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 Jul 31, 19, 7:54 am
  #241  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: DL: Silver; AA: PLAT; UA: Silver; HY: DIA; HH: GLD; MR: TIT
Posts: 1,501
Originally Posted by fotographer View Post
No sorry she has to status to use them
Is that true? I thought one could use it on a full Y fare.
LINDEGR is offline  
Old Jul 31, 19, 7:57 am
  #242  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 829
Originally Posted by LINDEGR View Post
Is that true? I thought one could use it on a full Y fare.
not anymore.
OP can request upgrade for his wife and it will be pulled fron her account. Since OP is a gold there is a Morrow chance of upgrade.
gateH15 is offline  
Old Jul 31, 19, 7:57 am
  #243  
formerly meunger11
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Constantly Losing Track
Programs: AA Plat, 1WS, CX Silver, HH Gold, Caesars Diamond
Posts: 386
Originally Posted by LINDEGR View Post
Is that true? I thought one could use it on a full Y fare.
Upgrades are only available for those with elite status. That said, you basically need Platinum Pro to have a hope of an upgrade, or to even have a shot at one EP. Unless someone is flying from Cowhide, AR to Bumble Eff, OH.
GlobalMatt is offline  
Old Jul 31, 19, 9:01 am
  #244  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Chicago
Programs: AAdvantage Gold
Posts: 251
You could pay for a gold status challenge with gold status during the challenge. It will cost you around $300. You also risk not getting upgraded, but depending on how many people there are on your reservation, you might be able to offset that cost with free MCE seats at check in.
AAdamE is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 7:35 pm
  #245  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Platinum
Posts: 47
Does anyone know if there's been a change in policy for when 500-mile upgrades are deducted from your account? From past experience it's always been at departure. However, today I was upgraded for a flight tomorrow, and 2 upgrades seem to have already been deducted. It doesn't yet show in the "redeemed" section when I view the details, but my total number of upgrades available has decreased by 2.
msr0013 is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 11:23 pm
  #246  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: CMI, ORD, NYC
Programs: AA Plat
Posts: 36
When you upgrade with 500mile upgrades, what fare class do you end up in and how do you earn miles?

recent trip from JFK to MIA booked in V.

EQM: 1090
Award miles, base: 620
Award miles bonus: 372

I understand the EQM , but how was the bonus award miles calculated? V fares get only 50% so where does the 620 come from? And how do they calculate the 372? I have platinum status so I’m not sure where the 40% bonus is coming from.

But back to my main question, I booked my flight through chase, which uses Expedia. When the upgrade cleared two days before, chase sent an email saying that the Fare code was now R. Shouldn’t I be expecting more award miles from the 500-mile upgrade?
peaches070 is offline  
Old Aug 8, 19, 12:50 am
  #247  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: OC, CA
Programs: AA EXP, 2MM, AS MVP, HH Diamond
Posts: 568
Originally Posted by peaches070 View Post
EQM: 1090
Award miles, base: 620
Award miles bonus: 372

I understand the EQM , but how was the bonus award miles calculated? V fares get only 50% so where does the 620 come from? And how do they calculate the 372? I have platinum status so I’m not sure where the 40% bonus is coming from.
How many EQDs did you earn for this flight? Award miles are based on EQD earning along with your status. PLAT earns 8 mi/EQD, and AA always calculates the base as 5 mi/EQD (what is earned if you have no status) and the rest as bonus. My guess is that you earned 124 EQDs. 5x124 =620, 3x124=372.

