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ARCHIVE: AA "instant upgrade" (-UP, YUP) fare discount First (master thd)

ARCHIVE: AA "instant upgrade" (-UP, YUP) fare discount First (master thd)

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Old Jan 8, 20, 3:57 am   -   Wikipost
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SIZE="4"]AA "instant upgrade" (-UP) fare

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These are often referred to as "instant upgrade" fares; they upgrade into the class of service P, A or I internationally with positive space; OSO / schedule disruptions mean unless the P, A, D, I etc. fare is offered on the new flight they "downgrade" to Coach on the next available flight. (One can wait for the next flight with P, A, D, I available, but this might require overnights etc. at one's expense.)

Purchasers should carefully read the Detailed Fare Rules, as many of these are, as essentially "instant upgrades", punitive in effect during IROPS / OSO", "change of gauge" aircraft substitutions, cancellations and missed connections because if the necessary fare inventory isn't available one is generally given the option to fly now, in Economy, or wait until such inventory becomes available (which may entail hours or days at the passenger's own expense).

The detailed fare codes for these flights might look like (international) GNE7C0Z1/CRUP or SNE7C0Z1/CRUP, Lxxxx, etc. Reaccommodation in Coach: these particular sample fates will be treated like an N class fare. As well: "The most restrictive set of fare rules applies to the entire itinerary. In addition other fare rules may apply."

In the detailed fare rules, instant upgrade fares may include something like this:

ECONOMY FARE WITH AN INSTANT ONE-CLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE TO FIRST/BUSINESS. APPLICATION CLASS OF SERVICE THESE FARES APPLY FOR ECONOMY CLASS SERVICE. CAPACITY LIMITATIONS SEATS ARE LIMITED BOTH ECONOMY AND FIRST CLASS BOOKING INVENTORIES MUST BE AVAILABLE AT TIME OF BOOKING. THESE FARES PERMIT A ONE-CLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING.
E.G. During irregular operations or missed connections, one may continue in that class of service if A, P, D, I etc. as applicable is available, or the passenger can take a voluntary downgrade to the lower class of service / Y on an earlier flight. Some may do this if waiting for A, P or I requires one or more overnights.

Refunds may be limited to $0.50 per mile to a maximum of $50 per downgraded segment, and are limited to vouchers good for future travel on AA.

Link to compensation offered for an involuntary downgrade of "instant upgrade" fares:

Instant Upgrade tickets are booked in the Main Cabin. However, Instant upgrade ticketholders who travel in the Main Cabin due to an involuntary seat change, equipment change, routing change, flight cancellation, or missed connection as a result of a late incoming flight may request a travel voucher. The voucher value shall be equal to $0.10 per mile, or $50, whichever is greater, for each flight segment flown in the downgraded cabin. Refunds will be rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount, and can be requested at www.aa.com/refunds.
One explanatory post (15 Apr 2015) might be:

Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
...

Just moments ago, I priced out a trip from LAX to DFW, and two different discounted First Class ticket options were presented, the fare class of one was SA00ZNI1 (books into P) and the other was MA00ZRI1 (books into A).

At the bottom of the purchase summary screen, AA provides this warning:

■ First/Business Fares may be an Instant Upgrade and therefore subject to restrictions.
The fare rules for both tickets provide the following as the last entry:

Rule Application
and Other Conditions


NOTE THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS INFORMATIONAL AND NOT VALIDATED FOR AUTOPRICING. ECONOMY FARE WITH AN INSTANT ONECLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE TO FIRST/BUSINESS. APPLICATION CLASS OF SERVICE THESE FARES APPLY FOR ECONOMY CLASS SERVICE. CAPACITY LIMITATIONS SEATS ARE LIMITED BOTH ECONOMY AND FIRST CLASS BOOKING INVENTORIES MUST BE AVAILABLE AT TIME OF BOOKING. THESE FARES PERMIT A ONECLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING.
Why does this matter? Because if I buy either of these tickets and then I decide that I want to fly an earlier or later flight, these fares will not permit me to walk up to the counter and claim a last-minute F seat if my capacity-controlled inventory is not available. For instance, if that last F seat is in F (not P or A), then I'd have to pay the fare difference in order to confirm a change to that seat.

We can (and have for years and years) argued around here that these fare practices are misleading - and I agree. Nevertheless, AA is most certainly still selling what it considers to be "instant upgrade" fares, and savvy travelers should read the fare rules* and plan accordingly.

*Or at least download them to your hard drive as a pdf at the time of reservation/purchase so that others might help decipher them when things go inverted. So often around here, people post questions where reading the fare rules is vital to an accurate answer, and they respond "who reads/saves those when buying a ticket?"

