American’s Generous 500-Mile Upgrade Offer

American’s Generous 500-Mile Upgrade Offer

57

This is an offer that makes me very happy…

American has eliminated 500-mile upgrades

Back in March, American Airlines made some major changes to how upgrades work, coinciding with the introduction of the new Loyalty Points program:

  • Previously Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members received unlimited complimentary upgrades within North America; as of March 2022, this was expanded to Platinum and Gold members
  • Members currently only need to use 500-mile upgrade stickers to upgrade travel companions; however, as of later this year, complimentary upgrades will be extended to one companion traveling on the same flight for all elite members
  • At that time (later in 2022), all existing 500-mile upgrade stickers will be converted into 250 Loyalty Points each toward 2022 status qualification

Many (including me) felt that the offer of 250 Loyalty Points per 500-mile upgrade sticker wasn’t particularly fair:

  • Many of us spent money buying 500-mile upgrade stickers, at the cost of $40 each
  • Loyalty Points have no tangible value, and for that matter getting only 250 Loyalty Points per 500-mile upgrade isn’t exactly a generous conversion rate; there should be some alternative, at a minimum
American is changing how its program works

American converting 500-mile upgrade stickers into miles or vouchers

I currently have 33 500-mile upgrade stickers that I purchased. I had read that American is at least offering Executive Platinum members some conversion options for 500-mile upgrade stickers that they purchased (this doesn’t apply to those that were earned with status).

A few weeks ago I phoned up AAdvantage customer service, and asked if there were any alternatives to getting the Loyalty Points, since that didn’t seem like a reasonable conversion rate. The agent informed me that there was a process for this. She spent a couple of minutes filling out a form, and then said I’d receive an email with the options.

While I was told that I’d hear from someone at American within two days, in reality it took over two weeks to receive an email. But sure enough, yesterday I received an email with an extremely generous offer:

Based on our internal records, your 33 unused 500-mile upgrades were purchased. While your complimentary upgrades will be automatically converted to 250 Loyalty Points each later this year, we can offer you the following refund options for the 33 purchased and unused 500-mile upgrades:

A. 8,250 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty Points x 33 purchased 500-mile upgrades)
B. 165,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles (5,000 bonus miles x 33 purchased 500-mile upgrades)
C. Travel Voucher of $1,320 (the paid amount associated with your 33 purchased 500-mile upgrades)
D. Refund of $1,320 to the original form of payment or check depending on when your upgrades were purchased

Once you have decided on a preferred option, please respond to this e-mail directly and I will ensure the exchange is promptly executed. I look forward to hearing from you and helping to bring closure to this issue.

Let me once again emphasize that this seems to be the standard offer, though only for purchased 500-mile upgrades, and I believe only for Executive Platinum members (though if those with other status have had luck with this, please report back).

American has a generous upgrade conversion offer

This is a generous offer!

American is offering a refund or travel credit worth however much one spent on 500-mile upgrade, and that seems fair. After all, many people parted with cash in exchange for something that had no expiration date but is now being eliminated.

The most exciting offer here is the ability to get 5,000 AAdvantage miles per 500-mile upgrade sticker. Given that these upgrades cost $40 each to buy, that’s like racking up AAdvantage miles at 0.8 cents each, which is quite a good deal. I value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each.

Obviously I took the AAdvantage miles, as I value 165,000 AAdvantage miles at way, way, way more than 8,250 Loyalty Points. And given that I purchased all of those upgrades with a certain credit card travel credit benefit, the value is even better there.

Turning 500-mile upgrades into Qsuites, yay!

Bottom line

With American Airlines rolling out complimentary upgrades for all elite members, many of us are left with unused 500-mile upgrades. American offered to convert each upgrade into 250 Loyalty Points, which isn’t exactly generous.

However, Executive Platinum members (and possibly others) with unused 500-mile upgrades that were purchased are being offered alternatives to the Loyalty Points conversion. This includes the potential for a refund, a travel credit, or even AAdvantage miles. I’d say the AAdvantage miles option is the most generous.

So if you have any unused 500-mile upgrades that you purchased, it could be worth phoning up AAdvantage and requesting some alternatives.

Has anyone else had luck with getting their 500-mile upgrades converted to something else?

Conversations (57)
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  1. Chad Guest

    I do not have any status anymore at the moment I do have 24 500-miles, when I called they said:
    8 were purchased
    8 were mileage converted
    8 were earned
    They refunded the 8 that were purchased and converted the 8 back to miles and said it would take approximately 5 business days.

  2. J B Guest

    I am Lifetime Platinum and using upgrades has practically nonexistent on flights when I have requested. Now with all elites being automatic I think it will even be harder to get upgraded! I have been up to number 20 on the upgrade list on some flights!

  3. Dan Press Guest

    Lifetime Gold (but otherwise would currently have no status), and I got the same offer. Only 4 purchased upgrades, but happy to get 20k miles. No deal on the earned upgrades though. Just probably useless status points.

  4. Frank Mazuca Guest

    The bottom line is people are getting something for nothing. $40 for an upgrade first class the value of which is thousands. I really have no sympathy for people that are getting something for nothing pays for first class like everybody else. Premium class used to be a perk for employees laboring long hours under all kinds of conditions look up branches in London and people that were willing to pay for it. Rich people and devoted employees and retirees.

  5. Razzak Memon Guest

    AA has always been the most generous of all US carriers. The crew and management go above and beyond to make sure we are well taken care off. Full Disclosure: I am a CK and my wife is also a CK.

  6. Sam Guest

    This is a good offer, but I don't exactly regard it as "generous". They sold the upgrade certs and then essentially voided them all after the fact. Offering anything less than a full refund would be completely unacceptable. Yes, there was fine print in the agreement allowing them to do this. But it would not be an acceptable business practice.

  7. Albert Crump Guest

    I have like 25 of these earned through flying from years ago. Can I just use them to upgrade my AA domestic and international flights in the upcoming months?

    1. Mauricio Guest

      If you have Advantage status, like Gold, Platinum or Exec Platinum. You will have your upgrades complementary. This 500 miles upgrades are just useful when you want an upgrade for any companion in your same reservation traveling with you, not for yourself

  8. Ravi Daswani Guest

    I would like to take the 30,000 advantage bonus miles towards my Million Mile marker. Is this correct

  9. Ravi Daswani Guest

    Who do we contact via email to redeem the lost upgrade stickers.

  10. Makr Guest

    I don't know. I have no status and no upgrades so I didn't ask

  11. Travelfitforaking Guest

    I’m an AA Gold and received the following offer:

    I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
    to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Gold® member.

    Based on our internal records, 6 of your unused 500-mile upgrades were
    purchased. We can offer you one of the following refund options for the

    6 purchased and unused 500-mile...

    I’m an AA Gold and received the following offer:

    I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
    to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Gold® member.

    Based on our internal records, 6 of your unused 500-mile upgrades were
    purchased. We can offer you one of the following refund options for the

    6 purchased and unused 500-mile upgrades:

    A. 1,520 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty Points x 6 purchased 500-mile
    upgrades)
    B. 30,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles (5,000 bonus miles x 6 purchased
    500-mile upgrades)
    C. Travel Voucher of $240 (the paid amount associated with your 6
    purchased 500-mile upgrades)
    D. Refund of $240 to the original form of payment or check depending on

    when your upgrades were purchased

    Once you have decided on a preferred option, please respond to this
    e-mail directly and I will ensure the exchange is promptly executed. I
    look forward to hearing from you and helping to bring closure to this
    issue.

  12. BenjaminGuttery Gold

    Howdy Lucky!

    So I have a question: How much would it have cost (on average) to have earned 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles over the past few years? I think we (those than earned them rather than bought them) spent much more than $40 each on them by flying loyally in domestic FC throughout the pandemic and before it.

    I'm a Platinum Pro with 25 of them and would at least like options. Just seems like another way that AA makes us feel unappreciated and not valued.

  13. Kle Guest

    Plat pro here—I reached out via email and about three weeks later got the same offer. Very generous of Aa, I also took the miles.

    1. Todd Guest

      What email address did you use?

  14. Tocqueville Guest

    In the Aadvantage terms I believe they have in there the 5,000 miles conversion is only offered for 500 mile certificates purchased before I believe May 1, 2022 or April 1, 2022.

  15. JRG Guest

    Mine were complementary. Would have liked miles in exchange, but here's the response....

    Your balance of 20 500-mile upgrades can only be converted to 250
    Loyalty Points each. We apologize they are not eligible for mileage
    exchange because they were complimentary and not purchased.

    I don't have any status so I get a bunch of loyalty points.

  16. AC Guest

    Lucky,

    Not just for EP. I am a long time EP but now retired (w 3 million AA miles) so fall back to lifetime Platinum. I originally called and explained since I was lifetime Platinum, likely not to move up in status since now retired so loyalty points have little value and I paid for the upgrades. Initial feedback was crediting back the $360 (think that was right) paid for the 9 upgrades I had....

    Lucky,

    Not just for EP. I am a long time EP but now retired (w 3 million AA miles) so fall back to lifetime Platinum. I originally called and explained since I was lifetime Platinum, likely not to move up in status since now retired so loyalty points have little value and I paid for the upgrades. Initial feedback was crediting back the $360 (think that was right) paid for the 9 upgrades I had. Better than nothing so I said fine.

    Well a few weeks later I got a similar email and immediately selected the offer of 5000 miles per upgrade (or 45,000 miles). These were posted within 3 days to my account.

    Don’t know if this works for regular Platinum members but definitely does for those of us w lifetime status. Like you I feel this is a very fair offer

  17. TravelGirl Guest

    I purchased a few when they stopped giving them us EPs so that my husband could upgrade with me.. have also been offered and accepted 5,0000 miles per purchased "sticker" as some of us still call them...

    FYI ... EP since they started that level, over 20 years ago.. and unlikely to make it this year as I always qualified with a few long haul Bus class to Maldives and/or Asia to dive.....and much as...

    I purchased a few when they stopped giving them us EPs so that my husband could upgrade with me.. have also been offered and accepted 5,0000 miles per purchased "sticker" as some of us still call them...

    FYI ... EP since they started that level, over 20 years ago.. and unlikely to make it this year as I always qualified with a few long haul Bus class to Maldives and/or Asia to dive.....and much as my travel plans will not change that won't get me that status anymore!!!

  18. Robin Korman Guest

    Would love to know what others were told about 500 mile upgrades that were earned Thru flying. I have 70 of them and not elite at the moment due to lack of travel during Covid. TIA

  19. highperf Guest

    I received the same offer as a Lifetime Gold.

  20. TCO Guest

    Gave AAdvantage a call today to shoot my shot on this. I only have 5 stickers on my account (all paid, earlier this year), but I'd take 25k miles in a heartbeat. I was transferred to 4 different CSRs, the last one of which didn't seem to understand my request re: refund/miles, and kept giving me the line that LoyaltyPoint conversion will happen some time later this year.

    Feels like a hang-up-call-again situation.

  21. AJ Guest

    What about us with a few 500 mile upgrades sitting dormant in our account that we can't use since no longer elite with AA? I paid for mine!

  22. brad Guest

    Can anyone tell me how to tell if the 500-mile upgrades I have were purchased vs earned?

  23. Robert Akred Guest

    Same offer as a lowly AA Platinum:

    am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
    to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Platinum® member.

    Based on our internal records, your 24 unused 500-mile upgrades were
    purchased. We can offer you the following refund options for the 24
    purchased and unused 500-mile upgrades:

    A. 6,000 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty...

    Same offer as a lowly AA Platinum:

    am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
    to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Platinum® member.

    Based on our internal records, your 24 unused 500-mile upgrades were
    purchased. We can offer you the following refund options for the 24
    purchased and unused 500-mile upgrades:

    A. 6,000 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty Points x 24 purchased 500-mile
    upgrades)
    B. 120,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles(5,000 bonus miles x 24 purchased
    500-mile upgrades)
    C. Travel Voucher of $960 (the paid amount associated with your 24
    purchased 500-mile upgrades)
    D. Refund of $960 to the original form of payment or check depending on
    when your upgrades were purchased

  24. D3kingg Guest

    What non sense that someone’s companion with no status would get upgraded ahead of me. He or she needs to get to the back of the line. This constitutes discrimination towards solo travelers .

