How To Get An American Airlines Seat Upgrade?

American Airlines seat upgrade

Who doesn’t like to have an upgraded travel experience? And if you are also looking forward to an enhanced flight trip, count on an American Airlines seat upgrade now. With an upgrade, you can up your overall travel experience. As the name suggests, the ‘upgrade’ takes you to a higher travel class, like business or first class, for a more delightful flight trip.

Simply buy an upgrade with miles, and you will be good to go. Enjoy more comfortable seats, extra leg space, and other features that jazz up your flight experience. Also, the AAdvantage frequent flyer elite status members grab it more conveniently. However, even if you don’t have elite status, AA still facilitates you to enjoy upgrades.

Now, the question arises, “How can you get an AA seat upgrade?” To know about it, 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’s 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, there are a few more ways to 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

  • Loyalty Points – 175,000.
  • The new Loyalty Points Rewards threshold – Reward choice from 250,000 to 5,000,000
  • Earn Loyalty Points at 125,000 AAdvantage miles

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

Get rewards for every threshold mile that is eligible for a Million Miler.

Number of Miles

AAdvantage Status

1 million

AAdvantage Gold elite status (lifetime) + 35,000 bonus miles

2 million 

AAdvantage Platinum elite status (lifetime) +  4 SWUs 

Each additional million

4 SWUs 

Please note

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

On British Airways (marketed by AA)

Get a confirmed American Airlines seat upgrade on transatlantic trips from –

  • Economy to Premium Economy
  • Premium Economy to Business
  • Business fares to First

2. Complimentary Upgrades

With the renewed American Airlines elite program, 500-mile upgrades are eliminated.

So, become an AA elite member and get unlimited complimentary seat upgrades for domestic, Caribbean, and Central American flights.

If your companion is on the same booking as you, use your complimentary elite upgrades. Otherwise, contact AA Reservations to link your bookings.

Upgrade Timing

When the airline displays upgrade availability and an elite member is included in it, Complimentary upgrades clear. So, confirm upgrades on time 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

Please note

  • If your upgrade is confirmed, the airline will email you about it. In case you don’t get an upgrade immediately, AA checks for upgrade availability up to 3 hours before your scheduled flight.
  • To get an American Airlines upgrade on a seat after purchase, buy an upgrade while booking 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

Although not necessary to have an AAdvantage elite status, you can get AA upgrades with the following:

  • AAdvantage miles or
  • A combination of cash and miles

4. Business Extra Upgrades

Join the Business Extra program and receive points for upgrades that include –

  • AAdvantage Gold status
  • Admirals Club passes
  • Free flights

The AA Business Extra is designed 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.

Please note

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

What is the American Airlines Seat Upgrade Cost?

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

Flights To / From

Flights 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 plus  $75


15,000 plus $175


Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean

Contiguous 48 U.S. states, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean





15,000 plus  $175

North America

Central America

15,000 plus  $75

Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname

15,000 plus  $150

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay

25,000 plus  $350


25,000 plus $550


Europe, Middle East, Africa

Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, Indian Subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand


Can You Get Free Seat Upgrades on American Airlines?

Yes, you can get free American Airlines seat upgrades. To have a better idea about it, scroll down.

AAdvantage status holders automatically receive a complimentary upgrade. You can upgrade to the next travel class (Business or domestic First) from either –

  • The Main Cabin
  • Premium Economy

Please note

  • This upgrade is applicable within North America on eligible American Airlines marketed and operated flights as per seat availability.
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum members can also upgrade on AAdvantage award tickets.
  • As per your status, upgrades are confirmed before the flight departure, if possible.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I upgrade a basic economy ticket on an American Airlines flight?

No, you can’t upgrade your seat with a basic economy flight ticket on American Airlines.

How To Get An American Airlines Seat Upgrade?

Call Us: +1-646-974-1422

Disclaimer: Visit AmericanFlyTrip and get your hands on the most competitive offers. We aim to connect our customers to their dream destination at budget-friendly fares. Just pick one destination from your bucket list and grab the best offer to fly at affordable fares. We are not directly associated or affiliated with American Airlines. We just work as link between the airline and our customers. Please check out our privacy terms and conditions before using our services. .