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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)

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Old Mar 13, 19, 10:19 pm
  #346  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 342
Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
You'll need to call to use miles...but please don't! $650 o/w for an upgrade from J to F on this flight is an abysmal value proposition.
hehe ok sounds good, thanks for the advice!
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Old Mar 13, 19, 10:30 pm
  #347  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
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Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
You'll need to call to use miles...but please don't! $650 o/w for an upgrade from J to F on this flight is an abysmal value proposition.
Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
hehe ok sounds good, thanks for the advice!
To each his own... I know at least a handful of folks who would pay $650 to have the 1-1 seating layout for a 5 to 6 hour flight. I wouldn't pay that much personally but would pay the $175 if I had 15,000 miles handy. I got pretty spoiled on the F and was underwhelmed by J recently on SFO-JFK... if you're in a window, you have to climb over your neighbor or awkwardly ask them to step out; the opposite in the aisle. The service in F has almost always been great too. And if you have the chance to use the Flagship First Dining on both ends, that makes the $175+15,000 miles a reasonable value proposition in my book!

Another way to upgrade would be to use a "Business Extra" (BXP1) certificate if you know someone with one to spare.
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Old Mar 13, 19, 11:06 pm
  #348  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: American EXP; British Airways Gold
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
To each his own... I know at least a handful of folks who would pay $650 to have the 1-1 seating layout for a 5 to 6 hour flight. I wouldn't pay that much personally but would pay the $175 if I had 15,000 miles handy. I got pretty spoiled on the F and was underwhelmed by J recently on SFO-JFK... if you're in a window, you have to climb over your neighbor or awkwardly ask them to step out; the opposite in the aisle. The service in F has almost always been great too. And if you have the chance to use the Flagship First Dining on both ends, that makes the $175+15,000 miles a reasonable value proposition in my book!

Another way to upgrade would be to use a "Business Extra" (BXP1) certificate if you know someone with one to spare.
More like an incredible deal.......and incredible deals rarely last forever. Do it while you can.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 12:26 am
  #349  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: BAEC Gold
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
To each his own... I know at least a handful of folks who would pay $650 to have the 1-1 seating layout for a 5 to 6 hour flight. I wouldn't pay that much personally but would pay the $175 if I had 15,000 miles handy. I got pretty spoiled on the F and was underwhelmed by J recently on SFO-JFK... if you're in a window, you have to climb over your neighbor or awkwardly ask them to step out; the opposite in the aisle. The service in F has almost always been great too. And if you have the chance to use the Flagship First Dining on both ends, that makes the $175+15,000 miles a reasonable value proposition in my book!

Another way to upgrade would be to use a "Business Extra" (BXP1) certificate if you know someone with one to spare.
i did fly F a couple of times on this route and got spoiled too.
i guess if $650 was a straight up upgrade via the website maybe I’d consider it, but I need to purchase the miles and then phone in, sounds a bit of a hassle. Especially considering this will be a red-eye so I’m planning to just recline flat and try to catch some sleep. I prefer the aisle seat on J.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 1:03 am
  #350  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
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Posts: 3,777
Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post


i did fly F a couple of times on this route and got spoiled too.
i guess if $650 was a straight up upgrade via the website maybe I’d consider it, but I need to purchase the miles and then phone in, sounds a bit of a hassle. Especially considering this will be a red-eye so I’m planning to just recline flat and try to catch some sleep. I prefer the aisle seat on J.
If your ticket part of a longer complicated itinerary, or just a single segment? You might call to see how much the upgrade would cost -- if it's more than a few days out, there's a good chance that it would only cost $200-500 to pay the fare difference.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 1:52 am
  #351  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: NYC,SFO
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Originally Posted by jcatman View Post
More like an incredible deal.......and incredible deals rarely last forever. Do it while you can.
To each their own, I would say. Flagship Dining is nice, but is the difference from the regular Flagship lounge worth $650, or even $300? Personally, I don't think so. Also, I actually find the herringbone seats on the A321T just as hard as the J seats to get in and out of because of the way they're angled, and I generally prefer the J seat for comfort. I would maybe pay $150 extra for First, but definitely not $175 + 15,000 miles or $650.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 2:52 am
  #352  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York, NY
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
If your ticket part of a longer complicated itinerary, or just a single segment? You might call to see how much the upgrade would cost -- if it's more than a few days out, there's a good chance that it would only cost $200-500 to pay the fare difference.
Yeah, I don't think I've ever seen a $650 fare difference between F and J on this route, so it definitely doesn't make sense to buy miles to upgrade when you can upfare for less. (I agree with the general sentiment that there's not much differentiation between F and J on these planes; save your money and get a nice dinner in town. You can get MUCH better food outside the airpot for even just $175 than anything you'll eat at Flagship Dining.)
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Old Mar 14, 19, 6:43 am
  #353  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: American EXP; British Airways Gold
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
To each their own, I would say. Flagship Dining is nice, but is the difference from the regular Flagship lounge worth $650, or even $300? Personally, I don't think so. Also, I actually find the herringbone seats on the A321T just as hard as the J seats to get in and out of because of the way they're angled, and I generally prefer the J seat for comfort. I would maybe pay $150 extra for First, but definitely not $175 + 15,000 miles or $650.
I use a Business Extra (BXP) upgrade to get into the F cabin. Readily available upgrade that I can apply within minutes of purchasing the business-class ticket. No cash outlay. I agree, to each their own.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 1:13 pm
  #354  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
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Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
Yeah, I don't think I've ever seen a $650 fare difference between F and J on this route, so it definitely doesn't make sense to buy miles to upgrade when you can upfare for less. (I agree with the general sentiment that there's not much differentiation between F and J on these planes; save your money and get a nice dinner in town. You can get MUCH better food outside the airpot for even just $175 than anything you'll eat at Flagship Dining.)
they quoted me $1000+ for purchasing the upgrade on the phone...suddently $650 seems a better deal hehe Flight is March 24, maybe that's why
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Old Mar 14, 19, 3:58 pm
  #355  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
they quoted me $1000+ for purchasing the upgrade on the phone...suddently $650 seems a better deal hehe Flight is March 24, maybe that's why
The three red-eye flights in business are showing $2134, $1989, and $1489 respectively. In first, $2234 for all three.

Presumably it means you bought your ticket for something around $1200, which is a pretty normal business fare. Odds are that with 21+ days advance purchase, first would have been available for around $1400.

I will say that there is "A" availability on all three flights.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 4:44 pm
  #356  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
The three red-eye flights in business are showing $2134, $1989, and $1489 respectively. In first, $2234 for all three.

Presumably it means you bought your ticket for something around $1200, which is a pretty normal business fare. Odds are that with 21+ days advance purchase, first would have been available for around $1400.

I will say that there is "A" availability on all three flights.
My current ticket is a one way in business at $560. They quote me about $1000 to change it to F. I was hoping maybe they would offer it at $400-$50. Again, I'm a total newbie with AA so completely uneducated. BA often offers discounted upgrades close to departure or at the airport, that's why I was inquiring of a possible similar situation with AA transcon.


they are currently running an offer on aa.com with bonus miles when purchasing them so i would have to buy only 11k miles. Maybe it's a decent deal?

** correction, flight is saturday march 23. Is there a way to confirm there's A availability without expertflyer? Maybe via dummy booking or ita matrix? **

Last edited by hyperspace; Mar 14, 19 at 4:49 pm Reason: corrections
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Old Mar 14, 19, 4:50 pm
  #357  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gatwick, UK
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I've just paid the $175 and 15000 miles, but I have four hours in LAX between flights followed by two hours in JFK between flights. Also, I never get paid business class, but this was an upfare from Premium Economy which cost me just $250 to get to I. So, for $425 and 15000 miles I get Business to LAX and across the pond from JFK and First (with Dining) from LAX to JFK, instead of Premium Economy and Economy - which seems like a pretty good deal to me. And not one that is ever likely to come along again.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 5:06 pm
  #358  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
My current ticket is a one way in business at $560. They quote me about $1000 to change it to F. I was hoping maybe they would offer it at $400-$50. Again, I'm a total newbie with AA so completely uneducated. BA often offers discounted upgrades close to departure or at the airport, that's why I was inquiring of a possible similar situation with AA transcon.


they are currently running an offer on aa.com with bonus miles when purchasing them so i would have to buy only 11k miles. Maybe it's a decent deal?

** correction, flight is saturday march 23. Is there a way to confirm there's A availability without expertflyer? Maybe via dummy booking or ita matrix? **
560 for J nice.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 6:02 pm
  #359  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
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Originally Posted by Antarius View Post
560 for J nice.
thought I got lucky! I think they were having a sale last fall when I got purchase it.


thanks to some suggestion up-thread...I gave in.
I purchased miles (with current bonus 11k plus 4k free at $386) and with $175 in cash I secured the upgrade.
gotta say, the phone experience was pretty bumpy but after 40 min or so they were able to sort through the ticket and confirm the upgrade
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Old Mar 14, 19, 6:23 pm
  #360  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Learned something about AA I didn't know yesterday. Lucky for me it happened to someone else.

I was flying to JFK from GIG and had roughly 60 minutes to connect to AA1 when we landed. As I was getting off there was a lady yelling out cities with short connection times. I stopped and mentioned I was going to Los Angeles. She looked up my name, checked something off and handed me a red ticket sleeve and told me to run. Well, I had to wait for my checked bag first, which took a while, and then headed to recheck it.

The lady there grabbed the bag as soon as she saw the red tag and then told me to run to the gate because the flight was already boarding. When I arrived they were already boarding group 4 but no problem my seat was still available (this thread is about upgrade success on this route. I booked it late last year before I had any AA status and all four legs lax-jfk-gig-jfk-lax were upgraded using miles+copay).

About a minute later another guy boarded and was yelling at the flight attendant. He had arrived on the same flight as me but hadn't grabbed one of those red cards and AA automatically reassigned him to a later flight. His seat in business was still empty. He explained that he was an EXP and wanted it back. But, another flight attendant was in the process of giving his seat to someone in coach that received a last minute upgrade. After a few more minutes a gate agent came on and explained to him that she was able guarantee him a seat on the flight but not the business seat. He ended up flying in coach.

I guess the lesson learned is if you have a tight connection to one of these transcon flights make sure to check in with the agent meeting the flight.
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