How do Upgrades work on American Airlines?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by vickers, Apr 29, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    Hello. I am a new flyer to American Airlines and I am a bit confused on how upgrades work? I see they sell 500 mile upgrades that can be used to upgrade your seat. I believe I understand how that process works. But my question is, if you are an American Silver or Gold, are there no complimentary upgrades? Do you always have to purchse the 500 mile upgrade package to be upgraded? I see that Platinum receive complimentary upgrades if available, so no worries there.
     
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  2. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    If you go to AA.com and read through the AAdvantage information, most of your questions will be answered as they are pretty basic.

    There is no American Silver status.
    Complimentary upgrades for American Gold and Platinum are offered on 'full-fare economy class ticket' , else you must use the appropriate number of 500-mile upgrade stickers (earned or purchased).

    More info if you follow the link below to AA.com:
    http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/e...ileUpgradesContent.jsp?from=Nav#complimentary
     
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  3. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    Thank you. Sorry about that. Primarily flew Delta and still have their elite levels in my head. Appreciate the information.
     
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  4. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    How are the Economy Comfort Plus/Main Cabin Extra upgrades work with American? Are those seats automatic upgrades for Elite? Thank you.

    Disregard. Found it. :)

    **Gold members receive a 50% discount when reserving a Main Cabin Extra seat in advance, or can enjoy them complimentary within 24 hours of departure (if seats are available).
     
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  5. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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  6. PosauneGuy

    PosauneGuy Silver Member

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  7. Aktchi
    Original Member

    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Please understand that Main Cabin Extra is not truly an upgrade. Seats are slightly better but it is still economy and you get economy service. By contrast 500-mile stickers provide a true upgrade to First Class in 2-class planes and Business in 3-class planes.

    Also note that AA does not have a silver tier. The lowest is Gold, then Platinum, then Executive Platinum.

    As a matter of general policy, upgrades are processed only if specifically requested for each flight. This is true even for top elites who get complimentary domestic upgrades: they too have to make request. It takes only a minute, especially online, but it has to be done.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
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  8. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    One question re: AA Gold.

    So can one monitor Main Cabin Extra availability, either on the AA seat chart or Expert Flyer and then pull trigger at anypoint if inventory is getting low, as opposed to waiting for comp upgrade, or must the 50% discount be applied at time of booking?
     
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  9. Pizzaman
    Original Member

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    Give Doug a little more time. There will be. :D
     
  10. Pizzaman
    Original Member

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    You know, this is actually a really good question. I'm going to do some digging…

    ETA: According to this page, you can add it to an existing booking:

    http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/mainCab...4&gc=ACM&cc=AAC&cp=LNK&skw=&tc=HPMCEAPR14&pp=

    "If you have an upcoming trip and want to add Main Cabin Extra, access your trip now through "My Trips" and select "change seats."
     
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  11. IceTrojan

    IceTrojan Silver Member

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    FYI you earn 4 500-mile certs for every 10k of elite qualifying miles (EQMs) you earn as an elite.
     
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  12. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    This is how it works for Golds - apply "stickers" and pray. ;)
     
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  13. Pizzaman
    Original Member

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    As opposed to United Silver where you don't need to buy stickers, just need to hope you hit the Powerball-like odds to score an upgrade. ;)
     
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  14. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    So a lowly Gold Member has a decent chance of being upgraded? I know it all depends on route and elites on the flight, but does the 500-mile upgrade certificate in everyone's opinion is better than an upgrade model used by the other airlines?
     
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  15. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    It's hit and miss, but I had good success with it being Gold last year. On more popular routes, like my ORD-SEA, I didn't clear the upgrade. Then again, a DFW-LGA flight cleared unexpectedly, so you never know. Leaving LGA there was no chance with the number of elites in NYC, but I imagine it might clear from time to time. I had about a 60% or more success rate for upgrades, although many of my normal routes would not be considered popular routes.

    I like the upgrades because they are earned automatically as you fly or you can buy them if you need more. I haven't used upgrade instruments on other airlines so can't help there.
     
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  16. brodyf

    brodyf Gold Member

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    The certificates are, IMHO, better for first tier elites than the "everybody gets an upgrade" method used at UA for example. Maybe you are a Gold member on a shorter flight, and a Plat on that same flight is saving his certificates for a longer flight next week. In the AA model you get the upgrade that he doesn't request. In the UA model you get to sit in coach because it costs the Plat nothing to ride up front instead of you.
     
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  17. austin_res

    austin_res Silver Member

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    I cleared 50% of my upgrade requests as Gold. As said, odds of clearing are route specific and are also time/day specific - ie Monday mornings, Friday afternoons are toughest to get upgrades due to heavy business travel. I have never cleared an upgrade on DFW-SFO or DFW-SEA as Gold but have cleared JFK-AUS several times and even managed to clear DFW-EWR.

    Going forward, I would guess that AA/US will move to unlimited upgrade method similar to UA, DL, and the current US. Parker tends to "keep in line with the competition" when he makes decisions.
     
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  18. Pizzaman
    Original Member

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    I cleared ~40% of my upgrades as a Gold member a number of years ago. I was pretty satisfied. I strongly prefer AA's method to UA.
     
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  19. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    One other slight note here is that you have to have at least the lowest tier Gold with AA to use 500 mile upgrade stickers. I have a bunch but lost my status last year so I can't use them. Hopefully my US status will translate over at some point.
     
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  20. Pizzaman
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    I'm guessing that won't be until at least late 3Q/early 4Q this year.
     
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  21. PosauneGuy

    PosauneGuy Silver Member

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    Well, technically, you can use stickers without status...you just have to purchase a full fare economy ticket! :(
     
  22. janejanejane

    janejanejane Silver Member

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    I've cleared 20% upgrades as gold and 60% as platinum. It drove me to want to be EXP where stickers are no longer needed. :p
     
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  23. Pizzaman
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    I've been EXP for 6 or 7 years now. I would dread going back. May be a moot point, though, if Doug gives unlimited upgrades to all elites. That would surely drop the percentage EXPs clear upgrades.
     
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  24. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    But EXP don't need stickers to burn and at the top of the list regardless. If think Golds would hurt the most.
     
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  25. Pizzaman
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    Golds would surely hurt worse. But, as a 1K on United I rarely clear upgrades when I make a change to my original flights, especially close in. On the flip side, I rarely miss such an upgrade on AA.
     
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