Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

Why canít AA Cut EXP's a break on SWU's at time of ticketing?

Why canít AA Cut EXP's a break on SWU's at time of ticketing?

Old Dec 30, 17, 9:21 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: San Jose, CA USA
Posts: 1,710
Why canít AA Cut EXP's a break on SWU's at time of ticketing?

Here's my premise. I think there are a lot of EXP's who may wish for what I advocate for. One of the best things about using an SWU is to confirm the upgrade at the time of ticketing. The airline, understandably, wants to preserve the maximal amount of upgrade seats for those who would otherwise pay the full fare. Most of us EXP's have been there, done that. That's how we made EXP---especially with the spend requirment.

So it bugs me that, as an EXP, I look at a high volume flight route (LAX-JFK) or (ORD-SFO) and when I go to reserve and ask for upgrade at the time of ticketing, there is absolutely nothing available for such---have to waitlist. Don't get me wrong, DL and UA does it too.

But I noticed the other day that DL, on the SFO-JFK route, could find one or two times per day, either out or return, where they would confirm my upgrade with their cert at the time of ticketing. A nice thing. I hate to go to the airport wondering whether I'll make the cut. I'd rather have had the option of shelling out the money for the upgraded class ahead of that. Maybe that's me, but I'll bet it's others.

Here's my proposition for AA (and DL and UA if they'll listen). Why not allow EXP's, looking to ticket a trip and using an SWU to be employed at the time of ticketing, to do so if the EXP flyer has attained requirements for EXP the following year, includng the EQM;s, segments, and spend. At least AA could loosen the bucket and open up some seats, rather than shut the whole thing off. I have been impressed that even DL, the stingiest FF program on the face of the earth, will typically let me use their upgrade certs on the SFO-JFK route, for at least some of the segments on some of the flights. Granted, DL now dominates the route, with 7-8 no-stops /day. AA is a poor second. UA abandoned the route (unwisely, IMHO).

AA just totally shuts m out on any of their trans-cons to use a SWU at the time of ticketing. In older times, that was not the case. I can see not giving away the store, and especially to minimal-status elites. But a chance to do something nice for EXP's that wouldn't break the bank and would get a smile out of an EXP when he or she could use the darn thing at the time of ticketing, like the good old days----might be a good thing for all around.

Such a perk would likely not kick in till later in the year, as it would take that much time to fulfill all the requirments to make the upcoming EXP. But it would be a good thing. Truth be told, I am non-desirous of heading for the airport on day of travel and not knowing if my hard-earned EXP will make the cut for upgrade. I don't begrudge AA making bucks on selling the seats for full fare. But cutting some slack on using the things (which I frequently fritter away as useless year after year) would be a good prospect for EXP's using this perc. Starting with domestic flights would be good, and possibly extending to int'l flights if it didn't dirsupt AA's revenue stream substantially.

Interested in others' opinons. Bottom line, I'd like a little slack in using the SWU's at time of ticketing if possible. I think there is a niche for it to be done.
FullFare is offline  
Old Dec 30, 17, 11:07 pm
  #2  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,592
AA is not going to change the programme to fit around your wishes for it - my thought would be that it seems that DL might have a programme that better fits your needs than AA does

It is possible to use SWUs at time of booking for business to 1st class quite easily from what I can see - during a 1 week period starting 7th February , it seemed available on every flight from JFK-SFO.


For economy to business
7th available 1 x 1 stop
8th 1 non stop available
9th 2 non stops and 2 x 1 stop
11th 2 non stops and 1 x 1 stop
13th 1 x 1 stop

on 5 days out of the 7, it is possible to use the SWU to upgrade to business.

In the other direction, there is availability on non stop services on 5 of the 7 days together with 1 stop service on the other 2

Doesn't seem that bad availability for an option for a confirmed upgrade if flexible on flight time

Last edited by Dave Noble; Dec 30, 17 at 11:19 pm
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Dec 30, 17, 11:49 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: AA LTP 2MM, Marriott/SPG Rabid Plat w/Ambassador, HHonors Gold
Posts: 691
I'd like a pony.
Head, ShortDog, deeruck and 7 others like this.
r415 is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 12:57 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: DEN
Programs: AA EXP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,935
I say this every time someone posts something about SWUs not being available at booking. That is highly route, day of week, time of year, etc... dependent.

For 2018 I've cleared the following Y-->J SWUs at booking, all on the days I needed to fly:
- LHR-ORD
- LHR-DFW
- ORD-NRT

in 2017 I cleared 2 of 4 at booking (FRA-DFW, DFW-LHR), as well as one miles+money (SYD-LAX), also at booking .

My experience is that SWU's are commonly available at booking. And even when not available at booking, I've still never missed an SWU request as EXP. YMMV.

But if we are asking for ponies: I'd love to get back to my 8 SWUs.
bse118 is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 5:55 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 106
Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
I say this every time someone posts something about SWUs not being available at booking. That is highly route, day of week, time of year, etc... dependent.

For 2018 I've cleared the following Y-->J SWUs at booking, all on the days I needed to fly:
- LHR-ORD
- LHR-DFW
- ORD-NRT

in 2017 I cleared 2 of 4 at booking (FRA-DFW, DFW-LHR), as well as one miles+money (SYD-LAX), also at booking .

My experience is that SWU's are commonly available at booking. And even when not available at booking, I've still never missed an SWU request as EXP. YMMV.
It’s probably obvious but do you make these reservations by phone?

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 31, 17 at 7:38 am Reason: Close quote
arkyrab is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 7:42 am
  #6  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, MaÓtre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,818
Ainít gonna happen.

1) AA is into the game to sell seats, not fill them with upgrades.

2) Theyíre prioritizing SWU by status, then rolling EQD spend - not ďfirst come first servedĒ, though that can occur when one sees available inventory.

3) AA didnít put many limitations on SWU in the early stages; they tightened the restrictions considerably to enhance revenue.
JDiver is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 10:48 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: USA & UK -- AA EXP 3.5MM, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Plat, Avis President's Club
Posts: 6,411
Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
3) AA didnít put many limitations on SWU in the early stages; they tightened the restrictions considerably to enhance revenue.
It's quite a stretch to believe that AA lost money due to an overabundance of 100K miles per year flyers.
rollthere likes this.
CloudCoder is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 10:55 am
  #8  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, MaÓtre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,818
Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
It's quite a stretch to believe that AA lost money due to an overabundance of 100K miles per year flyers.
When SWU (VIPOW, VIP2) first came out, they were positive upgrade regardless of award or upgrade inventory, as long as seats were available, at least for domestic flights. They were transferable paper coupons, good for one year from the date of issue. The extension of validity to the current and following status years occurred when AA decided to make these fully electronic and reflect SWU in our accounts. Many months elapsed until they could achieve this, so they extended SWU validity. I’m looking at the historical context of these instruments. By that time using a VIP / SWU had required designated inventory availability for some years. (I’ve been flying AA since the 1940s, so I remember some of this stuff.)

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 31, 17 at 11:04 am
JDiver is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 11:02 am
  #9  
Moderator: Avis and Rental Cars
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Programs: US Platinum, United 1k, HHonors Diamond, Avis CC, Priority Club Platinum, Marriott Gold
Posts: 7,710
Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
It's quite a stretch to believe that AA lost money due to an overabundance of 100K miles per year flyers.
​​​​​​
I'd disagree. Where I formerly worked (back when upgrades were easy to use), if we flew Y on flights >5 hours, we got 50% of the difference between Y->J. I often booked Y, used an upgrade cert or miles, and took home a significant pile of cash regularly. So airlines (not just AA) lost a large sum of money that I got to pocket half of. Since it only takes $12M to reach ExPlat, one could easily "cost" an airline half of that by burning 4 upgrade certs instead of paying for J. IMO, this could easily make the passenger a negative value passenger, even if they're ExPlat.
IAHtraveler is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 11:03 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP, AA MM, Hilton Honors Diamond
Posts: 109
Iíve never had any issues clearing from J to F on the LAX-JFK transcons at time of booking on my first choice of flight. Iíve never attempted a Y to J upgrade however.

My one comment on AA vs DL on the transcon is how do the sizes of the J cabins compare? Since J is the highest cabin on DL and I recall seeing in the past that they fly widebody aircraft on their transcon routes (not sure if they still do) there is likely far more J inventory per flight than on AAís smaller A-321 transcons that only have 20 J seats.
smuDC-10 is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 11:21 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New York
Programs: AA, CX, Hyatt, Marriott
Posts: 1,484
Originally Posted by smuDC-10 View Post
Iíve never had any issues clearing from J to F on the LAX-JFK transcons at time of booking on my first choice of flight. Iíve never attempted a Y to J upgrade however.

My one comment on AA vs DL on the transcon is how do the sizes of the J cabins compare? Since J is the highest cabin on DL and I recall seeing in the past that they fly widebody aircraft on their transcon routes (not sure if they still do) there is likely far more J inventory per flight than on AAís smaller A-321 transcons that only have 20 J seats.
Because A class is almost always available for this route, which is not the case for C.
andersonCooper is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 11:30 am
  #12  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,592
Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
​​​​​​
. Since it only takes $12M to reach ExPlat, one could easily "cost" an airline half of that by burning 4 upgrade certs instead of paying for J..
ONLY $12 million to reach EP ? :O
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 11:58 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 805
M = one thousand
MM = one million
IAHtraveler and brewdog11 like this.
Hengilas is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 12:23 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 310
I have 4 SWU's expiring jan 31st and a total of 14 available.... Failed 3 times on HKG-LAX-HKG to use these J to F during 2017. It used to be easy to confirm C class, then that went away and now A class is getting hard also, just checked first 12 days of HKG-LAX (AA192). only 2 days have A availability but 10 have F availability. Just waiting when a new code is given to F upgrades so they can keep selling A.... The value of SWU's has really gone way downhill last couple years. In any case it's been an eye opening year. I still re qualified EXP but had some very good flights in BR's J class as well as SQ's F. Star lounge at LAX is just as good as the qantas lounge is.... No point in loyalty anymore, i will not just buy what ever is the most convenient schedule
SAN_Finn is offline  
Old Dec 31, 17, 12:37 pm
  #15  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,592
Originally Posted by Hengilas View Post
M = one thousand
MM = one million
except where M is the abbreviation for 1 million
Dave Noble is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: