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FAQ: American Airlines and AAdvantage - Please check here first!

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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #16
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• Will I still earn AA miles if I use a discount or promotion code?

In general, the answer is yes. Use of a discount code does not affect AA mileage earning. As long as your ticket books into an eligible fare class, you will receive AA miles and points according to the normal calculations. Further, while the use of a companion code is officially supposed to disqualify the companion from earning any AA mileage, this has historically not been the case, although there is no recent data on this following the termination of the TrAAvelPerks program in 2008. However, use of a discount code will often disqualify a ticket from earning Business ExtrAA points.

FT: TrAAvel Perks (discontinued 2008)

Last edited by dstan; Aug 19, 10 at 4:29 pm Reason: Discounts do not always disqualify BE
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #17
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• Will I have to pay any fees to make, change, or upgrade my reservation?

Reservations can be made free of charge online at AA.com or the associated AA worldwide websites. Reservations made by telephone with AA Reservations, with an airport agent, or at an AA Travel Center incur a service charge that varies by country. EXP members are exempt from these booking fees. However, as of mid-June 2010, reservations made in the U.K. only using a credit card or PayPal are subject to a 4.50 surcharge; U.K. debit cards are exempt.

Changes to non-refundable reservations incur a change fee specified in the fare rule, usually $150 for North American (U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Central America) fares and $200-250 for international fares. Changes can be made online and changes via telephone will incur an additional service charge.

AAdvantage Travel Awards incur a $25 service charge when booked by telephone, $30 when booked at the airport, or $20 when booked at a Travel Center. AAdvantage Travel Awards for AA-only itineraries can be redeemed online at AA.com with no service charge. AAdvantage Awards redeemed/requested <21 days prior to departure incur a one-time $75 close-in ticketing fee. As of Feb 16, 2011, this fee also applies if changing an existing award booked with a departure date ≥21 days after ticketing to an earlier departure date <21 days after the original ticketing date, closing a loophole that had been used previously to avoid the fee. (Prior to Aug 24, 2011, close-in ticketing fees were $50 from 20 to 7 days prior to departure and $100 <7 days prior to departure.) The close-in fee for additional awards drawn from the same AAdvantage account is $25. AA elites are exempt from close-in charges as of July 29, 2010 and EXP members are exempt from ticketing service charges. AAdvantage Travel Awards are subject to taxes and security fees.

AAdvantage Upgrade awards are are only subject to ticketing service charges ($25/30/20) when redeemed prior to ticketing (for a Hold Reservation; essentially, you are paying to Ticket the reservation, then Upgrade). AAdvantage Upgrade Awards cannot be redeemed online. AAdvantage Upgrade Awards are also subject to close-in ticketing charges based on date of request that are assessed only if the upgrade clears. All AA elites are exempt from close-in charges as of July 29, 2010 and EXP members are exempt from ticketing service charges. Additional charges may apply for upgrade copays and UK and France upgrade taxes.

Changes to the date or time of AAdvantage Awards can be made at no charge. Changes to the origin or destination are free for AAnytime Awards and $150 for MileSAAver Award. Changes to the type of award technically require reinstatement of miles and a $150 service charge, although older reports from 2009 indicate that this charge was not typically levied when moving from a coach to a business award in the same category (AAnytime or MileSAAver). Cancellations of AAdvantage Awards incur a $150 service charge for reinstatement of miles. As of July 29, 2010, EXP members are exempt from these change and reinstatement charges.

AA.com: Worldwide Websites | Reservations Phone Numbers | Ticketing and Other Charges
AA.com: Making Award Reservations
AA.com: Expanded Benefits for AAdvantage Elite Status Members
FT: AA announces expanded benefits for elites (exemptions from award-related fees)
FT: Redeposit fee when cancelling an award flight
FT: Change fees for changing award ticket from Coach to Business
FT: AA to charge $75 for change to ticketed AAward travel <21 days prior to departure, closing loophole (Feb 2012)
FT: AAdvantage Telephone Ticketing Fee increased from $20 to $25 (Mar 2011)
FT: AA adds 4.50 surcharge for reservations made in U.K. with credit card or PayPal (Jun 2011)

Last edited by dstan; Feb 20, 12 at 7:53 pm Reason: AAward loophole closed
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #18
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• Why is my seat Unassigned?

