Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

AA "Sticker" / 500-mile & EXP "UDU" Complimentary Upgrade Policy / FAQ

AA "Sticker" / 500-mile & EXP "UDU" Complimentary Upgrade Policy / FAQ

    Hide Wikipost
Old Sep 15, 19, 3:44 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
Wiki Link
Glossary:

500 mile upgrades: earned by Gold and Platinum Elites, can be used to upgrade segments in 500 mile increments of North and Central America, Caribbean flights from Economy to the next class of service.. Read below.

e500: Occasional nickname used for 500 mile upgrades.

Electronic or 500 mile upgrades: non-expiring electronic instruments used for near Americas and Caribbean elite upgrades; please read below.

MTEU: Miles Toward Electronic Upgrades. The MTEU earning year zeroes February 28.

Stickers: Holdover name from when 500 mile upgrades were actual stickers applied to tickets when upgraded.

UDU: Unlimited Domestic Upgrades granted EXP and PRO members in lieu of earning or using 500 mile upgrades. (Consequently, they do not earn “stickers”.)

Related thread: End of Feb insufficient miles for 4 500 mile upgrade stickers (2017). (Requesting "stickers" for incremental MTEU threshold accomplishment.)

NOTE: CHANGES in effect as of 1 January 2017:

Upgrade priority:

  • Elite tier
  • Systemwide and Mileage award upgrades
  • Business Extra and certain Agency upgrade certificates
  • 500-mile / courtesy DODU / UDU upgrades on purchased tickets
  • 500-mile upgrades on PRO, EXP award tickets
  • Last 12 month rolling EAD spend
  • Fare code
  • Date if purchase
Platinum Pro status holders join Executive Platinum members with complimentary "Unlimited Domestic Upgrades / UDU.
  • Usable to upgrade from Economy to next class of service (Not Business to First)
  • Flights 500 miles or less: Unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades*
  • Flights over 500 miles: Complimentary "domestic" (North & Central America, Caribbean) upgrades
  • Upgrade one companion traveling with you on the same flight with 500-mile upgrades*

Companions: ONE passenger traveling with you can “borrow” your status for upgrade purposes. They do not have to be on the same PNR. When this is done, you’ll not be upgraded unless sufficient upgrade seats become available to upgrade two (or more) people. This link often is broken when the flight control goes to the airport, and it can be reestablished there (e.g. at the gate). A good clue that the link has broken is if you’re #1 or 2 and your companion is significantly below that on the upgrade list, such as #11. Finally, because of IT flaws, the 500 mile upgrades for your traveling companion will by necessity come from your account, even if your companion has their own “stickers”.
NOTE: CHANGES in effect March 1, 2016:

500-mile upgrades

Beginning March 1, 2016:
  • Gold and Platinum members will earn four 500-mile upgrades for every 12,500 EQMs earned during the membership year
  • The price of 500-mile upgrades increased to $40, online, at the airport and from an American Airlines agent, 1 Mar 2016
  • The price for purchasing 500-mile upgrades with miles increased to 40,000 miles for 8 upgrades
  • 500 mile upgrades do not expire (unless the account expires)



N.B. In 2018, the status year / MTEU counter resets February 28.


NOTE: some protocols changed for 2015
  • "Upgrades on American are valid on American marketed and operated flights, within and between the U.S. (including Hawaii) and between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Central America (based on availability). "
  • "Upgrades are valid from the Main Cabin to the next class of service."
  • "Your travel companion can be booked in the same reservation or in a different reservation when traveling on American Airlines marketed and operated flights. If your companion is booked in a different reservation, call American Airlines reservations to link (sic) the two reservations."
  • Executive Platinum members get unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades (with the same terms as above) including on award flights.
  • On AA marketed and operated flights: Platinum and Gold members get unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades for flights 500 miles or less and can use 500-mile upgrades to pay for upgrades on all other flights. All under 500 miles upgrades are gratis for AA elites; requests are automatic.
  • Fares booked in full Y (and B, if it still exists and isn't diverted to other use) are confirmed within each status level first, followed by all other fares.
  • Upgrades for flights over 500 miles require one 500 mile "sticker" for each 500 mile increment, including the first sector.
  • The up to 51 mile "grace" has been eliminated; a 501 mile sector will require 2 "stickers".
  • On a related note, courtesy Y and B upgrades no longer are granted, other than to Executive Platinum members.
  • Executive Platinums do not earn, or need, 500 mile upgrades, but they can use them for one traveling companion.
  • 500 mile upgrades earned or purchased do not expire as long as an account is current
  • 500 mile upgrades can be used by those without status only to upgrade Y (and B, where such exist and are Main Cabin - Economy fares) full economy fares
  • Non elite status members may only upgrade when they are traveling as the companion to an elite status member. (per: http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/te...p#terms500mile on 2/19/16)
  • Flights booked prior to status changes probably will not reflect the status change until an update is requested; this may impact upgrade list position.