you don’t get any more miles - EQM or award miles - if the fare class changes based on an upgrade.
hbtr is offline  
Old Aug 8, 19, 5:45 am
  #248  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 12,339
Originally Posted by msr0013 View Post
Does anyone know if there's been a change in policy for when 500-mile upgrades are deducted from your account? From past experience it's always been at departure. However, today I was upgraded for a flight tomorrow, and 2 upgrades seem to have already been deducted. It doesn't yet show in the "redeemed" section when I view the details, but my total number of upgrades available has decreased by 2.
Yes when your upgrade clears AA will automatically deduct stickers. Now how you get them back if you didn't take that flight I'm not sure-is it automatic or would you need to call Customer Service. On the flip side stickers earned are posting with miles instead of the usual 24 hour lag.
newyorkgeorge is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 7:45 am
  #249  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: FLL/MIA
Programs: AA EXP; Marriott/SPG Gold
Posts: 752
Originally Posted by msr0013 View Post
Does anyone know if there's been a change in policy for when 500-mile upgrades are deducted from your account? From past experience it's always been at departure. However, today I was upgraded for a flight tomorrow, and 2 upgrades seem to have already been deducted. It doesn't yet show in the "redeemed" section when I view the details, but my total number of upgrades available has decreased by 2.
I had a weird experience the other day which seems to indicate that they pull stickers when checking in, even if the upgrade hasn't occurred. I was traveling with my non-status wife on a domestic itinerary. After checking in and seeing that the upgrades might clear, I noticed that I only had 2 stickers left and the trip needed 3, so I purchased one more since I know they take time to process and become available. Turns out her upgrade didn't clear and this morning I now see 6 stickers in my account which leads me to believe they removed the stickers for her upgrade when checking in and then when the upgrade didn't occur, they redeposited them. Activity log on aa.com doesn't show the removal/redeposit, but I'm nearly 100% certain it occurred otherwise I wouldn't have purchased a sticker.
HofstraJet is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 8:45 am
  #250  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 184
Originally Posted by HofstraJet View Post
I had a weird experience the other day which seems to indicate that they pull stickers when checking in, even if the upgrade hasn't occurred. I was traveling with my non-status wife on a domestic itinerary. After checking in and seeing that the upgrades might clear, I noticed that I only had 2 stickers left and the trip needed 3, so I purchased one more since I know they take time to process and become available. Turns out her upgrade didn't clear and this morning I now see 6 stickers in my account which leads me to believe they removed the stickers for her upgrade when checking in and then when the upgrade didn't occur, they redeposited them. Activity log on aa.com doesn't show the removal/redeposit, but I'm nearly 100% certain it occurred otherwise I wouldn't have purchased a sticker.
The stickers are placed “on hold” once you check-in. It helps to minimize the likelihood that GAs will need to wait for someone to make the purchase if they clear at the gate, which ultimately could delay a flight. While “on hold,” they do appear to be removed from your accumulated balance that is reflected in your account. They aren’t truly deducted until the flight departs.
rumboj is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 8:56 am
  #251  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI
Programs: AA Gold, HH Silver, National Emerald Executive, TSA Disparager Gold
Posts: 15,121
Kinda sounds like a credit card authorization at a hotel. A hold is put on for the required amount but not actually charged unless needed. If not needed, the hold's released and you get your money back.

Makes sense. AA "authorizes" the stickers so they know the upgrade will be covered if given. However, it appears as there's no "pending" status for the authorization to actually track it.

Good to know so folks can be aware of how many stickers they have ahead of time. I don't know if I would have noticed this as I typically travel by myself and would only know if i had the stickers to cover the request at booking. I wouldn't check again until after the trip to make sure everything was deducted correctly.

One issue I can see is if you request more upgrades than you have stickers on a trip. Will you run into trouble if the first leg doesn't clear but the second one does? Or will AA ask you to cover the missing stickers before upgrading?
Superguy is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 9:48 am
  #252  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: FLL/MIA
Programs: AA EXP; Marriott/SPG Gold
Posts: 752
I’m fine with the hold/authorization process, but let people know so they don’t unnecessarily purchase stickers. Oh, wait....
HofstraJet is offline  
Old Sep 8, 19, 1:18 pm
  #253  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Knoxville, TN
Programs: AA, DL
Posts: 10
Hello,

I'm a very new PP. I don't understand if I do the following can I upgrade my family member as a companion.

1. I am flying on a Main Cabin ticket BNA->DFW->LAS
2. I plan to purchase the same itinerary for family member as a Milesaaver award ticket.
3. I have plenty of stickers in my account, my family member has no elite status.

Can I link her trip to mine and upgrade her? I think if I had bought myself an award ticket I can't be upgraded, but I don't understand this situation with a companion award ticket.

Thanks
tennlee is offline  
Old Sep 8, 19, 1:36 pm
  #254  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 6,087
Originally Posted by tennlee View Post
Hello,

I'm a very new PP. I don't understand if I do the following can I upgrade my family member as a companion.

1. I am flying on a Main Cabin ticket BNA->DFW->LAS
2. I plan to purchase the same itinerary for family member as a Milesaaver award ticket.
3. I have plenty of stickers in my account, my family member has no elite status.

Can I link her trip to mine and upgrade her? I think if I had bought myself an award ticket I can't be upgraded, but I don't understand this situation with a companion award ticket.

Thanks
No, only EXP/CK can upgrade award tickets.

The only way to do this is to book a normal paid ticket for the family member. Then you can call AA and request an upgrade for them as your companion, based on your PP status and using your stickers.
JJeffrey is online now  
Old Sep 9, 19, 6:40 am
  #255  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 12,339
One thing I've noticed as my last day of PLT. When you check in and have requested an upgrade AA will deduct those stickers from your account whether you clear or not. If you don't clear after flight the stickers show back in your account.

A favorable thing happened to me over the weekend when I had 3 flights. Flight one got me the 12.5K miles needed for 4 earned stickers while Flight two put me over the threshold for PP. By the next day I had the 4 stickers deposited, my status update as well as the status changed on my reservations and all future flights auto upgraded.
newyorkgeorge is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread