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Any Ways / How to Upgrade Award Tickets? (master thread)

Any Ways / How to Upgrade Award Tickets? (master thread)

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Old Aug 28, 20, 12:12 pm   -   Wikipost
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Upgrading AA Award Tickets

AAdvantage ConciergeKey and Executive Platinum members have reported being able to upgrade award tickets using the same criteria as UDU / 500 mile even-upgrade "stickers" as of March, 2017.

Otherwise, Award tickets can not be upgraded with the usual upgrade instruments (nor do award trips earn miles) at this time. An award may be able to be "upgraded" by securing an award for a higher class of service, in which case AA will often allow the change at no additional cost. Be sure to read the FAQ and threads on MileSAAver and AAnytime wards - one can sometimes reasonably "upgrade" an Economy AAnytime award to a MileSAAver to Business or First if a seat is available.

Upgrades on Award tickets link

Executive Platinum members will be able to use their complimentary 500-mile upgrade benefits on AAdvantage® award tickets for travel on American from Main Cabin to the next class.
It is possible upgrades for money ("LFBU") might be on sale at a kiosk or ticket counter.

Those flying domestic sectors on voluntary downgrades to First and Business connections where there is no Dimestic First or Business award inventory are similarly situated. If no award seat inventory is available on the downgraded flights, only LFBU (if offered) are likely to result in a seat in J or F.

For an older thread on this topic, see also:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...solidated.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...09-2013-a.html

For information on kiosk / LFBU (load-factor based) upgrades, see:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...solidated.html

(with credit to dstan)
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Old May 24, 14, 12:19 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Programs: AA EXP, DL FO, Hyatt Plat, HHonors Gld
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Any Ways / How to Upgrade Award Tickets? (master thread)

I understand AA's policy is that award tickets are not upgrade eligible, but has anyone had success in receiving an upgrade from Y to J/F on an award ticket where (1) you are an EXP (or other elite) (2) all normally wait listed upgrades have cleared and (3) there are many seats still left empty up front?
I was in this situation 2 weeks ago on a 2-class domestic flight with 10 empty seats in F after the list cleared... still no upgrade for me. It looks like I will be in a similar situation on a flight this weekend, and am wondering if anyone has had more success in this.

If not, I will sit in MCE and be happy with my free sandwich and cocktail, but it still seems strange to me that even DL will give upgrades in this situation. Seems unnecessarily stingy.

Thanks all!
mhx1604 is offline  
Old May 24, 14, 12:44 pm
  #2  
 
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DL is stingy in many other ways. I do not want AA to copy DL. AA set some rules and it sounds like they play by then. I am happy with that.
DeltaFlyingProf is offline  
Old May 24, 14, 2:39 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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DL specifically allows its higher level elites upgrades on award tickets. AA specifically does not. So it is not "strange". It is also not "strange" that AA gives its top tier elites free food and drink in Y and DL does not. It is simply the mix of policies that each airline thinks works best for it. Overall I like AA's mix better.

That said, in the days before DL allowed such upgrades I was occasionally upgraded at the gate in situations like the OP described. I would have expected similar with AA, but perhaps the GAs don't have as much flexibility.
Stripe is offline  
Old May 24, 14, 3:11 pm
  #4  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
 
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AA will not upgrade an EXP on an award unless it is in their interest to do so - e.g. oversold Y cabin and there's nobody else in the queue to boot up front. Just because there are empty seats up there will not get you an upgrade, though of course you can always "upgrade" by calling and spending more miles for riding up front.

And IMO this is as it should be.
JDiver is offline  
Old Jun 21, 14, 10:00 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 3
Booking award (for friend - can friend upgrade?)

booking an award for a for a friend in economy. i'm exec plat on AA. can he get upgraded if there's availability?
zakran is offline  
Old Jun 21, 14, 10:56 pm
  #6  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
 
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No. You must spend the required miles for your friend to fly up front. Award tickets are not upgradable.

We've moved your query to the proper AA forum. /Moderator
JDiver is offline  
Old Jun 22, 14, 1:40 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by zakran View Post
booking an award for a for a friend in economy. i'm exec plat on AA. can he get upgraded if there's availability?
1. Your friend doesn't get your benefits unless he is flying with you
2. You would even not get a free upgrade as an EXP on an award (except in the case of a oversold Y cabin that results in a roll forward)
mvoight is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 1:59 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: MIA, NYC
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Upgrade on domestic award ticket

Has anyone ever been able to pull off an upgrade on an award ticket (given that there is space available)?

I know it doesn't give us the option to request one when you book the award flight but I want to know if anyone has had luck securing one by talking to airport personnel.
hfnole is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 4:38 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Originally Posted by hfnole View Post
Has anyone ever been able to pull off an upgrade on an award ticket (given that there is space available)?

I know it doesn't give us the option to request one when you book the award flight but I want to know if anyone has had luck securing one by talking to airport personnel.
Nope! Not going to happen. A few months ago, F was wide open and I was traveling coach on an award. Just thought I would ask one of the nicest GAs who I see every time I travel if it was possible and she said no. The system won't allow her unless it was an oversold situation, then maybe...just maybe. The flight went out with 3 people in F.
ceebee100 is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 5:25 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by hfnole View Post
Has anyone ever been able to pull off an upgrade on an award ticket (given that there is space available)?

I know it doesn't give us the option to request one when you book the award flight but I want to know if anyone has had luck securing one by talking to airport personnel.
US reserves this as a benefit for the 85k PQM special dividend.

Edit: forgot what forum I was reading and now realize this is probably for AA. So nevermind!
gruss is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 7:03 am
  #11  
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Its happened to me twice. I did not ask for it, the GA just gave me a BP for F (J for a LAX/JFK flight). The last time flying MIA/LGA was placed on another flight due to a mechanical and the GA said you are EXP and handed me a BP in F. I of course just said thank you and left the podium very quickly.
MiamiAirport Formerly NY George is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 7:04 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Originally Posted by hfnole View Post
Has anyone ever been able to pull off an upgrade on an award ticket (given that there is space available)?

I know it doesn't give us the option to request one when you book the award flight but I want to know if anyone has had luck securing one by talking to airport personnel.
Seems nuts to me butcan't be done. You'd think AA would want the sticker revenue. As an EXP, I'd gladly even pay for an upgrade! I would think that could be a win-win but apparently not to AA....
LINDEGR is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 8:23 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Happened to me once. Flying DCA-DFW. My wife and I were traveling on Anytime tickets and when I asked the gate agent he bumped us both up. And didnt even take any stickers for my wife (no status). Only time I have had it work though.
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Old Sep 10, 14, 2:59 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by ckeegan04 View Post
Happened to me once. Flying DCA-DFW. My wife and I were traveling on Anytime tickets and when I asked the gate agent he bumped us both up. And didnt even take any stickers for my wife (no status). Only time I have had it work though.
Nice, what level of elite status are you?

I will be flying on an AAnytime award on a red eye from LAS to MIA and would really like to get the upgrade since it's a redeye. It's good to see that some of you guys have been able to pull it off. I however am Platinum and not EXP.
hfnole is offline  
Old Sep 10, 14, 3:06 pm
  #15  
 
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It's a very nice benefit that pmUS gives you at the 85k level under special dividends. They're offering it again this year, so it probably has a good shot at carrying over to the new program. If it does, the process is the same as domestic upgrades (i.e., you can't ask for it, but the upgrade gnome moves you just as if you were on a paid ticket).
McFlyPHL is offline  

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