ALL coach fares now upgradeable using eVIP’s at American!

This news alone makes American Executive Platinum status miles better than United 1K status. As of today, all American coach fares are upgradeable with miles, but of course with a co-pay. Up until now the bottom of the barrel fares couldn’t be upgraded with miles, even with a co-pay. The real GREAT news, though, is that all coach fare classes are now upgradeable using eVIP’s, which are the international upgrade instruments that Executive Platinum members receive.

Executive Platinum, solely as a status level, always had a slight edge over 1K — international first class lounge access when traveling internationally, eight systemwide upgrades instead of six at United, and some would argue unlimited complimentary upgrades. This is the biggest difference yet. Now you can upgrade $400 tickets to Europe, $800 tickets to Asia, etc., all while United has increased the fares for upgradeable fare buckets.

Logically United should match, but I doubt they will. Now I totally regret not going for Executive Platinum.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. I always think EVIP is worth much more than SWU because only Q O and I for business can not be upgraded, even if u do upfare to N, only cost u 40-80 extra.

    but with UA SWU, diff btw K,S,T,L and W are way too big

  2. For UA to match they’d have to change their waitlist to work based on fare class before FIFO. Since that involves UA IT, don’t expect UA to match.

  3. I’m still not convinced that EXP is better than 1K.

    * You get (8) eVIP’s but to me 6 SWUs PLUS 8 CR1s trumps.

    * eVIPs on any fare without co-pay versus a fare premium for SWUs on United, but United has a Pacific network and a better hard product to upgrade into on the 747s and 767s at least.

    I’m not sure that unlimited complimnetary upgrades really cuts in favor of EXP over UA, most 1Ks have plenty of 500 milers especially if they travel internationally at all (or on RJs without an F cabin and thus a use for those 500-milers). And not having unlimited upgrades means that not every 1K will request an upgrade on every flight. You get to pick and choose your upgrades and have a little less competition when you do.

    I mean, if I’m a 1K and hoping to upgrade an A319 transcon, unlimited compimentary upgrades are nice but I’m grateful that there may well be a full fare 1K sitting in economy plus and quite content to do so. Yes, they exist, they’re out there, I even work with some of them who figure they aren’t going to clear anyway.

    This is an improvement. American deserves kudos for it. But the UA and AA programs are different, and which one is better will have to be decided by preferences and travel patterns rather than by universal decree (a la the way that one can say that 1K and EXP are both better than Delta’s new Diamond level :p ).

    Where you’re based and where you fly probably make your decision between EXP and 1K, rather than the general set of benefit descriptions IMHO.

  4. I don’t expect UA to match but would be delighted if they did. When the dAArkside makes a move….UA pays attention.

    Another dAArkside move that I’d like to see them follow is one way awards for half the miles. Why do airlines seem so resistant to this? Afraid it will result in more redemptions by those with small accounts?

  5. @ Troy — In general I agree, although at the same time, SWU’s will take you a lot further. UA flies to Australia and SE Asia, which are places American can’t take you.

    @ Josh — That’s a lot of coach! I’ll have to pass for the time being.

    @ HunterSFO — I’m trying, I’m trying!

    @ bmvaughn — Or they could just keep the FIFO system and allow all fares to be upgraded. Actually, I think the best system would be allowing K, L, S, and T fares to be upgraded day of. That seems fair to me.

    @ Gary — Couldn’t agree more, although I’ll stick by what I said. I’m still convinced Executive Platinum status as such is better than 1K status (assuming all else is equal, which, as we know, is rarely the case). Overall, though, I’d rather fly United as a 1K than American as an Executive Platinum, if that makes any sense. When you factor in Economy Plus, United’s route network, etc., I still think United is a stronger carrier. But not the mileage program and top tier status as such.

    @ Tom — I’d be willing to bet almost anything that United will match American’s new one-way award redemptions, but expect it to take well over a year as UA’s IT tries to adjust.

  6. Personally, I agree that UA 1K vs AA EXP depend greatly on where you’re based and where you travel, but I disagree on “When you factor in … United’s route network, etc., I still think United is a stronger carrier.”

    UA is stronger in Asia/Pacific, no argument there, but AA does have quite a few flights to NRT, PVG, soon PEK and unlike UA, AA flies to India. However, in Central America/Caribbean/South America, AA is many times bigger than UA’s token presence. In Europe AA and UA are similar although I believe AA is bigger because of the huge number of LHR flights.

    As far as business class products, I agree that the new UA product on the 767/747 is better than the AA product, but IMHO the AA product is much better than the UA 777 product. And comparing the numbers, AA has the lie-flat-at-an-angle seat on 100% of its international 777/767/757 fleet (47+58+13=118 planes), while UA will have this seat on less than 50% of its international fleet (100% of 21+24=45 and 0% of 46).

    Of course UA has the advantage of more Int’l First class planes, but AA also has a lot more domestic F seats to compensate for the lack of E+. Also domestic F service on AA beats UA in most cases.

  7. I am both 1K and EXP, if you ask to compare both programs last year, I would say UA 1K, but after hitting EXP this year. I would say EXP because

    My AA upgrade 100% this year and only 1 time at gate. my UA upgrade only cleared 3 times(1 international RT, 1 domestic oneway). I have to give my SWU to my friends for LH certifcate.

    UA has few seats in first/business.

    Also, too many GS around+upgrade based the fare purchased.

    maybe I lean to AA because of my bad upgrade luck with UA this year

  8. Let’s hope there are not too many 100K equivs in either program in 2010 due to the spring and fall promos.

    I’m a 1K and an EXP… and I’ll choose AA when I can. Simply because I get upgraded domestically 100% of the time, no exceptions — including more than 10 trips to Hawaii this year from the East coast. I have 16 eVips (or whatever you wanna call them) sitting in my AA account — excellent news that I can now use them with rock bottom Q or I fares. I’ve been an EXP for a long time now, and I’m waiting for my Concierge Key card to arrive in the mail ….. any day now. 🙂

    Sure — it depends on who you are and where you fly. If you’re a long distance international 1K guy, you probably don’t really care about domestic upgrades since you get 500-certs deposited more frequently. But not having to deal with the 500 certs is VERY NICE when you fly from JFK-LAX weekly. Or similar. And having to fork over the cash to buy 4/500 certs for the same 200 clams that anyone with status can have them for is rather insulting. On the other hand, it’s nice to have the FA’s greet you by name on UA, which only happens 50% of the time on AA. And since I usually get stuck in the Y cabin on domestic UA flights, E+ is a nice feature AA doesn’t have (even though I don’t think I’ve seen the back of an AA plane in years).

    Just renewed my AC membership for $230. Can’t beat that with the $70 promo. I suppose its time to renew the Red Rugg again soon too.

    As far as MY experience with Mileage Plus: I’m still waiting for my 6&2 certs to be plopped into my account for 1K qualification in 2009. Interesting that AA drops 8 certs in there the day you make EXP for the current year, while UA claims to only drop them after the 1st of the next year. Something fishy always seeming to go on behind those white walls on Algonquin over in Elk Grove Village. Wait — or is the United tower on Wacker Dr? Who knows where WHQ really is nowadays. My favourite aspect of UA is still their phone number — can’t beat 847-700-4000 !!

  9. Dave, don’t forget all AA flights have power.

    If let me choose BTW E+ and power, I prefer Power because having something to do is better than sitting there with extra leg room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *