Problems with Systemwide Upgrades

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by awesterman, Feb 13, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. awesterman

    awesterman Active Member

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    I have been expl on AA for the past 2 years. I have over 1 million miles. I had saved my 8 systemwide upgrades for a myself and 3 friends to use on our 40th birthday trip in June. The last two years I had been able to use my systemwide upgrades as long as I booked by February 28. This year they say you have to travel by February 28. Obviously I'm out of time for this. I'm so upset by this, as its something we have been planning for a year now.

    I tried to talk to the Explat desk, Advantage desk. Everyone just says no. Does anyone know who I could try to talk to about this? I hate that this trip is being messed up because of this, and not just for me, but 3 of my oldest friends. If I can't get it fixed I would like to write a letter to someone at AA. Does anyone have a suggestion of who would be most appropriate?

    I have gone out of my way to fly AA for that last 9 years. Many times when there were other options that were cheaper and more convenient. I have been very loyal to the airline. I feared this US Airways merger would change things. It seems it has. If I can't find someone who is willing to listen and try to help me find a way to work it out, I will gladly move back to another airline and become their loyal customer. Sooooo disappointing. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.
     
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  2. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    Two unrelated suggestions:
    1. If you haven't asked to escalate to a supervisor at the AAdvantage desk, try that. If you have and they shot you down, HUCA a couple of times.
    2. longshot: Try to find someone who is using 2015 SWUs by the end of the month and see if you can apply yours to their flight(s) and do a swap where they use theirs on your flight.

    Either way, good luck!
     
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  3. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Generally the only way you'll get an exception to the published rules is if AA considers you a high-yield exec plat. Executive platinum desk agents are supervisors per se already, and they already have access to see whether you qualify for an exception (helix score of 4 or 5 in this case, also known as "eagles") and know the corresponding policy. If you're repeatedly getting a no it's not likely to change.

    Sorry to hear about the unexpected surprise; however, this really isn't an issue of the merger. Ability to break the rules in the past isn't a guarantee of being able to do it again in the future. For better or worse, every airline these days is getting better at enforcing rules and otherwise maximizing their profits.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
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  4. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    While I can understand the OPs frustration I cant but say the obvious.... that is .. he must have been aware of the clearly stated expiration date of the AA Evips/SWU
    I find it a bit incredulous, hat despite having being able to apply expired instruments to itineraries that are travelled past 2/28, for the last few years that he was not quite aware that AA could (and most likely would.. they did just that didn't they"??) close the relaxing or ignoring/or basically overlooking of their own stated rules in the past and were therefore were fully within their rights to stick to the them any time they please.
    Considering the circumstances it would seem quite imprudent in not putting in place some measures as a back-up if and when it does occurs.
    It should be noted that AA has just basically reverted to the position they adhered only a few years previous.

    Both on FT and on his website travelingbetter.com JoNYC has been keeping AA members abreast on this very topic for years and has stated a number of times within the last few months that the rules would be considerably tighter than in the past few years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
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  5. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    So you didn't requalify last year? SWUs earned last year would still be valid. If you have them, you could try using them. WIth luck the old ones might still be pulled.

    They are just following the rules.
     
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  6. ParanoiaTX
    Original Member

    ParanoiaTX Gold Member

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    Using SWUs past expiration was never allowed. Any EXP agent would tell you this. It did work however as long as you had new SWUs in your account and agreed to use them. The system then had a "glitch" that it just pulled the oldest ones w/o validating the exp date. This happened reliably enough that people started counting on it, but it was never actually permitted.

    It was widely reported this summer that AA was fixing the "glitch". You could of course still try (assuming you have new SWUs), but it's unlikely to work.

    Your best bet may be finding people to trade SWUs with, but that may be tough with that many. :(
     
  7. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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    Will you be an EXP on March 1? I can't tell from your post. There might be some leeway if you are continuing as an EXP flyer in terms of pulling the older systemwides first, but if you're dropping status I think AA has been pretty clear, from posts on other forums, that there won't be any extensions, and the written terms on the AA website do spell out the specific February expiration date. Yes, there were exceptions in past years, but that information was never posted on the AA website and so you could say it was an unwritten policy that was not made public. This year that unwritten policy has changed. I think you have a tough road ahead to try and gain an exception based on a policy that was never published on the AA website or communicated to members via e-mail.