Reservations made when there are no seats available for prereservation by the passenger will be left without a seat assignment. This does not necessarily mean that the flight is overbooked or that the passenger will be bumped if the flight is oversold at the gate. Additional seats generally become available closer to departure as elites are upgraded from the Coach cabin (beginning 100 hours prior to departure), and as Preferred Seats are released to airport control and assigned for free at check in or at the gate. Thus, passengers with unassigned seats should check the seatmap frequently, especially within the elite upgrade windows beginning 100 hours prior to departure. FlyerTalk member paulmcgrath has created a web tool that generates bookmarkable URLs to specific AA seatmaps: http://thisispaul.com/aaseats/

Alternatively, the Seat Alert feature of ExpertFlyer, a paid subscription service, can be used to alert a passenger to an empty seat automatically.

While this issue usually only arises in Coach, there is also a rare case in which a Business class seat may be unassigned on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, because seats 8H and 8J are blocked until at least 24 hours prior to departure and may not be released until the flight goes to airport control.

Note that passengers without a seat assignment must check in at the airport and cannot use online checkin.

AA.com: Seating Options | View Available Seats
AA.com: Special Assistance: Prereserved Seating
FT: Unassigned seat strategies (consolidated)
FT: Direct URLs to AA seatmaps
FT: Release of 8HJ Business class seats on Boeing 777-200

Last edited by dstan; Nov 23, 12 at 1:34 pm Reason: Preferred Plus seats renamed
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #19
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• Why was my seat assignment changed?

Contrary to myriad urban legends and FT rants, gate agents do not change seat assignments on a whim for elites, friends, or non-revs. Possible actual reasons for involuntary changes to seat assignments include a change of aircraft for operational reasons and accommodation of Federal Air Marshals, who have specific seating requirements. In addition, it is important to remember that pre-reserved seats are subject to cancellation if the passenger does not check in on time (30 minutes prior to scheduled departure for flights departing U.S. airports; 60 min for flights departing non-U.S. airports) and/or is not present at the gate on time (15 minutes prior to scheduled departure for domestic flights; 30 min for international flights). Finally, if your seat assignment is changed, note that AA does not guarantee to provide any particular seat under its Conditions of Carriage.

FT: Involuntary seat assignment changes (consolidated)

Last edited by dstan; Jan 19, 12 at 11:03 am Reason: -m
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #20
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• How are seats assigned when I am upgraded?

Seating preferences (aisle or window) are not always accommodated and companions are often separated when upgrades clear. Further, many choose their F and J seats based on the FEBO (front even / back odd) priority of meal orders. Thus, it is important to check your seat assignment as soon as possible after your upgrade clears, and select another seat if appropriate. As there are often delays in receiving Upgrade Notification emails from AA, some use the Seat Alert feature of ExpertFlyer, a paid subscription service, to alert them when their original coach seat becomes available, indicating that their upgrade has cleared. This method has proven more reliable than Inventory Alerts for upgrade inventory (X, R, A, C), which may not be available long enough (or at all) while upgrades are being processed for the alert query to detect.

FT: Recorded AA.com seat preferences vs. upgrade seat assignments (consolidated)
FT: Upgrade cleared but no seat available

Last edited by dstan; Oct 1, 10 at 6:54 pm Reason: New entry
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #21
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• What is the Boarding and Flexibility Package?

As of Jun 15, 2010, AA began offering non-elite passengers traveling in coach a Boarding and Flexibility Package at the time of reservation. The package offers boarding in Group 1, free standby for an earlier flight on the same day, and a $75 discount on the regular $150 service charge for flight changes to non-refundable tickets. The package costs an additional $9, 14, or 19 each way ($18, 28, or 38 round-trip), depending on distance, and includes connections. The package is available only within the U.S. 48 contiguous states, and must be purchased for the entire itinerary and all travelers in the reservation. Those traveling on AAdvantage Award Tickets are not eligible for the package.

Boarding in Group 1 is also offered as a stand-alone product at self-service kiosks, up to one hour prior to departure. Those traveling on AAdvantage Award Tickets are eligible for this option.

