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FAQ: Miles + Copay Upgrade / Upgrades (master thread)

Old Jul 28, 2015, 12:06 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Prospero
Mileage and copayment upgrades on American Airlines

As of May 20, 2017 upgrade prioritization is:
  1. Elite status
    1. Concierge Key
      • Executive Platinum
        • Platinum Pro
          • Platinum
            • Gold
    • Upgrade type
      1. Miles and copay award upgrades and systemwide upgrades (SWU)
        • 500 mile upgrades on purchased tickets (including EXP complimentary UDU)
          • 500 mile upgrades on upgrade eligible awards (including EXP complimentary UDU)
      • Elite qualifying dollars* in the past 12 months
        • Booking class (in order, J, D, I, W, P, Y, H, K, M, L, V, G, S, N, Q, O, T)
          • Time of request


Enjoy a higher cabin of service Link.

Use your AAdvantage miles to upgrade on flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or American Eagle for yourself or anyone you designate.

Upgrades are valid to the next cabin of service* and are valid for a single one-way trip with a maximum of three segments. Upgrades are subject to capacity controls. Excluding award tickets, the following eligible fare types can be upgraded:
  • Discount Economy with published fares booked in H,K,M,L,W,V,G,Q,N,O,S and
    • Military or Government fares booked in Y
      • Full-Fare Economy with published fares booked in Y
        • Discount Premium Economy with published fares booked in P
          • Full-Fare Premium Economy with published fares booked in W
            • Discount Business with published fares booked in I
              • Full-Fare Business with published fares booked in J, D or R
                • Basic Economy fares booked in B are not upgradable

*E.g. Economy to Business, Business to three class First. At this time Premium Economy is treated as Economy for upgrade purposes.

See the chart here for cost in miles and dollars.

NOTE: The most expensive fare classes, full fare Economy Y, full fare Premium Economy W, and full fare Business J, may be upgraded without copay and at a lower cost in miles. See here.

Taxes and carrier-imposed fees:

Co-payment is non-refundable and inclusive of U.S. excise tax where applicable.

Mileage upgrade award tickets are subject to applicable taxes and security fees and may incur additional taxes as a result of upgrading to a higher class cabin (includes higher U.K. Air Passenger Duty If Flight originates in the UK or is a connecting flight with a connection time of 24:00 or more)..)
  • Upgrading from Economy Class to Business Class or First Class may result in additional premium cabin taxes and carrier-imposed fees, including but not limited to flights originating in Great Britain and France.
    • If the ticket is priced in USD, the additional taxes and carrier-imposed fees will be converted to USD at the time of ticketing.
      • Please contact American Airlines Reservations to obtain applicable taxes and carrier-imposed fees for specific itineraries.


NOTE:

Miles and copay upgrades are to the next available cabin of service, are based on inventory being available, usable on AA marketed and operated flights (not codeshares operated by other airlines, not on other airlines' prime flights - BA and IB allow miles upgrades with AA miles but are very different and therefore not treated here).

See AA Participating Airline Upgrade Award - BA, IB, including codeshares (master thd), and note one class of service means Y to PE, PE to J, J to F where available on BA.

If the required inventory exists, they can be booked positively (i.e. upgraded immediately); if not, the request is wait listed. Wait list clearance is by status (EXP highest, no status lowest), and within status priority is by rolling 12 month EQD spend. Elites can have one traveling companion on the same PNR "borrow" their status for upgrade wait list purposes, until the request goes to the airport list, where you may want to assure your travel companion continues to hold your borrowed status for upgrade purposes.

Copays are waived for CK on all flights.
Frequently Asked Questions / FAQ:

Q. It says the upgrade fees are nonrefundable. Do I lose my miles and money if I'm not upgraded?

If your upgrade request does not go through, miles and copay are in fact refunded.

Q. If I am waitlisted, in what priority order are upgrades processed?

Upgrades are processed first by AAdvantage status tier, secondarily by type of upgrade, thirdly by the previous rolling 12 month EQD spend.

Q. Which has higher priority if all other preceding factors are the same? An upgraded with miles + copay, or an upgraded with SWU?

They have equal priority. A few reports state copay + upgrade have been given priority at some overseas stations.

