Elite Upgrades - Priorities

 
Old Jul 31, 01, 4:27 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,388
Elite Upgrades - Priorities

Couldn't find any posts on this topic:

Can anyone explain how AA works their Automatic Electronic Upgrades? I understand the upgrade windows, but:
1) Does priority/preference go to Y fares vs. discounted economy fares within an elite level?
2) Does a Y fare paid by a Gold get first priority over a discounted fare paid by a Platinum?
3) Are all available FC seats part of the upgrade inventory, or do they use a special fare class?

I was "comped" Platinum this year because my company switched Primary carriers to AA, and I am trying to get a handle on AA's upgrade policy.

I'm really trying to get some color on when people use stickers vs. miles (5K o/w on a Y fare) to upgrade, is there any advantage of purchasing a Y fare in terms of getting upgraded, etc.

For example, on CO, Gold and Platinum Elites (the 2 highest levels) can automatically upgrade any domestic Y fare at the time of purchase, no matter how far in advance, as long as there is a FC seat available. For Silvers and those on discount fares, there are a variety of upgrade windows, but all confirmed upgrades from discount fares, regardless of Elite level, come from a special, more limited, inventory.

Can someone please help me sort out the benefits/drawbacks of AA's upgrade program???

(Also, I think I remember someone saying you can't use electronic sticker upgrades to go from paid J to P on transcon flagship service - can anyone confirm this?)

Thanks!
ijgordon is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:04 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 6,227
ijg,

Going by memory here, so bear with me.

1. I believe that within an elite level the upgrade will go to whomever made the reservation and/or put on the upgrade list the first. Fare paid has nothing to do with it.

2. PLT will always have priority over GLD, no matter what fare. Same with EXP over PLT.

3. All FC seats are in the upgrade inventory. Now sometimes they will be held for revenue, at which time you must call again to have your name put on the airport waitlist. If this happens, it goes back to who put their name on the list first within the elite levels. However, if AA is not holding any FC seats for revenue, then they will upgrade as many people as they can.

IIRC, the only aadvantage of buying Y and B fares is for EXPs, who get free upgrades for these.

Not sure about the transcon question, as I never fly them. Someone please jump in here if I've got something wrong.
JJeffrey is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:06 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: AA Executive Platinum, UA Premier Executive
Posts: 300
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ijgordon:
Couldn't find any posts on this topic:

Can anyone explain how AA works their Automatic Electronic Upgrades? I understand the upgrade windows, but:
</font>
The answers as I understand it from my experience:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">1) Does priority/preference go to Y fares vs. discounted economy fares within an elite level?</font>
No. Fare basis within an elite level does not matter.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">2) Does a Y fare paid by a Gold get first priority over a discounted fare paid by a Platinum?</font>
No. Elite level is the first criteria. If you request an upgrade in advance, Executive Platinum requests will begin to clear, if upgrade space is available, 100 hours prior to flight time. All Executive Platinum requests will be processed before other elite levels are considered. Platinum requests are processed 72 hours prior to flight time, Gold 24 hours prior.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">3) Are all available FC seats part of the upgrade inventory, or do they use a special fare class?</font>
No. Upgrade seats are capacity controlled similar to award seats. Various number of seats are held for F revenue passengers, depending on the aircraft and route. For example, lots of seats are held until the last minute on the transcons. Remaining seats are put under airport control for standby upgrades at three hours prior to flight time.

Upgrades to first class are designated as "X" class, while upgrades to business are designated as "R" class.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Also, I think I remember someone saying you can't use electronic sticker upgrades to go from paid J to P on transcon flagship service - can anyone confirm this?</font>
True. You cannot upgrade to the P cabin with stickers. If you purchase business or upgrade with a VIPOW, you can pay the $400 or so to upgrade to P. I've heard that it can also be done with a sticker upgrade to business, but have no real evidence as I've never done it myself.

Hope this helps.

LAX/EXP is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:08 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: is everything...but...
Programs: dont matter anymore...
Posts: 3,019
There should be a lot of people chiming in on this one, but here's my $.02

EXP (Executive Plat) is the only level that gets comp upgrades, and that is only on full Y domestic.

The order of preference, no matter what the paid fare for upgrades is EXP, PLAT, GOLD, no status.

1) Does priority/preference go to Y fares vs. discounted economy fares within an elite level?

No. But there could be an unwritten rule somewhere.

2) Does a Y fare paid by a Gold get first priority over a discounted fare paid by a Platinum?

No.

3) Are all available FC seats part of the upgrade inventory, or do they use a special fare class?

AA always saves a couple of F seats for last minute full fare customers. About 10 minutes prior to departure those seats get released for upgrades in the order stated above.

I'm really trying to get some color on when people use stickers vs. miles (5K o/w on a Y fare) to upgrade, is there any advantage of purchasing a Y fare in terms of getting upgraded, etc.

I only use miles domestic when I want to guarantee an upgrade on what I know to be very heavy EXP routes. For me, those are NY-MIA, and DFW-ORD. If I book far enough in advance I'll use miles to guarantee the seat. I'm plat now, and so far haven't had trouble getting my upgrade.

Electronic sticker upgrades can only be used for domestic US travel.

When you become EXP you get 8 VIPOW upgrades taht can be used for international travel, but availability is based on capacity controls.

I hope that helps!

Flip

[This message has been edited by flipside (edited 07-31-2001).]
flipside is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:09 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: is everything...but...
Programs: dont matter anymore...
Posts: 3,019
lol..

two people answered this while I was typing :-)
flipside is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:14 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Exec Plat, Hilton Diamond, SPG Platinum
Posts: 288
Although it was stated in a previous reply that stickers are only for domestic use, that should be expanded to include flights to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Carribbean.
ChiFlyer is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:39 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Programs: AA PLT 2MM, LH SEN *, HH Gold
Posts: 3,075
What if two elite members at different levels travel together on one itinerary? Does the system upgrade either both or none and if so by which status, or can it happen that only one gets an upgrade?
Hagbard Viking is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:41 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Programs: AA PLT, SPG GLD, PC PLT SPIRE
Posts: 4,531
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by flipside:
EXP (Executive Plat) is the only level that gets comp upgrades, and that is only on full Y domestic.).]</font>
B fares also count for EXP complimentary upgrades.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by flipside:
When you become EXP you get 8 VIPOW upgrades taht can be used for international travel, but availability is based on capacity controls.</font>
The VIPOW are NOT capacity controlled for domestic (same routes as stickers). If you have a VIPOW and there is an open seat in the upgrade class of service, your butt gets to sit in it.

onedog is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 5:47 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: AA Executive Platinum, UA Premier Executive
Posts: 300
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Hagbard Viking:
What if two elite members at different levels travel together on one itinerary? Does the system upgrade either both or none and if so by which status, or can it happen that only one gets an upgrade?</font>
Elite members can upgrade one companion per flight. The member with the higher status need to contact their elite desk and request an upgrade for themself and the traveling companion. Its simple for two passengers on a single PNR, otherwise the agent has to link the two separate PNRs so both passengers have the higher upgrade priority. The agent should also ask if you only want the upgrades if both canbe accomodated of if you will split up (and fight over who get to sit in front).


LAX/EXP is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 6:00 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: La Jolla, CA, USA
Posts: 741
One additional "twist" should be considered. When the automatic upgrade procedures were put in place I recall that priority within an elite group was to be based on the timing of tickets purchased (earliest purchase = priority), not on cumulative mileage in one's AAdvantage account or price of the ticket. However, I experienced several occasions where the flight number or routing was changed and the request "fell out of the queue." When the request was resurrected, I was unclear if it related back to the purchase date. I also had an inkling that price of ticket may have snuck into the criteria.

In general (about 90-95% of the time) I have been able to get upgrades for me and my wife (also platinum), but it is much more difficult to get the confirmation "from the getgo," when the 72 hour window opens.

Any further insight?
normcpa is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 6:01 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: is everything...but...
Programs: dont matter anymore...
Posts: 3,019
I haven't been cool enough to get a VIPOW yet, even though it feels like I live in the air. Sorry for the mix up.

Someday my luck will change Especially considering the TWA 1.5 Q-point milage run I'm considering. ;-)

Flip

flipside is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 6:22 pm
  #12  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Highland PArk,IL,USA -- AA Lifetime Platinum, Starwood Lifetime Plat, IHG Plat, UA 1K, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Plat, Club Carlson Gold, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 2,321
The seats that are left for revenue usually become available 2 hours before the flight. The 10 minute rule is for no-shows. Those seats than become available.
thepla is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 6:27 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: "Did you ever see Dallas from an MD-80 at night?" just doesn't have the same ring to it...
Posts: 1,685
One other little trick I haven't seen mentioned yet, provided to me by the wonderful ladies at the AUS Admiral's Club:

If you are connecting, and are waitlisted for your connection upgrade, immediately go to your gate upon arrival at the connecting airport. Identify yourself as a "thru" standby on the upgrade list. You should automatically be placed at the top of the line within your elite group.

(I guess an easier way to put that would be: Within an elite group, connecting passengers have priority over originating passengers on the wait list).

[This message has been edited by SuperSlug (edited 07-31-2001).]
SuperSlug is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 6:28 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Programs: AA EP
Posts: 1,800
I have been told -- and so far it seems to have worked -- that if you are EXP (or Platinum for that fact)and are traveling with a companion, that once sabre tries for your upgrade, and if successful, it will then try for your companion upgrade (no matter what their level). This is BEFORE sabre moves on to the next person on the list.

So, it is possible that if you are #3 on the upgd list and #1 is successful, then #2 goes and his successful and then #2s companion goes and is successful, then when it gets to you as #3 on the list and tries, but it is now sold out, you will not get the upgd.

So far everytime I have tried a companion upgd, the companion has always gotten the upgrade. I was suprised once on a flight DFW-SFO on the 767-300 INTL with only 9 seats that we were both able to get the upgd.
AAExecPlatFlier is offline  
Old Jul 31, 01, 7:24 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: LAX, HKG
Programs: AA EXPLT, BA Gold, Shang Elite
Posts: 2,228
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AAExecPlatFlier:
I have been told -- and so far it seems to have worked -- that if you are EXP (or Platinum for that fact)and are traveling with a companion, that once sabre tries for your upgrade, and if successful, it will then try for your companion upgrade (no matter what their level). This is BEFORE sabre moves on to the next person on the list.

So, it is possible that if you are #3 on the upgd list and #1 is successful, then #2 goes and his successful and then #2s companion goes and is successful, then when it gets to you as #3 on the list and tries, but it is now sold out, you will not get the upgd.

So far everytime I have tried a companion upgd, the companion has always gotten the upgrade. I was suprised once on a flight DFW-SFO on the 767-300 INTL with only 9 seats that we were both able to get the upgd.
</font>
that is right. as long as you are on the same PNR/locator. your companion has the same priority as you. this is part of your perk (un?)officially

pegasus8228 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread