American Airlines Extends Complimentary Upgrades To Gold & Platinum Members


American Airlines is tomorrow moving to Loyalty Points (extremely confusing) that are used to determine AAdvantage members’ elite status in the program.

The airline today has also changed the upgrade rules for Gold and Platinum members on flights within North America, effective on March 2, 2022.

You can access American’s page for changes here.

Gold and Platinum members no longer need 500-mile stickers to upgrade flights but will be automatically waitlisted. Gold and Platinum upgrades clear after Concierge Key, Executive Platinum, and Platinum Pro members.

Here’s the update:

Expanding complimentary upgrades

AAdvantage Gold® and AAdvantage Platinum® members now have more opportunities to upgrade from Main / Premium Economy to the next class of service. Starting with flights on March 2, 2022, we’re expanding complimentary upgrades to all purchased, published fares on American within North America.*

All complimentary upgrades for existing reservations will be available by March 2.

Some reminders:

  • We’ll automatically request the upgrade if everyone in your booking is eligible for a complimentary upgrade – no action needed from you.
  • Your upgrade may be cleared as early as 24 hours before departure for AAdvantage Gold® and 48 hours for AAdvantage Platinum® members.
  • Upgrades within North America remain complimentary for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® and AAdvantage Platinum Pro® members.

The future of companion and 500-mile upgrades

Later in 2022, all AAdvantage® status members will be able to enjoy a complimentary upgrade for 1 companion traveling on the same flight within North America. When that happens, we’ll convert all available 500-mile upgrades to 250 Loyalty Points each. This addition of Loyalty Points helps you reach AAdvantage® status faster.

Simplifying your upgrade experience

You’ll continue to be added to the airport upgrade list if your upgrade request hasn’t cleared before check-in. We’re beginning to roll out an enhanced upgrade experience in 2022 for status members at the airport: Upgrades will automatically clear 40 minutes before your flight departure if seats are available. This will apply to all airports within North America. Once your upgrade clears, you’ll be notified on the app or on the gate monitor.

With automatic clearance, you’ll have a more consistent experience and should know the status of your upgrade request sooner.

Be sure you’ve checked in early so you’re on the upgrade list. If you aren’t on the list before the automatic clearance, you’ll be prioritized after the airport upgrade list has cleared.

*You can use 500-mile upgrades to pay for travel companions who do not hold AAdvantage® status.


Members have earned or purchased stickers and decide what flights they would like to upgrade (at least try). Existing stickers are converted to Loyalty Points later in the year at a not-so-good value.

American Airlines tries to convey that these Loyalty Points simplify the elite qualification process that many disagree. Some earned points count, but not all. Very confusing!

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