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AA Gold (AUS-based) - Much higher upgrade frequency in 2022

AA Gold (AUS-based) - Much higher upgrade frequency in 2022

Old Jun 14, 22, 6:34 am
  #1  
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AA Gold (AUS-based) - Much higher upgrade frequency in 2022

Not sure if itís just me, but Iím Gold on AA and have seen more domestic F upgrades this year than ever before. Also seeing more MCE available at 24 hours out. Not sure what combination of factors this is based on:
  • Travel patterns: more Tue-Thu flights this year than Sun/Mon/Fri flights
  • More travelers returning to flying without status
  • More leisure travelers with no status/credit card ďstatusĒ for bags and boarding
  • More planes in AUS with 16F seats
  • More raw luck

Recent F upgrades include AUS-MIA and this morning AUS-DEN. Given that AA refers to AUS as an elite-heavy location, Iím frankly surprised.

Since it matters for stack ranking among Golds, my LP are around 40K.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by thatmikereed View Post
Not sure if itís just me, but Iím Gold on AA and have seen more domestic F upgrades this year than ever before. Also seeing more MCE available at 24 hours out. Not sure what combination of factors this is based on:
  • Travel patterns: more Tue-Thu flights this year than Sun/Mon/Fri flights
  • More travelers returning to flying without status
  • More leisure travelers with no status/credit card ďstatusĒ for bags and boarding
  • More planes in AUS with 16F seats
  • More raw luck

Recent F upgrades include AUS-MIA and this morning AUS-DEN. Given that AA refers to AUS as an elite-heavy location, Iím frankly surprised.

Since it matters for stack ranking among Golds, my LP are around 40K.
I think you are correct on all points. And LP total is likely giving you a significant boost. Despite the fevered obsession with LPs on FT, I suspect most flyers have yet to become engaged with the LP scheme and its complexities.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
I think you are correct on all points. And LP total is likely giving you a significant boost. Despite the fevered obsession with LPs on FT, I suspect most flyers have yet to become engaged with the LP scheme and its complexities.
This is 100% the case.

I'm an EXP for 3 years, mostly "just barely" cross over into EXP. My upgrade hit out of ORD is consistently way higher this year than just before the shutdowns (I still continued to fly all during quarantine). Folks I know should get upgraded before me are now shuttling back to MCE while I'm upgrading T-100 more often than not. I am NOT a big spender, but I am paying the LP system somewhat, so it must be helping.

I fly out of AUS once every few months and I am always surprised how many seats up front go empty up until the gate takes over. I always thought it was a HEAVY HEAVY elite spot, but perhaps the recent unmentionables have changed that?
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:02 am
  #4  
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Considering itís 30K LP to get to Gold, I wouldnít have thought 40K that much more significant but I guess there are a lot of flyers who have Gold through the end of the year but arenít flying as much, so theyíre below the 30K requal threshold.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by thatmikereed View Post
Considering itís 30K LP to get to Gold, I wouldnít have thought 40K that much more significant but I guess there are a lot of flyers who have Gold through the end of the year but arenít flying as much, so theyíre below the 30K requal threshold.
Yep.

40K between "March and March" or whatever means some folks who might be new to future gold might only be at around 13K, while folks who are gold now might not be anywhere close to you either.

There's going to be a lot of angry AA fliers who won't realize they won't make their usual mark.

Also, the CEO high-business-spend friends of mine who are EXP chasing using the various methods online only fly 5-10 times per year, so for me they're not hogging up seats I would normally want. I do both fly AND LP chase a bit, so I get the best balance, I think.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:34 am
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I'm EXP and still slightly under you in LPs for the year, but my heavier flying almost always comes at the end of the year, it's a normal pattern for me. I'll easily hit my 200k LPs but most of that will be in Q4. Having said that, I haven't been to AUS since 2008 so can't speak much for the upgrade rate there.

Just as a data point, I've only ever missed 1 domestic upgrade in the US since I've been EXP. (I don't fly very much domestic, so don't be jealous, it's a fairly small sample size... )
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:42 am
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Another data point to add to the discussion. I don't know about AUS, but from 2018 to 2021, paid F fares were quite reasonable in some markets. So, my hypothesis is that there were more paid F passengers (I bought cheap F fares several times). Now, with the general rise in airfares, F has gone back to higher level which make it impossible for many to buy.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by thatmikereed View Post
Given that AA refers to AUS as an elite-heavy location
Austin? No way. DFW, yes. How is your upgrade rate into Dallas?

At any rate, congrats on your fine upgrade %!

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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:49 am
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I was #2 or #3 on the list as an EXP w/ 200k LPs on 2-3 flights last weekend flying short routes in and out of CLT. Only one person cleared each time. so....
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Old Jun 14, 22, 10:00 am
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I'm an EXP and AUS-based most of the year. I think you're right on all counts. I have 8 flights this summer and booked them all in J because the fare difference between J and Y was not that large, which to me corroborates bullets 2-4. Also consider that the AUS-DFW routes are seeing the 321neos with 20J.

The LP scheme was always going to disadvantage those who only fly. It worked on me, as it got me to move spend non-travel spend to an AA-branded card, and YTD only 58% of my LPs this year are from flying. No way would I requal under the current scheme without the spend LPs.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by jljones78 View Post
booked them all in J because the fare difference between J and Y was not that large
This is why Puzzles and I are in 8A.

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Old Jun 14, 22, 10:32 am
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I'm a recent AA Gold so I don't have past experience to go by, and I'm based in the northeast, but I feel like my experience has been similar. So far I've managed an upgrade on 3 out of 4 flights this year.

I'm mostly a solo leisure traveler, so I don't mind flying at weird hours to get the cheapest prices and don't often to go to business- or tourist-heavy destinations, at least not at those prime hours. And while they've all been relatively short legs (1.5-3 hours each), I figure that's pretty good considering most were paid Basic Economy.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 1:09 pm
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I'm pushing 450k LP's and I haven't missed an upgrade all year. I've either cleared at T-100 or been #1 on the list and cleared at the airport.
My trick is if I have to connect in EXP heavy airports like DFW, CLT, PHL or MIA, I just buy F or J outright. If I'm flying non stop to any other airport, I just buy Y and play upgrade roulette if F/J looks empty enough (C7). I think a lot of travelers were doing the same, just buying F/J outright.
Prices are through the roof now, so that practice may change.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 1:29 pm
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The AUS point-to-point flights (essentially those that don't go through a hub), seem to get more leisure travelers, and thus it is easier to get upgraded on them. I think I've been upgraded on all of those that I've taken.

Even for other flights, I've been pretty high on the upgrade list, but didn't quite make it. I was the first loser for a recent CLT-AUS flight.
We'll see how things go as the summer progresses.

I have purposely planned most of my travel to leave AUS later in the day. With news of surges in the morning, and getting caught in one last year, I just didn't want to deal with that if I could help it. Perhaps that has been a factor as well.
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