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FAQ: What's a Systemwide Upgrade / SWU / eVIP / VIP? (Master thread)

FAQ: What's a Systemwide Upgrade / SWU / eVIP / VIP? (Master thread)

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Old Jan 18, 19, 12:56 am   -   Wikipost
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FAQ: What's a Systemwide Upgrade SWU (ex-VIP / VIPOW / "eVIP") 2017 on
Please read this wiki for important information not documented elsewhere.[/center]
NOTE: CHANGES

NOTE: Upgrade waitlist priority is 1) Status, followed by 2) Rolling EQD earning for last 365 days as of 20 May 2017. Link to FT thread.
  • Executive Platinum members automatically earn four SWU when they earn 100,000 EQM (these expire at the end of the following status year).

  • Executive Platinum members will automatically earn two further SWU at 150,000 and 200,000 EQM
(No further SWUs are forthcoming at 250,000 EQM or after, though CK often have access to two more.)

Remember: EQM earning will vary from 0 to 3.0 EQM per base mile, based on eligible fare class and marketing airline, on EQM earning fares.
NOTE: As of January 2017

"The way your upgrade request is prioritized is you'll be listed according to your elite status level followed by (the type of upgrade - SWU and Upgrade Award, aka miles + copay), the number of EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollars) earned in the (rolling) last 12 months."

Upgrades are prioritized first by the following elite status levels:

Concierge Key SM . (up to 120 hours out)
Executive Platinum (up to 100 hours out)
Platinum Pro . . . . (up to 72 hours out)
Platinum . . . . . . . (up to 48 hours out)
Gold . . . . . . . . . . (up to 24 hours out)

After status tier, upgrades are prioritized by the type of upgrade (SWU and miles + copay before 500 Mile e-upgrades / UDU; your last 12 months' Elite Qualifying Dollar spend on AA. See FAQ: Earning EQD / Elite Qualifying Dollars on AA and partner airlines (2017 on) (EQD will include the EQD offset one might earn from spend on their Barclaycard Aviator Red or Silver card, as announced elsewhere in this forum.)

Date of request has no bearing on upgrade priority other than after all other priorities have been met and thereís a highly unlikely tie.

From AA.com... "Before you get to the airport, requests for systemwide and mileage award upgrades are processed independently from 500-mile upgrade requests.

At the airport, upgrades requested will be prioritized in this order:
  1. Status tier (CK, EXP, PPRO, PLT, GLD, no status)

  2. Upgrade type
    • Systemwide and mileage + copay upgrades
    • 500-mile upgrades on purchased tickets
    • 500-mile upgrades on award tickets for eligible status tiers
  3. Rolling last 12 month EQD spend

  4. Fare booking code (highest to lowest )

  5. Date/time of the request

  6. Load Factor Based Upgrades (after all other upgrade requests have been fulfilled)
See: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...am-updates.jsp

Systemwide Upgrade FAQ:

Q. What are Systemwide Upgrades, exactly?


Electronic Systemwide Upgrades, abbreviated SWU, also previously referred to as eVIPs or VIPs, are electronic instruments earned as stated previously. SWU generally allow the owner to upgrade up to three segments, more or less in the same direction, on any flights AA flies with their own aircraft (not valid on partners or codeshares - must be marketed and operated by AA), on most paid, published fares to the next class of service. (Successful upgrades on a single SWU include EZE-MIA-JFK-LHR, NRT-LAX-DFW-LHR.)

Q. When do SWU clear?

Upgrades can clear immediately if the appropriate inventory is available (e.g., Coach to Business (and domestic First on two class aircraft) requires "C" class to be available, Business to First requires "A" class to be available). Otherwise, SWU may be waitlisted in priority of AAdvantage status, followed by last 12 months EQD spend (and within those, by fare class if they are full fare Y). SWU and EXP UDU have the same priority once the flight and associated upgrade / PALL list has passed to airport control.

Q. Can I use SWU on codeshares operated by AA?

No. (Though 001 AA ticketing is not a requirement), the flight must be marketed and operated by AA.

