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, 12:06 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 Nov 21, 22, 9:47 am
  #916  
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: RDU/BKK
Programs: AA Gold
Posts: 89
It's very likely I'm just missing something very obvious in the rules, but is it true that the ticket has to be on AA stock in order to request a mileage upgrade? I have a JL ticket that includes an AA transcon segment booked, as far as I can tell, with an AA flight number and has an AA record locator as well. I saw that it was booked into D fare and so I figured it could be a fun opportunity to try for a mileage upgrade to F without copay, but when I called in the agent told me that they can't touch a JL ticket even to process a mileage upgrade.
prathetkrungthep is offline  
Old Nov 26, 22, 9:34 pm
  #917  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Live: PWM/KBXM/BGR; Work: DCA/DFW/Everywhere; Play: LAS/AUA/MIA/MLE
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, Hyatt Glob, Marriott Ambassador/LTP, Nat'l Exec Elite, mlife Noir, LEYE Gold
Posts: 6,108
Not sure if this has been reported but, as a data point, EXPs can use miles & copay to upgrade basic economy tickets for themselves and at least 1 companion. I just booked DFW-BOS for me + 1, and C space was available on my desired flight, so I called in and was going to burn two SWUs, but I asked the agent and sure enough the 15k+$75 per ticket worked just fine. BE was $157, Y was $187, discount J was $660, so there seemed to be no good reason not to book BE and confirm the upgrade.
dc10forlife and 355F1 like this.
platbrownguy is offline  
Old Nov 26, 22, 10:25 pm
  #918  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 1,265
Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
Not sure if this has been reported but, as a data point, EXPs can use miles & copay to upgrade basic economy tickets for themselves and at least 1 companion. I just booked DFW-BOS for me + 1, and C space was available on my desired flight, so I called in and was going to burn two SWUs, but I asked the agent and sure enough the 15k+$75 per ticket worked just fine. BE was $157, Y was $187, discount J was $660, so there seemed to be no good reason not to book BE and confirm the upgrade.
even better when you book $500 or so roundtrip to Europe in BE and use miles and copay or SWU and it makes no difference if you have regular Y or PE ticket
gateH15 is offline  
Old Nov 27, 22, 8:05 am
  #919  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Live: PWM/KBXM/BGR; Work: DCA/DFW/Everywhere; Play: LAS/AUA/MIA/MLE
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, Hyatt Glob, Marriott Ambassador/LTP, Nat'l Exec Elite, mlife Noir, LEYE Gold
Posts: 6,108
Originally Posted by gateH15 View Post
even better when you book $500 or so roundtrip to Europe in BE and use miles and copay or SWU and it makes no difference if you have regular Y or PE ticket
Yeah I've done that for Europe but that 25k+$350 is what I value a SWU at. So kind of sucks to burn SWU on a domestic that can be done for 15k+$75, which I thought I would have to do given that the language on AA's mileage upgrade web page just says that you can't do it on BE tickets full stop. But I correctly assumed that they simply hadn't updated the mileage upgrade page after they started allowing EXPs to use SWUs on BE.
LowValueCustomer likes this.
platbrownguy is offline  
Old Dec 9, 22, 12:52 pm
  #920  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 218
If I cancel Miles+Copay, how fast would the TOD-style buy-up show up again?
AB Dada is offline  
Old Dec 13, 22, 9:45 pm
  #921  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Programs: AA EXP, B6 Mosaic, UA 1K/MM, WoH Globalist, HH Diamond
Posts: 680
If Miles + Copay hasn’t cleared and you are within the 100 hour EXP window, I assume if you call to cancel the Miles + Copay, you forfeit the the copay?
Infinite1K is offline  
Old Dec 14, 22, 4:51 am
  #922  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 10,189
Originally Posted by Infinite1K View Post
If Miles + Copay hasnt cleared and you are within the 100 hour EXP window, I assume if you call to cancel the Miles + Copay, you forfeit the the copay?
If the upgrade hasn't cleared then you haven't paid the co-pay. Your card only gets charged when the upgrade cleared.
Infinite1K likes this.
JJeffrey is online now  
Old Dec 24, 22, 2:12 pm
  #923  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: SEA
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 294
Question regarding PE (W) -> Business. Chat agent is quoting it as 25,000 miles + $350 on a W fare US to Europe.

Is this a HUCA situation, or is there some distinction between W-up / discount W fare and full fare W that we're missing for when the rate is 25K+$350 versus 15K+$0?

Follow up: it was, in fact, a HUCA situation. Third agent processed it correctly.

