Minor Change to How American Airlines Upgrades Work

Via @JonNYC, American changed how confirmed upgrade instruments get listed on upgrade priority lists and how companions are treated at the airport.

Now in effect for users of @AmericanAir’s SWUs– good news for non-top level members who have them (gifted to them or whatever):

Here’s the change:

(Click to enlarge)

An Executive Platinum traveling with a companion would be upgraded together automatically in advance of travel, but at the airport would usually be separated on the upgrade list each with their own status. Companions now inherit the status of their upgrade sponsor at the airport.

Update: American reaches out to stay that the information in the document above is incorrect.

We have not implemented companion benefits when traveling on a mileage-award upgrade or on a systemwide upgrade. The only new thing introduced on Jan. 1 is with the RV and RI priority codes. Companions will now inherit the priority of the elite member they’re traveling with (if they’re in the same PNR) when listed as an RI or RV on the airport priority list.

‘R’ in these cases stands for revenue (paid ticket) and I and V are voluntary and involuntary, these are codes for passengers standing by from another flight — an involuntary would be, for instance, someone bumped off of another flight that was oversold or who experienced other irregular operations.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The downside right now it seems no differentiation of priority between someone waitlisted with SWU or waitlisted for complimentary upgrade.

    In theory, those waitlisted on SWUs should be above all waiting for complimentary upgrade within status level.

    One thing at a time I suppose.

  2. @Golfingboy Most people use SWU for international travel – which does not have comp upgrades.

    But I wonder if AA will override upgrade for domestic segment if the international clears SWU?

  3. Gary, wondering if agents at the airport pronounce this list “pal” or “paul”? Do you make reference to it when asking how an upgrade looks (if you ask)?

  4. Gary, how does this work if I have two companions? Will both inherit my status or only one like in years past?

  5. if i’m platinum & my companion is gold, do we both have my status? I’m assuming so, but wasn’t sure if my companion’s elite status would throw a kink in the process. Thx

  6. Why did they decide to keep irritations on award tickets? Dumb!

    It’s doesn’t cost them anything; AA just doesn’t get it!

  7. Great news! As someone who has given up his gate/boarding upgrade seat twice last year to sit back with a companion, I’m all for it.

    It was fun to surprise the person who thought they were upgraded to my MCE seat with an F seat as a trade. Even better to have companion flying F with you.

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