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Complimentary Companion Upgrades for All American Elites Begins July 14

James Larounis's image
James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Beginning July 14, 2022, all American Airlines AAdvantage elite customers will be eligible to receive complimentary upgrades for companions on the same reservation. This is a welcome change to the AAdvantage program and provides a benefit that both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have been offering to their elites for some time.

Complimentary Upgrades for Companions

While this was already previously announced, the cut-off date where complimentary upgrades for companions to be upgraded was not. That will now go into effect on July 14, 2022.

Prior to this, American Airlines elite customers had to use 500-mile upgrade coupons (either earned or purchased) to upgrade companions, where 1 coupon would be good for 500 miles of a flight (so, a 1,000-mile flight would require 2 upgrades). These upgrades were often difficult to earn (thanks to needing to fly a certain amount of miles to earn them) and were expensive to purchase.

Delta, Alaska, and United did not require vouchers to upgrade companions and all have a system where elites can upgrade companions for free, so American was the last holdout airline to use a different system.

To request an upgrade for a companion, the easiest way to do so is with an American Airlines agent over the phone. They can list your companion appropriately on the upgrade list. If your upgrade doesn’t clear in advance of you coming to the airport, an airport agent can ensure you are correctly listed on the day of the flight. Your companion will “inherit” your status when upgrading, so they should show immediately after you on the upgrade list.

American Airlines 737 MAX First Class Cabin
Beginning July 14, you’ll be able to upgrade a companion, such as your colleague, on your flight for free. Image Credit: James Larounis

The End of 500-Mile Upgrades

American previously announced that they would be phasing out 500-mile upgrade certificates, but there was no date that these would officially go away. We now know that all remaining 500-mile upgrades will be converted to 250 Loyalty Points each by the end of July 2022.

You do not need to do anything extra to have these upgrades converted; American will take care of this process automatically.

After July 2022, there will no longer be a need for 500-mile upgrades and you won’t be able to earn these or redeem them.

Hot Tip: Check out my personal experience converting American Airlines 500-mile upgrades.

Final Thoughts

You’ll be able to upgrade a companion on your flight without having to use a 500-mile upgrade coupon beginning on July 14, 2022. This is likely welcome news to most AAdvantage elites as this benefit previously required purchasing costly upgrades that were only good for 500-mile lengths of flight.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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