Last edited by logicalrealist; Dec 27, 22 at 6:52 am Reason: Follow up.
logicalrealist is offline  
Old Dec 24, 22, 2:26 pm
  #924  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: New York
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 228
I only have 1 SWU in my account. I intend to waitlist upgrades for myself and a companion for an upcoming flight, so I'd likely waitlist a SWU and a mileage upgrade for myself and my companion. I know that 2x SWU upgrades will remain linked and my companion will inherit the same upgrade priority as myself, but does anyone know if the SWU + mileage upgrade case retains the same upgrade priority as well?
Martellus is offline  
Old Feb 3, 23, 11:44 am
  #925  
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 102
Originally Posted by logicalrealist View Post
Question regarding PE (W) -> Business. Chat agent is quoting it as 25,000 miles + $350 on a W fare US to Europe.

Is this a HUCA situation, or is there some distinction between W-up / discount W fare and full fare W that we're missing for when the rate is 25K+$350 versus 15K+$0?

Follow up: it was, in fact, a HUCA situation. Third agent processed it correctly.
Did you purchase an upsell prior to requesting the miles + copay upgrade? I had a similar experience last night with an agent. I purchased an upsell from economy to premium economy about a week ago and called in last night to waitlist a miles + copay upgrade to business.

After about 15 min on hold, the agent came back and said it would only be 15k miles since I had a W fare.

The problem I have is that the app or website doesn't show that a mileage award has been requested.
jsimon926 is offline  
Old Mar 17, 23, 1:02 pm
  #926  
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: IAD, DCA
Programs: AA Platinum, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,521
I recently requested the first miles+copay upgrade in many years. (Not a very long flight, but hey it's a vacation and I consider miles basically worthless for flight awards now.) They must have opened up inventory since about a week later the reservation showed no seat assignments and when I went to the seat map it was for first.

It's been more than a week since then, and no charge on my credit card and the miles are still in my account. When do they usually charge these? The "upgrades" link in the app also still says the upgrade is "requested - mileage award."
chazas is offline  
Old Mar 17, 23, 1:17 pm
  #927  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 10,189
Originally Posted by chazas View Post
I recently requested the first miles+copay upgrade in many years. (Not a very long flight, but hey it's a vacation and I consider miles basically worthless for flight awards now.) They must have opened up inventory since about a week later the reservation showed no seat assignments and when I went to the seat map it was for first.

It's been more than a week since then, and no charge on my credit card and the miles are still in my account. When do they usually charge these? The "upgrades" link in the app also still says the upgrade is "requested - mileage award."
It's likely that your upgrade has cleared but it just hasn't been reticketed yet, just call AA and they can push it along.
JJeffrey is online now  
Old Mar 17, 23, 2:10 pm
  #928  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP, LT Gold
Posts: 3,071
Originally Posted by chazas View Post
The "upgrades" link in the app also still says the upgrade is "requested - mileage award."
I used miles+copay to upgrade LHR-DFW to J a couple months ago at booking. It said "Requested - mileage award" in my app for the flight all the way through flying the actual flight. Weird.
econometrics is offline  
Old Mar 20, 23, 11:29 am
  #929  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by econometrics View Post
I used miles+copay to upgrade LHR-DFW to J a couple months ago at booking. It said "Requested - mileage award" in my app for the flight all the way through flying the actual flight. Weird.
How long after did they charge your card and take the miles from your account? I requested an upgrade with miles and copay about 3 weeks ago for flight next week to Doha. Last week app showed upgraded to business and new seats selected. But still showing upgrades as requested-Milage award. No money or
miles taken yet I dont think they are giving complementary upgrades lol. Flight still showing half empty in business.
Peng1606 is offline  
Old Mar 20, 23, 12:42 pm
  #930  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP, LT Gold
Posts: 3,071
Originally Posted by Peng1606 View Post
How long after did they charge your card and take the miles from your account? I requested an upgrade with miles and copay about 3 weeks ago for flight next week to Doha. Last week app showed upgraded to business and new seats selected. But still showing upgrades as requested-Milage award. No money or
miles taken yet I dont think they are giving complementary upgrades lol. Flight still showing half empty in business.
Ha! Yeah its been a mixed bag for me. They deducted the miles and captured the $ quickly. And my ticket showed biz and a biz seat. But it kept saying upgraded requested in my app. Weird. Everything went off just fine.

But now Ive used AA miles to upgrade a BA codeshare and they havent taken the miles. Im in J, though. That flight is this coming weekend, so we will see.
econometrics is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread