Finally: American Will Provide Complimentary Upgrades And Companion Upgrades To All Elites!

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Once upon a time, airlines only upgraded elite members if they paid an upgrade fee or used upgrade certificates.

That disappeared over time, with most airlines handing out complimentary domestic upgrades as a main perk of elite status.

United ditched their upgrade certificate requirements when they merged with Continental, but American has been slow to match.

They began giving complimentary upgrades to their top-tier elites, but held off on doing the same for their companions or for Gold and Platinum elites, except on flights under 500 miles. Some lower tier elites saw that as advantageous, as they were able to purchase 500 mile upgrades and have better upgrade odds than lower tier elites at other airlines, though most would prefer to have complimentary upgrades.

But American has been changing the game this year.

They are changing how status is earned by switching from elite qualifying miles and spending to loyalty points, which can be earned via credit card spending. You can earn top-tier status on American by putting $200,000 of spending on their credit cards from 1/1/22 to 2/28/23, though you won’t get international systemwide upgrades unless you also fly 30 American marketed flight segments (including award segments, so start booking awards with lots of connections as the new mileage run šŸ˜€ ).

And starting on 3/2, all American elites will receive upgrades on all paid tickets within North America, Central America, and Hawaii, including on basic economy tickets! Gold and Platinum members will no longer have to use 500 mile upgrade certificates to upgrade themselves, though those will still be needed to upgrade a companion for now.

Award flights won’t be eligible for upgrades unless you have Executive Platinum status.

Later this year, American will also allow 1 companion to get upgraded as well. At that time, American will convert all 500 mile upgrade certificates into 250 loyalty points for the 2022 program.

Unfortunately, that means you won’t be able to upgrade more than 1 companion.

This will create more incentive to earn American status and spend on American credit cards. You can earn Gold status with 30,000 loyalty points, Platinum status with 75,000 loyalty points, Platinum Pro status with 125,000 loyalty points, and Executive Platinum status with 200,000 loyalty points.

Loyalty points, retroactively counted from 1/1, will begin showing up in American accounts in the coming days.

Of course, this all means you have to fly on American. I have had top-tier American status for several years now thanks to Hyatt, and it has been anything but smooth sailing.

You’ll earn 1 loyalty point per dollar spent on most Citi, Barclays, and other AA credit cards. That includes cards like:

Cards likeĀ Aviator Silver and Citi AAdvantageĀ Executive World Elite ConsumerĀ MastercardĀ will offer Loyalty Points as threshold bonuses instead of EQMs/EQDs.

Note that signup bonuses and category bonuses don’t earn loyalty points. That means that while you earn 2 redeemable miles per dollar on groceries on the Citi AAdvantageĀ MileUp ConsumerĀ Mastercard, you will earn one loyalty point per dollar.

Will you spend your way to AA elite status?

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33 Comments On "Finally: American Will Provide Complimentary Upgrades And Companion Upgrades To All Elites!"

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so if we sign up for AA’s cc and get a welcome bonus, those loyalty points count toward status and we’ll get Gold status (or more)?

Ed Travel

I really dislike those certificates I am glad they are removing them…


As a Platinum Pro AA Elite, feels like the elimination of 500-mile upgrades for Gold and Platinum undermines the perk of the higher tier status members not needing them (was a big difference getting complimentary upgrades to flagship business on the A321T from JFK-LAX and not needing to worry about having enough 500-mile upgrades).

Is this concern not relevant since PP and EP status members will still be higher on the upgrade list anyway? Curious to hear your thoughts


What good is Elite status / CU when the operations are so bad. Agree?


I see most of the updates, but where did you see that EP award tickets will not be eligible for upgrades? That would be quite a change.


I assume million mile lifers also get auto-upgrades?


Any idea if non-status members who have 500-mile upgrades sitting in their account will get them converted as well to loyalty points? Family member once had status, accumulated many 500-mile upgrades, then lost status before they could be used. Having those converted to 250 loyalty points each would be great for them!


not really, even if they have 12 thats just 2,500 loyalty points, they would still need to spend $27,500 this year which is still a lot of spend$


I have 4 upgrades from AA in my account. How can I apply the certificate to someone else ?


How many segments do they allow on a one way/round trip?


What’s with long haul international flights? How can elites get upgraded?


Iā€™m AA plat. Spoke to AA Plat desk this afternoon said can not upgrade Basic economy


Would this apply to having status on Alaska as they are partners? Can I fly American and automatically get upgraded? I only have flying points not a credit card


Flying aa Tom trans continental
Donā€™t like their aircrafts
Many 737 max ( who else use them ?)
Or J regional between ord to nyc
Why canā€™t we do large safe plane ?


How do I request an upgrade for a Companion?