Wide Open Upgrade Space on American Airlines London Flights

Since US Airways took over revenue management at American Airlines, the carrier has been incredibly tightfisted with both business class saver award inventory and confirmed upgrade space to business as well. When inventory has popped up it’s been for only a brief period of time.

Right now is one of those times, at least for travel between the U.S. and Europe over winter. That’s not when most people are wanting to go to Europe, to be sure, but even then we wouldn’t expect to see flights listed as “C7” which means at least 7 business class upgrades confirmable at a time on a single flight.

And winter is the perfect time for many American Airlines flyers to confirm upgrades. Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members of AAdvantage receive systemwide upgrade certificates each year that generally expire January 31. There are a lot of people looking at upgrades that’ll expire unused at this point. This is a great opportunity to use them. For everyone else it’s also an opportunity to redeem 25,000 miles and $350 cash co-pay each way.

The very best upgrade space is probably on routes to and from London Heathrow – even notoriously difficult routes. C is the number of upgrade seats available right now. Here’s Los Angeles – London Heathrow:

And to be clear it’s available in the other direction as well. Since we’re looking at winter, let’s not just look for dates prior to those January 31 systemwides expiring (some agents will allow you to use them to confirm upgrades now for travel past expiration, and often that’ll happen anyway if you’ve already requalified if the system pulls the nearest-expiring upgrade).

Here’s Dallas – London Heathrow, another notoriously difficult flight.

And in reverse, London Heathrow – Dallas:

I’m also seeing good space out of Chicago and Philadelphia; some space out of New York JFK and Chicago; and wide open in and out of Miami and Raleigh. The only American Airlines London flights where I’m not pleased with confirmable upgrade space are out of Phoenix.

Confirmable upgrade space isn’t limited to London Heathrow flights, either. Check the European destination of your choice. For instance here’s Dallas Fort-Worth – Madrid:

And Dallas Fort-Worth – Paris:

If you’re considering upgrading to Europe on American Airlines, now is a great since those upgrades are confirmable.

Meanwhile, award space isn’t nearly as good however connecting flights through Charlotte and Philadelphia abound, especially midweek.

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. They are likely offering more inventory this year because fewer people have re-qualified for Executive Platinum status for 2020 due to the increase in EQDs required to 15k along with the horrific operations they ran this summer. As such, they are trying to throw existing Executive Platinum members a bone in hopes that by clearing in advance of flying these same people will shift more business to American. Also, they are probably hoping to improve their q4 numbers by selling additional tickets to improve their revenue metrics.

  2. @JC – that’s a laughable assertion. There’s no evidence – outside of flyertalk guessing / wishcasting – that the EXP ranks are down significantly. And winter is always a good time for confirmable C space on AA.

    As for me – I’d used up all of my January 31, 2020 expiring SWUs by July of this year…

  3. Try getting BOS to LHR. Never happens on AA. AA always wants to put you on BA so you have to pay $$$$ for fuel upcharges.

  4. @mnewman – as an EXP if you still have systemwides in your account when checking on aa.com it will tell you if systemwides are available and from what class to what class (on the LAX-JFK, I seldom see coach to bus, but almost always bus-1st and this is the same inventory as mileage + copay so if available, you can do either. Sadly outside of this market, when I’ve checked on doing an upgrade, particularly if it’s a city pair with a stop, one leg will be available, the other leg not, so I’ve ended up just purchasing the 1st class tic – hence, not really worth maintaining EXP status, although I have already requalified for 2020…

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