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TPG reader Stephen tweeted me @thepointsguy:

“I have 2 American Airlines systemwide upgrades expiring February 14, 2014. Do all segments have to be completed before expiration?”

The answer, technically, is yes. However, American’s Executive Platinum customer service line agents are very nice and accommodating for the most part, and in the past I have been able to extend or apply them to future reservations so it never hurts to ask. You can call the AAdvantage Desk at 1-800-882-8880 or your Elite Service Desk and see if they can help. However technically, you do need to use and travel by the time the certificates expire, so don’t be shocked if you get that answer when you call up. If you do get that answer, I might suggest hanging up and calling back a few times to see if you might get an agent willing to be flexible.

American Airlines System Wide Upgrades
American Airlines systemwide upgrades are given to Executive Platinum members.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum members receive eight complimentary one-way systemwide upgrades upon qualification or re-qualification for your elite status level. These upgrades entitle you (or any passenger you designate) to confirmed upgrades to the next class of service as early as the time of booking (though they usually clear a few weeks or few days out from your flight) when flying on most business class and economy fares, subject to availability.

According to the American Airlines website, upgrades that were earned based on your 2012 flight activity are valid through February 28, 2014 (so Stephen, you might still be in luck if your flights are before that). Upgrades earned based on 2013 flight activity are valid through February 28, 2015.

That means the earlier in the year that you qualify or requalify for Executive Platinum membership, the longer you will have to use your systemwide upgrades. Just note that also per the terms, all travel using a systemwide upgrade must be completed by the expiration date, which is midnight Central Time on the date shown.

So while officially you have to apply an upgrade and complete travel by the expiration date, it never hurts to ask. Good luck!

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