Sunday Reader Question: How to Extend an American Airlines EVIP Upgrade?

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TPG reader Jeff asks:

“Many of us have American Airline e-VIP’s that are expiring at the end of February 2013 that we need to use up, or somehow extend.  American will NOT extend the expiration date, but you can use them on a ticket that is then cancelled and remains good for a year?”

Jeff is referring to the 8 one-way upgrade certificates you get when achieving American Airlines Executive Platinum Status (100,000 EQMs in a year). These upgrade certificates are extremely valuable- you can upgrade from the cheapest coach to business or domestic first class with no fees. An amazing value, but you need to use them by their expiration date or else you lose them.

And sadly, per the EVIP terms and conditions: “All travel using a systemwide upgrade must be completed by the expiration date. Upgrades will expire at 12:00 midnight (CT) on the date shown.”

Unfortunately, AA has made sure there's no way to extend the live of those EVIP SWU's.
Unfortunately, AA has made sure there’s no way to extend the live of those EVIP SWU’s.

So you cannot book a flight for future use or even change an existing one into the future. Remember, you book a coach fare and then they apply the upgrade. If you cancel the ticket or change it, you re-book back into coach and then you’d need to reapply it – it doesn’t turn into a business class ticket that can then be changed and ticketed into business class.

The only thing I can recommend is maybe finding another Executive Platinum friend who has certificates that expire in 2014 and if they need to use any before the end of February 2013, ask to trade some of your imminently expiring ones for theirs that expire in the future. You would obviously need to do this with someone you trust since it would be on an honor system (and you technically aren’t supposed to trade or barter your miles/upgrades), but I do know people who have done this successfully. And if you aren’t going to use your EVIP before they expire, donate it to a friend, family member…or favorite blogger :-)

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