American Airlines extends systemwide upgrades through mid-2022

Jun 1, 2021

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Not yet ready to take a long-haul flight? Well, American Airlines has your back.

The Fort Worth-based carrier is rolling out an extension for its systemwide upgrades that were originally slated to expire this year. In a statement shared with TPG, an AA spokesperson said that “we are pleased to share with our elite AAdvantage members that all active systemwide upgrades scheduled to expire in 2021 will have a new expiration date of July 31, 2022.”

Last year, American extended expiring systemwide upgrades by six months, giving any unused systemwide upgrades with an expiration date of Jan. 31, 2021, a new expiration of July 31, 2021. Now, the carrier’s giving flyers another full year to use those unused upgrades, with the new expiration now on July 31, 2022.

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The updated expiration date should already be reflected in your account and can be seen by looking at your “Wallet” section of your AAdvantage profile.

You can use a systemwide upgrade to confirm AA’s Flagship First product (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Of course, long-haul international travel is still largely suspended due to the pandemic, so the carrier’s taking a generous approach to extending systemwide upgrades.

In fact, American’s extension is now the most generous of the major U.S. airlines. Delta’s regional and global upgrade certificates selected between March 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, have already been extended through the end of 2021.

United, on the other hand, gave top-tier Premier members two six-month extensions on PlusPoints that were slated to expire on or after Jan. 1, 2021. Those PlusPoints are now valid through Jan. 31, 2022.

Related: How to use American systemwide upgrades

AAdvantage elite members earn systemwide upgrades when they hit either Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status. AA now lets top-tier elites get a pick from a catalog of elite choice rewards, including systemwide upgrades, bonus miles, travel vouchers and more.

Systemwide upgrades, or SWUs as they’re affectionately called by loyalists, can be used to confirm a one-way, one-cabin upgrade any time after booking, subject to availability. In fact, as of Oct. 1, 2020, they can even be used on discounted basic economy tickets as well.

Tuesday’s news doesn’t include any update to earning status in 2021, as American is now the only one of the Big 3 to not yet announce a mid-year promotion or fast-track offer for those taking to the skies once again.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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