ONE MORE DAY ONLY: Use Your American Systemwide Upgrades and Hyatt Suite Upgrades Past Their Expiration Date

Top tier elite confirmed upgrades are a terrible thing to waste. If you have some left with Hyatt Gold Passport or with American AAdvantage now is the last chance to use them. Here’s how you can still apply them even if you don’t have travel today or tomorrow.

Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrades Expire Tomorrow — But You Can Apply Them to Future Stays

Hyatt Gold Passport has my absolute favorite hotel benefit: Diamond members get to confirm a suite at booking 4 times per year (up to 7 nights at a time). Instead of hoping for an upgrade close to arrival or at the check-in counter, you throw down one of your trump cards and your base-level room reservation confirms into a suite, provided that the hotel has base-level suites for sale.

Hyatt’s Diamond Suite Upgrades that will be awarded later this week will have to be used for stays completed by their expiration date. But existing Diamond Suite Upgrades which expire February 29 just have to be applied to a reservation by their February 29 expiration date and can be for stays into the future.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

I have one of my four confirmed suite upgrades left. There’s no space for a future cash and points booking I have at the Andaz Maui. There’s no space even for a long-ish stay I’ve got at the Hyatt Arlington (where the suites are pretty ‘meh’). I have a one night stay coming up at a Hyatt Regency where I could use it, but I’m not going to. I’m staying alone, I’m really just sleeping there, and there’s a possibility someone else will want the suite so I’m not going to take it.

My last suite upgrade will probably just expire unless I can think of a last minute reservation I want to book by tomorrow where there turns out to be availability.

The key is that you need to apply expiring Suite Upgrades to a reservation where a suite is available before the certificates expire. So get booking now!

American Expiring Systemwide Upgrades May Still Be Usable as Well

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum members have historically gotten 8 confirmed systemwide upgrades, generally valid on any fare for one-way travel on American flights.

That’s changing for folks requalifying this year: Executive Platinums will receive 4 confirmed upgrades, and then an additional 2 at each of 150,000 and 200,000 qualifying miles (levels that will be easier to reach with new bonus qualifying miles for premium cabin fares).

These upgrades are supposed to be used for travel completed by their February expiration date. However in practice agents have been able to apply them to future travel as long as the upgrades were confirmed by the expiration date of the certificate.

Supposedly a system upgrade 18 months ago was supposed to close this loophole but seems not to have done so.

  • I’ve often seen this loophole exist only for Executive Platinums who had requalified for status.

  • That’s because agents know that you need to use systemwide upgrades for travel by their expiration date. So if you don’t have systemwides expiring into the future they may not be willing to apply your old ones to future-dated travel.

  • However when they do apply systemwides American’s computer would simply deduct the one expiring soonest regardless of date of travel.

This is something of a ‘your mileage may vary’ situation but that I’ve successfully seen work in the past. And remember that even if you do not have any international flights coming up where there’s confirmed upgrade space available, you can apply an expiring systemwide upgrade to:

  • Any American Airlines flight, even domestic flights. And outside of the premium transcon flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco, and Hawaii flights, confirmed upgrade seats are usually available.

  • Anyone’s American Airlines flight, so you can gift these upgrades to friends or family or even strangers at the airport you’d like to surprise and delight (or strike up a conversation with!).

    Hey, baby, want an upgrade?

American Airlines Boeing 787 Business Class

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have used 2 suite upgrades and have 2 others booked for future stays in May and Sept. Yet, when I go into my account, it says, 4 earned, 2 redeemed, 2 left. When I call to confirm the suite upgrades, I am always told they are attached to my reservations. Shouldn’t it say I have none left?

  2. If anyone has any AA SWUs that won’t get used, I have a trip to Malaysia in April that I could use them for!

  3. You call these upgrades “confirmed” and yet they are still just crapshoot like any other… go figure.

    Neither Hyatt nor AA refers to their elite upgrades as “confirmed”. The designation was started by bloggers eager to spin their programs into seeming better than they actually are. You could get away with calling them “confirmable” upgrades because that’s what they, but I guess that’s not deceptive enough…

  4. Was flat-out told by AA that they won’t apply my systemwide upgrade to a future flight that is on March 4, just 4 days after it expires, despite the fact that I’m Executive Platinum. US Airways would have never done that to me when I was Chairman Select. Sadly, as was entirely expected, this airline has gone downhill since the merger.

  5. Is there any efficient way to check availability or do I have to look day by day, property by property? Thanks.

  6. @Robert – Park Hyatt Maldives is all suites, there are no confirmed suite upgrades. Park Hyatt St Kitts doesn’t have an opening date yet and isn’t yet bookable.

  7. @John D – as I mention above, do you have systemwides that expire February 2017? That’s often a prerequisite to using the older, short expiry ones (and the agent won’t realize that’s what is happening)

  8. @DCS how in the world are they a crapshoot? You receive a reservation confirmation with room type changed to a suite rather than the type originally booked

  9. @Gary — This is not complicated. If DSUs were as good as you claim they are, you would not need to make stuff up. DSUs, like any other elite suite upgrades, depend on AVAILABILITY, which means that they are confirmable and NOT “confirmed.” The latter deceptively implies a fait accompli, which DSUs aren’t, judging by the many posts around the web, including on this site, from folks who have failed to confirm their purportedly “confirmed” suite upgrades. It’s a crapshoot.

  10. @DCS – they are confirmable when a suite is for sale. United, Delta, and American all offer their top tier elites confirmed upgrade certificates. Those require a subset of inventory designated to upgrades to be available, but they’re still confirmable. Hyatt’s upgrades do not even book into a subset of inventory. They only require the standard suite room type to be available for sale.

  11. @Gary — You used the magical word a couple of time that makes all top elite upgrades “confirmable” and not “confirmed”: available or availability. The loyalty programs do not refer to them as “confirmed” why should you? But if you must call them something that the loyalty programs do not call them, then do not use a word that’s willfully deceptive!

    “Confirmed” and “confirmable” have real meanings, so that you cannot use one when you actual mean the other. Below is a clear illustration of the difference.

    I am a United 1K and have been for so many years that I am about to hit 1MM this year. I just booked a trip to Singapore for May, which I wanted to upgrade from V and W economy fares to BusinessFirst (J). I had in my account 6 brand new Global Premier Upgrades (aka systemwide upgrades) and I wanted to burn two them. Those upgrade instruments are confirmable upgrades because there is no guarantee that there would be AVAILABILITY on a route that I want to book. In this case, I was interested in booking:

    LGA – ORD – HKG – SIN

    and then back the same way, but with a 2-day stopover in HKG. After I was done booking, I logged out and logged back into my account to request the upgrades. At that point, the upgrades were still ‘confirmable’ and not ‘confirmed’ because clearance or confirmation depended on AVAILABILITY. After applying the GPUs, only the HKG-SIN segment upgrade cleared on the outbound and on the inbound only the HKG-ORD (the important one) cleared. The other segments were waitlisted, and because of the stopover on the way back, upgrading from SIN to LGA would have consumed 2 GPUs, so I just requested upgrades from HKG to LGA, and selected a seat in Y+ for the 3h flight between SIN and HKG.

    After all that, only two of my upgrades became “confirmed” because there was AVAILABILITY and they cleared. Prior to that they were all ‘confirmable’, and those that did not clear remain ‘confirmable’ because they have not cleared and may not even clear, depending on AVAILABILITY.

    “Confirmed” is or implies a fait accomplit; confirmable implies a contingency, which applies to HGP DSUs or to HH-style DCSUs (Diamond Complimentary Suite [DCS, got it? 😉 ] Upgrades). Big difference…et vive la difference!

  12. Hyatt suite upgrades do only book into a subset of inventory if paying cash+points rate. This is the one time I have seen them be capacity controlled for what it’s worth.

  13. Was also denied trying to use a 2/29/2016 expiring upgrade for a March 2016 flight. Didn’t trust AA enough to gamble using a 2017 expiring upgrade and hope the system deducted the oldest first. Also was unpleasantly surprised today to arrive at PHX (having already checked in for 10A) and being told AA is upgrading the old USAir seat maps and rows 3-7 were impacted and flyers were re-assigned seats. I’m now in 26F surrounded by EPs also bumped without any notice or options (oh and 10A still existing on this plane). Adirmals Club told me this has been ongoing the last two weeks without any notice to flyers. I continued to be stunned at how poorly AA choses to treat their most loyal passengers but as others have comnented about the acquisition we all saw this coming. Gary any insights into why/when this remapping will end?

  14. Gary you are wrong in this blog. I just phone AA to see if I could use my expiring AA SWU’s to confirm a domestic trip in April. They said they cannot do that.

    So don’t know where you are getting your data from, but AA SWU’s have an expiry date, and must be used by the expiry date.

  15. I had one GPU expiring at the end of January. I called UA just hours before it expired to request an extension and they did it, giving me until the end of April (3 extra months) to use it. 😉

  16. @Gary when is your stay at the Hyatt Arlington? I actually used my last expiring DSU for a week long stay I have there at the end of July. Hope I didn’t steal your space!

  17. Here is why it is not only deceptive but also utterly silly to refer to loyalty program elite suite or seat upgrades as “confirmed” or “guaranteed.” For my trip to Singapore above, which had several segments waitlisted, the ORD-HKG just cleared, meaning that it went from being “confirmable” to “confirmed”. The email notice informing me that this upgrade has cleared leaves little doubt that elite seat upgrades cannot be referred to a priori as “confirmed”:

    “We’re pleased to let you know that your request for an upgrade from Chicago, IL, US (ORD – O’Hare) to Hong Kong, HK, CN (HKG) has been CONFIRMED. If you’ve requested an upgrade for another flight in this reservation, we will notify you separately if it is CONFIRMED.”

    Similarly, DSUs can become CONFIRMED only after one is used and it clears, which would happen only if there is AVAILABILITY. Prior to that it is highly deceptive to call DSUs or any elite upgrade CONFIRMED.

  18. If anyone has any spare AA SWUs, I would appreciate some generosity for my trip to Australia that takes off in a few days

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