I get a fair amount of questions on fare codes on American Airlines, so I thought it would be best to write a post explaining what I believe are the most used/most useful fare codes you’ll encounter on American Airlines. I find that too often people are so concerned in getting an upgrade or wanting to find award space that they don’t often understand the inventory those things become available from. While not always visible to the passenger, I think it’s helpful to understand the “science” behind what you’re looking for, so it can better dictate your call with an agent or your research online. I highly suggest purchasing a program like ExpertFlyer to aid you in this search, since it will show you the fare codes you need to know to find the space you’re looking for.
Award Fare Codes
On American, you’ll have two sets of fare codes — one for sAAver awards, and one for AAnytime awards. For sAAver awards, First Class books into “Z” class, Business into “U” class and Economy into “T” class.
AAnytime awards book into the traditional fare classes you’d normally see for a revenue based ticket, without the capability of earning miles. First Class into “F,” Business Class into “J,” and Economy into “Y.”
For upgrades, there’s two opportunities:
- Economy to First on a Domestic ticket (not including transcontinental JFK/MIA-LAX/SFO)
- Business to First on any ticket.
And two ways of upgrading:
- Using Miles + Cash Co-Pay
- Using a Systemwide Upgrade
“A” space indicates First Class award space, either on a domestic itinerary, or First Class on an international three-class configured aircraft. “C” space indicates a Business Class upgrade from Economy class.
Other Fare Codes
Domestic upgrades for elite or full-fare passengers pull out of “X” inventory. Even with “X” inventory available, upgrades process according to the prescribed upgrade procedure and there’s nothing you can do to jump the line. “R” upgrades process as domestic upgrades into Business Class from Economy Class — in the case of JFK-LAX, elites can only complimentary upgrade into Business Class, so they’d receive an “R” upgrade for this flight.
“E” class indicates same day confirmed availability. If you’re looking to same day change your flight, the new flights need to have “E” availability in order for you to switch. I recently wrote a post describing how you can switch flights using same day confirmed changes to help lower the price of your ticket.
Before buying your next American Airlines ticket, seriously check out the current promotion on SELECT, a non-credit card membership that gets you tons of benefits on not only American Airlines flights, but also other airlines, hotels, travel companies and more. Founder’s Card has previously offered 5-10% off on American Airlines flights, 3,000 Business Extra points (enough for a one-way First Class ticket), free upgrade certificates and complimentary Platinum status just for being a member. There’s a limited time only discount to get a SELECT Card here.
Did you know the various fare codes on American Airlines you use when booking a mileage ticket or receiving an upgrade?
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