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What Is American Airlines Platinum Pro Status Really Worth? [Upgrades and Seating]

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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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Platinum Pro is the second-highest public tier in the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program. Executive Platinum is higher, and Platinum and Gold are the lower levels.

Because there are so many Platinum Pro benefits, we will look at this in 2 parts: 1 on upgrades and seating options and another on ticketing, airport, and alliance benefits. This post will serve as the first in the 2-part series.

Here, we’ll discuss the Platinum Pro benefits related to upgrades and seating. We will note what each benefit is worth so you can better understand the tier — and see whether spending the required amount to earn it is right for you.

We’ll take a look at:

  • What each benefit is and how much we value it under ordinary circumstances
  • What elite status can be valued at for those who both underutilize or maximize their suite of available benefits

How To Earn AAdvantage Platinum Pro Status

To earn AAdvantage Platinum Pro status, you need 125,000 Loyalty Points. To earn this, you can fly on American or its partner airlines, rent cars through the airline, earn AAdvantage miles by booking hotel rooms, dine out using American’s dining program, or shop using American’s online shopping portal. Every dollar you spend earns Loyalty Points, and once you earn 125,000 of these, you reach Platinum Pro status.

The Benefits of AAdvantage Platinum Pro Status

There are many benefits that are associated with Platinum Pro status, many of which are worth striving for. So let’s take a deep dive into each one.

Complimentary Upgrades on Domestic and Local International Flights ($2,000)

As a Platinum Pro member, you’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on all U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean flights, regardless of length.

Hot Tip: Platinum Pro members can also choose 1 elite reward from a list that includes a systemwide upgrade, Admirals Club day passes, bonus miles, and merchandise.

AA Widebody First Class
American is the only U.S. airline that operates a true 3-class cabin equipped with Flagship First class. Image Credit: American Airlines

Let’s take a look at this benefit in parts to understand its value better.

You can receive as many of these upgrades as possible. You never have to bother purchasing or earning these upgrades, as you receive as many of them as you need to cover as many flights as you attempt to upgrade.

This isn’t something you need to think about, either — you receive an upgrade if there’s space, with priority being determined by elite status level. Your status will automatically request upgrades for eligible flights, and since you receive unlimited upgrades, it’s assumed you want to use these on every trip.

When you purchase a trip on or over the phone, the system automatically requests the upgrade. To cancel the request (let’s say you’re traveling with your family and you all want to sit together in coach), simply call the Platinum Pro service desk, and they can remove the request for you.

Hot Tip: Complimentary upgrades aren’t preserved in irregular operations, so if your flight is moved or canceled, you’ll be added again to the upgrade list. If, however, you confirm your upgrade in advance using a miles and copay award, these upgrades are protected in the premium cabin. You’ll spend 15,000 AAdvantage miles and, at minimum, $75 to confirm a first class seat for up to 3 segments if C (business class) inventory is available.

Now, let’s look at how these upgrades work so you can better understand the value.

American prioritizes upgrades by status, followed by the type of upgrade, and then Loyalty Points within that type of upgrade.

Assuming you’re on AA’s Sabre booking system trying to list on the PALL (the airport standby and upgrade list) for a complimentary upgrade (a UPG), Sabre would present the priority list as follows:

  1. AAdvantage ConciergeKey: UPG1
  2. AAdvantage Executive Platinum: UPG2
  3. AAdvantage Platinum Pro: UPG3
  4. AAdvantage Platinum: UPG4
  5. AAdvantage Gold: UPG5

This means you’d be behind both ConciergeKey members (who get upgraded beginning at 120 hours before takeoff) and Executive Platinum members (who get upgraded beginning at 100 hours out).

At the second-highest public tier, you have a nice chance at an upgrade a good chunk of the time, except for on some key transcontinental routes, such as New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX), or on hub-to-hub flights during peak times. The earliest a Platinum Pro gets upgraded is 72 hours out from the flight, which is still fairly generous.

AA 777 Business Class
American’s 777-300ER business class is a great product. Each seat is private and features a lie-flat bed. Image Credit: American Airlines

Hot Tip: Remember that all upgrades are valid to the next class of service: coach to business for the U.S., Central America, Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico, and 3-class domestic planes, or coach to first in the case of most domestic 2-class flights. Upgrades are not valid on flights outside these areas.

Probably the most valuable complimentary upgrade a Platinum Pro can receive is between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) or New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO). Each route features American’s Airbus A321T aircraft with lie-flat seats in business class in a 2-2 seating arrangement.

For a 5-hour flight or longer, this is truly one of the best ways to fly coast to coast. While upgrades on this route can be complex, you can also be strategic with how you book. For example, several late-evening New York (JFK) departures to the West Coast are traditionally easier to upgrade on.

The same goes for super early West Coast departures back to the East Coast or very late red-eye flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco back to New York. If you tend to book these flights and get upgraded on them, you’ll see much more value from your Platinum Pro status.

Because many flights don’t have any ConciergeKey or even Executive Platinum members on board, you’ll often be at the top of the upgrade list.

We conservatively value this benefit at around $2,000, assuming you clear the upgrade on at least 20 flights for a value of $100 each. Many Platinum Pro members clear upgrades much more often than this, so you’ll find this valuation higher in most circumstances.

AA A321T Business Class Rear
The A321T is one of the best ways to fly from coast to coast. Image Credit: American Airlines

Upgrade 1 Companion Traveling With You on the Same Flight

As a Platinum Pro, you also get a complimentary upgrade for 1 companion traveling with you.

But here’s why we don’t put a lot of stock in companion upgrades. If only 1 upgrade seat gets released at a time and you are listed with your companion, the upgrade skips down the list to the next solo traveler. For upgrades to be released in pairs, the flight really has to have a lot of space on it, making this benefit harder to use.

Hot Tip: Prior to July 2022, American Airlines elite members needed to use 500-mile certificates to upgrade a companion. These upgrades are now complimentary for all AA elite members, and 500-mile certificates have been retired.

Complimentary Preferred Seats ($150)

American Airlines Main Cabin
Preferred seats are usually in the middle of the cabin but feature desirable locations such as aisles and windows. Image Credit: American Airlines

Preferred seats are generally aisle and window seats in the middle part of the aircraft that don’t have any extra legroom. These are better-located seats but without any extra amenities. As a Platinum Pro, you can select these seats for free.

Still, you’d likely choose a Main Cabin Extra seat first — though there could certainly be times when none of those seats are available and you’re left with a preferred seat (or you’re rerouted or placed on a different flight with only preferred seats left).

Because of all these “ifs” surrounding whether you’d use this benefit often, we estimate it to be worth around $150.

Hot Tip: If you’re in a preferred seat but want Main Cabin Extra, remember to constantly monitor your flight. People may drop off the flight prior to departure because of ticket cancellations or irregular operations. As they do, you might start to see Main Cabin Extra seats open up. To learn more about these 2 seating options, check out this post looking at the differences between Main Cabin Extra and preferred seating.

To snag Main Cabin Extra instead of preferred seats, keep an eye on the upgrade list for a particular flight. If first class seats are available and at least a few people clear, ask the gate agent where those people are seated. Likely, they’re in prime Main Cabin Extra seats.

As the agent clears upgrades, those seats will free up, and you may be able to request to move into them because of your Platinum Pro status.

Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats ($800)

AA Main Cabin Extra
American’s Main Cabin Extra seating is in desirable areas of the cabin and comes with extra legroom and complimentary beverages. Image Credit: American Airlines

A tremendous value for Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum members is the ability to select free Main Cabin Extra seats with more legroom on both award and revenue tickets. These are usually in the forward part of the aircraft, though the exit rows and some rows behind are also included, depending on their location.

You definitely want to sit in these seats if you have a choice. As a Platinum Pro, you can access these seats for no extra charge at the time of booking on all flights to all destinations.

Depending on the aircraft type and routing, these seats would range anywhere from around $30 extra to more than $150 extra if you had to pay for them. An average one-way transcontinental flight prices these seats at over $80, and on a flight to Sydney, choosing Main Cabin Extra could add another $180 on top of your base ticket price.

For this benefit, we assume you’re taking advantage of at least $800 in value from selecting Main Cabin Extra seats: at least 4 longer flights at over $100 a leg and then multiple shorter legs where seats could be around $50 a segment.

In addition to the better legroom (and usually better seat location), you also receive complimentary alcoholic beverages when seated in Main Cabin Extra on a domestic flight. This benefit is normally reserved for Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members in any seat, so snagging extra legroom plus an alcoholic beverage is a big plus for a Platinum Pro.

To really take advantage of this benefit, bring your friends and family along on your itinerary. You can receive complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats for up to 8 other passengers in the same reservation as you, which can make for a much more comfortable long-haul flight!

Hot Tip: When traveling domestically with a group, if you intend on requesting an upgrade and it looks like you may clear, select a middle seat for yourself in Main Cabin Extra. When you get upgraded, there’s a chance the seat may remain free, making for a more pleasant journey for your companions.

Elite Choice Reward ($400)

If you qualify for Platinum Pro, you can select 1 of the following items:

  • 1 systemwide upgrade
  • 20,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (AAdvantage co-branded credit card members receive an additional 5,000 bonus miles, for a total of 25,000 miles)
  • 6 Admirals Club 1-day passes
  • $200 American Airlines flight discount
  • Carbon emissions offset
  • $200 donation to your choice of 1 of 10 partner charities
  • One-time 15% award discount (rebate after travel)

It’s really nice to have a selection of these benefits, as each person travels differently — some may enjoy upgrades, some may enjoy club passes, and some may even enjoy offsetting their environmental impact.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, upgrades, seating, and the new elite choice reward benefit can provide close to $3,000 in value for Platinum Pro members. Visit our follow-up to this article to see how you can take advantage of an additional $2,400 or more in value for ticketing, airport, and alliance benefits. These benefits are definitely a primary reason to seek out this higher-end tier.

Platinum Pro is definitely a sweet spot for those who want upper-end benefits without paying the full price of top-tier status. It’s a happy medium that most travelers will be OK with, and the perks are certainly worth taking into account if you fly American Airlines with any frequency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to earn Platinum Pro status?

To earn Platinum Pro status on American, you must earn 125,000 Loyalty Points.

How often do Platinum Pro members get upgraded?

Platinum Pro members get upgraded at least 72 hours to departure on all eligible itineraries where you can use a complimentary upgrade. The frequency of upgrades largely depends on the routes you fly and when, but Platinum Pro members can expect to be upgraded a significant percentage of the time under most circumstances.

Is American Airlines Platinum Pro worth it?

American Airlines Platinum Pro comes with pretty generous benefits, including unlimited complimentary upgrades, complimentary Main Cabin Extra seating, and Oneworld Emerald status, to name a few. If you fly American Airlines frequently, Platinum Pro is definitely worth striving for so you can experience the enhanced perks and benefits.

What boarding group is Platinum Pro?

For normal flights, Platinum Pro members board in Group 2, following Group 1 (first class and Executive Platinum members).

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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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