American Airlines systemwide upgrades have new rules for how they can be used prior to expiration, and it’s more generous and flexible for AAdvantage members.
Some Members Could Extend Expiring American Airlines Systemwide Upgrades in the Past
Systemwide upgrades are given to Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members each year that allow moving from coach to business class, or business to first class, from any fare. Million milers also receive these upon achieving the 2 million mile milestone and at each subsequent million mile level.
In recent years the official rule has been that travel must be complete by the expiration date of a systemwide. In practice, however, there were two exceptions.
- If you’d already requalified for elite status and had systemwides that weren’t expiring, when you requested an upgrade in the future it would pull the closest expiring one first. As a result requalified Executive Platinums and ConciergeKey members were able to use expiring systemwides for travel after their expiration date (as long as upgrades could be confirmed prior to a certificate’s expiration).
- ConciergeKey members and Executive Platinums who have a customer score of 4 or 5 (out of 5) were allowed to extend their expiring certificates by 3 months.
American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class
New More Generous Approach to Expiring Systemwide Upgrades
American has changed things slightly this year. As first reported by JonNYC, American is continuing to allow their top customers (ConciergeKeys and 4- and 5-Eagle Executive Platinums) to extend their systemwide upgrades and is allowing all members to use expiring systemwide upgrades for future travel as long as the upgrade gets confirmed prior to expiration.
On the issue of using SWU’s post expiration:
As in previous years, 4/5 Eagle members +all CKs, can get a 3 month extension on up to 2 upgrades, from the original date of upgrade expiration.
New this year; All customers members may request to travel beyond the upgrade expiration
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) November 14, 2019
In other words it’s possible to book travel now and use a January-expiring upgrade certificate for travel after January, if you can confirm the upgrade now.
An American spokesperson tells me, “We are making this exception for our members this year to improve their experience and give them more opportunities to try to use their systemwide upgrades. If customers have any issues, they can ask to speak to a supervisor.”
American Airlines Flagship Business Class Lounge New York JFK
Last weekend I actually had mixed success with this – I managed it without difficulty the first time, but on the second request an agent told me it wasn’t possible. I will now find a good way to use that last systemwide for sure! This is very helpful of American.