[Starting Friday, Lower Tier Elites Will Be Eligible For Upgrades On Awards!] Finally: American Will Provide Complimentary Upgrades And Companion Upgrades To All Elites!

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Update, 6/6/23: American confirmed yesterday’s report and shared more details with DansDeals:

  • “American Airlines is creating more simplicity around the AAdvantage® program with enhancements to complimentary upgrades that make it more convenient for customers to experience their benefits and reward loyalty.  The following updates will be available June 9th:
  • American will prioritize complimentary upgrades for award and revenue tickets the same for a consistent experience no matter how the ticket is purchased.
  • For all status members booking AAdvantage® award tickets for travel on American, we will offer complimentary upgrades for the member plus 1 companion traveling on the same flight. Previously, this benefit was for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® and ConciergeKey® members only.
  • Also beginning June 9, American will simplify its complimentary upgrade process for status members who are traveling under the same reservation. Rather than having to ask an airport agent to “reconnect” with another status member, the system will now automatically connect the status member with the higher status and/or rolling Loyalty Points and both status members will be prioritized together all the way through their journey.”

I asked American to clarify the “1 companion traveling on the same flight” language to see if it would be possible to upgrade someone not on your record locator. Unfortunately that won’t be possible.

But these are some great improvements and I love that award and revenue tickets will now be on equal footing for upgrades!

Update, 6/5/23: As per the reliable @xJonNYC, American will soon finally allow Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Pro elites and one companion to get complimentary upgrades on award tickets, prioritized by status level and loyalty point earnings from the past 12 months.

Complimentary upgrades are available within North America, Central America, and Hawaii.



Will this change be enough to make it worth swiping your way to AA elite status?

HT: ExGingi, via DDF

Update, 7/27/22: American has converted remaining 500 mile upgrade certificate into 250 loyalty points. That means if you were targeted with 20 promotional 500 mile upgrade certificates in the past, you now have 5,000 loyalty points:

A DansDeals reader writes that his 97 certificates are now 24,250 loyalty points. How many loyalty points did you receive?

Update, 7/12/22: American will extend complimentary upgrades to elite members and one companion as of July 14th. Later this month, American will convert each remaining 500 mile upgrade certificate into 250 loyalty points. If you purchased the upgrade certificate you can contact American for other options.

Originally posted on 2/28/22:

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 😀 ).

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 like Aviator Silver and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard 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 AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard, you will earn one loyalty point per dollar.

Will you spend your way to AA elite status?

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56 Comments On "[Starting Friday, Lower Tier Elites Will Be Eligible For Upgrades On Awards!] Finally: American Will Provide Complimentary Upgrades And Companion Upgrades To All Elites!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


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?


I’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
Don’t like their aircrafts
Many 737 max ( who else use them ?)
Or J regional between ord to nyc
Why can’t we do large safe plane ?


How do I request an upgrade for a Companion?

Nathan Weiss

Will the paid mileage copay upgrades still work?


so if i spend on Barclay consumer or business aa i can earn toward exec plat?


I wish we could convert the promo 500 mile upgrades into actual miles. Would be nice to get 100,000 miles for the 20 upgrades we got years ago.


Will this help for Alaska status to get upgrades on American?


if I book an avios points domestic flight can i put my american mileage number nad have it count toward the 30 segments? thanks


” though you won’t get international systemwide upgrades unless you also fly 30 American marketed flight segments”

So american operated flights booked with partner miles won’t count, whereas partner operated but booked on aa.com will?


DW received 5k and the upgrades were expired.


mosaic statues as you once wrote has the benefit of ems points , but you cannot transfer them to a friend, systemwide upgrades on american and united plus points you can


Hi Dan, how can I check when was the last time I received a signup bonus from Citi AA if I never opened an online account? Thanks


Lifetime Gold but I don’t travel that much anymore. Would need to actually buy a domestic ticket (rather than use points) in order to qualify for a complimentary upgrade. I wonder how likely it would be get an upgrade to First in a smaller plane, say, to Florida.


How will this affect Jet Blue Mosiac members?


there is another big change. It used to be that all paid tickets within the elite class were upgraded before any award tickets. Now paid and award tickets are the same ,whoever has more LP points is higher on the list within the same elite class regardless of ticket type.


Whats the rule for partner awards (BA Avios) on AA flights?


It’s worked for me after I put in my aa mileage number.


What about if a revenue ticket is booked through JetBlue, in the past it would not be eligible for upgrades.


Travelling on the 8th, the day before 🙂


you used to be able to upgrade a companion not on the same reservation i guess for that this is a loss


Upgrade for award flights feels like a moot point. I am platinum and seldom get upgraded on a paid flight. In fact I have received emails from American to buy an upgrade during the 48 hour window when AA should give for free. At the same time I still see American trying to sell 1st class seats within final 48 hours at full price on website.
So on paper it sounds nice, but when (understandably) their practice is to squeeze as much revenue as they can out of a flight to the detriment of loyalty members with wording “complimentary upgrades as early as 48 hours” I won’t hold my breath expecting an upgrade.