American Extends Systemwide Upgrades After Conversation with FlyerTalker

American Extends Systemwide Upgrades After Conversation with FlyerTalker
Joe Cortez

After a FlyerTalker posted notes of a call with American Airlines’ AAdvantage president Rick Elieson, the airline confirmed they would extend all active systemwide upgrades for another year. Anyone holding a current systemwide upgrade will have the expiration extended to July 31, 2022.

It’s official: If you are currently holding a systemwide upgrade on American Airlines, you will have another year to redeem it with the carrier. After the news was leaked on FlyerTalk, the Fort Worth-based carrier announced they would extend the expiration date until July 31, 2022.

30-Minute Call Covers Systemwide Upgrades, Status Requirements in 2022

The notes of the call were first posted by FlyerTalker tbone14, who first received a “thank you” call from the airline around May 5, 2021. The customer service representative further asked them if they would be available to speak “with another representative” to gather opinions about future benefits.

That other “representative” turned out to be the president of the AAdvantage loyalty program, Rick Elieson.

During the 30-minute call, tbone14 said he discussed many topics with Elieson, including how long he was a loyal customer of American, and his opinions on the flying experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed future changes coming to the carrier, including the status of systemwide upgrades.

“He acknowledged these are hard to use,” wrote tbone14. “Technically, space can be confirmed at time of booking. However, in reality, inventory is not available and released close to day of departure (he said ‘80% confirmed at time of departure’).”

However, the most important news came when Elieson said during the call “There will be a news release in the first week/early June that SWU expiration will be extended another full year.” Although American did not send an official press release, the airline ultimately confirmed to The Points Guy that anyone who holds a systemwide upgrade expiring July 31, 2021 will have them extended a full year. Visible in the “Wallet” section of members AAdvantage accounts, the upgrades now have an expiration date of July 31, 2022.

That’s not all the changes that are coming next year for American. According to tbone14, Elieson reportedly noted “There will be further revisions to obtain status for 2022.” This could include changes to elite qualifying miles and dollars to obtain status, or other possible accelerators.

American Airlines has not yet publicly commented on changes to AAdvantage.

Move Comes as American Expands COVID-19 Test Options

Although the airline has not acknowledged potential shifts, American is now offering more options to get tested for COVID-19 prior to departure. In a press release, the carrier announced they have partnered with Abbott to offer a “self-administered and packable” tests for travelers hopeful to go abroad this year.

View Comments (4)


  1. John Aldeborgh

    June 3, 2021 at 5:27 am

    Not offering main cabin passengers the option of enjoying an adult beverage will definitely impact what airline many passengers choose. I’ll bet United and Delta are pleased.

  2. Danwriter

    June 3, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Fly less, buy first class. Ignore the FF idiocy — it’s over. It ended when the airlines began to base status on spend instead of miles flown. It’s why you see so many CKs at head of the line on AA. It’s all about the corporate travel managers now, and you can’t compete with them. Fly less, buy first class.

  3. equals42

    June 3, 2021 at 9:57 am

    We could only wish they’d move to a status system that doesn’t require a PhD in mathematics. Seriously. I just took another look at AA to figure out if it made sense to use a BA account for my miles from ORD-LHR-BER next month and I just gave up. I don’t care. It’s so confusing that I will definitely just stick with Southwest where I know how much of everything I need to keep my A-List Preferred and what it gets me.


    June 8, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you for this update. One additional item: for those of us who qualified for EXP in 2020, our SWUs expire before these newly extended SWUs. AA should make that adjustment for us as well, or extend our 4 SWUs scheduled to expire January 2022 one additional year.

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