AA.com: Your Choice: Boarding and Flexibility Package
FT: Boarding and Flexibility Package now on sale at AA.com

Last edited by dstan; Oct 1, 10 at 6:48 pm Reason: New entry
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #22
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• What are Preferred seats?

Preferred seats (formerly Express seats) are at or near the front of the coach cabin, including bulkhead rows, and are available for purchase via AA.com, phone, or airport kiosk from the time of booking through the check-in deadline for a flight, even after previously checking in online. Available Preferred seats are shaded partially green on AA.com seat maps, although occupied Preferred seats are not designated. Pricing is per flight, based on flight distance. As of August 25, 2011, Preferred seats are available free of charge to elite AAdvantage, oneworld, and Alaska Airlines MVP members; AAirpass members; full fare/AAnytime award passengers (Y, B); active duty U.S. military; and traveling companions on the same reservation as any of the above. Passengers traveling on MileSAAver awards cannot purchase Preferred seats.

Certain Preferred seats (formerly Preferred Plus seats) are reserved for elite and full-fare customers only and are not available for purchase. These seats are designated with a white star on AA.com seatmaps when available, although occupied seats are not so designated.

Prior to August 25, 2011, the former Express Seat product also included Group 1 boarding, but was not available to those traveling on AAdvantage Award tickets. AAdvantage elites and full fare passengers were still charged for Expressed seats, unless selecting seats with an airport agent.

AA.com: Seating Options | Terms & Conditions
AA.com: Special Assistance: Prereserved Seating
FT: Former "Preferred Plus" seats now "Reserved for elite and full fare customers" (Nov 9, 2012)
FT: Express Seats rebranded as Preferred Seats; Preferred Seats rebranded as Preferred Plus Seats (Aug 25, 2011)
FT: Express Seats - Paid premium seating in economy

Last edited by dstan; Nov 23, 12 at 1:33 pm Reason: updated nomenclature
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Old May 29, 09, 12:16 am
  #23
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• How long can I hold a reservation at a guaranteed price? / What can I do if my held reservation reprices at purchase?

Reservations made on AA.com can be held at the current price without payment for a limited time to allow passengers to verify their travel plans and/or monitor price changes. The publicized guarantee is “up to 24 hours”, however, in practice, the hold is valid until 11:59 pm local time on the following day, and this is consistent with the AA Conditions of Carriage, which state: “When you make a telephone reservation with American Airlines or when you make a reservation via AA.com, the fare quoted will be guaranteed for 24 hours or until 11:59 p.m. Central Time the following day, whichever allows you more time. If you elect to make changes to the itinerary within this time-frame, the ticket price may change.”

An important caveat is that if the fare rule expires during that time, the hold will no longer be valid and will automatically reprice. Fares are often structured with advance purchase requirements at 3, 7, 14, or 21 days prior to departure. Reservations including segments marketed by other carriers (non-AA flight number) cannot be placed on hold and must be purchased immediately, although reservations including AA codeshare flights operated by other carriers are eligible for hold.

If you find that AA.com reprices your held reservation when attempting to purchase, and you are sure that the fare rule is still valid, a telephone call to AA Web Services may resolve the problem. You may need to complete the purchase on the telephone, which technically will invoke a $25 telephone booking fee, however, some agents may waive this fee at their discretion. Also, if you hold a reservation in one currency and then try to complete the purchase with a credit card denominated in another currency, it will automatically reprice to the prevailing fare. To avoid this, ask AA Web Services to change the currency on the original held reservation to the currency you wish to use for the purchase.

Note that held reservations do remove slots from fare inventory and hold specific seats on seatmaps. The inventory and seats are released automatically when the held reservation is canceled, but do not necessarily return to the original inventory class. Thus, members who manually roll holds online often check that there is at least one inventory slot remaining in the original inventory class, and that the fare price has not changed, before cancelling and renewing a hold. It may also be possible to call AA Reservations and ask them to extend the hold for another day if the original inventory is still available.

