SWU Strategy

Old Sep 15, 2023, 10:48 am
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by FrankMorris
Awesome thank you. Spent the last hour combing through dates and yes - Europe seems to be about the only option. Not that that's a bad one. Haven't found a single C opening from LAX/DFW to HND/NRT, AKL, etc. - seems completely locked down, even in Jan/Feb which is off-season for Japan.
US-Australia/NZ are high demand routes, with high fares in J, and is going to be a tough upgrade on any airline. AA's flying to Asia is still a fraction of what it was pre-pandemic, and there's a lot of demand there too, so I wouldn't expect much advance availability there either. I found some LAX-HND C availability a year ago when I was searching but it's possible it's much less now.
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Old Sep 15, 2023, 12:21 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by brenc3
US-Australia/NZ are high demand routes, with high fares in J, and is going to be a tough upgrade on any airline. AA's flying to Asia is still a fraction of what it was pre-pandemic, and there's a lot of demand there too, so I wouldn't expect much advance availability there either. I found some LAX-HND C availability a year ago when I was searching but it's possible it's much less now.
There's been last minute LAX-SYD C space opening up the last couple months. For example, there's C space on Sept 17-19, 24-27. You could also book a trip, hope for last minute C space, and then cancel if not.
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Old Sep 17, 2023, 2:42 pm
  #18  
 
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Thanks everyone. I continue searching, and yes - advanced inventory seems almost non-existent except on very select routes & times of year. IMO a pretty terrible de-valuing of the SWU conceptually as most folks aren't going to be flying internationally with enough frequency throughout the year to happen to catch an upgrade last minute. By contrast, if I snag/miss an upgrade on my regular flying routes, not big deal - the idea of "sometimes I get upgraded" is still highly beneficial. IMO the primary benefit of something like an SWU would be the ability to force an upgrade in advance. AA's unwillingness to open up that inventory suggests a very low priority SWU, and by proxy its loyalty program, has relative to its revenue. In other words, selling high value first/business seats on a one-off basis is seen as better business than valuing repeat business and therefore promoting loyalty. In the end, it's a slippery slope - AA is tempted to keep sliding the adjustment factor for revenue vs loyalty/upgrade seats ever-more closely toward the revenue side, when one day folks wake up and realize it's slid almost as much as can be.

Originally Posted by PurpleMonkey
There's been last minute LAX-SYD C space opening up the last couple months. For example, there's C space on Sept 17-19, 24-27. You could also book a trip, hope for last minute C space, and then cancel if not.
This is the true game for those whose first priority and main goal is to use an SWU. I happen to be in the group of folks that have enough scheduling flexibility to actually do this, so I'm tempted to give it a go, and of course monitor flights as I get closer in to have better visibility as to odds as the dates approach. Thanks!
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Old Sep 17, 2023, 5:05 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Hello- Apologies if I am in the wrong place.

I became EXP last year for the first time and have 6 unused SWU's (1 cleared Nov 22). 2 of them expire by the end of this year.

I usually fly SFO-JFK and then internationally for work and have never seen the SWU option appear. Is it just because of my usual flight is usually sold out so it doesn't appear or am I missing something basic when booking the trip.

I have gotten upgrades with the normal 2-3 day before my flight but never at booking.

I currently have a
1 way coach seat JFK-SFO on October 1st
Business ticket JFK-DOH on October 6th. (rest of trip is on Qatar Business)
Coach SFO-JFK Nov 14th (with companion)
Business JFK-SFO Nov 24th (alone)

Is there a way for me to see if I can get upgraded sooner than the 3 days prior and does it work on the JFK to DOH flight? I booked PE, paid for the upgrade to business post booking.

Any insight is appreciated. thanks so much
​​​​​​​Paige
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Old Sep 17, 2023, 5:17 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by spaige
Hello- Apologies if I am in the wrong place.

I became EXP last year for the first time and have 6 unused SWU's (1 cleared Nov 22). 2 of them expire by the end of this year.

I usually fly SFO-JFK and then internationally for work and have never seen the SWU option appear. Is it just because of my usual flight is usually sold out so it doesn't appear or am I missing something basic when booking the trip.

I have gotten upgrades with the normal 2-3 day before my flight but never at booking.

I currently have a
1 way coach seat JFK-SFO on October 1st
Business ticket JFK-DOH on October 6th. (rest of trip is on Qatar Business)
Coach SFO-JFK Nov 14th (with companion)
Business JFK-SFO Nov 24th (alone)

Is there a way for me to see if I can get upgraded sooner than the 3 days prior and does it work on the JFK to DOH flight? I booked PE, paid for the upgrade to business post booking.

Any insight is appreciated. thanks so much
​​​​​​​Paige
The SWU only displays on the flight search when there is currently upgrade-C space available. If not you can waitlist and if space opens up and you are at the top of the list, your upgrade will clear. If they don't release space before the flight, upgrades will clear at the gate, down to the last business class seat.

