Last night JonNYC tweeted that confirmed upgrade availability on American is about to get worse. In my experience Jon is usually correct, he shares things that he knows and doesn’t point folks in the wrong direction often.
American Airlines Premium Economy
And A –> C [booking class change for confirmed upgrade to domestic premium cabins] is unfortunately confirmed as well. That will likely mean considerably less availability for confirmable upgrades going forward.
When the schedule change runs this weekend, bookings with confirmed upgrades currently confirmed in A will temporarily change to D. However, before too long these upgrades will change to C.
Right about now might be a good time to lock in domestic upgrades for flights in January/February and beyond.
Changing booking classes does not in itself mean that confirmed upgrade availability has to change, but it also is an opportunity to start fresh with how the booking class is being managed.
American already has worse award availability than United and worse availability than Delta for transatlantic flights at least. One bright spot has long been domestic upgrade space.
I have long assumed that American made domestic confirmed upgrade space (“A” inventory) widely available for all except premium New York JFK – Los Angeles and San Francisco routes because American doesn’t waive the cash co-pay required for upgrades using miles for elite frequent flyers the way that Unites does. American gets cash for the upgrade, not just miles.
American Airlines Domestic First Class
Of course 15,000 miles and $75 cash doesn’t even make sense to do when a first class fare is less than $200 over the coach price one way. You’re getting less than a penny per mile.
Nonetheless, American has made upgrade space available even when first is a greater premium over coach so it’s strategically useful to spend miles to confirm a seat especially when it’s getting so much harder to obtain a complimentary upgrade.
Gosh I remember when American’s eVIP international upgrade certificates confirmed into revenue inventory when they were used domestically! Now they may become tough to use even domestically, at least if the rumor of tighter availability when American shifts its booking classes is accurate.