Q. Are any fare classes ineligible / invalid for SWU upgrades?

Some government and consolidator fares may not be upgraded; Basic Economy flights may not be upgraded. Award flights may not be upgraded with SWU. See post #683 by JonNYC:

Invalid (for SWU upgrade)
  • Basic Economy tickets, regardless of status level
  • Military fares*
  • Government fares*
  • Agency/industry discounts
  • Employee travel booked in E
  • AAdvantage/promotion free or companion tickets
  • Ticket designators that require a certificate (CEN20, etc.) - contact MSD to verify
  • MSD Site products (ticket designator SITE)
  • CAT25/CAT25 Group Fares for MCLA
  • Charter flights
  • Infant tickets
  • Purchased extra seats (one passenger)
  • Opaque fares
  • Award tickets
*The reason for not allowing SWU / eVIP upgrades to be used in conjunction with a military/government fare is not based on the fare level (although they are discounted), but rather it is based on the full flexibility those fares provide. Military/government fares provide a huge benefit to the customer already in that they can be booked at the last minute and canceled or changed with no advance notice and no penalties. As such, they are not allowed to be used in conjunction with a SWU.

Can I still make use if my SWU and credit the flight(s) to another airline?

You are not supposed to. If switching from AAdvantage to another scheme's FFN, please be aware: Benefitting from a privilege granted for your AAdvantage status and changing your FFN to earn on another airline is generally prohibited by AAdvantage Terms and Conditions. Doing so might risk that benefit (e.g. upgrade).

From the AAdvantage Terms and Conditions (link)

Q. Can I see SWU eligible flights on aa.com? If not, where?

aa.com will also reflect if a SWU can be used as you book - not that there is availability. One can see required inventory (A or C) using ExpertFlyer or other tools.

Q. What is the priority order for SWU wait list clearing?

Priority for wait listing is based first on AAdvantage status of requestor, then by rolling EQD earning during las 12 months; within those criteria, full fare (J or Y) trumps discounted fares.

NOTE: once the booking goes to airport control you may have to request your SWU request be reactivated. Those travel companions previously prioritized by the sponsor's status no longer revert to their own status at airport control.

Q. How do I know if my SWU request has been waitlisted?

You can see it online only 2-3 days prior to your depature. It will say "Systemwide Upgrade Requested". Otherwise, there is no way to know unless you call AA again and ask. In AA app you can see upgrade waiting list from 4 hours prior to the departure. Thank you (link) MrJBoy for clarifying).

If my SWU clears on AA but the flights is cancelled or delayed, and I get put on another AA or partner flight, will my Upgrade be preserved / honored?

On AA and Joint Business Venture partners (AY, BA, IB, JL, QF), AA will attempt to honor the upgrade. On other airline partners it is unlikely.

Q. Can I gift SWUs to others, and will my or their status apply?

You may certainly gift SWU to others. They will have to provide you their information, including PNR, and you will have to call it in. Your status can carry over to one treeling companion (on your itinerary) until the SWU passes to airport control; otherwise, SWU priority will depend on the user's AAdvantage status followed by date of upgrade request.

Q. What if I apply a SWU to a traveling companion?

That traveling companion "borrows" your status in terms of priority on the upgrade waitlist until the waitlisted passes to airport control.

Q. Can I sell or purchase SWUs to / from others (e.g. on eBay or CraigsList)?

While SWU may be gifted to others, AAdvantage rules prohibit selling / purchasing, trading or bartering various instruments, including SWU. A sold SWU will, if caught by AA Corporate Security AAdvantage Fraud (and they actively seek these out), cause SWU / upgrade cancellation at minimum and may even include closing the seller's account with forfeiture of miles, upgrade instruments and even elite status.



Further useful details about using SWU

. . . . Four SWUs are earned by Executive Platinum AAdvantage members when they cross the threshold to EXP, and their expiration is essentially the same as the earned status - January 31 of the ensuing status year (e.g. earn May 5 2017, the status and SWUs are good through 31 Jan 2019).

. . . . Two SWUs are earned by Executive Platinum AAdvantage members when they cross the 150,000 and 200,000 EQ EQ Miles; their expiration is essentially the same as the earned status as described above. (Further increments of 50,000 EQM past 200,000 earn no more SWU.)

. . . . Two SWUs (more) are earned by Concierge Key members.

. . . . Four SWUs are earned by those crossing Million Miler thresholds of 2MM and every Million Miles milestone thereafter.

. . . . ● SWUs may be transferred or gifted (not bargained, bartered or sold) to anyone the owner chooses - the owner must authorize the transfer and provide at minimum the designated person's name, frequent flyer #, and PNR. Note fees and taxes may be due, such as APD / Air Passenger Duty due for flights originating in the UK (or with connections exceeding 23:59).

