Each of the major US airlines approaches upgrade priority a bit differently. American’s system is probably the best for the leisure/discount traveler, as upgrades are prioritized as follows:
- Whether you’re connecting or not
- Whether you’re a full fare passenger or not
- Time of request
The second point is especially interesting, in my opinion. In other words, if I’m an Executive Platinum member flying from Detroit to Chicago to Los Angeles, I’d clear my upgrade for the second segment before an Executive Platinum member flying just from Chicago to Los Angeles, even if the other passenger is in a higher fare class.
The logic sort of makes sense. The idea is that if you’re connecting, you’re going out of your way to fly American, and should be rewarded for that. In other words, if you fly an airline nonstop you’re probably flying them because they have the best schedule, while if you’re going out of your way to fly an airline by connecting, you should be rewarded a bit more.
It’s interesting logic, and one that certainly usually works to my advantage.
Well, apparently American will no longer offer upgrade priority to connecting passengers as of March 11, 2015. That means upgrades will be prioritized by status, followed by whether you’re a full fare passenger or not (a vast majority of passengers aren’t), followed by time of request.
As a leisure traveler I like the old system, though if I were running American I would certainly be prioritizing upgrades by fare class over time of booking. Why given an upgrade advantage to someone that booked a cheap fare 11 months out over someone that booked a super-expensive last minute ticket?
What do you think about this change, and how do you think American should prioritize upgrades?
(Tip of the hat to Gary)