Back to the OP's question: How to find instant upgrade tickets? Nearly every domestic first class fare I've seen on aa.com is an instant upgrade ticket. Finding a domestic first class fare that isn't an instant upgrade fare is quite a chore. The OP can rest assured that if their fare books in P, A or F, they're going to earn their hoped-for tier points. As Microwave pointed out, the best/correct place for that discussion is in the British Airways forum where there are numerous BAEC members with experience in buying and flying on AA's instant upgrade F tickets.
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Old Oct 23, 15, 3:12 pm
  #331  
 
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Has anyone had an IROP with one of these fares and had to push the agent to rebook in FC? I am writing an article on these fares for a national newspaper and am looking to quote someone that has used these tickets before. Please DM if you have something you can share Thanks!
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Old Oct 23, 15, 6:06 pm
  #332  
 
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In addition to SkyTeam777's question regarding the P fare, where exactly in the fare rules does it indicate this fare is actually or even just technically an "instant upgrade" economy fare? Please provide a link.
--------------------
EDIT: In a dummy booking in a P fare, this is what I get when clicking "View Fare Rules" ...https://www.americanairlines.com/res...5646111967-344

I just don't see the language explaining that this is an "instant upgrade."

------
2ND EDIT: I see it states this (as indicated in the Wiki) on the bottom in the "Rule Application and Other Conditions" section:
THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS INFORMATIONAL AND NOT VALIDATED FOR AUTOPRICING. ECONOMY FARE WITH AN INSTANT ONE-CLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE TO FIRST/BUSINESS. APPLICATION CLASS OF SERVICE THESE FARES APPLY FOR ECONOMY CLASS SERVICE. CAPACITY LIMITATIONS SEATS ARE LIMITED BOTH ECONOMY AND FIRST CLASS BOOKING INVENTORIES MUST BE AVAILABLE AT TIME OF BOOKING. THESE FARES PERMIT A ONE-CLASS UPGRADE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING.

But still, this just defines an "instant one-class upgrade" and doesn't make it clear that this P fare is an instant-upgrade.

Last edited by Oakshadow; Oct 23, 15 at 6:35 pm
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Old Oct 23, 15, 6:35 pm
  #333  
 
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Easy, right? How can anyone not know it is an upgrade fare???

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Old Oct 23, 15, 7:25 pm
  #334  
 
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This is why I say it is as close to a deceptive business practice as you can get. It is a one-class upgrade. On a 2-class plane, that's from Y to F, so the airline considers you as having purchased an economy ticket. Anything goes sideways, you're at their mercy. No obligation to get you in F on the next flight, just the next one with space available in F.

Stinks.
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Old Oct 25, 15, 10:19 am
  #335  
 
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Originally Posted by iplaybass View Post
This is why I say it is as close to a deceptive business practice as you can get. It is a one-class upgrade. On a 2-class plane, that's from Y to F, so the airline considers you as having purchased an economy ticket. Anything goes sideways, you're at their mercy. No obligation to get you in F on the next flight, just the next one with space available in F.

Stinks.
Really wish the DOT would get its act together and abolish this practice. If the airline wants to sell you an up-fare, they should be required to transparently market it as an up-fare, not a first class fare.
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Old Oct 25, 15, 10:50 am
  #336  
 
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Originally Posted by iplaybass View Post
This is why I say it is as close to a deceptive business practice as you can get. It is a one-class upgrade. On a 2-class plane, that's from Y to F, so the airline considers you as having purchased an economy ticket. Anything goes sideways, you're at their mercy. No obligation to get you in F on the next flight, just the next one with space available in F.

Stinks.
AA has no obligation to get a full F fare passenger onto the next flight in F during irrops if the F cabin on that flight is full. AA, quite rightly, will not displace a confirmed F passenger to accommodate a new passenger experiencing irrops.

I have never once, during irrops, when traveling on -UP fares in A or P or I been denied rebooking into F or J inventory on the next available flight with space available in the F or J cabin, even when such a flight is F1 A0 P0 or J1 D0 I0. Rebooking for me has always been in the same cabin, into my ticketed booking class or lowest available same cabin booking class up to and including full F or full J.

The only valid complaint I see is that during irrops a *UP passenger chooses to fly in coach, then the refund is meager.

Last edited by Colin; Oct 25, 15 at 10:56 am
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Old Oct 25, 15, 2:08 pm
  #337  
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post
The only valid complaint I see is that during irrops a *UP passenger chooses to fly in coach, then the refund is meager.
Agreed that more often than not this will be the issue.

And it's why I *always* screenshot the coach fare at the time of booking when booking a FC seat, in case I need evidence for the airline, DOT, or SCC. (I never have.) And in fact, on DL, I start off with a coach booking and then screenshot the up-sell page that explicitly says "Fly First Class for only $129 more per person, each way!"
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Old Oct 26, 15, 11:06 am
  #338  
 
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post
AA has no obligation to get a full F fare passenger onto the next flight in F during irrops if the F cabin on that flight is full. AA, quite rightly, will not displace a confirmed F passenger to accommodate a new passenger experiencing irrops.

I have never once, during irrops, when traveling on -UP fares in A or P or I been denied rebooking into F or J inventory on the next available flight with space available in the F or J cabin, even when such a flight is F1 A0 P0 or J1 D0 I0. Rebooking for me has always been in the same cabin, into my ticketed booking class or lowest available same cabin booking class up to and including full F or full J.

