Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

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

Old Jul 28, 15, 1:06 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: united 1k flyer
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)





Print Wikipost

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

Old May 31, 17, 6:12 pm
  #316  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: STL
Programs: AA
Posts: 167
Ok that's sounds good. Thanks for the information! I'll be Plat Pro by the time the trip comes up so hopefully I'll be close to the top for upgrades.
moonwoo is offline  
Old May 31, 17, 7:38 pm
  #317  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Programs: AA, DL, Avis, Enterprise, National, IHG, HH, SPG/MR
Posts: 1,852
Just because there are open seats available does not mean upgrade inventory is available. You could use expertflyer.com to look at available inventory for your flight.
kb9522 is offline  
Old May 31, 17, 11:29 pm
  #318  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: STL
Programs: AA
Posts: 167
Thank you that clarifies things quite a bit!
moonwoo is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 1:53 am
  #319  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SF + PHX
Programs: AA EXP, SPG/Marriott Gold, HH Gold,
Posts: 261
So, maybe I'm bad at searching threads tonight. I've called in and out a few friends on cash+Miles upgrade lists with my ff# and credit card. There's no way that AA should come after their accounts for the miles or ask them for money should the ug clear, correct? This is meant to be a surprise gift, so I want to make sure it goes smoothly (including EF alerts on C for me to try to push through the requests :-) )
Kreative03 is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 10:09 am
  #320  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: SFO
Programs: AY Plat, LH FTL
Posts: 6,726
Originally Posted by MaineFlyer16 View Post
I think you were overcharged. I have done the "partial" upgrade a couple times and only been charged the continental United States upgrade price. Once I was flying BOS-DFW-LAX-LIH…no A seats on LAX-LIH at time of booking, so the agent upgraded me on the Bos-dfw-lax portions for $75 plus 15K. When I got to LAX on the day of travel I was still waitlisted for the LAX-LIH. I cleared there and the agent did not ask for any more money even though I had my credit card out.

More recently, I have a ticket for two booked BOS-LAX-SYD for November. There were no C seats at time of booking. BOS-LAX was down to A2, and I knew if I didn't grab those seats I would never clear that segment. The phone agent did the same thing…instead of charging me the australian upgrade charge (25k+$350pp) she only charged me 15K plus $75 pp for the BOS-LAX portion. I only hope I am so lucky again that they don't collect the difference in the upgrade charges should LAX-SYD clear :P
I have ZRH-JFK-SFO in paid business, with JFK-SFO booked in D. ZRH-JFK is on a 767 with no F.

I thought I could upgrade just JFK-SFO into F for 15K points and no copay, but an agent told me that it would cost 25K points + a copay since the ZRH-JFK is booked in I. Although there was availability on the JFK-SFO segment, she couldn't process the upgrade since there was no availability on the international segment.

I will try again today - I'm traveling with my family, and we have a 3 hour layover in JFK, so the new Flagship Dining followed is definitely of interest.
work2fly is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 10:29 am
  #321  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Programs: AA EP
Posts: 2,203
This makes no sense.

There is no availability needed for zrh JFK since u are already in business classs. Agent just needs to upgrade the JFK sfo -- assuming A class is Avril and charge u the miles and copay.

Originally Posted by work2fly View Post
I have ZRH-JFK-SFO in paid business, with JFK-SFO booked in D. ZRH-JFK is on a 767 with no F.

I thought I could upgrade just JFK-SFO into F for 15K points and no copay, but an agent told me that it would cost 25K points + a copay since the ZRH-JFK is booked in I. Although there was availability on the JFK-SFO segment, she couldn't process the upgrade since there was no availability on the international segment.

I will try again today - I'm traveling with my family, and we have a 3 hour layover in JFK, so the new Flagship Dining followed is definitely of interest.
AAExecPlatFlier is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 10:45 am
  #322  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: SFO
Programs: AY Plat, LH FTL
Posts: 6,726
It didn't make sense to me either - why should I have to pay for an international upgrade when it's impossible to upgrade the international segment.

I just got off the phone with another agent who said she could process the upgrades for 15K each and no copay (since we're booked in D) JFK-SFO. We now have F seats and are waiting for the tickets to be reissued.
work2fly is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 11:59 am
  #323  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: WAS
Programs: AS MVP
Posts: 200
Hey all -

Quick question and sorry if this was answered already, did a search and couldn't find this exact question:

Flying DCA-CLT-DUB next week and have a request in for an upgrade with miles+copay. There are seats available on both flights in F, just not upgrade inventory, so I'm waitlisted. The website shows both segments "Type of Upgrade" as "Mileage Upgrade."

