According to one recent report, American Airlines AAdvantage members will soon have expanded options for using reward miles to book seats in the premium economy cabin. The move by the world’s largest airline comes on the heels of an announcement by rival Delta Air Lines that automatic Premium Plus upgrades for elite flyers will be suspended on some flights.
As American Airlines moves towards offering a dedicated premium economy cabin on its entire fleet of wide body aircraft, the carrier is reportedly poised to add premium economy seats to its reward charts. While the change will likely mean a points break for frequent flyers looking to book tickets in a premium cabin, it may also mean fewer chances for elite flyers to automatically upgrade from economy to premium economy seats.
According to Simple Flying, American Airlines will soon allow AAdvantage members to redeem miles to book seats in the premium economy cabin on an expanded number of flights. In the past, legacy carriers have traditionally used premium economy seats as an upgrade for elite flyers, but have resisted setting standardized reward values on those seats. It appears that American Airlines is prepared to break this pattern.
The move comes just days after another legacy carrier announced that it would be suspending automatic upgrades to seats in the premium economy cabin on about a dozen routes. Delta Air Lines says its decision was due to temporary “technology updates,” rather than plans to begin opening seats in the Delta Premium Plus cabin for rewards booking.
For its part, American Airlines has already hinted that AA Premium Economy reward tickets would soon be an option at booking. The carrier has not, however, indicated exactly when that option will be available for its most loyal customers.
“AAdvantage awards and upgrades into Premium Economy aren’t available now, but will be at a later date,” according to the most recent information from American Airlines. “For now, you can upgrade from Main Cabin or Premium Economy to First or Business using your AAdvantage miles or systemwide upgrades. For flights to / from Hawaii and Alaska, Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members receive complimentary upgrades if seats are available. Platinum and Gold members can use 500-mile upgrades.”