How To Get An American Airlines Seat Upgrade?

American Airlines seat upgrade

American Airlines Seat Upgrades: Must Know Details

Enjoy an AA seat upgrade to a higher travel class like business or first class. Pay for the upgrade with miles. Elite status holders can also get an upgrade. Have you purchased a ticket on an AA flight along with a selected seat? However, you want to get an American Airlines seat upgrade now. This can be because of extra leg space, more comfortable seats, or other features. However, elite status holders who hail from the AAdvantage frequent flyer program can grab it easily.

But you need not worry, if you aren’t an elite member of the airline yet. AA allows you to enjoy upgrades.

Now, the question arises, “how can you get an upgrade on an AA seat?

To get an answer to it along with the information related, let’s go through the account below.

Can I Upgrade Seats on American Airlines After Booking?

Yes, you can get an upgrade on your seat when traveling with American Airlines easily. It applies up to three flight segments operating in  one direction. When you are booking tickets or checking in, request an upgrade on a phone call to AA official contact number.

What Are The Types Of American Airlines Seat Upgrades?

The airline offers complimentary upgrades to its elite members to help them upgrade with their AAdvantage miles. However, a few more ways are there that help you get an AA upgrade, whether you are an elite member or not.

So, upgrade a seat on American Airlines through the following methods –

1. Systemwide Upgrades (SWUs)

  • On American Airlines
    • Since March 2023, the airline has set the bar higher for Loyalty Points. From 125,000, it is now 175,000.
    • The new Loyalty Points Rewards threshold offers SWUs as a reward choice for levels between 250,000 and 5,000,000.
    • Earn 125,000 AAdvantage miles to earn Loyalty Points.

Continue collecting Loyalty Points to gain two additional SWUs at the following:

  • Level Three: 350,000
  • Level Four: 550,000
  • Level Five: 750,000

Million Miler Benefit

The AAdvantage Million Miler program also helps AAdvantage members earn SWUs. Get rewards for every threshold mile that is eligible for a Million Miler.

  • 1 million miles: AAdvantage Gold elite status (lifetime) + 35,000 bonus miles
  • 2 million miles: AAdvantage Platinum elite status (lifetime) +  4 SWUs
  • Each additional million miles: 4 SWUs

Please note

Upgrade from economy class to business class with SWUs on long-haul international flights. Basic economy ticket holders can also upgrade, if they have an AAdvantage elite status.

  • On British Airways (marketed by AA)

From Premium Economy to Business, from Economy to Premium Economy, or from most Business fares to First; get a confirmed American Airlines seat upgrade on transatlantic trips.

2. Complimentary Upgrades

With the renewed American Airlines elite program, 500-mile upgrades are eliminated. Now, all the elite status holders are provided with complimentary upgrades. So, become an AA elite and you will enjoy unlimited seat upgrades for domestic, Caribbean, and Central American flights.

If your companion is on the same booking with you, use your complimentary elite upgrades. In other case, contact AA reservations to link your bookings.

Upgrade Timing

When the airline displays upgrade availability and an elite member is included in the upgrade, Complimentary upgrades clear. So, it is good to confirm upgrades within the set timeframe for every elite status. For a better idea, take a look at the time  before departure

below –

  • Executive Platinum: 100 hours
  • Platinum Pro: 72 hours
  • Platinum: 48 hours
  • Gold: 24 hours

Moreover, upgrades clear on the space availability. If you are not confirmed for an upgrade before check-in, AA adds you to the standby list. And you might get an upgrade before boarding the flight.

If you want to get an American Airlines upgrade on a seat after purchase, pay for an upgrade while booking your ticket or at the airport’s self-service check-in. Alternatively, call the airline’s customer service executive at 800-433-7300 to talk in English. For assistance in Spanish, dial 800-633-3711.

3. Upgrade With Miles

AAdvantage miles/ a combination of cash and miles can get you AA upgrades. It is not compulsory to hold an AAdvantage elite status.

4. Business Extra Upgrades

Join the Business Extra program for free and receive points for upgrades that include AAdvantage Gold status, Admirals Club passes, and free flights.

The airline has designed Business Extra, which is a program for small businesses. It provides an award option as upgrade certificates to eligible entrepreneurs. Find out if your company can join the AA Business Extra website.

To get these upgrades, you must have an eligible ticket and space must be available on the flight. Remember that until AA confirms, upgrades are not guaranteed.

For a better idea of American Airlines seat upgrade cost, go through the table below –

To / From

To / From

Discount Economy / Premium Economy

Full-Fare Economy / Premium Economy

Discount Business

Full-Fare Business

Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada 15,000 + $75 5,000 15,000 + $175 15,000
Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean* Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean* 8,000  


Hawaii 15,000 + $175
North America Central America 15,000 + $75
Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname 15,000 + $150
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay 25,000 + $350 15,000 25,000 + $550 25,000
Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, Indian Subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand
Europe, Middle East, Africa


How To Upgrade Seats On American Airlines?

You are smartly done with American Airlines seat selection, but now you want to get an upgrade on the seats chosen. Although getting it is challenging, you can enhance your chances to upgrade. Here’s how:

With American AAdvantage Elite Status

  • Executive Platinum Elite members get a ticket in any fare class and SWUs to use on any AA flight globally.
  • Purchase business/first-class award tickets with miles.
  • Purchase an upgrade when buying a ticket, at check-in, or at the gate before departure. Pre-departure gate upgrades may be discounted. A load factor-based upgrade is offered only when all the elites have cleared their upgrade requests.

Without American AAdvantage Elite Status

  • If you know a top AAdvantage elite member, congratulations! Flying with him/her can get you an American Airlines seat upgrade if he/she raises the upgrade request.
  • Buy a premium class award ticket with miles to sit in the front of the flight. Apart from AAdvantage credit card sign-up bonuses, there are many ways to get AA miles.
  • Economy discount tickets qualify for mileage upgrade awards on space availability.
  • Set up fare alerts with sites such as Google Flights for business class and premium economy fares.
  • On your trip disruption because of the airline’s fault or you can’t get a seat as the flight is oversold, you can get an upgrade on the next flight.

Therefore, it is evident that AA upgrades are challenging for an average flyer because of the ever-increasing demand for premium seats. So, get an American Airlines seat upgrade with the help of the approaches mentioned above.

In Conclusion

In a nutshell, the best way to get an American Airlines seat upgrade is to hold an elite status. However, if you are not a status holder, make a booking on an AA flight and upgrade to the higher travel class. Combine cash and miles to get the upgrade. Alternatively, you can purchase a premium cabin ticket with miles. This helps you save on upgrading your seat and still enjoy a higher comfort level.

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