The only valid complaint I see is that during irrops a *UP passenger chooses to fly in coach, then the refund is meager.
To clarify: I was stating a fact, not complaining. The OP wondered why AA would not move heaven and earth to get him/her to their destination in F. As I had previously stated, AAs sole obligation is to get you to your destination in the class of service you booked on AA. The issue arises when the choice is between arriving a day or two later, or to fly in Y to arrive within a reasonable time. Then AA states (legally, and that's the part that stinks) that you booked in Y, so you are flying in your purchased class of service, and aren't entitled to IDG compensation.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 8:55 pm
  #339  
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Originally Posted by iplaybass View Post
The issue arises when the choice is between arriving a day or two later, or to fly in Y to arrive within a reasonable time. Then AA states (legally, and that's the part that stinks) that you booked in Y, so you are flying in your purchased class of service, and aren't entitled to IDG compensation.
Well, I think it's more "contractually" than broadly "legally", but beyond the semantics, I don't know if that has ever held up in a court. And I think AA would be loathe to have this practice scrutinized, and thus would be willing to provide the "appropriate" compensation, if pushed, and presented with documentation of the actual fare differential. (Of course given that these current UP fares all have underlying coach fare bases, it's pretty easy for them to determine the up charge retroactively, but I wouldn't rely on them to volunteer it. ExpertFlyer could help with historical fares, but not if it was an AA.com-only fare.)
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:30 am
  #340  
 
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American: Downgraded from paid First Class to Economy

Hello! First post but been reading for years. Thanks for all the insight!

Hope this is the right spot to post. I've searched and found most issues related to downgrades on upgraded tickets using miles, status, etc.

Flew LAX-OGG (Maui) on the new 321 sharklet and was downgraded from a paid first class ticket to economy at time of boarding due to weight imbalance issues. While this was a discounted "P" fare in first, it is still $300 more per ticket, one-way from economy. Fly this route a lot and that is always the fare difference give or take a few bucks.

It wasn't communicated until we literally started to board the plane that we needed to "step aside" because our seats were no longer valid. We were ushered to the ticket counter to wait in line and re-ticket our flight into coach seats (while the rest of the plane continued to board). We were told that it was a "light" flight and for weight balance issues, most of first class would be moved to coach.

To add insult to injury, I recognized that the seat map looked light ahead of time and considered the prospect that it may be canceled and/or there would be some sort of issue. I called AA 2 times over the week preceding the flight and was told there would be no issues. Even asked to be moved to the earlier flight but was told only if I paid the $200 change fee per ticket. Then I get to the airport, 2 hours ahead of flight, and NO ONE tells us about our seats being downgraded until we walked up to board the plane.

American offered me a $100 refund per ticket and that is it. They said that is the fare difference from LA to Maui. LOL Even if I used MILES it would be an extra $175 co-pay! I've been back and forth with the ridiculous email complaint system to no avail. I'm floored that so little has been done and they've been so nonchalant about this. It was absolute chaos at the gate with them rearranging everyone (not just first but much of the plane was reconfigured).

Any thoughts or guidance? For laughs, I emailed Suzanne Rubin and Doug Parker to see if I'd get some sort of response. Nothing.

I feel swindled. I paid for a first class ticket, was sat in economy and offered little to no refund. I'll think twice about booking American first class in the future. Who knows what you'll get at time of boarding.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:34 am
  #341  
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This has been covered a fair amount on FT. Search for "instant upgrade" and you should be able to find a long master thread where this is discussed at length. [When a moderator happens by, they'll probably merge your post into the back of that thread.]

Short answer: It's technically a coach fare with a free instant upgrade, not a true first class fare. So they can downgrade you if necessary, and if you don't want to wait for another fare with A or P availability ,they'll give you a couple of bucks and tell you to go away.

Welcome to FT.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:39 am
  #342  
 
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Originally Posted by ElmhurstNick View Post
This has been covered a fair amount on FT. Search for "instant upgrade" and you should be able to find a long master thread where this is discussed at length. [When a moderator happens by, they'll probably merge your post into the back of that thread.]

Short answer: It's technically a coach fare with a free instant upgrade, not a true first class fare. So they can downgrade you if necessary, and if you don't want to wait for another fare with A or P availability ,they'll give you a couple of bucks and tell you to go away.

Welcome to FT.
Thanks for the reply and guidance!

I'll check those out. I did read about the instant upgrade scenario. Sort of shady because when you book, it's the only fare that comes up for first. I guess you'd have to do an advanced fare search and look for non-refundable first class. 100% of the time when I book paid first class, I guess it's this "instant upgrade" scenario.

It was the last flight of the day and we were offered nothing at the gate. In fact, we got a hefty dose of surly despite the fact that we were pretty calm and understanding. "Give you a couple of bucks and go away" indeed.

Thanks again for your help and insight.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:44 am
  #343  
 
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Make a complaint to DOT. Until enough people complain about the marketing of P fares as FC fares, airlines will continue this kind of behavior. I also like to send a quick note to my congressional representatives.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:48 am
  #344  
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How many seats in F went out empty? Curious if vacating F is the only realistic option here or if more shifts could be made in Y. Raw deal for OP regardless.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 11:48 am
  #345  
 
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I doubt this P fare will go away as I think it is new Yup fare for biz travelers who can only get reimbursed for Y
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