Old Jul 24, 2023, 3:53 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: ExpatExp
From AA's "Systemwide upgrades" page as of 24 July 2023 (edited to remove references to mileage upgrades, which are not the topic of this thread):

Enjoy a confirmed upgrade from most Business fares to First, from Premium Economy to Business, or from Economy to Premium Economy when flying transatlantic on British Airways.

Systemwide upgrades can be used for one-way travel for up to 3 flight segments on British Airways marketed and operated flights or British Airways operated flights marketed by American. At least one American marketed flight must be in the itinerary to be eligible.
.
  1. Log in to aa.com and make sure you have systemwide upgrades available in your AAdvantage account.
  2. Call your AAdvantage status service desk to confirm your upgrade. If available, the required number of upgrades will be deducted from your balance.*
  3. If an upgrade isnt available at the time of booking, you can check back with us. There is no option to waitlist for an upgrade on British Airways flights.

*Systemwide upgrades are subject to upgrade seating availability.
From AA's "AAdvantage FAQs" page as of 24 July 2023 (edited to remove references to mileage upgrades, which are not the topic of this thread):

Upgrades on British Airways and Iberia
.
  • Can I upgrade on British Airways and Iberia flights? Yes, systemwide upgrades can be used for one-way travel for up to three segments on British Airways marketed and operated flights or British Airways operated flights marketed by American.
  • Can I upgrade from a discount Main Cabin fare? Systemwide upgrades on British Airways are valid on all purchased, published fares.
  • Why is my upgrade on British Airways not valid from Economy to Business? Systemwide and mileage upgrades are valid for a one cabin upgrade. On British Airways flights that offer Premium Economy, upgrades from Economy will be to Premium Economy. On flights where British Airways doesnt offer Premium Economy, the upgrade will be to Business.
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SWU upgrades on BA are live

Old Mar 31, 2023, 4:08 pm
  #151  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian
But U bucket searches haven't been available on EF for some time so you're just using aa.com to find?

Yep! I just search a one way J award (i.e. ORD-LHR) on aa.com and if the BA flight pops up, you can book it witth a SWU. Same logic applies in Europe (i.e. LHR-PSA) if you need a flight beyond LHR. Just remember to book PE.
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Old Mar 31, 2023, 5:18 pm
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by econ
If an SWU can be confirmed on the BA flight, can the same SWU be used to waitlist on the AA-operated domestic connection, as we can with standard AA-AA bookings?
Yes, I have done it.

Originally Posted by umaa83
Yeah if you find U availability on BA for a business award, AA should be able to process the SWU, just have to be booked in to PE to begin with. Same applies to European routes, except you can be ticketed in Y on those since PE isn't offered. Any pushback from an agent on this, HUCA.
If there is U space on the inter-Europe flight, it will also upgrade that flight from Y to J since there isn't a PE option. I haven't missed one yet.

James
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Old Mar 31, 2023, 11:38 pm
  #153  
 
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Thanks. Another question

If the upgrade is confirmed on AA-marketed, BA-operated flight, does the flight number remain as an AA codeshare flight? Or does it get rebooked with BA flight number?

Want to know what to expect for miles/LP earning purposes.
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Old Mar 31, 2023, 11:51 pm
  #154  
 
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Originally Posted by econ
Thanks. Another question

If the upgrade is confirmed on AA-marketed, BA-operated flight, does the flight number remain as an AA codeshare flight? Or does it get rebooked with BA flight number?

Want to know what to expect for miles/LP earning purposes.
It almost always gets rebooked to a prime flight (001 stock), and the answer is that it depends. Ive done six SWUs on BA and most have credited LPs on spend, but a couple have credited on miles. I worked with the exec liason folks to sort it out, but my advice is to keep your receipts to have proof of spend and determine the most beneficial approach for earning LPs.
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Old Mar 31, 2023, 11:53 pm
  #155  
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Originally Posted by econ
Thanks. Another question

If the upgrade is confirmed on AA-marketed, BA-operated flight, does the flight number remain as an AA codeshare flight? Or does it get rebooked with BA flight number?

Want to know what to expect for miles/LP earning purposes.
There is, iirc, no upgrade availability on the codeshare, so will be on the BA flight number
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Old Apr 1, 2023, 12:05 am
  #156  
 
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Originally Posted by econ
Thanks. Another question

If the upgrade is confirmed on AA-marketed, BA-operated flight, does the flight number remain as an AA codeshare flight? Or does it get rebooked with BA flight number?

Want to make sure so that I know what to expect for miles/LP earning purposes.
Once the SWU is applied to the BA flight, it will revert to the BA Prime number. My AA codeshare in fare class P changed to a BA Prime flight number in fare class T; but upgraded to U. You should earn on the underlying fare class purchased based on distance.

I flew CPT-LHR-PHX in PE last September before SWUs could be used on BA. My "return" was PHX-LHR-BUD on March 6th, both AA codeshares on BA metal. I applied a SWU and was upgraded on both segments. For $1047, I thought it was a great deal.

I also purchased another ticket for my partner for just PHX-LHR-BUD, all BA metal but both AA codeshares. A SWU upgraded both his flight too so I don't think there is a strict requirement that a segment is flown on AA metal. It appears as long as it is AA marketed, you are good to go.

In November, I had some expiring flight credit I needed to use. The flight was originally transacted in CAD dollars. I found a YVR-DFW-IAH-LHR flight, BA metal, AA codeshare on the LHR flight in PE for $688 USD. I booked that & the BA flight was upgraded with a SWU. C space opened on an earlier AA DFW-IAH flight. That was an easy change and upgrade. Unfortunately, the YVR-DFW flight remained waitlisted and I didn't clear on that segment.

In my love / hate relationship with AA, I do appreciate the plethora of Y-UP fares they offer.

James
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 9:16 am
  #157  
 
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Please help. I have read through this thread several times and I’m still confused. I have several transatlantic flights coming up booked on Business through American on British Airways metal. I subscribe to Expert Flyer and SeatSpy. SeatSpy gives me an alert when an upgrade to first may be available. I received the alert for a flight I have from Chicago to London at the end of May. When I look for that flight on the AA site I see that I could purchase a First Class ticket for that segment with 85K miles. When I look at the BA site I see that I could buy a Business flight with money and upgrade to First Class with AVIOS. But I’ve contacted AA 4 times and each time they say the flight isn’t available to use a system wide upgrade. What am I missing? Thanks.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 9:45 am
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by BERGBRLY
Please help. I have read through this thread several times and I’m still confused. I have several transatlantic flights coming up booked on Business through American on British Airways metal. I subscribe to Expert Flyer and SeatSpy. SeatSpy gives me an alert when an upgrade to first may be available. I received the alert for a flight I have from Chicago to London at the end of May. When I look for that flight on the AA site I see that I could purchase a First Class ticket for that segment with 85K miles. When I look at the BA site I see that I could buy a Business flight with money and upgrade to First Class with AVIOS. But I’ve contacted AA 4 times and each time they say the flight isn’t available to use a system wide upgrade. What am I missing? Thanks.
Don't believe EF is particularly useful for purposes of identifying confirmable SWUs on BA metal (unlike AA metal). My understanding is that the most straightforward approach is to search BA's website for award bookings. If there is availability in First on a particular flight, then the upgrade from a paid Business ticket to First on said flight should be processed on request. If there is no such availability (or availability for a lesser number of seats) then the upgrade can't be processed. I can't speak to upgrading with Avios as a suitable alternative search. Is there a universe in which BA makes a seat in First available via a paid Business ticket upgraded with Avios, but doesn't make that same seat available through an award booking? If so, that might explain your discrepancy.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 9:49 am
  #159  
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Has AA even published an SOP for this or is it just through trial and error with various agents?
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 10:02 am
  #160  
 
