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2017 and the Devaluation of SWU (nee eVIP, VIPOW) Upgrades

2017 and the Devaluation of SWU (nee eVIP, VIPOW) Upgrades

Old Jan 3, 17, 7:32 am
  #1  
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2017 and the Devaluation of SWU (nee eVIP, VIPOW) Upgrades

As a longtime EXP I have been able to use my EVIP upgrades quite well. In 2016, as C inventory is basically never available, I really struggled and all I tried to use them for was Biz to First on flights to and from LHR mostly. AA summarily blocks A inventory which is awful for both EVIPs and round the world first tickets.

As I started looking for tickets in 2017 I do not even see systemwide upgrade availability on banal domestic flights at many differing times of year.

Routes I checked.

PBI-SMF
SMF-FLL
SMF-PBI
PBI-SFO
SFO-MIA
SFO-FLL
MIA-SFO
PBI-LAS
LAS-FLL

Is this final straw in AA basically making the utility of EVIPs a thing of the past. Since AA started coding domestic First as Biz this is a chronic problem. What have others experienced?
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Old Jan 3, 17, 8:37 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by jm0754 View Post
As a longtime EXP I have been able to use my EVIP upgrades quite well. In 2016, as C inventory is basically never available, I really struggled and all I tried to use them for was Biz to First on flights to and from LHR mostly. AA summarily blocks A inventory which is awful for both EVIPs and round the world first tickets.

As I started looking for tickets in 2017 I do not even see systemwide upgrade availability on banal domestic flights at many differing times of year.

Routes I checked.

PBI-SMF
SMF-FLL
SMF-PBI
PBI-SFO
SFO-MIA
SFO-FLL
MIA-SFO
PBI-LAS
LAS-FLL

Is this final straw in AA basically making the utility of EVIPs a thing of the past. Since AA started coding domestic First as Biz this is a chronic problem. What have others experienced?
I was 8/8 for SWUs (what's an EVIP...if you're going to complain at least use the correct terminology) in 2016. Some in advance, some at the gate, none at booking. Many others have the same experience.

There's this "banal" refrain on FT that SWUs have no value unless confirmed space is available at booking. It's getting pretty tiresome...

The real devaluation is the cut from 8 to 4.

Last edited by bse118; Jan 3, 17 at 8:42 am Reason: typo
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Old Jan 3, 17, 8:38 am
  #3  
 
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I think I'm at 100% for (international) SWUs since they started hiding space in 2016. Ultimately, it seems like they're doing the same thing to SWUs that they did for 500 mile upgrades--moving them to day of departure only.

Now, having them not work for domestic is a pain, but with only 4, it matters a lot less to me--I'm not going to be sparing any on domestic anyway.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 8:42 am
  #4  
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I tried making a few "dummy" reservations JFK-LHR-JFK, a few J to F with SWU availability show up for dates in Feb and Mar; there was even Y to J--but an extremely small number.
In addition they cut the number of SWUs from 8 to 4 (upon EXP requalification) = fewer SWUs available for use, presumably it should now be easier to use them.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 8:43 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by jm0754 View Post
As a longtime EXP I have been able to use my EVIP upgrades quite well. In 2016, as C inventory is basically never available, I really struggled and all I tried to use them for was Biz to First on flights to and from LHR mostly. AA summarily blocks A inventory which is awful for both EVIPs and round the world first tickets.

As I started looking for tickets in 2017 I do not even see systemwide upgrade availability on banal domestic flights at many differing times of year.

Routes I checked.

PBI-SMF
SMF-FLL
SMF-PBI
PBI-SFO
SFO-MIA
SFO-FLL
MIA-SFO
PBI-LAS
LAS-FLL

Is this final straw in AA basically making the utility of EVIPs a thing of the past. Since AA started coding domestic First as Biz this is a chronic problem. What have others experienced?
for domestic recoding, discussed/explored in this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/27691841-post265.html
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Old Jan 3, 17, 9:01 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
There's this "banal" refrain on FT that SWUs have no value unless confirmed space is available at booking. It's getting pretty tiresome...
It's not that they have no value, but that they have a lot less value. I'm some combination of spoiled enough and lucky enough that I don't want to deal with coach on a long-haul flight and can generally figure out a way to make business class work. In the past, "making business class work" was some combination of upgrades from coach for leisure travel and paid trips for work. These days, it's tending towards heavily discounted business for both. I'm sure AA prefers that I'm paying for business class on my leisure trips rather than using SWUs, but (a) that does still represent a devaluation of the benefit for me, (b) I'm not sure that they're actually getting more money out of me given how reasonable business class fares sometimes are these days, and (c) it means I'm a lot less loyal in my international travel than in the past since I get essentially all the benefits of elite status just by paying for business and therefore can be carrier-agnostic.

In any case, like OP I've been burning SWUs on business-to-first upgrades where AA actually has three cabin service, and the occasional domestic trip just to get some value out of them. The fact that AA has basically killed off domestic upgrade availability at booking really is a flat-out devaluation of the SWUs since if AA is only clearing upgrades close-in domestically, I might as well just use complimentary upgrades instead of supporting it with an instrument. It means that one of the potential use cases for the benefit has been rendered basically obsolete.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
The fact that AA has basically killed off domestic upgrade availability at booking really is a flat-out devaluation of the SWUs since if AA is only clearing upgrades close-in domestically, I might as well just use complimentary upgrades instead of supporting it with an instrument. It means that one of the potential use cases for the benefit has been rendered basically obsolete.
Agreed. I've been waitlisted for a domestic flight that's wide open in F for nearly a month now, and approaching the 100-hour window. I'm 99% sure my SWU will clear, but I'm also 95% sure a comp upgrade would go through. If my SWU wasn't on the verge of expiring, there'd be almost no point in using it.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 9:37 am
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I agree that the utility of the SWUs/eVIPs has been diminished, as has been discussed quite a bit (I think this thread might be merged with another). I was unimpressed with the SWU benefit in my particular case last year, though I know that it's a YMMV thing. During 2016 I was never able to confirm a SWU at the time of booking (all Y to J), and all but one went down to the gate. I missed three. I'm currently wait-listed for two in Jan and Feb with the F cabin (3-class international) on both flights showing F7 Z0 A0, EF seat map showing 12 seats available for both flights.

I'll never say no to an upgrade at any time, but some of what was nice with clearing more than 24 hours out was being able to request a meal, and knowing that you'll be upfront before check-in, etc. I certainly haven't seen the same value in the SWU benefit over the last 12 months as I did for the years prior.

Last edited by zpaul; Jan 3, 17 at 11:40 am
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Old Jan 3, 17, 9:42 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
...(what's an EVIP...if you're going to complain at least use the correct terminology)...
eVIP was the predecessor to SWU, and many AA agents and pax still use it, just as many people still say "stickers" for the 500-mile upgrades; I just called last week to apply SWUs to upcoming travel and the EXP agent used eVIP the entire time, even though I was saying SWU.

Given that it's a term still in circulation today, I would say that it is correct, although antiquated.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by zpaul View Post
I agree that the utility of the SWUs/eVIPs has been diminished, as has been discussed quite a bit (I think this thread might be merged with another). I was unimpressed with the SWU benefit in my particular case last year, though I know that it's a YMMV thing. During 2016 I was never able to confirm a SWU at the time of booking (all Y to J), and all but one went down to the gate. I missed three. I'm currently wait-listed for two in Jan and Feb with the F cabin (3-class international) on both flights showing F7 Z0 A0, EF seat map showing 12 seas available for both flights.

I'll never say no to an upgrade at any time, but some of what was nice with clearing more than 24 hours out was being able to request a meal, and knowing that you'll be upfront before check-in, etc. I certainly haven't seen the same value in the SWU benefit over the last 12 months as I did for the years prior.
when you said 3, how many did you succeed in getting upgraded. I plan to use my this year for some trip to Europe and figure i will probably have to wait until gate time to get upgraded. Not a problem, but would like to know how often the upgraded don't get processed. For example, if there are 5 seats open in J, would they ever not upgrade people on the waitlist?
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
(what's an EVIP...if you're going to complain at least use the correct terminology)
eVIP is a term widely used by long-term EXPs although more recent EXPs may not be familiar with it.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
eVIP is a term widely used by long-term EXPs although more recent EXPs may not be familiar with it.
But someone like bse118 who's posted many times in the "http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...er-thread.html" forum is assuredly well aware of the "eVIP" terminology
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:18 am
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I have yet to miss an upgrade using SWU since I became EXP, and that was before CK was an official status. And no it wasn't only Business to First (three class), actually most of it was economy to business on private trips. As others have probably told you as well YMMV. I personally do not see a devaluation, especially this year I rather see an additional benefit.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:30 am
  #14  
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I called last night to use soon expiring SWUs (I have 7 expiring 2/28) for a MIA/ORD trip and was waitlisted both ways even though F is wide open. I guess I will clear right before complimentary upgrades around T-24 to T-5.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:45 am
  #15  
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Point of information:

VIPOW is an obsolete term for previous one way systemwide upgrades

EVIP, eVIP or VIP are obsolescent terms

SWU or Systemwide Upgrade are current terms, in use now for several years

We strive to have thread titles that use current terminology for accuracy, search engine friendliness and the widest member use and recognition. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Thank you, Moderator
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