There are a lot of ways that American Airlines’ set of processes and procedures is better than US Airways.
But I still stand behind that the upgrade system on US Airways was better–and I had an experience that causes me to stand even more behind that.
On US Airways, you need a 1:1 ratio of elites to non-elites in order to qualify for upgrades.
But what’s great is if you have a platinum and a gold with four passengers total, all get upgraded as a platinum.
Also, they all get upgraded on the same PNR.
I booked four people on one PNR on an American flight. One platinum, one gold, and two non-elites.
I went in to use the 500-mile upgrade certificates that non-top elites get for upgrades. They wouldn’t apply.
So I called up American and they explained that the rules for using certificates are one elite and one non-elite per PNR. It isn’t a ratio the way it is on US Airways.
So in order for anyone in my party to qualify for upgrades, I’d have to split the PNR and put one elite and one non-elite on one ticket, and one elite and non-elite on the other.
I was a little stunned by this because it seems an overly complicated way of being able to get upgrades for any group larger than two for non-top tier elites.
The agent explained that it is because of the way the certificates are applied. I can only apply certificates to one other person, and I cannot access the other elite’s certificates to upgrade the other non-elite (and himself)–even if he called up and wanted to use them.
My only solution was to split the PNR. Then it is really possible for only two of us to get upgraded, plus if there are any delays/cancellations, we could potentially get separated. Definitely not an ideal situation and a lot of extra legwork.