My question is whether I should de-link the first segment from the mileage upgrade request, which I assume will cancel the possibility of the 500-mile upgrade if the TATL upgrade hasn't cleared?

Welcome any thoughts and thanks in advance!
neildibiase is offline  
Old Jun 1, 17, 12:37 pm
  #324  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: TPA
Programs: BA Gold; Hilton Diamond; IHG Diamond; Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,669
Originally Posted by neildibiase View Post
Hey all -

Quick question and sorry if this was answered already, did a search and couldn't find this exact question:

Flying DCA-CLT-DUB next week and have a request in for an upgrade with miles+copay. There are seats available on both flights in F, just not upgrade inventory, so I'm waitlisted. The website shows both segments "Type of Upgrade" as "Mileage Upgrade."

My question is whether I should de-link the first segment from the mileage upgrade request, which I assume will cancel the possibility of the 500-mile upgrade if the TATL upgrade hasn't cleared?

Welcome any thoughts and thanks in advance!
You can call AA to have the miles+copay request attached to just the CLT-DUB segment, and then the DCA-CLT segment is an automatic sub-500 request. I did it recently for TPA-MIA-SCL and it worked.
SpammersAreScum is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 8:00 am
  #325  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA EXP & 1MM, SkyTeam Gold, *A Gold, Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, mother's favorite son
Posts: 332
Co-payment Changes?

Hi folks, I can't for the life of me figure out what happens to the co-pay if my plans change. I'm confirmed in Biz from AKL-LAX in 2 weeks' time using miles. Now I need to change the date. The new flight has no C class availability. I know the co-pay is "non-refundable", but is it transferable to the new waitlisted flight? I need to know whether to factor into the cost of changing my flight a potential $700 loss.
Zeffer is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 11:22 am
  #326  
Hilton Contributor BadgeIHG Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: DFW
Posts: 675
Originally Posted by Zeffer View Post
Hi folks, I can't for the life of me figure out what happens to the co-pay if my plans change. I'm confirmed in Biz from AKL-LAX in 2 weeks' time using miles. Now I need to change the date. The new flight has no C class availability. I know the co-pay is "non-refundable", but is it transferable to the new waitlisted flight? I need to know whether to factor into the cost of changing my flight a potential $700 loss.
The co-pay doesn't get charged until you get upgraded. If you haven't been upgraded, just call and cancel the upgrade.
vh_bu98 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 12:36 pm
  #327  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 42,974
Originally Posted by vh_bu98 View Post
The co-pay doesn't get charged until you get upgraded. If you haven't been upgraded, just call and cancel the upgrade.
I would infer from the post that the upgrade has already been processed on current flight but that there is no C class availability on the new flight

Assuming that this is the case, then my understanding is that the co-pay is non refundable

From https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...with-miles.jsp

Originally Posted by AA
Taxes and carrier-imposed fees:
■Co-payment is inclusive of U.S. excise tax (where applicable).
■If original ticket is purchased 2 or more days prior to departure and cancelled up to 24 hours from the time of ticket purchase, co-pay, miles and award processing fees are fully refundable. Outside of the 2 days/24-hour window, co-payment is non-refundable.
but that the upgrade can be transferred across to the new flight if there is availability. If C opens up there would not be another $350 to pay, but if it doesn't , then the $350 paid will have been lost
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 5:08 pm
  #328  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 48
Saw some pretty inexpensive PY fares to icN. Is there no difference in the mileage upgrade cost between discount PY and discount Y? What would be the benefit of booking PY vs. Y if i'm applying a mileage upgrade if they both book into C? Or does the upgrade now only go from Y to PY?
mrja08 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 17, 5:09 pm
  #329  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA EXP & 1MM, SkyTeam Gold, *A Gold, Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, mother's favorite son
Posts: 332
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
I would infer from the post that the upgrade has already been processed on current flight but that there is no C class availability on the new flight
Yes, the upgrade has cleared and the co-pay (& mileage) charged. If they don't clear on the new flight, I lose everything? That seems punitive, since an all-out award redemption costs barely more than twice as many miles and would be refundable for a fee (with no co-pay and no underlying fare.) Last time I use miles to upgrade, if so. I miss being EXP and having SWUs...
Zeffer is offline  
Old Jun 23, 17, 11:32 pm
  #330  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: AZ
Programs: AA Exec Plat; Marriott Plat; HHonors Diamond; Hertz PC
Posts: 199
I read the wiki and most of the posts and did a search on copay.
My question is when I call in to request a mile plus copay upgrade for someone else who is not on my ticket, the agent did not take my CC number but said "we" would get an email if there was an upgrade and would pay then. Is there anyway to make sure my CC is used and I am the one to get alerted now that our tickets have been split?
phxbarcelona is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread