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Using Miles + Copay vs. 500-Mile Upgrade - Chances of Success

Using Miles + Copay vs. 500-Mile Upgrade - Chances of Success

Old Jan 13, 18, 10:25 am
  #1  
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Using Miles + Copay vs. 500-Mile Upgrade - Chances of Success

I apologize for a question that I know has been asked before, but despite my searches, I'm yet to come up with a concrete course of action. I am booked in the Main Cabin on a LAX-JFK flight later this month (321T, 3-cabin aircraft). I am a new AA Gold member as of the end of last year. I booked my seat on AA.com with the lowest Main Cabin fare listed. When booking, I did not opt to use my available 500-Mile Upgrades (of which I'd need, and have, 5) to be added to the waitlist for upgrades.

I'd like to maximize my chances of getting an upgrade to business, but am unclear if my chances of success would be to call AA and request to use a mileage upgrade (in this case, 15,000 miles + $75) or to use the AA mobile app and take advantage of the option to use my 5 500-Mile upgrades. Based on past experience, I know the LAX-JFK route is popular and the chance of a confirmed upgrade this far out is unlikely, so I'd be most likely be waitlisted. I've done mu research on FlyerTalk and around the web, but the upgrade priority process confuses me in the case of this particular scenario.

Any thoughts or practical experience on maximizing my chances of getting high enough up on the upgrade list to have a shot? Thanks!

Last edited by ZbadhabitZ; Jan 13, 18 at 10:44 am
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Old Jan 13, 18, 10:53 am
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Miles and copay is more likely, in the case of gold, I would think by a wide margin.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
Miles and copay is more likely, in the case of gold, I would think by a wide margin.
That's what my research led me to believe, but it's nice to have confirmation. I appreciate it! I'll give AA a call (unless anyone knows a way of putting in the milage + copay request online).
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Old Jan 13, 18, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by ZbadhabitZ View Post
That's what my research led me to believe, but it's nice to have confirmation. I appreciate it! I'll give AA a call (unless anyone knows a way of putting in the milage + copay request online).
You have to call.

It is possible as a GLD on a 500 mile UG, but if there is C space you can confirm it now with miles+copay. I also agree with beachfan.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 7:12 pm
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If I want to select a flight with the best chance (yes, I know availability can change by the minute and nothing is guaranteed - hence the word "chance" ) of a 500 mile upgrade, is there any place to check how many seats are available for 500 mile upgrades on a given flight? If my recall is correct, the 500 mile upgrades are a booking class on their own, with separate availability from other booking classes.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by EU-US View Post
If I want to select a flight with the best chance (yes, I know availability can change by the minute and nothing is guaranteed - hence the word "chance" ) of a 500 mile upgrade, is there any place to check how many seats are available for 500 mile upgrades on a given flight? If my recall is correct, the 500 mile upgrades are a booking class on their own, with separate availability from other booking classes.
Basically impossible. And what info you could glean is rather meaningless.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by reeg2 View Post
Basically impossible. And what info you could glean is rather meaningless.
Why? If there are two flights on the same day, and if flight A shows 10 seats available for upgrades, flight B shows 1, don't I have a better *chance* of an upgrade if I book flight A? Just curious.
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Old Jan 24, 18, 1:46 pm
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Sorry to revive this thread and be tangential, but I was curious if someone could shed some light on at what time the airline will stop selling seats and make them available for upgrade? I.E. on my upcoming flight, I am on the standby list for a mileage upgrade from a low-fare coach ticket to Business. There is one business class seat available for purchase, and six first class seats available for purchase, per AA.com. At some point, I assume the Business -> First upgrades will clear, potentially opening up business seats that could allow my upgrade to clear. Am I right in that logic, and if so, how far in advance does this usually occur?
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Old Jan 24, 18, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by ZbadhabitZ View Post
Sorry to revive this thread and be tangential, but I was curious if someone could shed some light on at what time the airline will stop selling seats and make them available for upgrade? I.E. on my upcoming flight, I am on the standby list for a mileage upgrade from a low-fare coach ticket to Business. There is one business class seat available for purchase, and six first class seats available for purchase, per AA.com. At some point, I assume the Business -> First upgrades will clear, potentially opening up business seats that could allow my upgrade to clear. Am I right in that logic, and if so, how far in advance does this usually occur?
You are assuming that there are mileage requests to upgrade from business to 1st; there may be none

When AA is reasonably confident that it has more seats available than likely to be purchased , then it will make some available. It is not a given that there will be

What is the route?
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Old Jan 24, 18, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
You are assuming that there are mileage requests to upgrade from business to 1st; there may be none

When AA is reasonably confident that it has more seats available than likely to be purchased , then it will make some available. It is not a given that there will be

What is the route?
Thanks for the reply. Indeed, I am assuming that there will be Business -> First requests. I was working under the logic that since there were ample First seats available, at some point the airline would decide they are not going to be purchased and upgrade flyers into them. I can't imagine there'd be empty First seats at take-off.

This is a LAX -> JFK flight, 8:00am.
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Old Jan 24, 18, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by ZbadhabitZ View Post
Thanks for the reply. Indeed, I am assuming that there will be Business -> First requests. I was working under the logic that since there were ample First seats available, at some point the airline would decide they are not going to be purchased and upgrade flyers into them. I can't imagine there'd be empty First seats at take-off.

This is a LAX -> JFK flight, 8:00am.
AA will not just upgrade people to 1st because there are empty seats

Unless there are people who have put in mileage or systemwide upgrade requests in, then in normal situations, the remaining seats will remain empty

If the flight is oversold and there needs to be involuntary upgrades that would be different, but if flight not sold out, then I would not assume that 1st will be filled up with upgraded passengers

What is the date of travel?
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Old Jan 24, 18, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
AA will not just upgrade people to 1st because there are empty seats

Unless there are people who have put in mileage or systemwide upgrade requests in, then in normal situations, the remaining seats will remain empty

If the flight is oversold and there needs to be involuntary upgrades that would be different, but if flight not sold out, then I would not assume that 1st will be filled up with upgraded passengers

What is the date of travel?
Intersting to know; thank you! I would have assumed (based on past experience walking in the F cabin during boarding) that the F seats would be filled, either by mileage/SWU or 500-mile upgrades for EXP members. Given that my theory is wrong, and now noticing only 1 available Business seat on AA.com, it's best I assume that I will not be clearing at this point. Thank you!
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Old Jan 24, 18, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by ZbadhabitZ View Post
Intersting to know; thank you! I would have assumed (based on past experience walking in the F cabin during boarding) that the F seats would be filled, either by mileage/SWU or 500-mile upgrades for EXP members. Given that my theory is wrong, and now noticing only 1 available Business seat on AA.com, it's best I assume that I will not be clearing at this point. Thank you!
500 mile upgrades / complimentary EP upgrades are only available for upgrades from economy

If on a 2 class service, then would likely be a bunch of people wanting to upgrade. For business to 1st class, only mileage/SWU upgrades are offered. Unless a person is continuing on an international service or just unlikely to use an SWU otherwise, I suspect that the number os upgrade requests from business would be low
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Old Jan 24, 18, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by ZbadhabitZ View Post
Sorry to revive this thread and be tangential, but I was curious if someone could shed some light on at what time the airline will stop selling seats and make them available for upgrade? I.E. on my upcoming flight, I am on the standby list for a mileage upgrade from a low-fare coach ticket to Business. There is one business class seat available for purchase, and six first class seats available for purchase, per AA.com. At some point, I assume the Business -> First upgrades will clear, potentially opening up business seats that could allow my upgrade to clear. Am I right in that logic, and if so, how far in advance does this usually occur?
Relying on even an educated guess as to your chances of an upgrade on a particular flight is folly. That's like saying: "Usually the light is green when I get to that intersection, but sometimes it's red. Will I see red or green today?".

How can you get in a business class seat?

99.99 % Guaranteed: (No seat is really guaranteed, read the Contract of Carriage.)

Buy a business class ticket.
Buy a coach ticket, knowing that business class upgrades are available, then immediately call to get the miles+copay confirmed upgrade. How would you know? Expert Flyer.

Not guaranteed:

Wait list for e-stickers 500 mile upgrades.
Wait list for miles+co-pay upgrades.

Dirty Harry says: Do you feel lucky?
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Old Jan 25, 18, 9:18 am
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The F cabin can be filled with employees/non-revs, but as they're standing by for the flight in general, it's not like they'll be vacating any J seats, so it doesn't help with a Y-to-J upgrade.

They stop selling tickets at T-45m, which I believe is the ticketing (and check-in) cut-off. That's typically around when the gate agent will begin clearing the upgrade standby list into empty seats. The automated system used to clear upgrades until T-4 hours, (and then nothing until the gate) but I'm not entirely sure if that's still the case.
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