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

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

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Old Sep 18, 20, 4:24 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: JMN57
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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”. This has not been true for some time, if your companion has status, the system will try to pull the stickers from the companion's account. If there are not enough stickers, you will have to check-in at the airport to have stickers pulled from your account (noted 11/2019).
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)
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Old Jan 4, 17, 2:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 137
Arrow AA "Sticker" / 500-mile & EXP "UDU" Complimentary Upgrade Policy / FAQ

Originally Posted by JY1024 View Post
We'll merge this with our 500-mile upgrade thread for further discussion. Thank. /Moderator
eh i'll just delete it

now i remember why i stopped using this terrible site -- it's completely useless because of the thread nazis that merge every question into a 100-page threads that nobody reads
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Old Jan 4, 18, 11:06 am
  #2  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Maître-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,703
Posts exploring the chances of upgrading have been moved to 2017 Chances of Upgrade Clearing and Availability (consolidated).

JDiver, Moderator
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Old Jan 4, 18, 12:45 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 811
Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Posts exploring the chances of upgrading have been moved to 2017 Chances of Upgrade Clearing and Availability (consolidated).

JDiver, Moderator
Thanks but that thread is closed/locked.
hurnik is offline  
Old Jan 4, 18, 1:14 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oakland
Programs: AA Explat, UA former 1K + PremExec, DL
Posts: 1,143
Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
In my experience, this stuff only happens when the non-elite passenger tries to OLCI before I do. The past half-dozen times I've upgraded a non-elite (always on a separate PNR that I called to have linked -- and all of which have worked/cleared at T-100), I made sure to OLCI myself first and then to OLCI my companion. No trouble at all, and the stickers have later come out of my account as expected. In the past the other passenger had tried to OLCI before me and gotten the "please buy stickers" message you describe.
Recent experience: transcon upgraded ahead of time with myself and my wife (PLAT) on one PNR. I checked her in online first, excluding myself. I checked myself in an hour or so later. Upgrades were eventually deducted from her account.

On the return, no advance upgrade; I asked at the check-in counter (after prior checkin via app) to make sure we had the same priority (we were showing up on the upgrade list well separated). It took him quite a long time to manage it (at least 10 min) but eventually worked out. Had to ask at gate for transcon segment for them to process the upgrade list. In this case, upgrades were deducted from my account.

I wonder if the separate check in, lower status companion, always will work when pre-upgraded? I've only about 14 e500 left, but she has like 90.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 1:20 pm
  #5  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Travel Safety/Security & Texas, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Programs: AA EXP, HHonors Gold, Hertz 5*
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Originally Posted by hurnik View Post
Thanks but that thread is closed/locked.
Thanks! I moved it to the 2018 version here:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...solidated.html
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aztimm is offline  
Old Jan 16, 18, 11:51 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 811
Just an odd observation (maybe add to the Wiki, but not sure if it's relevant there):

Last night purchased (2) 500 mile upgrade stickers.
Checked my account this morning, shows I have 2 on file.
Purchased 4 more this morning. 4 hours later, still only shows 2 on file. (yes, the website says *at least 2 hours* for processing).

Anyway, the "oddity"
If I try to use the aa.com iOS app, it will not let me check in unless I purchase 4 upgrades (currently 1 upgrade confirmed other two are "requested" theoretical total would be 6 stickers I need).

If I use the online website, then it happily lets me check-in and wait-lists me for the other 2 segments.

Not sure if this is WAD, but if it is, perhaps this info is useful in the Wiki? (can't check-in online with the app unless your account shows X amount of sticker upgrades, but the website will let you)?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 9:36 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Programs: AA EXP. HH DIAMOND.
Posts: 169
UDU & SDC

Not sure exactly where to post this, please move if needed.

I used SDC today on ord/clt Since I came early given the weather. Club could not confirm so I walk to the gate. Easily clear into 11A ( 1 of 2 on list and cabin is y7) gate agent and a premium services agent waiting in a CK both claimed I couldn't be put on the FC upgrade list since it's The Same list and you can't double upgrade. Also said you have to be confirmed to get on the upgrade list which I understand but having a boarding pass W/ a seat should mean confirmed, correct?

didn't really fight it just boarded but now I am curious as to the policy. And btw I was upgraded on the 6pm flight (my original) in to R class.
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Old Jan 23, 18, 10:29 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EP
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Originally Posted by nismo240ssx View Post
Not sure exactly where to post this, please move if needed.

I used SDC today on ord/clt Since I came early given the weather. Club could not confirm so I walk to the gate. Easily clear into 11A ( 1 of 2 on list and cabin is y7) gate agent and a premium services agent waiting in a CK both claimed I couldn't be put on the FC upgrade list since it's The Same list and you can't double upgrade. Also said you have to be confirmed to get on the upgrade list which I understand but having a boarding pass W/ a seat should mean confirmed, correct?

didn't really fight it just boarded but now I am curious as to the policy. And btw I was upgraded on the 6pm flight (my original) in to R class.
I've had same frustration, they always tell me I would be on the end of the UG list regardless of where I would rank usually due to status. Each time I have been in this circumstance the list is long, but it seems like there was space anyways for you. As soon as you're confirmed onto the flight you should be able to be added to the other list, (and when I have asked for them to do this for me, it would still be at the end of the UG list though).
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:06 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by Antarius View Post
As long as you hold status, you earn stickers.. so say you are PLT now that expires 1/31/2018 and drop to no status, you'd still accumulate stickers till 1/31/2018 as you are a PLT till then.
What are your thoughts on getting a pro-rata amount of stickers based on earned miles? I won't have 12,500 at end of 1/31/18 but I will have 9,267 or just under 75% ... any chance they will give me 3 vouchers if I ask after Jan 31? Speculation, of course.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:28 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by Panamajon513 View Post
What are your thoughts on getting a pro-rata amount of stickers based on earned miles? I won't have 12,500 at end of 1/31/18 but I will have 9,267 or just under 75% ... any chance they will give me 3 vouchers if I ask after Jan 31? Speculation, of course.
I've seen reports of agents being willing to do so. Although depending on the agent you might only get 2 instead of 3.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 12:58 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Originally Posted by Panamajon513 View Post
What are your thoughts on getting a pro-rata amount of stickers based on earned miles? I won't have 12,500 at end of 1/31/18 but I will have 9,267 or just under 75% ... any chance they will give me 3 vouchers if I ask after Jan 31? Speculation, of course.
It used to be standard procedure; over 1/2 way to 12,500 (or 10,000 at the time), get 2 - under 1/2 way get 0. See this thread:

End of Feb insufficient miles for 4 500 mile upgrade stickers (2015-2016)

I cannot remember whether this did or did not change for 2017 and haven't found a thread on it for last year. Perhaps others with better memories or search skills can provide that update.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 4:45 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by Panamajon513 View Post
What are your thoughts on getting a pro-rata amount of stickers based on earned miles? I won't have 12,500 at end of 1/31/18 but I will have 9,267 or just under 75% ... any chance they will give me 3 vouchers if I ask after Jan 31? Speculation, of course.
AA typically does allow this - just call and ask. Just under 75% though, you likely will be able to get 2.
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Old Feb 2, 18, 5:38 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Uggh. I didn't know that the program year was changing this year. I was about 2,500 EQMs away from my next set of stickers but I just had my clock reset. Has anyone had any luck after the change in the program year at getting pro rated stickers for the prior year or do you need to call before the changeover?
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Old Feb 6, 18, 7:54 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Posts: 1,288
So I don’t normally buy these but was one short. I made the purchase through the AA app four days ago. I got a receipt by email. None of my AA apps show an increased number of upgrades. The only place I see the increased number is one place on aa.com. Even there, there are still some places that show the lower number. The only remark I saw was about needing at least 48 hours to allow the upgrade to credit. Should I contact AA at this point since none of my apps show the correct number? I have also tried logging out of the app and back in.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 2:05 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
Uggh. I didn't know that the program year was changing this year. I was about 2,500 EQMs away from my next set of stickers but I just had my clock reset. Has anyone had any luck after the change in the program year at getting pro rated stickers for the prior year or do you need to call before the changeover?
I called just now and got 3. I had flown 1090 EQMs, they initially gave me two, but saw that some folks got 3 or 4 on here and said that my colleague was offered more and they gave me one more. I'm so glad I saw this thread, I would have ended up with 0.
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