AA.com: Hold Your Reservation | Extend Your Reservation Hold | Conditions of Carriage: Lowest Fare Availability/Guarantee
FT: Hold / Held Reservation guarantee - 24 hours or midnight? (consolidated)
FT: Rolling / extending a 24-hour Hold / Held Reservation online
FT: Hold / Held Reservation repriced when using different currency at purchase
FT: Trial offer: Pay to hold reservation and fare for 7 days (Mar 25 – June 2011 only)

Last edited by dstan; Dec 20, 11 at 4:11 pm Reason: currency repricing issue
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Old May 29, 09, 12:17 am
  #24
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• How do I change or cancel my reservation?

Before you even get there, AA offers customers a number of ways to insure that tickets are booked correctly. The first is the Hold Reservation feature of AA.com, which allows customers to place a reservation on hold at the prevailing price for at least 24 hours (until midnight of the following day), giving time to confirm correct dates, times, and other travel plans. Note that advance purchase requirements of fare rules still apply, so prices of held reservations may increase when those requirements are not met. Occasionally, prices of held reservations will increase incorrectly when attempting to complete purchase, and this can be rectified by calling AA Web Services (+1 800-222-2377).

The second chance to catch an incorrect reservation after purchase is to call AA before its status changes from ‘Purchased’ to ‘Ticketed’ on AA.com and request that the reservation be canceled or changed.

The third chance to catch an incorrect reservation after purchase is to call AA within 24 hours of ticketing. AA allows its agents to correct ‘mistakes’ to reservations within this timeframe without charging a change fee, although cancellations and refunds are not allowed at this point. However, these corrections cannot be made to reservations that require paper tickets to be issued (certain rail codeshares).

After that, changes or cancellations to non-refundable fares will require payment of a change fee, which is published in the fare rule (usually $150 for domestic fares, $250-275 for international fares). Fare rules usually grant fee waivers for death of a passenger or traveling companion (domestic or international), but no longer for serious illness of a passenger or traveling companion. Residual value from canceled tickets is recorded by ticket number and must be applied to the purchase of a new ticket for the same passenger for travel within one year of the original ticketing date. Any remaining value will be refunded in the form of a voucher. Notably, Award Upgrades that have already cleared and for which copays have already been paid will also remain associated with the ticket number and can be applied to the new ticket, upgrade inventory permitting, without additional copays or mileage redeposit fees.

Finally, note that AA does intermittently make systemwide schedule changes, and does allow passengers booked on affected flights to make free changes to their itineraries, including cancellation for a full refund. Some agents may cite a minimum time change to allow this (≈30 min, unless a Minimum Connecting Time is violated), in which case, the customer can call back and try a different agent.

AA.com: Refunds | Refunds FAQ | Schedule Change - Rule 240/80
FT: Ticket errors, corrections and "24 hour ticket mistake window"
FT: Protection for AA schedule changes - Free flight changes / refunds (consolidated)
FT: Award Travel - Recourse for schedule / equipment changes (consolidated)
FT: Have to cancel a flight, what happens now?

Last edited by dstan; Jan 3, 12 at 6:57 pm Reason: Award Upgrades also stay with ticket
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Old May 29, 09, 12:17 am
  #25
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• How do I book a specific fare class for a Challenge?

AA elite status Challenges are based on elite-qualifying points (EQP), not miles. Because Deep Discount Economy fares only accrue 0.5 EQP per mile, Challenge participants sometimes seek to book higher Discount Economy fares that accrue 1.0 EQP per mile. However, the Economy Saver fare shown in AA.com Price and Schedule searches is often not the lowest published Discount Economy fare. Accordingly, the following procedure can be used to book that fare without incurring telephone booking fees:
  1. Identify the lowest published Discount Economy fare for your destination(s) and date(s). This can be done using fare tools such as Travelocity (free) or ExpertFlyer or KVS Availability Tool (paid subscription services).
  2. Identify flights on which inventory for the lowest published Discount Economy fare is available. Inventory for specific routes and dates can be determined using ExpertFlyer's Flight Availability tool or the KVS Availability Tool. Routes and dates having the desired inventory can also be identified using ITA flight searches in which a specific booking class(es) is specified using the ITA route language (example: "ORD:: aa /f bc=h").
  3. Note the full price (fare plus taxes and fees) of the desired itinerary at the specified fare using ITA as above.
  4. Place the desired itinerary on Hold at AA.com in the lowest available fare (can be Deep Discount Economy).
  5. Telephone AA Web Services or AA Reservations (or use the Click To Talk option on the website) and ask them to change the fare ("upfare") to your desired fare class. Verify that the final price matches the price from ITA.
  6. Return to the Hold reservation on AA.com and complete the purchase online.
  7. In some cases, the itinerary may be repriced back to the lowest available fare upon attempting to complete the purchase. An alert will be displayed on AA.com if this is the case. If this happens, call AA Web Services or AA Reservations, explain that you cannot complete the purchase online at this higher fare, and ask them to process the purchase without charging the telephone booking fee. Alternatively, log out of your AA.com account, use the record locator to find the reservation, click Purchase and the higher fare should appear, then log into your account once you reach the credit card screen to retreive your account details.
Wiki: Elite Status Challenge
FT: Help Desk: AAdvantage elite status Challenges (Gold and Platinum)
FT: Upfaring an AA itinerary on hold (consolidated)
FT: What to do when upfared itinerary on hold gets downfared when attempting to purchase
FT: Mileage Run Discussion Forum: How to specify a booking code on ITA

Last edited by dstan; Nov 22, 11 at 3:38 pm Reason: additional tips
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Old May 29, 09, 12:17 am
  #26
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• How do I book award travel using my AAdvantage miles?

Your AAdvantage miles can be used for two different types of award tickets: AA Awards, Partner Awards (now called oneworld and Other Airline Awards). As of Apr 8, 2014, oneworld Awards (now called Explorer Awards) are no longer available for booking. AA Awards and certain Partner Awards can be booked online, while other Partner and Explorer Awards must be booked by telephone, usually incurring an additional service fee. Appropriate inventory must be available and reservations can be made as early as 330 days out on AA.com, or 331 days out by phone. AAwards are still subject to certain government fees, including the U.S. September 11th Security Fee (AY; $2.50 per flight); expect substantial additional fees on international flights. In addition, although fuel surcharges (YQ; varies) do not apply to AA flights, they do apply to British Airways and Iberia flights.

AA AAnytime Awards book into full-fare inventory buckets (F, J, Y) and are almost always available, unless a flight is sold out. AA MileSAAver Awards require half as many miles as AAnytime Awards but have limited availability, which can be determined using the award booking engine on AA.com. Award Nexus, a website with free, limited access for FlyerTalk members and additional premium options available for purchase, can also be used to search award availability for AA, oneworld airlines, and other partners. Some find it easier to view MileSAAver inventory (Z, U, T) directly using the subscription services ExpertFlyer or KVS Availability Tool. Award inventory for most oneworld airlines and other partners is also available via the KVS tool, while ExpertFlyer provides more limited coverage.

On May 9, 2009, AA unveiled their new One-Way Flex Awards program, in which one-way AA and All-Partner awards can be booked for exactly one half the miles required previously for a roundtrip award. One benefit is that passengers attempting to book round-trip awards no longer need to wait or extend holds until the return flight becomes available 330 days out. Conversely, however, stopovers are now restricted to only the domestic gateway city on international (Europe, India, Asia, Central and South America) travel. Up to four awards can be booked together on a single reservation (PNR) and, if necessary, changed for a single change fee.

On Aug 2, 2011, AA announced new Dynamic Air Awards. These awards are available to elite members only, for travel within the mainland U.S., and can only be booked online for immediate purchase (no holds). Mileage charges are less than those for AAnytime Awards, but vary based on current revenue fare prices at the time of booking.

On Apr 8, 2014, AA announced changes to the AAnytime Award structure, with three levels of mileage requirements, effective for travel beginning Jun 1, 2014. MileSAAver awards retain their existing two levels, with Off-peak renamed Level 1 and Peak renamed Level 2.

