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Now posting: American's latest systemwide upgrade extension

Jan. 13, 2022
3 min read
Now posting: American's latest systemwide upgrade extension
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Update (1/13/22): American Airlines is making good on its promise to extend expiring upgrades. All systemwide upgrades earned in 2019 and 2020 are now valid through July 31, 2022. The updated expiration date has now been processed on the back-end and can be seen in your AAdvantage account wallet.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

The original unedited story appears below.


It’s been a very busy week for American’s AAdvantage loyalty program.

On Tuesday, the airline announced a new currency, Loyalty Points, that’ll determine where you land on the revamped elite status qualification table.

But buried in the detail is some exciting news for existing elites who might be wondering what’s going to happen to their expiring upgrade certificates.

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American is giving a six-month extension to all systemwide upgrade certificates that were slated to expire on Jan. 31, 2022, as confirmed to TPG by a carrier spokesperson.

The airline already extended all systemwide upgrades that were issued in 2019 to July 31, 2022, and now it’s doing the same for all such certificates issued in 2020.

Until now, elites who requalified in 2020 — during the height of the pandemic — had their most recent batch of certificates expiring before the ones they earned in 2019.

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(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Of course, that made little sense, especially considering that those loyalists likely went out of their way to fly American last year.

Fortunately, the carrier is making a flyer-friendly adjustment. During a recent interview with TPG, Heather Samp, managing director of member engagement, told TPG that she was looking into the situation.

A day later, a carrier spokesperson confirmed that these latest upgrades were getting the aforementioned extension. There’s no timeline yet for when the updated expiration date will appear in your account.

Related: How to use American systemwide upgrades

For many top-tier Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites, systemwide upgrades are perhaps the best perk. Each one entitles you to a confirmed, one-way upgrade to any destination, subject to availability.

Most flyers use them for long-haul travel, which, due to border closures and safety measures, have been largely off-limits for the past 18 months.

Now, all elites will have some more time to use them, a welcome move on American’s part.

Plus, you can apply systemwide upgrades beyond the expiration date, as long as you confirm the upgrade before it expires. Of course, that’s subject to finding confirmed upgrade space, but you could theoretically use these certificates for 2023 travel — hopefully, the pandemic will be long gone by then.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees