this procedure.
     
  2. It is apparent that on many international flights, the number of seats in the business class upgrade inventory is often zero and never more than two. It is ridiculous that even the system wide upgrades need to be booked about 6 months in advance to have any chance of being used and even then it is impossible to book two upgrades on the same flight!
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hi Joseph Lestyk, welcome to MP! :)

    While I can understand your frustration I have to say my experience has been very different. My SWUs and mileage upgrades have always cleared. Some of my requests go in months in advance, but often times I do buy 1 month or 2 weeks from flying and still have a 100% clearance rate on all my upgrade requests. I often have to wait until a few days before, or even a few minutes before, my flight to get the upgrade. It's very rare that I get upgraded months head of time. I think the important part is that I do get it though. :D

    I think we should keep in mind that AA is a business, and that offering upgrades with SWUs and miles early is actually detrimental to their bottom line. The longer AA waits to upgrade people, the more seats they'll have available for sale. AA would much rather have the $5000 for a business class seat paid then upgrade everyone 6 months ahead of time and have nothing left to sell.

    Contrast AA's SWU with United's product. AA allows it to be used on any fare. On United you have to book a much higher fare class in order to even be considered for the upgrade. While it might be frustrating, waiting for the something every upgrader faces with US carriers. You won't find it any different on United or Continental. Out of all the major players, I believe AA's SWU policy is the most consumer friendly and am very thankful for that.

    That being said customers should of course have an opportunity to use their upgrade instruments. I don't think anyone is harmed by having to wait until a few days before the flight to recieve their confirmation. My upgrade rate is 100%, and many of the American Airlines customers who post on this forum and others report very similar percentages.

    What has your upgrade percentage been when you waitlist? Have you missed quite a few?

    Again, welcome to MilePoint! :)
     
  4. I have several times requested upgrades using upgrade points and have not been able to use them even though a platinum flier, It seems that there are fewer and fewer seats for upgrades and they are held until the last minute at the gate. Since I am also an elite level flier in another airline, I often go in that direction when I want to insure an upgrade. Several years ago it was easier to secure upgrades much sooner that it is now and has made the AAdvantage program less attractive.
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hi fgonza925, welcome to MP! :)

    There are a lot of factors that go into determining how upgrades are provided. When you say "upgrade points", what do you mean? Are you using miles to upgrade, or are you using your 500 mile stickers? Each of those has different priorities when requesting an upgrade.

    If you're using miles, the upgrade can occur anytime AA makes the inventory available, no matter when the flight is. If you're using your 500 mile stickers, those are only upgraded close to the departure date (earliest is 48 hours prior to your flight as a PLT, 23 if you're GLD), so you'd never see a clearance well ahead of time.

    Also, where are you traveling from, and where are you going? The route has a lot to do with upgrade availability. Many routes are "elite heavy" and getting an upgrade is difficult unless you're an EXP.

    For what it's worth, in my 3 years of flying with AA, I've never missed an upgrade. Ever. I've been pretty lucky! If you want more information on all the upgrade options and how they work, try reading this page. Lots of good info there.
     
  6. Rod

    Rod

    I agree with fgonz925. My region of travel is Latin America. To be able to purchase an upgrade, need to purchase first B or Y type of fare. Granted. It is a business. However in spite of buying the fare, and willing ot pay additonal upgrade fare and 25,000 miles, the success factor of gettng an upgrade has been "ZERO".
     
  7. Honestly Joseph, this is not true. On many flights American opens up 7 upgrades which is pretty generous, it may just be at the time you want to use them the others are already taken. Try to use a sight like expertflyer.com. That will show you in advance which flights have upgrades (eVIP's or others) before making plans
     
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  8. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hey Rod, welcome to MP! :)

    Your comment is presented in a confusing matter, and from what I can gather it's not true. Directly from AA's FAQ on upgrades:

    Q. Can I use my miles to upgrade from discount Economy fares?
    A. You can use miles and a co-pay to upgrade from discount Economy fares on American Airlines flights.

    To clarify, you only need to purchase Y or B fares to upgrade if....
    • you have no elite status with AA and want to purchase 500 miles stickers to upgrade on "domestic" fares (AA's definition of domestic includes Canada, Mexico, the Carribbean, and much of Central America)
    • if you are trying to use miles to upgrade from Economy on British Airways and Iberia
    • if you want to use your miles to upgrade without a co-pay
    If you are an AA elite on AA flights, you can use the upgrade instruments (miles & co-pay, SWUs, or 500 stickers for "domestic" flights) from any fare class, even the deepest of discount economy. If you have been buying Y fares to upgrade using miles, you have misunderstood the program. :(
     
  9. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    I'm not sure what "upgrade points" are. Are people referring to SWUs (or eVIPs, as they are called at AA?)? Seems odd, I've never really had trouble using them. They often don't clear right away, but they almost always do.

    Mike
     
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  10. DestinationDavid
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    Well only two people referred to "upgrade points" and were questioned as to what they meant, and they've yet to respond. Everyone else has talked about SWUs and miles..... :)
     
  11. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    10-4. Trying to help out in the spirit of a kinder and gentler AA forum. :D

    Mike
     
  12. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I was responding with a sense of "did I miss something?" rather then what you might have found elsewhere. No shade was thrown.... :)
     
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  13. I'm a new member here and a 2M miles AA Platinum. A few days ago, I booked a flight for mid-September to Italy. I am trying to upgrade with 25K miles and $350. There are 34 available out of 37 Business Class seats from LHR to LAX, and I was told that my upgrade request is wait listed. With that many seats available on an AA flight, why wasn't the upgrade request granted? The flight is the last week in September. Disappointing.....
     
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  14. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    Don't worry, I know. :)

    There may be 34 seats available on the seat map, but some of those are likely sold and just haven't been chosen. Having said that, it is likely that there are still plenty available but AA considers this a route where it may be able to sell some of them.

    Experience would say that your upgrade will likely clear, but it may take some time until the revenue management system says that it is mathematically highly unlikely that AA will sell enough seats that it can't upgrade people.

    Mike
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP everyone. It's nice to see so many new members participating in the discussion in this thread.
     
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