Wiki: Award Rules | Award Booking Codes | Inventory Classes
AA.com: Awards | AA Award Chart (from 6/2014) | AA Award Chart (thru 6/2014) | Partner Award Charts | Explorer Award Charts | Dynamic Air Awards
FT: Routing and stopover rules for AA and Partner (oneworld and Other Airline) Awards
FT: Routing and stopover rules for Explorer Awards (round-the-world) using AAdvantage miles

FT: AA AAnytime Award mileage changes (Apr 8, 2014)
FT: oneworld Explorer Awards discontinued effective immediately (Apr 8, 2014)
FT: AA MileSAAver Award availability (consolidated)
FT: AA and All-Partner One-Way Flex Awards (from May 9, 2009)
FT: AAdvantage Dynamic Air Awards (from Aug 2, 2011)
FT: BA and HA Awards now bookable on AA.com (from Apr 22, 2012)
FT: Fuel surcharges (YQ) on AAwards redeemed on British Airways / BA flights
FT: Special procedure for Award tickets originating in the Philippines
FT: oneworld Forum

Last edited by dstan; Apr 8, 14 at 3:51 pm Reason: Explorer gone
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Old May 29, 09, 12:17 am
  #27
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• How do I apply the residual value from a canceled non-refundable ticket to a new ticket?

When you cancel all or a portion of a non-refundable ticket prior to travel, the residual value is retained in the ticket number, less the appropriate change fee (usually $150 for domestic fares, $250-275 for international fares). The residual value is valid for travel commencing no more than one year from the original ticketing date and can only be applied to the purchase of a new ticket by the same passenger (formally, you are changing the original reservation rather than getting an actual refund). Be sure to record the ticket number for future reference (001 followed by ten digits; note that record locators expire several days after travel), although any agent should be able to access the information in your AAdvantage account.

To apply this residual value towards a new reservation, put the reservation on Hold on AA.com, then call AA with the record locator and ask to apply the residual value of the old ticket to the new reservation. If the residual value is less than the cost of the new ticket, then you can pay the remainder using a credit card. If the original ticket was booked on AA.com, you will not be charged any telephone booking fees for completing the purchase of the new ticket. If the residual value is greater than the cost of the new ticket, then the remaining value will be refunded in the form of a voucher, which can be applied to the purchase of a ticket in anyone’s name.

The entire rebooking process may also be done by phone or at a ticket counter.

AA.com: Refunds | Refunds FAQ
FT: Have to cancel flight; what now? Refunds, reticketing, validity issues. [merged] (Post #6)

Last edited by JDiver; Jan 25, 15 at 10:23 am Reason: Change thread link
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Old May 29, 09, 12:18 am
  #28
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• How can I upgrade on AA? Can I upgrade on its partners?

There are several different ways to upgrade on AA, including Upgrade Awards (miles + copay), 500-mile electronic upgrades (stickers / EXP), systemwide upgrade certificates (SWU / eVIP), and load factor-based upgrades purchased at the airport (LFBU). Award tickets are not upgradeable, except by LFBU if available. Upgrades are valid on flights marketed and operated by AA, as well as its oneworld and marketing partners BA and IB (under specified conditions).

Wiki: Upgrades | Inventory Classes
AA.com: The Who, What, When, and How of Upgrading
AA.com: AAvantage Participating Airlines Upgrade Awards
FT: Upgrade with AAdvantage Miles on BA / British Airways or IB / Iberia (consolidated) (2014)

Upgrade Awards (miles + copay)
These can be requested by any AAdvantage member for AA flights (no codeshares) at the time of booking and may clear at any time once appropriate upgrade inventory becomes available. Requests cannot be made online and must be made by phone with an AA Reservations agent. As of October 6, 2009, all published fares (including previously excluded I, O, and Q overseas) are eligible for upgrade. Additional expedite / close-in fees apply within 21 days of travel, although AA elites using miles from their own accounts are exempt. Up to three segments one-way can be upgraded using a single award, and the full miles and copay will be charged if any of the segments clear. Upgrade awards are not valid on partner airlines or on AA codeshare flights operated by another airline. AAdvantage members may use their miles to upgrade other passengers and do not need to be traveling with them.

Passengers can determine which flights have upgrade inventory available prior to booking in order to choose flights that can be cleared immediately after the status changes from ‘Purchased’ to ‘Ticketed’. This inventory cannot be viewed on AA.com, but availability can be determined by calling AA Reservations (+1 800-433-7300) to inquire. Upgrades to First Class book into A inventory, which can also be viewed online with any public inventory tool, such as the KVS Availability Tool, a subscription service. Upgrades to Business Class book into C inventory, which is not publicly available but can be viewed online using ExpertFlyer, a subscription service that also offers a free 5-day trial. A tax differential charge will apply when upgrading a flight originating in France or any segment of an itinerary originating in the U.K.

Wiki: Upgrades: Upgrade Awards
AA.com: Upgrade Awards | AA Upgrade Award Chart | BA/IB Upgrade Award Chart
FT: AA now allows I, O and Q Upgrade Awards (with some higher co-pays) (Oct 2009)

500-mile Electronic Upgrades (stickers / EXP)
These can be requested by elites and full-fare passengers on AA flights within North America, the Caribbean, and Central America at the time of booking. These upgrades are only valid from Economy to the next class of service and cannot be used to upgrade from Business to First on 3-class flights. Requests can be made via the online reservation page, or by phone with an AA agent. Sticker/EXP upgrades may clear at any time between the beginning of the appropriate elite upgrade window prior to departure (EXP 100 hrs, PLT 72 hrs, GLD 24 hrs, non-status 24 hrs) and the departure of the aircraft (‘battlefield upgrade’). Upgrades for EXP, as well as other elites traveling on full-fare economy tickets, are free. In all other cases, upgrades require an appropriate number of 500-mile electronic upgrades (also called stickers). All fares are eligible for 500-mile electronic upgrades by elites, while non-elites must be booked in Y or B to use 500-mile electronic upgrades when traveling alone. Elites can request an upgrade for one companion traveling on the same flight (not necessarily the same itinerary or reservation), and the companion will carry the same upgrade priority as the elite, unless the upgrade requests are split. As of Jul 2009, if both passengers are elites, 500-mile electronic upgrades will be debited separately from each member’s account. (Previously, the default was to debit the upgrades from the requestor’s account, which could be overridden at the airport by asking an agent to remove the ADC code on the Passenger Item List after the upgrade had cleared.)

Upgrades to First Class book into X inventory and upgrades to Business Class book into R inventory, which are not publicly available but can be monitored within 24 hours of departure time by using ExpertFlyer, a subscription service that also offers a free 5-day trial.

Note that schedule changes resulting in a flight number change will result in upgrade requests being dropped. The upgrade requests can be restored to the original date/time by calling AA Reservations.

Wiki: Upgrades: EXP and 500-Mile Electronic Upgrades
AA.com: 500-mile Electronic and Complimentary Elite Upgrades
FT: 500-Mile electronic upgrade / sticker protocols (2009, consolidated)
FT: 500-Mile electronic upgrades / stickers pulled separately for elites traveling together (as of late 2009)
FT: Companion upgrades - Linking and splitting of elite status and PNRs (consolidated)
FT: Use of 500-mile electronic upgrades / stickers by non-elites (consolidated)
FT: Requesting prorated stickers after the end of February (consolidated)
FT: How to deduct stickers from separate accounts (removing the ADC code) (historical interest only)

Systemwide Upgrades (SWU / eVIP)
EXP members receive 8 systemwide upgrades upon (re)qualifying for status each year and AAdvantage members reaching increments of ≥2 million miles also receive 4 systemwide upgrades. Systemwide upgrades are valid through the end of the following membership year (last day of Feb) and travel must be completed by that date. Systemwide upgrades can be requested for AA flights (no codeshares) at the time of booking and may clear at any time once appropriate upgrade inventory becomes available. Requests cannot be made online and must be made by phone with an AA Reservations agent. As of October 6, 2009, all published fares (including previously excluded I, O, and Q overseas) are eligible for upgrade. Up to three segments one-way can be upgraded using a single systemwide upgrade, and the upgrade will be charged if any of the segments clear. Systemwide upgrades are not valid on partner airlines or on AA codeshare flights operated by another airline. EXP members may use their systemwide upgrades to upgrade other passengers and do not need to be traveling with them; the passenger’s own status and time of upgrade request will govern their priority order

Passengers can determine which flights have upgrade inventory available prior to booking in order to choose flights that can be cleared immediately after the status changes from ‘Purchased’ to ‘Ticketed’. EXPs can also accomplish this simultaneously with the assistance of a phone agent and are exempt from phone booking fees. Upgrade inventory cannot be viewed on AA.com, but availability can be determined by calling AA Reservations (+1 800-433-7300) to inquire. Upgrades to First Class book into A inventory, which can also be viewed online with any public inventory tool, such as the KVS Availability Tool, a subscription service. Upgrades to Business Class book into C inventory, which is not publicly available but can be viewed online using ExpertFlyer, a subscription service that also offers a free 5-day trial. A tax differential charge will apply when upgrading a flight originating in France or any segment of an itinerary originating in the U.K.