There is really no trick; you can't force them to release space and it's hard to predict. But if there is lots of J inventory, your upgrade is more likely to eventually clear (either beforehand, or at the gate). Obviously if there is very little J inventory you are probably out of luck.

Your can use an expertflyer subscription to search for upgrade-C space and look for flights with lots of J inventory, but this is really only useful if you are flexible. If you have to fly on a certain day for work it doesn't really help you much.
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Old Sep 18, 2023, 11:15 am
  #21  
 
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I appreciate the response. It must be the SFO-JFK route being so popular that I never see the option.

For my AA JFK-DOH flight. I purchased a Premium Economy seat (per company guidelines). I then paid for the upgrade to Business when given the offer on the app.

Would that ticket qualify for a SWU to first? There is no upgrade option on the app, so I assume the answer is no.
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Old Sep 18, 2023, 11:27 am
  #22  
 
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There are no instrument or (confirmed) status-based double upgrades. However, not at all rare for a CK or EP who upgrades to J get op-up'd to F on the 321T or 77W when economy is sold out and they are trying to free up economy seats for standbys or oversolds.
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Old Sep 18, 2023, 12:03 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by spaige
I appreciate the response. It must be the SFO-JFK route being so popular that I never see the option.

For my AA JFK-DOH flight. I purchased a Premium Economy seat (per company guidelines). I then paid for the upgrade to Business when given the offer on the app.

Would that ticket qualify for a SWU to first? There is no upgrade option on the app, so I assume the answer is no.
Since you have SWUs that area going to expire soon and you will be flying in the lower class of service if you don't upgrade, I think you should waitlist your SWUs. The fact that the option doesn't show on the web page just means that there is no space right now, but it might open up later, or you might get upgraded at the gate.

I'm not really sure how the paid upgrades on the app work. If they use C space then you could have used an SWU instead (which would also have waitlisted you on the other segment, since a single SWU is good for one entire direction of travel, up to 3 or 4 (I can't remember) segments.

Once you have upgraded you can't upgrade again; you will have to use your SWU on a different trip (the return counts as a different trip though).
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Old Sep 18, 2023, 1:42 pm
  #24  
 
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thank you so much! I just called the desk and they put me on the waitlist, It is showing sold out, but as you said, you never know.

I also was added my coach ticket from SFO-JFK (no upgrade yet, but there are seats) . I had assumed it was already in the queue and since they are expiring soon, I am glad I posted and called.

thanks agan!
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Old Sep 19, 2023, 9:21 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
Yea, you must have SWU's in your account for the "systemwide availability" to show up during searches at aa.com.
Should note that this works best when looking at the long haul flight as a direct flight. If you look at something like CLT-JFK-LHR, the system may well show SWUs available, but when you click on it, it will be for the CLT-JFK leg only. If a positioning flight is part of your itinerary, do the search for SWU availability on the long haul leg only and then revise to your preferred routing once you found the long haul flight you want.
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Old Sep 19, 2023, 12:45 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Originally Posted by djvand;[url=tel:35577161
35577161[/url]]I am Exec Plat on AA so I have access to see which flights have SWU's however it is an exhausting search to find seats on both the flight out and back. I have 4 to use so really do not care where I go I am up for an adventure of 3 or 4 nights hopefully over a weekend. My home airport is CMH and I am willing to go anywhere in the World, hopefully to another Country in Asia or Europe. Is there another trick I can quickly search besides a paid site like ExpertFlyer. Anyone have time on their hands to suggest some long distance routes I can book? Thanks in advance
JFK - CDG has SWUs available in mid December
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Old Sep 19, 2023, 1:23 pm
  #27  
 
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Deleted duplicate
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Old Sep 19, 2023, 3:02 pm
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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upgrade milegae ticket with swu

Can you upgrade a mileage ticket with a swus?

Apologize if this is a dumb question, I just got my first 2 swus since they were called evips. I have no memory as to how it works.
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Old Sep 19, 2023, 3:19 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by sonora
Can you upgrade a mileage ticket with a swus?

Apologize if this is a dumb question, I just got my first 2 swus since they were called evips. I have no memory as to how it works.
No.

From AA's SWU T&C (bolding mine):

Upgrades are only valid on individual published-fare tickets. Upgrades are not applicable to AAdvantage travel awards; any free ticket; military or other government fares; opaque fares; infant tickets (including INF50 fares) or purchased extra seats.
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Old Jan 15, 2024, 6:05 pm
  #30  
 
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Maybe I am doing it wrong, but when using EF (upgrades and awards) and search segment by segment, I do see decent C inventory, at least to C2. Now of course I have an AAgent who tells me I can't apply an SWU to a BE ticket unless the system changes it to a main cabin ticket.
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