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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 Oct 1, 2016, 9:35 am
  #106  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: East Coast
Programs: AA CONCIERGE KEY & 1MM, HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 11,970
Originally Posted by AAExecPlatFlier
Based on what paid. So the economy EQM and RDM tables.
Yep, exactly right.
fly747first is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 3:32 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 43
copays for 2 upgrades using miles and $: whose account(s) get charged?

we recently flew from MIA to CDG and used miles with copay to upgrade from coach to business. we used our own credit card to purchase our own tickets but i used miles out of my aadvantage account to upgrade. it was 25,000 miles and $350 to one way. I saw a $350 copay charge on my credit card account when i was expecting to pay for both copays since i requested the upgrades and didn't want her to pay the copay from on her credit card. did american take the 50K miles out of my account but charge us each separately for the $350 copay? She hasn't checked her credit card account yet. i only saw a charge for $350 on my account. i couldn't find an answer to this question after searching here.
lotusfla is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 3:41 pm
  #108  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Park, Metropolis
Programs: AA LT PLT 3MM, Hilton/Marriott/SPG/Club Carlson GLD, IHG PLT
Posts: 4,614
Originally Posted by lotusfla
we recently flew from MIA to CDG and used miles with copay to upgrade from coach to business. we used our own credit card to purchase our own tickets but i used miles out of my aadvantage account to upgrade. it was 25,000 miles and $350 to one way. I saw a $350 copay charge on my credit card account when i was expecting to pay for both copays since i requested the upgrades and didn't want her to pay the copay from on her credit card. did american take the 50K miles out of my account but charge us each separately for the $350 copay? She hasn't checked her credit card account yet. i only saw a charge for $350 on my account. i couldn't find an answer to this question after searching here.
Only AA can answer this.
arollins is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 3:43 pm
  #109  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 3,049
Originally Posted by lotusfla
... we used our own credit card to purchase our own tickets ...
It is normal for them to want to charge the same card as the one used to purchase the ticket, so yes, odds are she will have a $350 charge on her card...

It would be normal for them to want her to authorize that though so not sire what has happened if they didn't contact her...

I've had this kind of issue when using a SWU to upgrade out of LHR which casues additional taxes to be charged.
Mark_T is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 3:55 pm
  #110  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: So Cal
Posts: 948
I also have seen miles from two people go into one account on redeposit. It just happened to my wife and I last week. I cancelled the flights and all of the miles went into my account, even though we both used miles to secure out tickets.
brodielayne is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 5:49 pm
  #111  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 27,311
For the love of whoever, wouldn't it be easier for her to check her credit card account? How in the world is anyone here supposed to know?
ijgordon is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 6:07 pm
  #112  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,407
Originally Posted by ijgordon
For the love of whoever, wouldn't it be easier for her to check her credit card account? How in the world is anyone here supposed to know?
Hahaha exactly. Why on earth wouldn't one check the other statement first?
no1cub17 is offline  
Old Oct 2, 2016, 9:26 pm
  #113  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 158
Originally Posted by ijgordon
For the love of whoever, wouldn't it be easier for her to check her credit card account? How in the world is anyone here supposed to know?
magic
britz is offline  
Old Oct 3, 2016, 6:27 pm
  #114  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, noted Travel Free Agent
Posts: 460
This is covered in the thread <removed circular link post merge>:

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

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

Last edited by Microwave; Oct 4, 2016 at 1:33 am
roundtree is offline  
Old Oct 4, 2016, 8:15 am
  #115  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: AA PLT
Posts: 90
Did try to find the answer to this via search but no luck. I am flying economy HKG-LAX returning LAX-HKG 7 days later. I'm waitlisted for a miles + co-pay upgrade to J on the return leg.

I am AA Plat and BA Gold and the plan was to change my FF number to BA on the outbound as the miles earning is superior to AA. If I change the FF on the outbound will this affect the return upgrade request in anyway if it hasn't cleared yet?
Jeffers8 is offline  
Old Oct 7, 2016, 10:43 pm
  #116  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 14
Question upgrading international flights with mileage points

I have an upcoming flight to Asia. I was thinking of either booking a premium economy on Cathay, or upgrading economy on AA to business.

The cost for a one-way upgrade is 25,000 points + 350.

My questions are:

1)Does the original flight have to be booked through AA? Or can I use a third party website such as Expedia to book the flight, and then upgrade it through AA?

2)If I do book the economy flight, with the intention of upgrading it, will I be guaranteed that an upgrade will be available (I know the answer is no). Since it is not guaranteed, how can I know in advance if the flight I purchase will be upgradable?

Thanks in advance for your help!
shinyam is offline  
Old Oct 7, 2016, 10:55 pm
  #117  
formerly known as daveland
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NY, NY, USA
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Posts: 2,969
You would need C inventory on the AA flight for the upgrade to clear. You would need to either call AA to find out if any flights you are looking at have that inventory (unless you pay for a service like Expert Flyer) and on the chance it is available I would book it on the spot. You could book it online to save the booking fee but an AAgent will need to process the upgrade. You can also waitlist but good chance you wind up stuck in coach that way.

Originally Posted by shinyam
I have an upcoming flight to Asia. I was thinking of either booking a premium economy on Cathay, or upgrading economy on AA to business.

The cost for a one-way upgrade is 25,000 points + 350.

My questions are:

1)Does the original flight have to be booked through AA? Or can I use a third party website such as Expedia to book the flight, and then upgrade it through AA?

2)If I do book the economy flight, with the intention of upgrading it, will I be guaranteed that an upgrade will be available (I know the answer is no). Since it is not guaranteed, how can I know in advance if the flight I purchase will be upgradable?

Thanks in advance for your help!
MilesTalk is offline  
Old Oct 7, 2016, 11:14 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by daveland
You would need C inventory on the AA flight for the upgrade to clear. You would need to either call AA to find out if any flights you are looking at have that inventory (unless you pay for a service like Expert Flyer) and on the chance it is available I would book it on the spot. You could book it online to save the booking fee but an AAgent will need to process the upgrade. You can also waitlist but good chance you wind up stuck in coach that way.
The problem with booking through AA is that the prices are always much higher.

So, could I call AA to see if there are any upgradable flights, and then book that flight on expedia. Then call them again to upgrade with my points?
shinyam is offline  
Old Oct 8, 2016, 5:27 am
  #119  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Programs: AA EXP, SPG GLD, Starbucks (SBUX) Super Duper Executive Gold Global Priority Platinum Prestige
Posts: 69
Originally Posted by shinyam
I have an upcoming flight to Asia. I was thinking of either booking a premium economy on Cathay, or upgrading economy on AA to business.

The cost for a one-way upgrade is 25,000 points + 350.

My questions are:

1)Does the original flight have to be booked through AA? Or can I use a third party website such as Expedia to book the flight, and then upgrade it through AA?

2)If I do book the economy flight, with the intention of upgrading it, will I be guaranteed that an upgrade will be available (I know the answer is no). Since it is not guaranteed, how can I know in advance if the flight I purchase will be upgradable?

Thanks in advance for your help!
1) If you're an elite member, you can request an upgrade through AA regardless if you booked the ticket through a ticketing agency or AA

2) If you are asking will you have a guarantee upgrade, that yes if you book a flight with upgrade inventory available at time of booking. Otherwise, you will be wait listed. You can call into AA and ask about flights with upgradable inventory or use ExpertFlyer and look for the appropriate upgrade class (believe C)
sudden729 is offline  
Old Oct 8, 2016, 8:50 am
  #120  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 14
Thanks for the help sudden. I am surprised none of this is listed on the AA site. It's quite confusing.
shinyam is offline  

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