The priority for granting systemwide upgrades is determined by the passenger’s status, then by time of upgrade request, assuming A or C inventory is available. Upgrade requests are dropped when the airport takes control of a flight and must be requested again at the airport. In this instance, upgrade priority depends on the passenger’s status and the time of checkin. N.B.: Contrary to what some have described at a few overseas stations, members with miles and co-pay upgrades do not officially have priority over systemwide upgrades.

Wiki: Upgrades: Systemwide Upgrades
AA.com: Systemwide Upgrades
FT: What's a Systemwide Upgrade SWU VIP eVIP SWUs, questions, issues (2012 consolidated)
FT: AA now allows I, O and Q upgrade awards (some higher co-pays coming) (Oct 2009)
FT: How quickly do SWU / eVIP upgrades post?
FT: SWU / eVIP balance now available online (Jan 29, 2009)

Purchased Upgrades (LFBU)
These upgrades may be available for purchase at the airport if all elite and award upgrades have already been accommodated. Domestic upgrades are priced at $45 per 500-mile block and are offered at self-service kiosks only. International upgrades are priced at a flat rate of $500–1000 and may be offered at self-service kiosks or at some international ticket counters. All passengers and fares, including award tickets, are eligible.

Wiki: Upgrades: Load Factor Based Upgrades
AA.com: Confirmed Upgrades (LFBU)
FT: LFBU: Non-elite, space-available / kiosk upgrades (consolidated)

Operational Upgrades (op-up)
Operational upgrades (op-ups) are very rare, but may occur on oversold flights, particularly on international routes. Gate agents are not obligated to give priority for operational upgrades to elites or high-fare passengers, as their primary responsibility is on-time departure, but they may do so as a component of good customer service.

Wiki: Upgrades: Operational Upgrades
FT: Complimentary / operational upgrades - all about and "I got one" (consolidated)

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 9, 14 at 5:31 pm Reason: added AA partner upgrade awards info / links
dstan is offline  
Old May 29, 09, 12:18 am
  #29
Original Poster
Moderator: American AAdvantage and New York City
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Programs: AA PLT, HH Gold, Natl Exec
Posts: 10,426
• Will I still earn AA miles on award travel?

AAdvantage members do not earn any AA miles for award travel (AAnytime, MileSAAver, All-Partner Awards). For Upgrade Awards, AAdvantage members earn AA miles and points based on the fare originally purchased.

Wiki: Miles and Points

Last edited by dstan; Nov 24, 09 at 1:01 pm
dstan is offline  
Old May 29, 09, 12:18 am
  #30
Original Poster
Moderator: American AAdvantage and New York City
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Programs: AA PLT, HH Gold, Natl Exec
Posts: 10,426
• What awards can I book using ‘old miles’ earned prior to July 1, 1989?

In 1989, AA changed the rules of the AAdvantage program so that miles could expire. Any miles earned prior to July 1, 1989 do not expire and can still be used to redeem awards based on the 1989 award chart. These ‘old miles’ can be very valuable compared to current AAdvantage miles for certain awards. The old award chart was previously available on a website maintained by FlyerTalk member FewMiles. That website is now defunct as of July 2010, but the pages are still archived here.

In July 2012, AA announced that all non-expiring ‘old miles’ would convert to normal expiring miles with a 25% bonus as of November 1, 2012.

FT: Old (Pre-1989) AAdvantage Miles - Awards, Upgrades, etc. (consolidated) (historical and most recent information)
FT: Non-expiring miles to be converted to normal miles, with 25% bonus (as of Nov 2012)

Last edited by dstan; Aug 14, 12 at 12:43 pm Reason: added link to archived pages
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