American May Be Willing To Extend Systemwide Upgrades

Filed Under: American

American Executive Platinum members receive four systemwide upgrades every year when they qualify for status. These systemwide upgrades are issued when you earn the status, and expire at the end of January of the year where your status expires.

I actually haven’t used a single one of my systemwide upgrades this year, so still have four that I need to redeem in less than three months.

Anyway, I’ve received several questions from readers about whether American is willing to extend these systemwide upgrades for those who won’t be able to use them prior to the expiration date. It looks like American has a similar policy to past years, at least according to @xJonNYC, who is by far the best source on this stuff.

Generally speaking American is willing to extend two systemwide upgrades for Executive Platinum members for a period of three months, assuming:

  • You’ve requalified for Executive Platinum status for next year
  • You can confirm the upgrade by the original expiration date (even if you’re traveling on a subsequent date — this is a major hurdle, since American isn’t great about confirming upgrades in advance)
  • If you have a 4-5 Eagle rating with American

Use a SWU to confirm an upgrade to American’s 777 business class

That last point is probably the most confusing. American has an internal metric by which they rate members based on a variety of factors, including overall profitability, as well as customer satisfaction/complaints. Since this is an internal metric, American doesn’t publish these ratings, so there’s no way you could look up your own Eagle rating (and if you ask American what it is, they’ll deny it exists — they’re surprisingly good at keeping it secret, and I say it’s “surprising” because there are few things the airline does well, other than squeeze more seats into planes).

So what’s the best way to see if your systemwide upgrades can be extended? Assuming you’ve requalified for Executive Platinum status, I’d recommend calling up American and asking if they can extend two of your systemwide upgrades. When you make the request they’re likely to say “let me see if that’s something that can be done.”

Presumably at that point they’re looking up your rating, and if it’s high enough they can extend them, while if it’s not, they’ll just politely say that it’s not possible. Don’t expect to get an American agent to tell you your rating, as this isn’t something they publicly acknowledge (though based on this you should be able to ascertain whether you have a 1-3 rating or a 4-5 rating).

If you try to extend your systemwide upgrades this year, please report back with your experience!

  1. Lucky,

    My biggest frustration – I can’t find a single TPAC C space through 2019. Am I missing something?! I have 6 SWUs in my account and I can’t use any of them. SWUs are pretty worthless nowadays.

  2. Systemwide upgrades have been virtually useless and I have resorted to giving them away. Haven’t found a flight in the last 2 years that has any immediate inventory and the only times I’ve been upgraded was 5 mins before boarding. I just book directly into business and gift the SWU’s to fam or friends.

    To make matters worse, the way in which AA treats companion on upgrades is pure comedy. My fiancé is a Plat Pro and when I request upgrades with me as the sponsor it still uses her priory on the upgrade list.

    Through numerous inquiries to the ExexPlat desk nobody has been able to figure out why. So I just resorted to leaving her Advantage number off the PNR and add it after the fact. Crazy how they treat non members better than members.

  3. This is the first I’ve ever heard about an “Eagle rating”. WTF?? Does this apply to Platinums, Golds, etc. – or, just to EP’s? So how is this “rating” determined by AA? For example, on the occasion that I receive a survey to complete after flying on an AA flight, if I rate certain aspects as low or not good, does this go against my “Eagle rating”? If that’s the case, what’s the point of any type of survey that they send out? Any additional info. on this would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Maybe unrelated but last year about this time, I had four SWUs that were expiring and I found flights in February to CDG on AA metal and I phoned to ask if I could get an extension. At the time, I was on track to make EXP again having bought non-refundable tickets for the final flights which would take me over the 100K EQM threshold (against $23,000 EQD). For context, I had only been EXP since the new revenue based system went into effect the year before but before that had been PLT with high EQD for several years, never had any complaints or mileage reimbursement requests. The agent gave me an extension.

  5. I’m trying my damnedest right now get mine extended, even if just for a few months. The main issue is that I haven’t been able to find ANYTHING confirmable at time of booking…NOTHING. Was been able to confirm LAX-SYD/HKG at time of booking last year, but this year is a different story.

    I’ve had them extended in the past, but my guess is that my Eagle rating has dropped over the last couple of years. I will make EP by the skin of my teeth for 2019 (all BIS miles/$, no EQMs from CC spend).

    AA’s standing is on a sharp, downward trajectory in my book, and my gut feel from the AAdvantage CS reps is that they feel similarly.

  6. Let me preface this with: I am (only) a lifetime elite with AA, and no longer feel the need to remain loyal to them.

    This internal “eagle rating” nonsense is doing American more harm than good. They are, without contest, losing elites to Delta, and even United. An internal metric to (double) determine the “financial quality” of their EP members to extend a f*cking certificate is the nail on the coffin.

    How narrow-sighted can one institution be? Idiots.


  7. I give out the employee recognition tickets I receive annually with my AAdvantage packet. Hopefully that benefits my Eagle rating.

  8. I have 1,995,000 AA miles. Because of the expiration date on the systemwide upgrades, I stopped flying AA so that I don’t hit the 2 million miler bonus until I have an international trip on the horizon that I want to upgrade. Ironic!

  9. I am 3mm and ExPl for 12+ years and my husband almost 2mm and 4 years. We both already qualify for ExPl status next year and our flying is mostly personal these last years. I have 1 systemwide left that we won’t personally use. Called to ask for the extension and got placed over to customer service who thanked me for my loyalty and suggested to find someone to gift it to instead before January 31st. So basically NO! That answers where our business goes in 2019 as we are not spending $30k on this metal…I almost stopped the chase when systemwide went from 8 to 4 but changes next year make loyalty not worth it for non-business flyers who don’t spend at that level. Platinum Pro status isn’t worth the effort for personal travel – if it offer 2 systemwide upgrades at this level in the future I might consider. We will both be Platinum status for life and will just stick with that and pay for premium tickets when needed. My guess we spend much less than the over-spending we do now for little return.

  10. Ex Platinum for 10 years, qualify for the 2019. I have reservation to travel on Feb 2, AA refused to use my system wide upgrade which expires on January 31. Other carriers have business class on sale almost the same price as AA economy. I just purchase the business class on other carrier.
    AA is extremely stupid to loose business to other carriers for nothing.

  11. American agents are absolute morons!!!

    1st agent: yes you can renew your SWU for an additional 3 months but has to be renewed the day it expires
    2nd agent: no you cannot renew expiring SWU under any circumstances
    3rd agent: let me see what the rules are. yeah no, we don’t do that. the 2nd agent was correct.

    Apparently I’m 1-3 eagle rating 🙁

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