. . . . ● AA tends to protect passengers granted upgrades with SWUs if IROPS move them to other oneworld flights, particularly JBV partners (AA, AY, BA, IB, JL, preserving already granted upgrades (not waitlisted).

. . . . ● N.B. AA will no longer attach expiring (31 Jan 2017 or -18) SWUs to be attached to existing upgrade inventory 1 Feb and after unless one is a very high value customer; AA now has software in place to prevent this, but if you consider yourself a high value customer, you can ask. Speculatively, EXP through 31 Jan 2018 with Concierge Key and / or 4 or 5 Helix / "Eagles" rating and lots of D and above revenue. See FAQ: New changes 90%+ eliminate post-expiration SWU use (Jun 2014)

. . . . ● If you don't want to wait list your SWU so that it automatically encumbered when a domestic segment becomes available for upgrade, but only want the domestic segments to clear if the international segment clears, ask the AA EP agent to waitlist the international portion but "DSR" the domestic segments; that way, the domestic segments will only clear if the international segment clears.

. . . . ● SWU application can include co-terminals: JonNYC, post #601: "This is the current list of MAC airports, and, as far as I understand it, are generally recognized for revenue tickets including SWU application to same:
  • WAS (DCA, IAD)
  • DFW (DFW, DAL)
  • HOU (HOU, IAH)
  • NYC (JFK, LGA) (I think there is a separate rule that says EWR is always part of NYC for this purpose as well)
  • LON (LGW, LHR, STN)
  • SLU (UVF, SLU)
  • TYO (HND, NRT)"
. . . . UK Air Passenger Duty / APD for LHR/UK departures: (Often incorrectly called "Luxury tax"): Departing from the UK (or on a layover of 24:00 or longer via the U.K.), you'll be charged the full APD (the lowest cabin class - usually economy - pays only half APD). This applies for upgrades to business only. Upgrading business to first doesn't incur this, (since your business ticket already included the full APD). This does not apply TO the U.K. or to connecting in under 24:00 in the U.K. Other airports may impose other taxes, e.g. HKG is USD $2.80.

. . . . ● Through (two flights with the same flight number, or through flights with stops) flights pose challenges insofar as upgrade availability must exist on all sectors. You may have to call AA to use a SWU on through flights.


Suggested reading:

aa.com: SYSTEMWIDE UPGRADES AND FAQS

FlyerTalk: Upgrades / SWUs / eVIPs and UK APD / Air Passenger Duty questions

New *internal* changes will 90%+ eliminate post-expiration use of SWUs by JonNYC

This post in the thread entitled "Reversing Use of SWU. Is this possible?" (it is not. AA no longer allows cancelling a SWU and substituting "stickers".)


MODERATOR NOTE

Archived posts from 2017 may be read here.

Posts prior to 2016 may be read here: ARCHIVE: SWU / VIP / eVIP Systemwide Upgrade questions

NOTE: This thread is for the discussion of the mechanics of AA systemwide upgrades. For "chance of upgrade clearing" questions, please use this thread: 2015 Chances of Upgrade Clearing and Upgrade Availability Discussion (consolidated)

Please note there is a separate thread discussing lost / missing/ misappropriated SWUs:

Missing / someone else used / unauthorized use my SWU / VIP / eVIP (merged)

American AAdvantage Forum Moderator Team


FAQ: Internal IT changes eliminate 90+% of post-expiry SWU use 26 Jun 2014
Q. I've been able to encumber expiring SWU past their expiration date if I find the proper upgrade inventory available prior to that date. Is this feature still available to Executive Platinum members?

A. Not for most. The option was possible due to software limitations. New software, AAcoRN, put into place 26 June 2014, will prevent this from occurring for "unqualified" members; only "qualified" members will be allowed to encumber SWU past their expiry date in the future. (See post #1)

Q. How do I know if I am a "qualified" member?

A. You can try to call and encumber expiring SWU past their expiry. If you are not allowed to, you aren't.

Q. So, exactly who does AA consider "qualified"?

A. A very high value AAdvantage member, as measured by the internal "Helix" system, which assigns an "Eagles" ranking from 1 to 5 (the more, the better).

Q. I've never heard of this. When did it start?

A. AA's rating system was originally based on three colors, green, yellow and red, which changed to 1-3 Eagles and was later expanded to 1-5 Eagles.

Q. How are Eagles scores assigned? Are they static, or do they change?

A. It has been said spend and fare classes (think lots of annual travel in fare classes of D and above) may affect your Eagles score, as well as OSO and negative incidents you have experienced that might result in your moving your custom to another airline. It is also said your Helix score is updated periodically, perhaps even nightly.

Q. How can I find out my Helix score / how many Eagles I have?

A. You can't. AA employees are not empowered to discuss the Helix system with customers. If you normally get extra SWU once you've made EP, are allowed to extend SWU use and find EP desk agents are willing to bend rules for you often, speculative, you might have 4-5 Eagles rating.

Q. So, this is a hidden tier higher than Executive Platinum?

A. No, because it doesn't give you privileges beyond EP beyond those mentioned, e.g. courtesy Club membership or additional priority for boarding or upgrades, like Concierge Key may.

Q. Do others than Executive Platinum have Helix / Eagles scores?

A. It can be safely assumed all AAdvantage members have such scores.

For further information, see discussions on:

JonNYC's Traveing Better

The Boarding Area

Thanks to JonNYC for most of the information available to the public on this topic.

Updated 6 Oct 2016 - JDiver
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Old Jan 16, 18, 10:33 am
  #121  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Plat Pro, HH Diamond, Marriott/SPG Gold
Posts: 997
Quick question for you SWU experts. I'm planning to use my last 2 SWU's on a family transcon trip next week - I had applied them to a PNR with my wife and child, and I'm on a seperate PNR with another child. I was hoping that between booking many months ago and today the SWU's would clear, but no luck so far. I understand from the wiki that once the flight passes to airport control, the upgrades go in the usual priority by status level. My wife is a plat, so if things haven't cleared by the time we get to the airport, there's pretty much no chance that there will be seats left after the CKs and EXPs all complimentary upgrade. What I'm curious about is what happens in the 5 days leading up to the flight? Do any upgrades in that period follow the same heirarchy, such that they'll look to possibly clear CKs at T-120 hours, EXPs at T-100 hours, and not even look at her SWU until they've cleared any higher status pax into available space? Or is there any chance they'd upgrade the SWU requests before processing complimentary upgrades when they reach the T-5 day mark? If the former, I'm thinking I should switch the SWU's over to my PNR at the 5 day mark, so at least I'll get some priority in the EXP upgrade queue, given that there's no chance she'll get upgraded on these flights even as the highest-priority plat on the list.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 10:15 pm
  #122  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: NYC
Programs: AA - ExPlat, UA - Plat 2MM, HY - Explorist, SPG - Lifetime Gold, HH - Diamond
Posts: 1,034
Originally Posted by whimsey21 View Post
...What I'm curious about is what happens in the 5 days leading up to the flight? Do any upgrades in that period follow the same heirarchy, such that they'll look to possibly clear CKs at T-120 hours, EXPs at T-100 hours, and not even look at her SWU until they've cleared any higher status pax into available space? Or is there any chance they'd upgrade the SWU requests before processing complimentary upgrades when they reach the T-5 day mark?...
I've tried to get an answer to this and don't feel like I've ever gotten to the bottom of it.

According to AA.com:
Before you get to the airport, requests for systemwide and mileage award upgrades are processed independently from 500-mile upgrade requests.
But what's not addressed is whether they will sometimes make R inventory available for comp upgrades while not making C inventory available for confirmed upgrades. Every time I have a SWU in limbo during this period, I feel like I am seeing R upgrades process while I'm still waiting for C. At the airport, it's all supposed to merge together on one list with confirmed upgrades prioritized within elite levels.

I have a flight tomorrow with a SWU request and can no longer view the reservation online ("We couldn't display trip details"). The agent said it's because the waitlisted segment hasn't cleared and that there's a note in the record not to remove the segment as the upgrade may process at the airport (I believe my travel agent called AA earlier, so that agent may have inserted the note).

Bottom line, within the comp upgrade period and especially between 24 hours and airport control (when the reservation goes fubar), it feels like a completely random and broken process. I really wish we could get some clarity about what happens during this time.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 12:46 am
  #123  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: NYC,SFO
Programs: AY+ Plat, AA Plat, SPG/Marriott Plat Premier, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 1,953
Originally Posted by MarJon View Post
I was just speaking with EXP desk and they told me that in order to use SWU to a C seat you need to be booked in PE. SWU in Y will only get you PE... We are looking LAX to AKL in November.... Is this correct? Has something changed?
Thanks
Jon

Just saw this on AA....Booking code priority:
  • From Business to First (for systemwide and mileage award upgrades only): J, R, D, I, C
  • From Main Cabin to the next class: W, P, Y, H, K, M, L, V, G, S, N, Q, O, T
AFAIK, SWUs are from main cabin to business. But this might be a harbinger of things to come.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 5:58 am
  #124  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: PA
Programs: AA-P, Marriott(P)
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
AFAIK, SWUs are from main cabin to business. But this might be a harbinger of things to come.
It was my understanding that in the not so distant future the upgrade would include a PE as a cabin. I thought I saw terms to that effect, but can't find it now.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 3:48 pm
  #125  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Plat Pro, HH Diamond, Marriott/SPG Gold
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Originally Posted by daslax View Post
But what's not addressed is whether they will sometimes make R inventory available for comp upgrades while not making C inventory available for confirmed upgrades. Every time I have a SWU in limbo during this period, I feel like I am seeing R upgrades process while I'm still waiting for C. At the airport, it's all supposed to merge together on one list with confirmed upgrades prioritized within elite levels.

I have a flight tomorrow with a SWU request and can no longer view the reservation online ("We couldn't display trip details"). The agent said it's because the waitlisted segment hasn't cleared and that there's a note in the record not to remove the segment as the upgrade may process at the airport (I believe my travel agent called AA earlier, so that agent may have inserted the note).

Bottom line, within the comp upgrade period and especially between 24 hours and airport control (when the reservation goes fubar), it feels like a completely random and broken process. I really wish we could get some clarity about what happens during this time.
That's interesting-- I hadn't thought about the fact that R and C are (potentially) separate buckets until airport control. That makes the situation even more confusing-- I'm guessing it is possible that if I were to apply the SWU's to my own PNR, and no C space opened during the T-100 to T-24 window, I could potentially miss out on any complimentary/500mile upgrades at T-100 if there happened to be R space available? Based on my past experience with AA IT, I'm guessing that if the system has one as requesting a Systemwide upgrade, it may not be possible to also have you requesting a complimentary/500mile upgrade (just one or the other). I would like to think that they'd open C space before R space if they have empty seats in first (not only to provide a bit of extra benefit to EXP's using their SWUs, but also to take advantage of points and/or cash upgrades before handing out free upgrades), but haven't seen anything online to indicate that is the case.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 5:10 pm
  #126  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by daslax View Post

I have a flight tomorrow with a SWU request and can no longer view the reservation online ("We couldn't display trip details"). The agent said it's because the waitlisted segment hasn't cleared and that there's a note in the record not to remove the segment as the upgrade may process at the airport (I believe my travel agent called AA earlier, so that agent may have inserted the note).
.
I had a trip where I had waitlisted my SWU and had the same "We couldn't display trip details" two days before departure and it turns out my SWU cleared and the ticket was in the process of being exchanged. Once the exchange was complete, the trip shows up fine on AA com again and was able to select seats and pre order meals.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 10:26 pm
  #127  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: NYC,SFO
Programs: AY+ Plat, AA Plat, SPG/Marriott Plat Premier, Hyatt Explorist
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Originally Posted by voweffekt View Post
It was my understanding that in the not so distant future the upgrade would include a PE as a cabin. I thought I saw terms to that effect, but can't find it now.
I believe it. I just didnít think it would be this soon. Moreover, the miles + copay chart still shows the first level of upgrade being business class (with no option for main cabin to premium economy). So at least with miles + copay, it appears one can still go from economy to business. Given both mileage and SWU upgrades come out of C space, this leads me to believe the agent in your case may have been acting prematurely.

However, at the rate PE is being rolled out, I think premium economy being added as a level between economy and business will happen soon. I guess I better start thinking about using my SWUs for this year.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 8:21 am
  #128  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Programs: AA EX PLAT
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post


I believe it. I just didnít think it would be this soon. Moreover, the miles + copay chart still shows the first level of upgrade being business class (with no option for main cabin to premium economy). So at least with miles + copay, it appears one can still go from economy to business. Given both mileage and SWU upgrades come out of C space, this leads me to believe the agent in your case may have been acting prematurely.

