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

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

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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:04 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: JDiver
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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 ďstickersĒ.)

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
  • Busuness 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 be t 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*


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" are cheaper when purchased online; they cost more purchased telephonically or in person. "Stickers" do not expire (as long as your account remains in good standing.

Losing AAdvantage status means "stickers" are restricted in use to B and Y fares.

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 2016 have been archived; they may be read at: ARCHIVE: 2016 ďSticker" / 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 Feb 18, 19, 2:48 pm
  #496  
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post
Do you earn stickers upon earning gold status ?
or do the EQM only start counting once you acheive status ?

Flying 25K EQM for Gold should earn 8 stickers ? Is this not correct ?
No you do not earn stickers upon achieving GLD status. You would need to then fly an additional 12.5K miles to receive the first batch of 4 stickers and then 12.5K miles for the next batch and so on. You would never earn 8 stickers at one time. You could, however, purchase stickers upon achieving GLD status.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 2:51 pm
  #497  
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Originally Posted by dgparent View Post
What happens if you do not have enough stickers for the upgrade ? I need 4 only have 3 do not want to buy 4 more then not get the upgrade.
You can request an upgrade without having the required stickers. If your upgrade clears then you would need to buy the stickers before checking in. Also, IIRC if your on the upgrade list and do not purchase the required stickers you can check in for your original coach seat but would be dropped from the upgrade list. In that case I would suggest holding off checking in until around T-1 and then checking where you stand on the list.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 3:05 pm
  #498  
 
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
No you do not earn stickers upon achieving GLD status. You would need to then fly an additional 12.5K miles to receive the first batch of 4 stickers and then 12.5K miles for the next batch and so on. You would never earn 8 stickers at one time. You could, however, purchase stickers upon achieving GLD status.
thank you for explaining that.

im getting ready to do a AA platinum challenge but will hit AA platinum pro by the end of the year.

if I pay for the Platinum challenge to instantly obtain status. Will those initial EQM I fly start counting towards stickers ? Or will the same theory apply where I wouldnít start earning stickers until flying atleast 25K EQM to achieve gold status the traditional way ?

Iím hoping to use them on a smaller Caribbean route two months later.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:31 pm
  #499  
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post


thank you for explaining that.

im getting ready to do a AA platinum challenge but will hit AA platinum pro by the end of the year.

if I pay for the Platinum challenge to instantly obtain status. Will those initial EQM I fly start counting towards stickers ? Or will the same theory apply where I wouldnít start earning stickers until flying atleast 25K EQM to achieve gold status the traditional way ?

Iím hoping to use them on a smaller Caribbean route two months later.
No those miles accrued during the Challenge will not count. You arenít really purchasing PLT but paying a fee to conduct the Challenge for which you will need to meet the requirements. Obtaining achieving PLT status you can purchase stickers at $40 per 500 miles.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:51 pm
  #500  
 
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post


No those miles accrued during the Challenge will not count. You arenít really purchasing PLT but paying a fee to conduct the Challenge for which you will need to meet the requirements. Obtaining achieving PLT status you can purchase stickers at $40 per 500 miles.
I would be paying for both. I was going to pay for the $300 as I have several trips in PEY on AA where lounge access would come in handy.

So I would be paying the $300 for instant platinum status
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Old Feb 18, 19, 5:24 pm
  #501  
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post


I would be paying for both. I was going to pay for the $300 as I have several trips in PEY on AA where lounge access would come in handy.

So I would be paying the $300 for instant platinum status
You would start running the miles odometer toward earning ďstickersĒ as soon as you begin Platinum status.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 5:58 pm
  #502  
 
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On the three class transcon (specifically LAX->JFK), if I received the complimentary upgrade to business (as a PlatPro), is it possible to upgrade from there to first using miles and cash? My thinking is no, but it seems like a special situation where a domestic is three classes.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 6:02 pm
  #503  
 
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Originally Posted by plbonilla View Post
On the three class transcon (specifically LAX->JFK), if I received the complimentary upgrade to business (as a PlatPro), is it possible to upgrade from there to first using miles and cash? My thinking is no, but it seems like a special situation where a domestic is three classes.
Nope, double upgrades have never been possible on any AA 3-class flights (of course not including the very rare instances of oversold cabin rolls or other irrops, etc.).
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Old Feb 26, 19, 6:23 pm
  #504  
 
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Is it possible to upgrade a companion on a separate PNR using 500 mile upgrades ?
They are also booked in a different cabin then I am.

Currently booked in First class but my companion is booked on a separate PNR in Main Cabin.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 12:58 am
  #505  
 
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post
Is it possible to upgrade a companion on a separate PNR using 500 mile upgrades ?
They are also booked in a different cabin then I am.

Currently booked in First class but my companion is booked on a separate PNR in Main Cabin.
Yes, my buddy does it for colleagues often and they are always separate PNRís. I believe you have to ask at the airport, but not 100% sure on that.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 6:06 am
  #506  
 
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post
Is it possible to upgrade a companion on a separate PNR using 500 mile upgrades ?
They are also booked in a different cabin then I am.

Currently booked in First class but my companion is booked on a separate PNR in Main Cabin.
It's definitely possible to upgrade a companion on a separate PNR, done it oodles of times over the years. You just have to call AA to set it up.

However, I doubt it will be possible in advance in this case as you typically need to be booked in the same cabin to extend upgrade and seating benefits to a companion. However, if the phone agents say no, but you happen to stumble on the rare flight where there are open seats in F at the gate and no one else on the upgrade list, I would certainly ask again at the gate.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:00 am
  #507  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
It's definitely possible to upgrade a companion on a separate PNR, done it oodles of times over the years. You just have to call AA to set it up.

However, I doubt it will be possible in advance in this case as you typically need to be booked in the same cabin to extend upgrade and seating benefits to a companion. However, if the phone agents say no, but you happen to stumble on the rare flight where there are open seats in F at the gate and no one else on the upgrade list, I would certainly ask again at the gate.
Now that Iím starting to think about it and the route I donít think they will end up getting upgraded. Itís not a super popular route but Iím sure itís busy enough as itís to LAX.

any way to get them MCE/preferred seating if Iím in a different cabin ?
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:25 am
  #508  
 
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post


Now that Iím starting to think about it and the route I donít think they will end up getting upgraded. Itís not a super popular route but Iím sure itís busy enough as itís to LAX.

any way to get them MCE/preferred seating if Iím in a different cabin ?
No, no way to extend your preferred seating benefits when you're in a different cabin.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 8:58 am
  #509  
 
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Any thoughts why Republic holds back on Elite upgrades until gate departure?

I should have cleared Sunday for a 2 day platinum upgrade for flight 4390 DCA-RDU on a E175 flight.

All 12 seats were open up until departure time.

The American check in agent said it this were the case on a mainline flight, it would have cleared Sunday.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 9:03 am
  #510  
 
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Originally Posted by chix View Post
Any thoughts why Republic holds back on Elite upgrades until gate departure?
Republic has nothing to do with it. American controls the reservation system and upgrade process.
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