Q. How soon will I know if my upgrade came through?

It can happen anytime inventory opens, from the time you book until the time you board. (Your request, including date and time of request, should carry over automatically to the airport list.)

Q. How soon will I know if my upgrade came through?

It can happen anytime inventory opens, from the time you book until the time you board. (Your request, including date and time of request, should carry over automatically to the airport list.)

Q. What happens to my booked seat whilst I'm waitlisted? If my upgrade doesn't come through, do I lose my reserved seat?

You normally retain your booked seat until (if) your upgrade comes through.

Q. How many flights can I upgrade with a single miles plus copay upgrade?

You may (assuming available inventory) upgrade up to three segments on the same ticketed itinerary (e.g. LHR-ORD-MIA-EZE, as long as they are on the same PNR).

Q. Can I look at AAnytime or MileSAAver award space to determine upgrade availability?

No. MileSAAver availability may be a good indication upgrade space may become available, but SAAver and upgrade inventories are separate.

Q. What fare inventory do I need to upgrade?

You need available "C" inventory to upgrade to two class domestic First and three class Business, "A" to three class First. These are not shown on aa.com, but some services (e.g. ExpertFlyer) do show them. The only way to reliably search for upgrade space on Expertflyer or other services is segment by segment. The reason for this is that by rule if C is available on the stand alone segment then the upgrade is allowed.

Q. I'm Executive Platinum. If I purchase an upgrade for someone without status, will they "borrow" my status for upgrade purposes?

They will if they are flying as your single traveling companion on the same flights. Otherwise, their status will determine their position on the upgrade wait list. This "borrowed" status was previously lost once the flight has gone to airport control; it doesnt now, but it pays to check and see if it has been mismanaged by software - it can be restored when it has passed to airport control.

Q. Which miles earning and fare conditions will apply to my upgraded flights?

You will earn miles (award miles -- RDM -- and EQM) and EQ Dollars credit as determined by your originally purchased fare, and the applicable fare rules will also be determined by your originally purchased fare.

Older posts can be read in ARCHIVE: FAQ: Miles + Copay Upgrade / Upgrades (consolidated)





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FAQ: Miles + Copay Upgrade / Upgrades (master thread)

Old May 27, 2016, 8:49 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 6
I checked online to make sure there were AAnytime business/first awards available. Assuming that the website was correct then I should be okay, correct?

If the rewards were not available I would definitely still want business/first. Are there any fees to upgrade (paying cash) on the same flight from discount economy to business/first beyond the obvious ticket difference?
ryanNY is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 9:04 am
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 3,049
Originally Posted by ryanNY
I checked online to make sure there were AAnytime business/first awards available. Assuming that the website was correct then I should be okay, correct?
Wrong.

An AAnytime award is just another way to buy an open seat in that class on that flight, Presence of such an award just means they have seats for sale and has nothing to do with upgrade awards.

The availability of a SAAver Award can be a good clue that there might be upgrade inventory open but it is not certainty.

You can either phone and ask about upgrade inventory for your flight or you can use a service like ExpertFlyer.com (which has a free trial I believe).

Originally Posted by ryanNY
If the rewards were not available I would definitely still want business/first. Are there any fees to upgrade (paying cash) on the same flight from discount economy to business/first beyond the obvious ticket difference?
In general fees other than the difference in fare are usually waived when paying to upgrade a coach fare to a business/first fare, but do consider that if you wait to see if the upgrade will clear, the closer you get to departure the more expensive the remaining seats in the premium cabins are likely to get...
Mark_T is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 9:28 am
  #18  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,948
Originally Posted by ryanNY
Good Morning,

I was planning a trip to Hawaii from JFK. My plan was to call AA, book discount economy seats, then use 15,000 points + $175 to upgrade to business/first class.

My questions are:

Am I correct that I will be allowed to do this?

Will I have to pay a phone booking fee as the upgrade requires a call?

Will I earn EQM's and Miles based on the discount economy booking, business/first, or do I lose them all?

Thanks
It's actually upgrade with miles (and copay) . We've merged your query into the existing thread. Please read the wikipost at the top of the page.

We encourage members to search for existing information prior to starting a new thread. This often reveals information other members have taken the time and made the effort to share, and reduces information fragmentation.

