American Airlines AAdvantage members with status receive complimentary upgrades, if available, on U.S. domestic flights as well as flights between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Central America.
That now even applies to Gold and Platinum members who no longer need to pay for these upgrades with 500 mile certificates (although companion upgrades still require these certificates, but that’s going away too).
The complimentary upgrade program has one oddball route exception. All Caribbean flights receive complimentary upgrades except one. It’s a 900 mile flight operated with an American Eagle Embraer E-175 regional jet from Miami to San Andrés.
- Upgrades are valid “between the U.S. and…the Caribbean” and San Andrés (ADZ) is in the Caribbean.
- The island belongs to Colombia. Colombia is often regarded as part of Central America (which is also eligible for complimentary upgrades).
- American includes Colombia, though, in the South America region which is reasonable. Flights to South America aren’t eligible for complimentary upgrades.
American Eagle Embraer E-175 in Miami
To be clear, when you’re in San Andrés you’re in the Caribbean. You’re just east of Central America, and certainly closer to it than to South America. It’s only because it’s part of a country that’s considered South America that complimentary upgrades don’t apply.
I asked American whether it’s intentional to consider the Caribbean island of San Andrés as part of South America and exclude it from complimentary upgrades, or an oversight of some kind? And according to a spokesperson, “San Andrés is indeed part of Colombia so it’s not eligible for e500s.”