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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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