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Thank you. The BA site does show an AVIOS award booking available for a first class seat on that flight.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 10:04 am
  #161  
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Originally Posted by BERGBRLY
Please help. I have read through this thread several times and Im still confused. I have several transatlantic flights coming up booked on Business through American on British Airways metal. I subscribe to Expert Flyer and SeatSpy. SeatSpy gives me an alert when an upgrade to first may be available. I received the alert for a flight I have from Chicago to London at the end of May. When I look for that flight on the AA site I see that I could purchase a First Class ticket for that segment with 85K miles. When I look at the BA site I see that I could buy a Business flight with money and upgrade to First Class with AVIOS. But Ive contacted AA 4 times and each time they say the flight isnt available to use a system wide upgrade. What am I missing? Thanks.
Originally Posted by UncleLeo
Don't believe EF is particularly useful for purposes of identifying confirmable SWUs on BA metal (unlike AA metal). My understanding is that the most straightforward approach is to search BA's website for award bookings. If there is availability in First on a particular flight, then the upgrade from a paid Business ticket to First on said flight should be processed on request. If there is no such availability (or availability for a lesser number of seats) then the upgrade can't be processed. I can't speak to upgrading with Avios as a suitable alternative search. Is there a universe in which BA makes a seat in First available via a paid Business ticket upgraded with Avios, but doesn't make that same seat available through an award booking? If so, that might explain your discrepancy.
Not sure what's going on, have the agents said anything specific as to why they can't process it or just that it's "not available"?

If you're seeing sAAver first award space available at aa.com on the ORD-LHR flight then you should be able to upgrade J>F using a SWU. There's not much you can do other than HUCA, again. If they say it's not available again I would push back and say that award space is available so it should be upgradeable, etc.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 11:47 am
  #162  
 
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Thanks. I’ll keep trying as long as I see it. They just say it is unavailable.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 12:26 pm
  #163  
 
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I'll be traveling later this month on BA metal, booked via AA codeshare. My first attempt at SWU and the agent told me that PE (WTP) is fully booked so she can't apply my SWU. What are my chances if I keep calling back? I would love to get into J but just getting into W would be great.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 12:34 pm
  #164  
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Originally Posted by monius
I'll be traveling later this month on BA metal, booked via AA codeshare. My first attempt at SWU and the agent told me that PE (WTP) is fully booked so she can't apply my SWU. What are my chances if I keep calling back? I would love to get into J but just getting into W would be great.
On BA, if you are currently booked in economy then using a SWU will only get you into PE.

You need to be booked into PE in order to use a SWU to upgrade to J.

You need PE award space to open up in order to upgrade Y>PE.

Did the agent mean that the PE cabin was totally sold out, or just that there was no award/upgrade space available? If the PE cabin is already sold out on your flight a few weeks in advance, then I'd say odds are not good at all that award space will open up.
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Old Apr 3, 2023, 1:58 pm
  #165  
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Originally Posted by BERGBRLY
Please help. I have read through this thread several times and Im still confused. I have several transatlantic flights coming up booked on Business through American on British Airways metal. I subscribe to Expert Flyer and SeatSpy. SeatSpy gives me an alert when an upgrade to first may be available. I received the alert for a flight I have from Chicago to London at the end of May. When I look for that flight on the AA site I see that I could purchase a First Class ticket for that segment with 85K miles. When I look at the BA site I see that I could buy a Business flight with money and upgrade to First Class with AVIOS. But Ive contacted AA 4 times and each time they say the flight isnt available to use a system wide upgrade. What am I missing? Thanks.
you are doing everything correct and unfortunately got 4 bad agents.

if you booked a TATL BA metal flight on aa.com in J, and you are seeing BA F award availability, you should be able to use a SWU to upgrade J->F.

HUCA. Or maybe try messaging on Twitter. They tend to be very competent.
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