American Airlines first class upgrade

How to Upgrade to First Class on American Airlines?

7 minutes, 58 seconds Read

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

When talking in terms of American Airlines, they provide the best world-class amenities both on their domestic and international flights. The travel classes provided by American Airways are super spacious and comfortable for long journeys. However, when flying around the world, every passenger wants comfortable travel-class arrangements. Thus, they often look to book suitable seats for them. Travelers also prefer upgrading their seats to a higher class. Now let’s look into how American Airlines First Class Upgrade works, We will provide you with the best answer. So, stick to the end.

Points to Know Before Making First Class Upgrade Request at American Airlines

  • The travel class upgrade option at American Airways depends fully on the availability.
  • Travelers can make a request during booking or after the booking.
  • The passengers may be charged extra to upgrade their flight ticket to American Airlines First Class.
  • The first and foremost information regarding the American Airlines upgrade is that they are non-transferable, non-refundable, and non-changeable.
  • Make sure that you are aware of all the terms and conditions related to the upgrade policies of American Airways to enjoy a hassle-free experience.
  • If the passenger rebooks the flight the upgrade policy can’t be applied again on the same flight ticket.
  • The upgrade scheme is only available on the specific ticket and is not a subject of transfer.

How American Airlines Upgrade System Works?

There are various upgrades offered by American Airlines, which can be opted for through phone calls, the official website or app, and even at the airport during check-in.

American Airlines Systemwide Upgrade

  • The passengers can opt for a systemwide upgrade to enhance their paid flight ticket to the next class for up to three segments of a one-way trip.
  • So, if flyers are traveling in American Airlines Business Class, they can move to First Class using the Systemwide Upgrades.
  • Passengers with AAdvantage status and who have reached the Select Loyalty Reward point level get the option of Systemwide Upgrades.
  • However, the passengers can’t use the systemwide upgrades for:
  • Government fares
  • Military fare
  • Fares that are ineligible for mileage credit
  • Basic Economy tickets
  • Although AAdvantage members without elite status are not eligible to upgrade from basic economy fares.
  • American Airlines elite members can use systemwide upgrades on basic economy fares.

So, if you want to make a Systemwide upgrade request from Business Class to American Airlines First Class, follow these steps.

  • Login to your account.
  • Select the flight with systemwide upgrades while booking the ticket.
  • If you have enough Systemwide upgrades available in your account, then you can process the request.

American Airlines Complimentary Upgrades

  • American Airlines through its AAdvantage program provides complimentary upgrades to the passengers who hold elite status.
  • AAdvantage elite members automatically get into the upgrade list. They don’t have to make any separate requests.
  • AAdvantage elite members are eligible for complimentary upgrades from the Main Cabin or Premium Economy to the next class of service—which is usually business or first class.
  • However, American Airlines now also allows all elite status members the facility to upgrade award tickets.
  • It should be noted that the upgrade is not guaranteed, as there are limited seats. However, the higher the AA elite status there are more chances for the upgrade.

Here is the deadline for upgrade confirmation before departure.

  • Executive Platinum: 100 hours
  • Platinum Pro: 72 hours
  • Platinum: 48 hours
  • Gold: 24 hours

AAdvantage Mileage Upgrades

  • If the passengers don’t have American Airlines elite status, they can get the upgrade as the AAdvantage member can utilize miles to move to the next cabin of service in American Airlines.
  • It is the easiest way to upgrade to First Class on American Airlines. However, mileage upgrades are not provided for award tickets and basic economy tickets.
  • The mileage and cash co-pay cost solely depend on the region of travel, the type of fare, and the cabin of service booked.
  • Mileage upgrades can be applied to one-way travel up to a maximum of three flight segments.

This can be understood through a simple example, American Airlines charges 15,000 AAdvantage miles plus $75 to upgrade from discount economy to first class within the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada. If you booked a full-fare economy-class ticket, you’ll only need to pay 5,000 miles—there’s no cash co-pay.

Ways to Upgrade to First Class on American Airways

There are several ways that could be used and you can opt to upgrade to First Class on American Airways.

Visit the official website of American Airways

  • In the first step, the passengers must check if the ticket is eligible for a full upgrade or not. This can be checked by visiting the official website of American Airways.
  • Secondly, click on the ‘My Trips’ option present on the American Airways website, click on it, and fill up details as asked, like the Booking reference ID and the passenger’s last name. Once the details are filled up, the passengers are next taken up to the itinerary option.
  • The itinerary will show you the option of a travel class upgrade if available. You can choose either a systemwide upgrade or a mileage upgrade.

How to Upgrade to First Class at the Check-in Counter?

Passengers flying on American Airlines can also request an upgrade at the check-in counter. However, this form of upgrade can only be available if seats in the first class are available.

  • Travelers have to share the details of their flight with the AA executive.
  • Travelers can opt for Systemwide Upgrade or Mileage Upgrade.
  • The executive will process the request. Flyers have to pay the extra charges in the form of miles or cash.

Upgrade to First Class via Phone Call

  • American Airlines even provides you with the facility to upgrade to first class via phone call.
  • The passenger can connect to the American Airways staff through their 24*7 toll-free number- +1-888-906-0670;
  • The passengers can call on this number and talk to the American Airlines representative, regarding the travel class upgrade query and get their needs fulfilled.

How American Airlines Upgrades are Prioritized?

The upgrades on American Airlines are prioritized by the elite status. American Airlines provides priority to its:

1.     Concierge Key members

2.     Executive Platinum

3.     Platinum Pro

4.     Platinum

5.     Gold

 In case more than one elite member has claimed an upgrade, American Airlines works on the following points to determine priority and provide the upgrade.

  • Systemwide and mileage award upgrades
  • Upgrades on purchased tickets
  • Upgrades on award tickets (applies to Executive Platinum and higher elites only)

In some cases when the elite members have the same status and are using the same type of upgrade, American Airlines will then work on the amount of Loyalty Points that each member has earned in the past year. If further tiebreakers still exist, American Airlines will first consider the booking fare class and then the date/time of the upgrade request.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the American Airlines travel class upgrade option after booking available?

Yes, if you book a flight with American Airlines you can upgrade your travel class not only after booking but also at the airport during check-in, based on the availability of travel classes. The passengers can upgrade their travel class through the American Airlines phone number, official website, or mobile app.

How much does it cost to upgrade to American Airlines First Class?

Passengers flying from/to the US, Alaska, and Canada have to pay $175 along with 15,000 miles to upgrade their travel class from American Airlines Business Class to First Class.

How do I change my booking to American Airlines First Class?

You can log in to your AAdvantage account and apply for the systemwide upgrade after accessing the booking. To upgrade to AA First Class, you can also call the AAdvantage status service desk to initiate the request.

Why can’t I upgrade to first class on American?

  • If you have a Basic Economy ticket, you cannot upgrade to a First Class ticket.
  • It could be possible that seats are not available.
  • If you have requested systemwide upgrades, then ensure that you have systemwide upgrades available in your account.
  • Also, certain fares and routes are not eligible for upgrades. Thus, check the fare conditions while booking the ticket.

Is American Airlines upgrade to First Class free?

Passengers with AAdvantage status get complimentary upgrades. So, if you are Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum, or Gold, you will be upgraded to a higher class for free. However, the complimentary upgrades are subject to availability. You don’t have to make any requests and AA will automatically consider you for the upgrade.

Does American Airlines allow you to upgrade to First Class?

American Airlines allows you to upgrade to First Class depending on the fare condition, route, and availability. If you have a Business Class ticket then you can upgrade to a higher First Class cabin. AA will levy extra charges.

What are the rules for American Airlines Upgrades?

Passengers can request upgrades on flights operated by American Airlines. Travelers can upgrade their cabin class for one-way travel containing a maximum of three flight segments.

Can I request a flight upgrade on British Airways through American Airlines Systemwide upgrades?

Yes, AA Systemwide upgrades are available for flights operated and marketed by British Airways or BA-operated flights marketed by American Airlines. Systemwide Upgrades are available for one-way trips with up to three segments. However, one segment must have an American Airlines-marketed flight to be eligible for an upgrade on British Airways.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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