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Airbus A321T / 321T “32B” Transcon JFK <--> LAX / SFO Upgrade Success / Help

Airbus A321T / 321T “32B” Transcon JFK <--> LAX / SFO Upgrade Success / Help

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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:01 am   -   Wikipost
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A321T / 321T / Transcontinental JFK to/from LAX & SFO: Upgrade Success & Assistance


American flies the transcontinental A321T with three classes including solo First and Business pairs that fully recline horizontally. (Note the "32B" designation applies to all Airbus A321-100 and -200 - aircraft with "Sharklets" blended winglets in accord with ICAO standards, including two and three class A321s used by AA.)

It appears demand in J is high, supply less so, making this a tricky upgrade from coach to business. First sometimes looks like there’s good availability until close to departure, and it’s common that this cabin is filled deadheading.

Upgrading is challenging, and Y to J SWU or miles + copay always trumps 500 mile or DODU / courtesy upgrades within an elite tier. (500 mile and courtesy upgrades from Business to First is not allowed).

Remember, upgrade priority for these flights is:
  • Elite status tier
  • SWU & miles and copay
  • Business Extra and “special corporate agency upgrade certificates”
  • 500 mile (“stickers”) and complimentary / DODU upgrades*
  • Award upgrades (CK, EXP, PRO)*
  • Last 12 months’ rolling EQD spend
  • Etc.
*Y to C/J only; C to F not allowed


Cabins will generally not be “rolled” forward (e.g. J to F) to accommodate upgrades.

Those confirmed in Flagship First on these (between JFK and LAX or SFO) can access Flagship Lounges as well as Flagship First Dining at JFK or LAX, or the Admirals Club at SFO (or the LAX TBIT Qantas First lounge).

Related threads:

Aircraft guide: Which Airbus A321? (including “321”, “32B”, A321neo)

A321 Transcon / A321T / "32B" 3 class began service Jan 2014 (consolidated)

Best Business / First seat on AA transcon Airbus A321 / A321T / "32B" (consolidated)

Best Economy / MCE seat on AA transcon Airbus A321 / A321T / 32B (consolidated)

Posts from 2014 through 2016 have been archived, and may be read here.

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Old Feb 20, 19, 8:07 pm
  #316  
PHL
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: PHL, NYC
Programs: AA PLT, DL SLV, UA SLV, MR LTT, HH DIA
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Now that all is said and done, I won't hesitate to pay the $75 + 13,500 points again(15K - 10% bonus). That I cleared the waitlist hours before flight, when I added my name to the list 15 hours before the flight, is kind of amazing since the seat inventory was J2 at the time, and when I cleared there was just J1 showing. There were 8 people on the upgrade list at the time of the flight.

The Flagship lounge experience on both ends of the trip was icing on the cake. Got to LAX 2 hours pre-flight, loaded up on the food and adult beverages. Got on the plane into my window seat and as soon as the engines spooled up for takeoff on runway 25R I had the seat reclined to the 180 position. My eyes were closed before we got off the ground. Killer tailwinds, so the wheels up to touchdown time was about 4.5 hours. I woke about 10 minutes before touching down at JFK. Went to the Flagship lounge after arrival to use the shower, relaxed a bit in the quiet room where only one other person was snoozing and ate breakfast before heading into the city for a full day of work.

Folks - if you don't have an SWU or BXP1, spend the $75 + 13.5K points. Seems a no brainer.....
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:34 am
  #317  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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If you can function on 4.5 hours of sleep you're a better man than me. The $'s and Points is really the way to go if you want to get upgraded.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 5:58 pm
  #318  
PHL
 
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It was better than a few hours of upright, poor sleep in economy. But I did turn in early that night after my day in NYC was done.
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Old Feb 22, 19, 3:29 pm
  #319  
 
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
I won't hesitate to pay the $75 + 13,500 points again(15K - 10% bonus).
Is the "10% bonus" a current or target promotion?
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Old Feb 22, 19, 4:54 pm
  #320  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by ntamayo View Post
Is the "10% bonus" a current or target promotion?
it is from the credit card. You get 10% of your redeemed miles back as one of the perks.
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Old Feb 23, 19, 7:23 am
  #321  
PHL
 
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I should have clarified that part. $75 + 15,000 points, minus a 10% point redemption discount for certain Citi and Barclay cards. I have the Barclay red Aviator that gives this benefit.
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Old Feb 23, 19, 9:23 am
  #322  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Seats (currently) allocated is not the same as seats sold for any class
In J/F it almost always is though.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 12:36 pm
  #323  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Plat / Spirit Elite / National Exec. Elite / Orbitz Plat.
Posts: 3
Looking for some input. I have 29 500 mile upgrades that I know I won't burn through probably ever. I am on the JFK-SFO flight on Tuesday 3/12 @ 4pm. Currently showing 17 J seats available and only 7 assigned seats in MCE (Assuming all PLAT or higher). I know these fill up semi last minute, but being this wide open 13 days beforehand, should I take the risk and try to use my e500s or should I just bite the bullet and go the miles plus copay?
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Old Feb 27, 19, 2:29 pm
  #324  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by Freetrip View Post
Looking for some input. I have 29 500 mile upgrades that I know I won't burn through probably ever. I am on the JFK-SFO flight on Tuesday 3/12 @ 4pm. Currently showing 17 J seats available and only 7 assigned seats in MCE (Assuming all PLAT or higher). I know these fill up semi last minute, but being this wide open 13 days beforehand, should I take the risk and try to use my e500s or should I just bite the bullet and go the miles plus copay?
Miles and Copay doesn't guarantee that you will get the upgrade either. You will have a higher chance of getting the upgrade vs though who didn't use it. Its good to note that Miles & Copay and/or SWU are first to clear, however that's if inventory opens up. Other status holders are able to do the same as you of course. My recommendation would be to call and ask for miles/copay, AA only charges you if you get upgraded so there's really nothing to lose unless of course you want to risk the smaller possibility on the 500 mile upgrades. Best of luck, J is much better on the A321T than Y.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 3:24 pm
  #325  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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Originally Posted by krakendown View Post
Miles and Copay doesn't guarantee that you will get the upgrade either. You will have a higher chance of getting the upgrade vs though who didn't use it. Its good to note that Miles & Copay and/or SWU are first to clear, however that's if inventory opens up. Other status holders are able to do the same as you of course. My recommendation would be to call and ask for miles/copay, AA only charges you if you get upgraded so there's really nothing to lose unless of course you want to risk the smaller possibility on the 500 mile upgrades. Best of luck, J is much better on the A321T than Y.
Actually, if they never open up C prior to the upgrade windows, you can lose out to those listed for 500 mile upgrades. The only time miles and copay are definitely higher on the list is if it is at the gate (and even then, getting an agent to properly code so it's correct is a fool's errand); otherwise, they are coming from different buckets.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:04 pm
  #326  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
Actually, if they never open up C prior to the upgrade windows, you can lose out to those listed for 500 mile upgrades. The only time miles and copay are definitely higher on the list is if it is at the gate (and even then, getting an agent to properly code so it's correct is a fool's errand); otherwise, they are coming from different buckets.
I don't think you're right. 500 mile upgrades come out of R fare bucket and SWU/co-pay come out of bucket C. In the case R opens up before C (not often in my experience), then you get lucky and your complimentary/500 mile upgrades clear and you will not be charged for a SWU or co-pay. I don't believe there is any case where you're put at a disadvantage in the pecking order, within your status tier, for choosing SWU/co-pay over 500 mile upgrades. Someone please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:38 pm
  #327  
 
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Originally Posted by Finsup72 View Post
I don't think you're right. 500 mile upgrades come out of R fare bucket and SWU/co-pay come out of bucket C. In the case R opens up before C (not often in my experience), then you get lucky and your complimentary/500 mile upgrades clear and you will not be charged for a SWU or co-pay. I don't believe there is any case where you're put at a disadvantage in the pecking order, within your status tier, for choosing SWU/co-pay over 500 mile upgrades. Someone please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
Thats what I thought too.

Im kicking myself because my JFK-LAX flight tomorrow was showing the SWU upgrade
availability from main cabin to Business earlier this week (which is also rare) and I decided to wait it out for the Comp upgrade and now the cabin is full :/
AANYC1981 is offline  
Old Feb 27, 19, 8:38 pm
  #328  
 
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Originally Posted by Finsup72 View Post
I don't think you're right. 500 mile upgrades come out of R fare bucket and SWU/co-pay come out of bucket C. In the case R opens up before C (not often in my experience), then you get lucky and your complimentary/500 mile upgrades clear and you will not be charged for a SWU or co-pay. I don't believe there is any case where you're put at a disadvantage in the pecking order, within your status tier, for choosing SWU/co-pay over 500 mile upgrades. Someone please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
This is exactly the point that you said I didn't make that I did - that 500 upgrades will clear before SWUs (or Miles and copay) within the window if they don't open C space. Reading comprehension? 🤷.♂️
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Old Feb 27, 19, 8:39 pm
  #329  
 
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post


Thats what I thought too.
Again. Reading comprehension.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:32 pm
  #330  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Thanks all in this thread for helping me successfully navigate a JFK-SFO-JFK booking. I have a quick trip -- JFK-SFO this Friday evening (6:30 p.m.), back on the redeye SFO-JFK Saturday night (11:15 p.m.). I just bought the tickets in the past few days and this was my strategy that paid off:

-for JFK-SFO, there were 9 seats open a week out. I set an EF alert for C. It popped up (C1) but in the night while meeting services was closed. By morning, it was gone again. Only 7 seats were left open (on the seat map... and it was J7). I set another EF alert for C and went ahead and bought the "G fare" ticket ($243, instead of a $228 "S" fare that would not be upgradeable with a BXP1). Sure enough, a few hours later (5ish days before departure), the EF alert came in again (C1) and I was able to call and secure the upgrade. I did not at all feel comfortable waiting this out for an e-500 upgrade, but I wanted to fly AA if I could, so I figured I would buy the ticket, attempt to upgrade, and then cancel (within 24 hours) and book the cheapest available airline's premium class if it didn't work out. But it did . And the flight is now J0 so I'm glad I spent the BXP1.

-for SFO-JFK, there were 14 seats open 8 days out, there was ample C availability (C4) and coach was sparsely occupied, so I decided that I would buy my ticket at ~120 hours out, see whether I cleared the comp e500 upgrade at the window (and if not, then I'd pay the $15 upfare and burn another BXP1). So I just bought the cheaper "S" fare, and indeed, I cleared at about 104 hours out for free. There are still 11 open seats and C4.

Anyhow, this thread gave me the hope of clearing an e500 upgrade when C was consistently available on the SFO-JFK flight, and I was glad to be able to get the free upgrade and save the BXP1. (For non-Business Extra members, BXP1s use the same upgrade inventory as SWUs and miles/copay but they don't work on B/N/O/Q/S fares.)
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