See "500 mile upgrades" on aa.com.

See Complimentary Upgrades, "Stickers" & Elite Status - 28 Mar 2015 Changes for further information.

For questions about whether to split or consolidate PNRs for itineraries involving multiple parties, please see this thread:
Companion upgrade issues including "link" / split PNR for status etc. (master thread)

Link to aa.com 500 mile upgrades (AKA "stickers") page.

Link to aa.com to "Upgrade your experience".

Once one achieves Gold (or Platinum) AAdvantage status one begins the "MTEU" path (Miles Toward Electronic Upgrades) - for each 10,000 base miles flown on AA and partners where one earns EQ Miles; the status holder will earn 4 500 mile electronic upgrades. March 1 annually the MTEU counter resets to zero, and the process begins again; as of 1 March 2016, the requirements change to 4 (four) "stickers" earned per 12,500 EQM.

AA Elites can "spend" 500 mile "stickers" (a legacy term from when they were actually stickers affixed by gate agents to the flight coupon as it was taken) on any class of Economy to upgrade to the next class of service if there is upgrade inventory available (not Business to First) within North America, Caribbean, Central America and Bahamas.

Statusholders can use "stickers" to upgrade a traveling companion (this includes Executive Platinums, as there is no complimentary upgrade for an EP's companion).

If one is flying a sector under 500 miles, elites can request upgrades to the next class of service without incurring a need for "stickers". For sectors over 500 miles, one needs one "sticker" for each 500 mile sector including the first 500 mile sector.

Again: Under 500 mile sectors may be upgraded (upon request and availability) without "stickers"; this is a recent change. Also note there is no "Grace" for a 501 mile sector any longer.)

Priority for upgrades depends primarily on status, secondarily on time of request; requests are now passed onto the airport listing ~four hours prior to departure. Time of check-in time does not affect these priorities, and has not for several years. Through traveler status will not affect requests as of March, 2015.

You must request upgrades when booking (you can request later, though you lose the original booking time as time of request).

Though members from non-"sticker" countries were often allowed converting "stickers", this post indicates this is not an option as of June 2014.

"Stickers" do not expire (as long as your account remains in good standing.

Losing AAdvantage status means "stickers" can no longer be used until status is regained.

Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members do not earn "stickers" as they get courtesy upgrades; the stickers can be used for travel companions, and they remain in one's account until used or the account becomes inactive.

Expert Flyer (EF) will show you availability in class "A", which is used for SWUs and Miles+co-pay upgrades; you cannot see availability in EF for "sticker" upgrades.

Older posts from 2017 have been archived; they may be read at: ARCHIVE: 2017 “Sticker" / 500-mile E-Upgrades & EXP "UDU" Upgrades (2015)

Older posts from 2016 have been archived; they may be read at: ARCHIVE: 2016 “Sticker" / 500-mile E-Upgrades & EXP "UDU" Upgrades (2015)

Older posts from 2015 have been archived; they may be read at: ARCHIVE: "Sticker" / 500-mile E-Upgrades & EXP "UDU" Upgrades (2015)

Older posts between 2009-2014 have been archived; they may be read at: ARCHIVE: Sticker / 500-mile Electronic Upgrades Protocols / Questions (2009-2014)
Print Wikipost

Old Mar 22, 19, 9:05 am
  #196  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: BGI | CMH
Programs: AA Platinum Pro | HH Diamond | SPG Gold
Posts: 262
Originally Posted by S.R View Post
Thanks! What happens if she does clear the upgrade before we get to the airport, but my account doesn't have any 500 certificates? Would she just get downgraded again? Because these are such short flights (about an hour each) not really sure its worth $40 per segment. And if we uncheck the request upgrade thing on the reservation where it says (1 passenger 500 mile cert for each segment) will that cause me to not get upgraded as well?
And if we both get upgraded but there are no certs in my account will we both be downgraded?

Also, does AA split up reservations if the upgrades don't clear prior to check in? UA does this, so not sure about AA.
I'm very new to platinum status as I just qualified for the first time. My understanding is that you can request upgrades without the 500 mile stickers being purchased but if the upgrades do clear you need to purchase them before you can check into the flight. I would imagine that if you checked in without purchasing the stickers you would loose the upgrade. I'm not sure how they work after you arrive at the airport and are placed on the airport waiting list.

If you are Platinum Pro. You don't need to worry about 500 mile upgrades in terms of upgrades for you.

AA will split the reservation, doing this should give you a better chance of being upgraded if there is only one seat left. The downside is that your companion will no lon ger receive any of the elite benefits they enjoyed because of you. This includes free checked baggage, free MCE seats etc.
Shadowfactor is offline  
Old Mar 22, 19, 1:13 pm
  #197  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hyatt Diamond, M/SPG Plat Prem, National Exec Elite, mlife platinum
Posts: 3,785
Originally Posted by S.R View Post
Thanks! What happens if she does clear the upgrade before we get to the airport, but my account doesn't have any 500 certificates? Would she just get downgraded again? Because these are such short flights (about an hour each) not really sure its worth $40 per segment. And if we uncheck the request upgrade thing on the reservation where it says (1 passenger 500 mile cert for each segment) will that cause me to not get upgraded as well?
And if we both get upgraded but there are no certs in my account will we both be downgraded?

Also, does AA split up reservations if the upgrades don't clear prior to check in? UA does this, so not sure about AA.
1. If you clear before check in, you'll have to buy a cert to check in.

2. If you want to decline, then just tell the check in agent. I don't think there's an option to do so online or on the app.

3. If you uncheck the box now, then neither of you will be upgraded.

4. If you want to keep your freebie upgrade without your companion's chance of $40 upgrade, then call AA to split the reservation.
platbrownguy is offline  
Old Mar 23, 19, 6:22 am
  #198  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LAX or NYC
Programs: AA MM; AS Gold; Nexion, LLC/Travel Leaders
Posts: 630
Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
2. If you want to decline, then just tell the check in agent. I don't think there's an option to do so online or on the app.
On the app, you can abandon an unconfirmed upgrade in order to check-in. Once confirmed, you probably need to call first and get a seat assignment back in coach if you've changed your mind.
NYC Flyer is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 6:48 am
  #199  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 973
Upgrading domestic coach to Business for Exec Plats

For an Exec Plat trying to get a complimentary upgrade from Y to J on an AA transcon, is it better to check-in on line as soon as OLCI opens or it it better to head to the airport early and complete the check-in process at the airport?
puchong is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 6:52 am
  #200  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Roswell, GA
Programs: AA EXP 2.8m,Lifetime PLT, Hilton Diamond, IHG PlLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 1,876
I don’t believe it matter either way
upgrades have levels starting with dollar spend first
then who knows
so you be be a EXP with let’s say $15k and another EXP could be $20k
guess who gets it first
just make when you get to the airport that you in fact on the upgrade list
fotographer is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 6:53 am
  #201  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Frisco, TX
Programs: The Airline Run by Doug P
Posts: 17,792
Originally Posted by puchong View Post
For an Exec Plat trying to get a complimentary upgrade from Y to J on an AA transcon,
Good luck.
enviroian is online now  
Old Mar 25, 19, 7:19 am
  #202  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,244
To confirm, time (or place) of check-in has no bearing on upgrade priority.
It's elite status, then rolling 12-month EQDs, then fare class, then date/time of original upgrade request.
https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...ades.jsp#order
ijgordon is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 7:43 am
  #203  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: PHL
Programs: AA ExP, Marriott Amb, National EAEE, Hilton Diamond, SPG Plat, US CP (RIP)
Posts: 1,826
And once you check in, you can see the upgrade list within the app at four hours before departure to confirm you were added and where you stand.
Segments is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 8:02 am
  #204  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Programs: AA EXP, HH Dia, Marriott Gold, Hertz PresCir
Posts: 76
No special technique for EXPs, you just check in. After that you look at the upgrade list and see that you are number 18 of 47, as I am from PHX to CLT on the A330 flight this morning.
Check is offline  
Old Mar 25, 19, 8:09 am
  #205  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Frisco, TX
Programs: The Airline Run by Doug P
Posts: 17,792
Originally Posted by Check View Post
No special technique for EXPs, you just check in. After that you look at the upgrade list and see that you are number 18 of 47, as I am from PHX to CLT on the A330 flight this morning.
enviroian is online now  
Old Mar 27, 19, 7:36 pm
  #206  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 973
When applying an EVIP upgrade (for LAX/HKG), are your chances better if the underlying fare is a published Y fare or a bulk fare? Or does it not matter?
puchong is offline  
Old Mar 27, 19, 8:07 pm
  #207  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hyatt Diamond, M/SPG Plat Prem, National Exec Elite, mlife platinum
Posts: 3,785
Originally Posted by puchong View Post
When applying an EVIP upgrade (for LAX/HKG), are your chances better if the underlying fare is a published Y fare or a bulk fare? Or does it not matter?
functionally irrelevant

12 month rolling EQDs comes first -- only if there's a tie (pretty unlikely, except at bottom of the list where folks might have zero EQDs) does AA use fare codes as a tiebreaker
platbrownguy is offline  
Old Mar 28, 19, 7:46 am
  #208  
S.R
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: New York
Programs: UA 1K, EK Gold
Posts: 543
Ok one last clarification.

I (platInum pro) am Flying IAH-DFW-AMA tomorrow with a non status companion on same res. We were both upgraded DFW-AMA, so I bought 1 500 sticker. My account balance is now 1 sticker.
I doubt that either of us will get upgraded on IAH-DFW since F is full already, but when I went to check in on the app this morning, it wouldn’t let me check in without making me buy another 500 sticker.
I was able to get around that by checking in on a computer, where it just gave me a warning that “1 passenger doesn’t have enough 500 stickers for the upgrade required, please contact an airport agent to be added to upgrade list” or something similar.

So since we were already upgraded DFW-AMA (which is under 500 miles), and I have 1 sticker in my account, I’m assuming that that upgrade is confirmed and will be all fine, and we just won’t be added to the list for IAH-DFW?

And I still see that the 1 sticker is still in my account and hasn’t been deducted yet, when will they do that?

sorry for all the questions, these stickers are really confusing lol, have to say I much prefer United’s complimentary companion upgrades.

Thanks!
S.R is offline  
Old Mar 28, 19, 9:18 am
  #209  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: DFW (Highland Village)
Programs: AA Lifetime GLD, SPG Lifetime GLD
Posts: 375
Upgrade request question

I'm a lowly GOLD, so it isn't as if my upgrades actually clear, but I still try . Typically after I purchase the ticket via our corporate travel agent, I'll log into AA.com and view my trip, scroll down to the "upgrade your trip" section and check the box.

I just booked a trip for my family (me + 2) for June. The booking was on AA.com directly over the weekend and it is fully ticketed, but there is no "upgrade your trip" section available for this particular record. Any ideas what would cause that? I initially feared that I bought a basic economy ticket, but I think those are fare class B. Our tickets booked into G on the outbound and V on the return. I was able to select seats as normal. Are those fare classes not available to upgrade? Or is there something else going on?

Worst case, I'll check with AA, but figured I asked here

thanks

tom
Illini_Fan is online now  
Old Mar 28, 19, 9:20 am
  #210  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: BGI | CMH
Programs: AA Platinum Pro | HH Diamond | SPG Gold
Posts: 262
Originally Posted by Illini_Fan View Post
Upgrade request question

I'm a lowly GOLD, so it isn't as if my upgrades actually clear, but I still try . Typically after I purchase the ticket via our corporate travel agent, I'll log into AA.com and view my trip, scroll down to the "upgrade your trip" section and check the box.

I just booked a trip for my family (me + 2) for June. The booking was on AA.com directly over the weekend and it is fully ticketed, but there is no "upgrade your trip" section available for this particular record. Any ideas what would cause that? I initially feared that I bought a basic economy ticket, but I think those are fare class B. Our tickets booked into G on the outbound and V on the return. I was able to select seats as normal. Are those fare classes not available to upgrade? Or is there something else going on?

Worst case, I'll check with AA, but figured I asked here

thanks

tom
Are you on a regional jet with no first class or flying outside of North America ?
Shadowfactor is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread