Do NOT Book with Expedia if You Want Your Upgrades on US Airways

US Airways and American Airlines post-merger loyalty points, elite status, and alliance.Or Travelocity or Orbitz, or any other third-party website.

A while back, I wrote on a strange quirk with US Airways upgrades.  US Airways agents were unable to touch tickets booked through another airline.  That means, you could not upgrade a US Airways flight through US Airways if it was booked on a United ticket.  Here’s my previous experience with that.

Now that US Airways and American are merging, this quirk is coming to light in a way that can really impact you.


I booked a flight on US Airways on Expedia (of course, trying to get extra Ultimate Reward points).

It was a US Airways coded flight.  Operated by US Airways.  Even using US Airways fare classes.

But when it ticketed, it ticketed through American Airlines.

The same thing that happened to United flights when you book US Airways flights through them happened to my ticket.  But since (on Expedia’s side) it was arbitrary whether it ticketed as American or US Airways, I couldn’t do anything to control whom I was booking through.

I got an email that my complimentary upgrades were unavailable for these flights.  I tried calling, asking to use miles.  No dice.

I finally begged an agent, offering to use extra miles.  She laughed and let me know she couldn’t touch the ticket at all.

Normally, I wouldn’t care this much.  But I was hoping to give a friend her first go in first-class.

This does not affect your ticketing at the gate.  So one option I have is if seats are free, I can split my ticket and give her my seat.

It’s also a route that not many people take, so I am going to watch and see how many seats tend to be free.  I may use my Silver Trial on her to get her elite status if a lot of upgrades happen at the gate.  But if I do that option, I will still need to split our tickets because of US Airway’s other glitch.  Elites traveling together don’t go on the upgrade list.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. The real rub with upgrading seats directly with the airline is that upgrade does not make it back to the website where you packaged the trip. CheapOAir told me I have to go to USAirways/American Airlines to upgrade on a very expensive trip. It cost me an extra $322 for those seat upgrades. A family emergency happened. I had to cancel and after 6 months of wrangling a remittance from Travelex Insurance, the upgrades were neither included and after a follow up to show the charges on my card, stilled refused by Traveles. I ate $322 because of this policy of upgrading directly. If you make upgrades your Flight Identifier # should reflect those upgrades on the site where you booked it, not just your credit card.

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