There’s a new improvement that rolled out last week for US Airways top tier elites traveling on American Airlines, per JonNYC at TravelingBetter.com.
American and US Airways Reciprocal Upgrade Benefits are Limited
American and US Airways started offering reciprocal upgrades to each others’ elite members back in June.
These were upgrades available at check-in only. Since US Airways upgrades are complimentary, American elites would get them free too — provided there were seats left when the check-in window opened. Elites could also be added to the airport standby list.
How to Maximize Chances of a US Airways Upgrade
You don’t ever want to check in for a US Airways flights when there aren’t first class seats for sale if you’re an elite. Instead, just keep checking for a first class seat to open up. If it does, check in immediately, you’ll be able to snag the upgrade seat. The airport list doesn’t process until the airport, a Silver can trump an already check-in top tier elite.
How American Airlines Upgrades for US Airways Elites Work
American Airlines upgrades were made available at check-in only when a paid upgrade would have been offered to any general member checking in. American doesn’t release all of their first class seats as upgrade seats with the check-in window. And if there was no ‘load factor based upgrade’ available, there was also no airport standby list offered for US Airways elites.
When upgrades were offered, they would be paid (purchased 500 mile upgrade certificates) for Silver, Gold, and Platinum members — just like American Gold and Platinums receive their upgrades. US Airways Chairmans Preferred members would get the upgrades free, like American Executive Platinums do.
The New Benefit for US Airways Chairmans Preferred Flying American: Airport Standby List
US Airways Chairmans Preferred members can now be added to the airport standby list for a complimentary upgrade, if they aren’t offered an upgrade at check-in.
This is valid on American Airlines coded flights, and also US Airways-coded flights operated by American. (A US Airways Chairmans Preferred member has to be the only one in the reservation, or else everyone in the reservation needs to be a Chairmans Preferred member. To be added to the standby list otherwise, the reservation would need to be split.)
I believe US Airways Chairmans Preferred members get upgrade priority in line with Executive Platinum members. The system should accurately prioritize elites based on whether they’re a connecting passenger or not. I’d love to hear reports from US Airways Chairmans members flying American about where they stood on the upgrade list.
Bottom-line: While the system should automatically add US Airways Chairmans Preferred members to the upgrade standby list if needed and if checking in via an American Airlines channel, it’s worth verifying that this has happened. And any agent who says it isn’t possible just isn’t up on current procedure, so hang up, call back.
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