Shame: I Just Completed The Worst Ever Redemption Of An American AAdvantage Systemwide Upgrade


It’s time to shame myself and admit that I just did the most wasteful thing ever: Using an American Airlines AAdvantage Systemwide Upgrade on a 41-minute flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

The reason why I did it is simple as I won’t be going anywhere on American before the eVIP systemwide upgrades expire by the end of July and I had nobody in my group of friends who had good use for it.

Sometimes in your frequent flyer life, you do things that really hurt and this was certainly one of these occasions because it’s simply such a wasteful thing of using miles or an upgrade that you don’t even want to think about it.

A few years ago before Covid hit I got a match to American Airlines Executive Platinum through Hyatt Globalist and that came together with four Systemwide Upgrades.

Needless to say during the entire pandemic travel was minimal and I spent most of the 18 months in Thailand so there was zero opportunity to use any of the four upgrades.

I wrote about this problem last December:

The AAdvantage Executive Platinum Conundrum: Are Your Systemwide Upgrades Wasting Away Too?

American Airlines AAdvantage has previously extended upgrades in member accounts until July 31, 2022 but the large cutback in international routes within AA’s network (especially to Asia) makes using them even more challenging than ever before.

These systemwide upgrades can be used to upgrade any flight into the next higher class of service providing there is availability. You can no longer use them to upgrade from a long haul Economy directly to Business Class, you would need Premium Economy for that.

I have given two of the upgrades to a friend who had a domestic flight from Palm Springs to the East Coast together with his daughter and another one for myself flying from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale last December. One was left sitting in the account.

I was really hoping an opportunity would come along where I could make good use of it but nothing really happened as all my long haul flights are already booked on miles as part of a round the world ticket.

So I found myself flying back from Los Angeles to Las Vegas last Sunday and having dropped down to AAdvantage Lifetime Gold there would have been no chance to clear that upgrade.

It was a full flight and I had two rather big pieces of luggage. I hate checking in luggage when arriving on AA in Las Vegas. It takes forever to get your bags there and it’s always a complete mess. I really wanted to fly first to be able to take them on without being forced to gate-check the rollaboard.

Rather than paying the $80 upgrade I said whatever and had American apply my last remaining systemwide upgrade which was first waitlisted but cleared within 20 minutes.

Was it wasteful? Yes absolutely. But it served a purpose and the service on board was actually very good for the 41 minutes the flight lasted. They were extremely strict with the bags for people seated in Economy as the flight was full so I was glad to be able to sit in First.

A reader hinted in the comment section a recent article about the long AA phone wait times why I didn’t just give it away to any of our LoyaltyLobby readers but that is complicated. American is known for being inquisitive at times about the origin of upgrades and I have been questioned myself several times when flying on a gifted eVIP upgrade.

For privacy reasons, there is no way I could give such an extensive set of data they usually ask for to a stranger so we decided to do all our giveaways here on LoyaltyLobby as direct points deposits once a reader is lucky enough to win.


My last Systemwide Upgrade I got as part of the Executive Platinum status match is gone and it was used for a flight that was a bit over 230 miles and lasted 41 minutes. Epic shame!

The only upside to this redemption was that it was actually pretty useful in my situation, it would have otherwise expired entirely as I won’t be back in the U.S. until probably the fall/winter and I had nobody in my circle of friends who needed it either. At least I got the upgrades for free without hard qualification or it’d have hurt even more.

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