Thank you.

/Moderator
JDiver is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 9:35 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Programs: AA 1.6MM EXP; UA GS; SPG LTG,Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,477
Originally Posted by ryanNY
Good Morning,

I was planning a trip to Hawaii from JFK. My plan was to call AA, book discount economy seats, then use 15,000 points + $175 to upgrade to business/first class.

My questions are:

Am I correct that I will be allowed to do this?

Will I have to pay a phone booking fee as the upgrade requires a call?

Will I earn EQM's and Miles based on the discount economy booking, business/first, or do I lose them all?

Thanks
In order:

Yes - assuming the necessary inventory (A) is available on your flights. Otherwise it goes to waitlist

Unless you are EXP, I believe you will have to pay the phone fee. Also note the miles and copay are per person, per direction of travel.

You will earn EQM and RDM per the class (inventory bucket) you paid for. Not the upgraded class of travel.

So pretty much yes (with the waitlist caveat), unfortunately yes and I'm afraid so.

Last edited by JDiver; May 27, 2016 at 10:13 am Reason: Correct post attribution
scnzzz is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 10:16 am
  #20  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,948
Originally Posted by scnzzz
In order:

Yes - assuming the necessary inventory (A) is available on your flights. Otherwise it goes to waitlist

Unless you are EXP, I believe you will have to pay the phone fee. Also note the miles and copay are per person, per direction of travel.

You will earn EQM and RDM per the class (inventory bucket) you paid for. Not the upgraded class of travel.

So pretty much yes (with the waitlist caveat), unfortunately yes and I'm afraid so.
Those operations that can not be accomplished using aa.com incur no telephone fees.

The wait list is based first on status, and within status tiers by those purchasing full Y fare and then by date and time of request.

OP, there is a "FAQ" section in the wikipost at the top of the page.
JDiver is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 10:44 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: US
Programs: AAdvantage
Posts: 1,753
Originally Posted by JDiver
It's actually upgrade with miles (and copay) . [/COLOR]
Though I suppose "points" is now more accurate considering that earning rates will no longer be tied to mileage.
ThreeJulietTango is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 11:05 am
  #22  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,948
Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango
Though I suppose "points" is now more accurate considering that earning rates will no longer be tied to mileage.
They're still called miles (Award Miles), even though there will be not much "point" for some fares.
JDiver is offline  
Old May 27, 2016, 3:08 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Programs: BA SILVER, AA EXEC PLAT
Posts: 50
Hey. I'm flying LAX-JFK-ATL-ORD-LAX over 4 days next week. If I want to use miles +co pay, will I have to pay 15k +$75 for each sector or can some sectors be combined. Each sector is on a separate day. Sorry new to AA Plat and still trying to get my head around all the info. Any help is greatly appreciated :-)
atlantic1 is offline  
Old Jun 10, 2016, 12:30 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 40
Conflicted about Upgrade Using Miles Upgrade Priority

Recently did annual trip to LIH from JFK -- all segments were upgraded using miles except one LIH-LAX.
Tickets were purchased in September for the May trip and we were the only persons at the time on the flight...I have Gold status.
Before going over to LIH at the Admirals Club in LAX is asked about the upgrade as it had not cleared....the Angel told me to make sure that the GA at LIH knew I had used miles for the upgrade and that it had not cleared.....and that this would take precedent over status upgrades....
Well I was not upgraded but another person was ----
This is the response from AA

Not all first/business class seats are available to be upgraded with miles. While your friend did receive a seat paid with miles, our upgrade awards are capacity controlled.
Because your seating upgrade was not confirmed, the request will be automatically transferred to the Airport Upgrade List when you check in. The order of the upgrade list will be determined first by elite status, then by the date/time the original upgrade request was made.
Based off of this information, regardless or the date/time the original upgrade request was made, a person with a higher status would be provided the upgraded seat, which was the case in your situation.

Is this the case that status tops miles and a paid ticket?

Thanks
VIGONE is offline  
Old Jun 10, 2016, 12:40 pm
  #25  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,948
Originally Posted by VIGONE
Recently did annual trip to LIH from JFK -- all segments were upgraded using miles except one LIH-LAX.
Tickets were purchased in September for the May trip and we were the only persons at the time on the flight...I have Gold status.
Before going over to LIH at the Admirals Club in LAX is asked about the upgrade as it had not cleared....the Angel told me to make sure that the GA at LIH knew I had used miles for the upgrade and that it had not cleared.....and that this would take precedent over status upgrades....
Well I was not upgraded but another person was ----
This is the response from AA

Not all first/business class seats are available to be upgraded with miles. While your friend did receive a seat paid with miles, our upgrade awards are capacity controlled.
Because your seating upgrade was not confirmed, the request will be automatically transferred to the Airport Upgrade List when you check in. The order of the upgrade list will be determined first by elite status, then by the date/time the original upgrade request was made.
Based off of this information, regardless or the date/time the original upgrade request was made, a person with a higher status would be provided the upgraded seat, which was the case in your situation.

Is this the case that status tops miles and a paid ticket?

Thanks
Yes; for all kinds of requested upgrades, this is true.

Status establishes upgrade priority (Executive Platinum and Gold would have their upgrades over yours), and then within status tiers priority is by request date.

Next year some time (we don't know when just yet), upgrade priority will be

First, by status tier level: Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum, Gold, non-status;

secondly, by recent EQD spend, ultimately by rolling last 12 month EQD spend.
JDiver is offline  
Old Jun 10, 2016, 10:02 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 91
Do mileage upgrades, SWUs, and 500 mile upgrades all compete for priority in the same bucket? That is, do higher status people in the queue for X inventory trump lower status in the queue for A? (In my case, as part of a 2 leg itinerary where I'm already confirmed in C for the international leg.)
bacampbe is offline  
Old Jul 26, 2016, 10:40 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NYLON - AA EXP 1MM, SPG Gold
Posts: 1,234
Does anyone have an answer to the above post?

I'd like to fly BOS-MIA-MEX with a night in Miami - would this be one upgrade award or two (assuming I am not on the last flight in / first flight out)?
1/4MM@20 is offline  
Old Jul 26, 2016, 10:53 pm
  #28  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Posts: 27,730
Originally Posted by 1/4MM@20
Does anyone have an answer to the above post?

I'd like to fly BOS-MIA-MEX with a night in Miami - would this be one upgrade award or two (assuming I am not on the last flight in / first flight out)?
I'd think one.
JonNYC is offline  
Old Jul 26, 2016, 11:59 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: LGA, JFK, LAX, SFO
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 302
Originally Posted by 1/4MM@20
Does anyone have an answer to the above post?

I'd like to fly BOS-MIA-MEX with a night in Miami - would this be one upgrade award or two (assuming I am not on the last flight in / first flight out)?
1
brc757rr is offline  
Old Aug 1, 2016, 8:33 pm
  #30  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Programs: AA, onePass
Posts: 317
Need Advice: Direct Flight CNX Now 2 segments

AA Gold Status

Booked DFW-UIO direct, non-stop flight in February 2016 for 12/24 and requested UG w/ Miles + $$$........got notice today of schedule change, original flight no longer flys on that day of week.

In speaking to AA rep to reorganize our flight via MIA.....I asked if my upgrade request using Miles + Cash is still showing for new flights....she said it was and then she came back and said the DFW-MIA segment just cleared but the MIA-UIO had not yet. I asked about the difference in cash required for just the one segment vs both, given when initially requested back in February it was for the nonstop flight all the way to Quito which is 15k miles + $150 PP. she said I would only be charged $75 PP for the 1st segment and then additional $75 if the 2nd segment clears.

An hour later I received the Ticketing email and it showed a charge of $300 ($150 PP) for my husband and I and 30k miles were taken out of my account. Now I know a domestic UG Miles + $ is 15k (same # of miles) but only $75 PP.....so I was confused by it showing $300 instead of $150.

I checked my CC and there is a $300 charge pending.

Is this typical of UG with miles + $ ? This is the first time I have ever done this so I have no experience.

Am I going to have to request refund of $150 if the 2nd segment does not clear???? I really don't like being charged for something I have not received yet.

I could use others wisdom and experience as to how this process works.

Thank you all for your help in advance.
nalismom is offline  

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