    Chris Elliott has a list of AA contacts on his website:
    http://elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/
     
  8. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    Even if you got approval (for something that was a widely known rule for years) what are the chances that 4 swu's would clear in high season travel?
     
  9. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    (Internal official) policy for post-expiration use is 4/5-Eagles rating. Being EXP alone isn't sufficient; however, it certainly seems won't hurt.
     
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  10. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    hang up and call back. you may have success if you are willing to keep trying.
     
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  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Perhaps.. until they make a notation on his records :) which IMHO is more likely because of his EXP status.
     
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  12. mre5765

    mre5765 Silver Member

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    Celebrate your birthday early. Move your trip to February and see if AA will waive change fees or give you a voucher for the difference.
     
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  13. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    EXPs do not get charged change fees but I but no need to remind him (or you) that those instruments expire Feb 28th .. like two weeks from now:).
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
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  14. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    HUH? Are you saying that if an EXP purchases tickets with penalty fees stated in the fare rules for changes, those change fees are waived? Could you mean that EXPs are exempt from change fees on award tickets? In this case, it wouldn't help because OP is talking about using SWUs to upgrade purchased tickets; SWUs can't be used on award tickets.
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Yes you are correct charges for EXPs are waived only on reward tickets and the OP is obviously referring to paid upgradable tickets.
     
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  16. milerunner

    milerunner Silver Member

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    I think you will end up losing these and you will have to use your new ones that come up on March 1
     
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  17. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    As several people have already said, AA is adhering somewhat more strictly to rules than they may have done in the past. Still, apart from the glitch ParanoiaTX mentioned the expiry rules have been pretty fiercely enforced for some time now. I lost a couple SWU's that way last year, but I only noticed a few days before expiry. Frankly, with CK and pretty high revenue, if I could not get it waived I doubt very many could.

    Equally frankly, I cannot argue with them about this even though I personally would like a favour. I don't allow clients to claim unentitled freebies; why should airlines? DL has long been far more restrictive than has AA, so we all would do well to remember that SWU's at AA are still the most generous ones around. It's only fair that we should remember to use them.

    Tonight I fly GIG-MIA with Mrs. JBC on AA using discounted economy tickets. It is the high part of Carnival here. We used SWU's to upgrade to Business, but then were seated in the F section of the B777-200 (old style international F). When things such as that are possible the least I can do is use those SWU's before they expire!

    I empathise with awesterman, especially because I did it myself last year.
     
  18. brodyf

    brodyf Gold Member

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    How does one determine their eagle rating?
     
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  19. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    My question too.
     
  20. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    You can ask a CSR, although they probably won't tell you. It is an internal metric to see how profitable you are and thus how special they should treat you. (They still like you if you spend $5k to reach Exec Plat, but the published benefits are sufficient then. You're just not going to get the same amount of unpublished extras as the person spending $30k.)

    If you want a round-about way, you can ask something like:
    -Can I use SWUs past expiration date? (4 or 5)
    -Based on my current account status, would I get extra SWUs if I reached 125k EQP? (3 to 5) Additional SWUs for every 25k past then at 150/175/200/etc? (4 or 5)

    I don't know any explicit policy difference been 1 and 2 or 4 and 5 though. And of course all of this is unpublished and thus subject to quicker change.
     
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  21. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I certainly don't fit into any of the high-spend ExecPlat categories but always find phone agents are more than helpful. I admit I was surprised when I checked my upgrade account in December that after confirming my JFK-GIG-JFK flights for August, my last 2014/5 and first 2015/6 eVIPs had been drawn. (I requalified in October.) Had expected not to use the expiring one since any other flights for upgrading that I have at the moment are all March and early April and all are still waitlisted -- NRT-LAX and DFW-ICN are certain to clear, possibly one or two of the four DFW-HKG-DFW segments may. So either it was the glitch, or maybe I do have a high number and the agent acknowledged it by using my expiring SWU? However, certainly was prepared to let that one expire, or give it to a friend before the end of this month.

    As for the OP's plight, the expiry date is quite clear and expected. To have planned to use them in this light was hoping for too much generosity from AA, even under the old management.
     

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