With the introduction of Premium Economy on American Airlines, perhaps the biggest question that’s being asked amongst social media, forums and even to me is whether or not systemwide upgrades will be able to be used from Main Cabin directly to American Airlines Business Class.
Let me give a bit of background on this for those that aren’t familiar. Prior to this year, American Airlines’ Executive Platinum (top tier members) were awarded 8 one-way systemwide upgrades. These upgrades are good on any fare to the next class of service. Considering you can use these on the cheapest publicly available economy ticket to business class, they’re probably the most beneficial part of being an Executive Platinum. This year, the program was changed up to offer 4 upgrades upon re-qualifying (or qualifying), an additional 2 at 150,000 elite qualifying miles (EQMs) flown and a further 2 at 200,000 EQM’s flown, with a cap of 8 total.
With Premium Economy now being considered a separate cabin, the biggest fear is that one would have to purchase a Premium Economy ticket outright to be able to upgrade to business class.
However, there’s some good news today from Delta in their introduction of their version of Premium Economy. Rene’s Points has the full scoop, but here’s what Delta’s Anthony Black had to say:
Certificates are flexible — they can be used to upgrade directly from Main Cabin to either Delta Comfort+, First Class, Delta Premium or Delta One [and Delta One Suites]. Or they can be used to upgrade from Delta Comfort+ to either First Class, Delta Premium or Delta One [and Delta One Suites]. Or they can be used to upgrade from Delta Premium to Delta One [and Delta One Suites]. Once an upgrade clears however, the certificate is considered used and a different certificate would be required to upgrade again, even to move to a different cabin on the same flight.
The Delta upgrade certificates will be able to be used from Main Cabin to Comfort+ OR Delta Premium OR Delta One. The certificate can only be used once, so my assumption is that Delta Premium seats will be more readily available than Delta One seats for upgrade, so one may choose to upgrade into Delta Premium without risking waitlisting for Delta One and then all of the Delta Premium seats filling up in the interim.
American has a tendency to do the “monkey see, monkey do” strategy when it comes to modifying their frequent flyer program, mostly copying of Delta. Because Delta has now confirmed they can be used to jump into any higher cabin (remember, they don’t offer First Class like American does), we may have a window of reprieve here whereby American follows the same strategy, which would be amazing.
Of course, nothing confirmed as of yet, but I only view this as potential good news at the moment. Stay tuned to see what American does for real, but my fingers are certainly crossed for upgrades from Main Cabin to American Airlines Business Class…
What do you make of this update?
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