Unlimited Upgrades for All Elites! American Airlines Channels Its US Airways Roots

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know I was a diehard US Airways fan. Not only did they give unlimited upgrades to all elites, but they also extended the benefit to travel companions.

When American Airlines merged with US Airways, I was worried that the traditions would disappear–and I was right. While I still qualified for unlimited upgrades as an executive platinum, I ended up paying for 500-mile upgrades for my travel companions. And with the recent changes to the American Program, I’ve accepted: 1. I will not hit Executive Platinum this year and 2. I’ll be buying myself 500-mile upgrade certificates.

But I’m happy to say that American Airlines has embraced the policy of unlimited upgrades for all elites!  Not only that, but the upgrades also extend to travel companions.  The unlimited upgrades starts in March and the complimentary companion upgrades will begin later this year.

From the website:

AAdvantage Gold® and AAdvantage Platinum® members now have more opportunities to upgrade from Main / Premium Economy to the next class of service. Starting with flights on March 2, 2022, we’re expanding complimentary upgrades to all purchased, published fares on American within North America.*

All complimentary upgrades for existing reservations will be available by March 2.

Some reminders:

  • We’ll automatically request the upgrade if everyone in your booking is eligible for a complimentary upgrade – no action needed from you.
  • Your upgrade may be cleared as early as 24 hours before departure for AAdvantage Gold® and 48 hours for AAdvantage Platinum® members.
  • Upgrades within North America remain complimentary for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® and AAdvantage Platinum Pro® members Judi Slot Online Terbaru.

I’m getting major US Airways nostalgia with these changes and I’m happy with them; however, there is a big downside to this change for non-top elites.

In the past, Gold and Platinum members had to decide when they would like to use their certificates.  Since Platinums were not trying for an upgrade on every flight they took, this gave Golds the opportunity to potentially get an upgrade.  Now, Golds will be competing with Platinums for every flight.

The upside is that upgrades (at least from my experience on US Airways) seemed to be easier to get on flights where you’d want them the most–vacation destinations and red-eye flights.

Either way, as a future “downgraded elite,” I’m overall happy for these changes.

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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7 comments

  1. For those of us with a lot of unused 500-mile upgrades, will we be able to cash those in? At least for miles?

  2. Also existing 500 mile upgrades will be exchanged for 250 loyalty points. As a gold who almost NEVER cleared an upgrade I have 36 of these!

  3. The other downside is that all the 500-mile upgrade certificates I bought to recoup my Amex Platinum/Business Platinum Airline Incidental Fees… are now…. kinda… worthless?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Yup, I’m in the same boat! But for now, you can still use them for companions until that benefit kicks in later that year.

  4. So, essentially AA is changing its upgrade policy to be more in line with UA, DAL and AS, right?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Yup, it’s believed that it’s to be inline with AS. But plat+ can still choose MCE at booking and Gold ahead of the flight, so it’s (in my opinion) more generous than other domestic airlines.

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