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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!

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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