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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 Aug 8, 2016, 5:48 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 72
One last question. What is the order they will process the wait list?

Will my semi-paid upgrade process before or after exp, plat & gold?

I assume SWU will go first since seats are available for sale, then what? I have requested also to use 500 mile upgrades I have but was told that is lower in terms of order.
machong is offline  
Old Aug 8, 2016, 7:05 pm
  #47  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,946
Originally Posted by machong
One last question. What is the order they will process the wait list?

Will my semi-paid upgrade process before or after exp, plat & gold?

I assume SWU will go first since seats are available for sale, then what? I have requested also to use 500 mile upgrades I have but was told that is lower in terms of order.
Status, followed within status level by time and date of request. Please read the Wikipost at the top of the page.

We have merged your query into the existing page - no sense reinventing te wheel, or ignoring what others have taken the time and effort to post. /Moderator
JDiver is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 6:25 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SEA
Posts: 2,024
Invalid Upgrade?

I have a reservation with an AA confirmation code on AA metal but Qantas ticket stock.

I was able to get waitlisted for a miles + cash upgrade to business on the LAX-AKL flight. I received a confirmation from AA that I was waitlisted.

My upgrade cleared but I couldn't pick a seat. I called in and they told me that because it is on Qantas ticket stock that the upgrade is invalid.

Why would AA put me on a waitlist, take my credit card number, send me a confirmation of being put on the waitlist, clear the upgrade, only to tell me that the upgrade was invalid and that I would need to travel in Economy?
Single_Flyer is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 7:20 pm
  #49  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,946
Originally Posted by Single_Flyer
I have a reservation with an AA confirmation code on AA metal but Qantas ticket stock.

I was able to get waitlisted for a miles + cash upgrade to business on the LAX-AKL flight. I received a confirmation from AA that I was waitlisted.

My upgrade cleared but I couldn't pick a seat. I called in and they told me that because it is on Qantas ticket stock that the upgrade is invalid.

Why would AA put me on a waitlist, take my credit card number, send me a confirmation of being put on the waitlist, clear the upgrade, only to tell me that the upgrade was invalid and that I would need to travel in Economy?
Because their outdated IT allowed it but it isnt allowed, most likely.
JDiver is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 7:30 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Programs: AA EP
Posts: 2,203
Originally Posted by Single_Flyer
I have a reservation with an AA confirmation code on AA metal but Qantas ticket stock.

I was able to get waitlisted for a miles + cash upgrade to business on the LAX-AKL flight. I received a confirmation from AA that I was waitlisted.

My upgrade cleared but I couldn't pick a seat. I called in and they told me that because it is on Qantas ticket stock that the upgrade is invalid.

Why would AA put me on a waitlist, take my credit card number, send me a confirmation of being put on the waitlist, clear the upgrade, only to tell me that the upgrade was invalid and that I would need to travel in Economy?
Was ur flight LAX AKL BOOKED as AA prime or the QF Codeshare? If AA prime then I don't see why it would be an issue to be on QF stock. At worst, ask an experienced agent for a "grab and go/quick claim" or whatever they are now called where they confirm everything, Pull the award, And then re ticket at the airport.
AAExecPlatFlier is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 7:48 pm
  #51  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SEA
Posts: 2,024
Originally Posted by AAExecPlatFlier
Was ur flight LAX AKL BOOKED as AA prime or the QF Codeshare? If AA prime then I don't see why it would be an issue to be on QF stock. At worst, ask an experienced agent for a "grab and go/quick claim" or whatever they are now called where they confirm everything, Pull the award, And then re ticket at the airport.
I'm not sure the difference between AA Prime or QF codeshare. Sorry, don't fly AA that often.
Single_Flyer is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 7:54 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Single_Flyer
I'm not sure the difference between AA Prime or QF codeshare. Sorry, don't fly AA that often.
Your fight has to be AA operated (AA aircraft) and AA "marketed" (AA flight number.) Not a QF plane w/ AA flight # nor a AA plane with a QF flight #.

Fromt he answer you got, I tend to assume it's one of the latter.
JonNYC is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 8:03 pm
  #53  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SEA
Posts: 2,024
Originally Posted by JonNYC
Your fight has to be AA operated (AA aircraft) and AA "marketed" (AA flight number.) Not a QF plane w/ AA flight # nor a AA plane with a QF flight #.

Fromt he answer you got, I tend to assume it's one of the latter.
That makes sense. It is an AA plane for sure, but guessing I am ticketed with a QF flight number.

Still seems idiotic that AA would put me on the waitlist, take my credit card, confirm I'm on the waitlist, upgrade me to business, only to pull it all back.
Single_Flyer is offline  
Old Aug 9, 2016, 8:10 pm
  #54  
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Posts: 21,422
Originally Posted by pineapplejet
Doesn't it make more sense to use SWU? I mean if you know how to get them.
I assume you meant in a legitimate way, rather than by buying them from someone.
mvoight is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2016, 7:28 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, noted Travel Free Agent
Posts: 460
Wonderful thread. Very informative.

Can someone add the FAQ to the wiki about earning EQM based on the original fare? I finally found my answer, but I figure that it's probably the sort of thing that others may appreciate.
roundtree is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2016, 7:39 am
  #56  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: TPA
Programs: BA Silver; Hilton Gold; IHG Diamond Ambassador; Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,821
Originally Posted by roundtree
Wonderful thread. Very informative.

Can someone add the FAQ to the wiki about earning EQM based on the original fare? I finally found my answer, but I figure that it's probably the sort of thing that others may appreciate.
Welcome to FlyerTalk. Can you clarify what you mean? Does the final Q&A not cover whatever it is you're referring to?

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

You will earn miles as determined by your originally purchased fare, and the applicable fare rules will also be determined by your originally purchased fare.
SpammersAreScum is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2016, 9:53 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, noted Travel Free Agent
Posts: 460
Originally Posted by SpammersAreScum
Welcome to FlyerTalk. Can you clarify what you mean? Does the final Q&A not cover whatever it is you're referring to?
Sorry, the Q that you posted didn't register for me, since I was hunting for "EQM" in my search. That certainly makes it clearer.
roundtree is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2016, 10:18 am
  #58  
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Programs: BA Silver; Hilton Gold; IHG Diamond Ambassador; Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,821
Originally Posted by roundtree
Sorry, the Q that you posted didn't register for me, since I was hunting for "EQM" in my search. That certainly makes it clearer.
Yes, especially considering all the recent changes it might help to emphasize that here "miles" refers to both RDM (award miles) and EQM. Done.
SpammersAreScum is offline  
Old Aug 10, 2016, 12:23 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1
Hello,
When does the copay usually get charged to your credit card? I was upgraded on 7/30 and 8/6 and the miles have been deducted from my account each time but the copay still hasn't appeared on my credit card for either date.
Kflo is offline  
Old Aug 12, 2016, 2:51 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: BOS
Programs: Delta Platinum, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 308
Hello,

I'm flying JFK-LAX-SYD and waitlisted for an upgrade. I was explicitly told that the domestic and international segments would clear together or not at all. Yet now AA's website has me in economy for JFK-LAX but business for LAX-SYD.

What should I do at this point? Request they clear me for JFK-LAX (there's no award inventory)? Ask them to void the upgrade (I'm afraid that will put me back at the bottom of the list)? Thanks!
Debonaire is offline  

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