However, at the rate PE is being rolled out, I think premium economy being added as a level between economy and business will happen soon. I guess I better start thinking about using my SWUs for this year.
Here it is from aa.com:

"AAdvantage awards and upgrades into Premium Economy arenít available now, but will be at a later date".

"FOR NOW, you can upgrade from Main Cabin or Premium Economy to First or Business using your AAdvantage miles or systemwide upgrades. For flights to / from Hawaii, Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members receive complimentary upgrades if seats are available. Platinum and Gold members can use 500-mile upgrades".

Soo, my suspicion is that SWU's will soon upgrade only into the "next" class of service.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 9:05 am
  #129  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Programs: AA EXP, SPG Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 52
Terrible news, but not exactly unexpected. Guess a lot of us used to this upgrade lifestyle will have to start purchasing PE and hoping for the best.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 9:34 am
  #130  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: DEN
Programs: AA EXP, Hilton Diamond
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Originally Posted by aaflyer93 View Post
Terrible news, but not exactly unexpected. Guess a lot of us used to this upgrade lifestyle will have to start purchasing PE and hoping for the best.
There's no actual news here...a confused/poorly trained agent (that never happens...) and a vaguely worded bit of text on AA.com that's been there since shortly after PE was announced.

SWU's going Y--->PE is one possible future. There are others.

I'll save the "sky is falling" until there's some actual information. Would be nice if we could keep the speculation out of this thread...and keep it on topic of SWU FAQs and answers.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 10:21 am
  #131  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, The Suggestion Box and Talkboard Topics
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, MaÓtre-plongeur des Muccis
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Letís keep speculation about upgrades Y - PEY and PEY - Y out of this thread, where it has been discussed previously and is off topic.

Thank you,

Moderator
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Old Jan 18, 18, 1:00 pm
  #132  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Programs: AA
Posts: 34
Question regarding fees surrounding the use of a SWU -

I have an itinerary on hold BNA-JFK-MXP-MIABNA where aa.com shows that both international legs are available to upgrade economy to business. The total fare (S) (2 people) is ~$2,800 - $600 of which is fees/tariffs. If I am to apply 4 SWUs to go from economy to business, will I incur additional fees associated with the new class of service?

Thanks,
robinsondg
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Old Jan 18, 18, 1:07 pm
  #133  
nrr
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Programs: AA Executive Platinum; 2MM AA
Posts: 8,448
SWU clearing, contacting AA, EXP line delays

Several issues here, MODs where should this be placed?
(1)On Jan. 22, 2018 I was waitlisted for a SWU (Y to J) on AA107: LHR-JFK. In early Dec. 2017 when I made my SWU request, EF was showing J7, seat map had a nearly EMPTY J cabin. Today, Jan. 18 when my reservation did not display the details, from past experience, I surmised my SWU cleared I could have chosen any of 18 available/unassigned(?) seats. My EF altert never triggered;. With so much of the cabin empty, why did AA wait to upg me at T--4 (days)?
(2)In another thread contacting AA via SKYPE was an issue. I'm in Switz. now, I called ATT (toll-free) 0800-89-0011number and dialed the "secret" EXP number [via an arrangement with ATT] got through to AA, the estimated wait was 22-28 minutes, but was conected in less than 2 minutes.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 1:33 pm
  #134  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: South Florida
Programs: AA EXP, HH Diamond, Marriott Platinium
Posts: 1,225
You are Exc PLT, you should know by now that AA will open C (or upgrade before opening C) at T96~24 on many international routes, keep in mind LHR-JFK upgrades need to pay an extra fee out of LHR (premium cabin only).
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Old Jan 18, 18, 1:43 pm
  #135  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: The FT AA forum, until it no longer wants me.
Programs: CK or bust
Posts: 711
Limited advance c space isn't really a new thing and has been going on for some time depending on the route and time of year. While unlikely as a factor, it may also be a defensive strategy from an operational playbook to hold onto more seats until close into the date in the winter months when flights can be subject to widespread irregular operations at major airports and the logistics of getting pax home when an airport or airports are closed for a day or so.

Quite a bit of weather-related themes lately around the North American market so a 20 minute EP hold isn't unheard of either; just again a bit later or when not using Skype, try the call back feature. If you're really in a rush, try a Twitter DM although those responses have been reportedly less thorough and less helpful as of late.
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