    1. Mauricio Guest

      Bad luck buddy, workout to be a Exec Plat or even better a Concierge Key (which is a Complementary status after EP)

  25. rjb Guest

    I have 83 in my account but most were NOT purchased. (Some were however) I gave up on AA after a few service fiascos so no status currently but OW Sapphire via BA. I have no use for priority points.

    I called and asked for a refund for the PURCHASED upgrades, they told me to pound sand but I could email customer service. Customer Service (?) told me to pound sand (twice) If they refund some people and tell others to buzz off, that's fraud.

    1. AC Guest

      Not fraud - depends on status and you have nine w them. Sorry but status does matter

  26. Dempseyzdad Member

    So wait...PlatPro here, I have 36 unused 500m upgrades (earned by flying and paying full fare, not purchased) and you are telling me that after all the money I have paid to AA, I would only be eligible for 8,000 loyalty points because I EARNED them????

    1. AC Guest

      Unless you paid for them, not as a byproduct of flying, you don’t get the enhanced offer. You got them free (paying for a ticket doesn’t count)

    2. BenjaminGuttery Gold

      Agreed Dempseyzdad! I'm in a similar boat! Platinum Pro the last 4 years (earned it by flying, even during the pandemic) Platinum for a few years before that. I earned all of mine by paying for expensive flights. I think that's worth more than $40 bucks a piece, as how much did it cost on average to EARN 10k Elite Qualifying Miles???

  27. Andrew Diamond

    Good to know. I never bought any since I fly exclusively with AS, despite my AA status.

    (Side note: SFO-LAX schedule and economy pricing is terrible, and that's before we talk about the situation that is the eagle's nest terminal.)

  28. Lucas B Guest

    Hello,
    Just to report in I’m a Platinum however I just missed Platinum Pro last year and I’m on track to easily make it this year, I don’t know that any of that is relevant or matters. This is the message I received I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request to refund your
    500-mile upgrades purchased with award miles. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Platinum®...

    Hello,
    Just to report in I’m a Platinum however I just missed Platinum Pro last year and I’m on track to easily make it this year, I don’t know that any of that is relevant or matters. This is the message I received I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request to refund your
    500-mile upgrades purchased with award miles. I appreciate the
    opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Platinum® member.

    Based on our internal records, 6 of your 10 unused 500-mile upgrades
    were purchased with award miles. We can offer you the following refund
    options for these upgrades:

    A. 1,500 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty Points x 6 purchased 500-mile
    upgrades)
    B. 30,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles (5,000 bonus miles x 6 purchased
    500-mile upgrades)

    Once you have decided on a preferred option, please respond to this
    e-mail directly and I will ensure the exchange is promptly executed. I
    look forward to hearing from you and helping to bring closure to this
    issue.

    Best regards,

    Nikki Azcona
    Executive Liaison
    AAdvantage® Loyalty Program
    American Airlines®

  29. arporg New Member

    I called. At first, she said I can only receive loyalty points. I told her AA is offering award miles as an option now. She put me on hold and came back and said I was correct. She submitted everything for me and said within a week I would get an email confirmation of the point being deposited. Thanks, Ben!

  30. boogen Guest

    I tried the chat line and was told 250 loyalty points was all I was going to get. Tried the phone which was answered immediately for maybe the first time in like 20 years and he said there was a lot of misinformation floating around and that as far as he knew, only refunds were given to most people. He said I would get a form with offers withing two weeks. Only a plat now,...

    I tried the chat line and was told 250 loyalty points was all I was going to get. Tried the phone which was answered immediately for maybe the first time in like 20 years and he said there was a lot of misinformation floating around and that as far as he knew, only refunds were given to most people. He said I would get a form with offers withing two weeks. Only a plat now, but I bought these maybe 10 years ago when I was an EXP every year. I'm happy, a refund is better than "loyatly points" in my case.

  31. Jone Guest

    Ben: They are still selling the 500 upgrade... Can I buy now and then replace them to 5000 miles?

    1. 305 Guest

      This is a solid question. I most likely won't be able to make much use of my Amex credits, so exchanging for miles at that rate wouldn't be the worst deal.

      And speaking of the Amex credits, I've had mixed experiences with the paid upgrades offered in the app. Most of the time they don't trigger, but sometimes they do. Phone agents say they don't qualify. Anyone else have experience?

    2. Ben P Guest

      Unfortunately not - they changed their terms and conditions to clarify that only 500-mile stickers purchased before April 19 are eligible:
      https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/aadvantage-terms-and-conditions.jsp#terms500mile

  32. Vanessa Guest

    Lowly Gold here. Was told via chat that I could only have loyalty points or a refund. Asked about miles and rep said no.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Vanessa -- Out of curiosity, did you buy those 500-mile upgrade stickers with cash, or did you earn them (at the rate of four for every 10K EQMs earned back in the day)?

    2. Vanessa Guest

      I think about 90 percent of them were bought using the Amex platinum. Maybe about 4 were earned.

    3. Brodie Guest

      NO status here and via chat, after I was asked for my AAdvantage number, I was told the following:
      1. Only paid certs would be converted to miles and she knew how many I paid for and when. Second, only those with status can take advantage. So since I have no status no dice for me.
      2. She reaffirmed that they would convert to Loyalty Points within a few months.

    4. stlsch02 New Member

      That’s rough Brodie

    1. Jeremy Guest

      I'm a Plat too.. did you call the AAdvantage Plat customer service line? Or DM on twitter, etc? Also, what did you say? I would like to exchange my stickers for miles as well :)

  33. Jeff Guest

    I got an identical offer as a platinum pro.

  34. Jeff Guest

    When will they not be needed to upgrade non status companions?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jeff -- An exact date hasn't yet been given, it'll be as of some point later this year.

    2. Travelfitforaking Guest

      @Ben

      I’m an AA Gold and was offered the following:

      Dear Mr Crawford,

      I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
      to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
      opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Gold® member.

      Based on our internal records, 6 of your unused 500-mile upgrades were
      purchased. We can offer you one of the following refund options for the

      ...

      @Ben

      I’m an AA Gold and was offered the following:

      Dear Mr Crawford,

      I am reaching out to you to follow-up on your request for more options
      to exchange your purchased 500-mile upgrades. I appreciate the
      opportunity to assist an AAdvantage Gold® member.

      Based on our internal records, 6 of your unused 500-mile upgrades were
      purchased. We can offer you one of the following refund options for the

      6 purchased and unused 500-mile upgrades:

      A. 1,520 Loyalty Points (250 Loyalty Points x 6 purchased 500-mile
      upgrades)
      B. 30,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles (5,000 bonus miles x 6 purchased
      500-mile upgrades)
      C. Travel Voucher of $240 (the paid amount associated with your 6
      purchased 500-mile upgrades)
      D. Refund of $240 to the original form of payment or check depending on

      when your upgrades were purchased

      Once you have decided on a preferred option, please respond to this e-mail directly and I will ensure the exchange is promptly executed. I look forward to hearing from you and helping to bring closure to this
      issue.

    3. D3kingg Guest

      @jeff

      Why in the world would your non status companion get upgraded ahead of me ? I am platinum pro also. Then I need to be non companion compensated every time I fly. In form of 2X miles or something. Completely unlawful for American Airlines to give random people complementary upgrades.

    4. D3kingg Guest

      @Cassie

      Class action lawsuit coming. By American Airlines implementing such a policy there is not much that wouldn't expose them to legal liability.

    5. AC Guest

      BS dude - you are crazy. Other airlines have had companion upgrade rules for years w no problem. Grow up - not all about you

    6. AC Guest

      Jesus dude quit complaining! Companion upgrades are processed after members at the same level. You lose nothing. On the other hand find a friend and travel with them

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Sam Guest

This is a good offer, but I don't exactly regard it as "generous". They sold the upgrade certs and then essentially voided them all after the fact. Offering anything less than a full refund would be completely unacceptable. Yes, there was fine print in the agreement allowing them to do this. But it would not be an acceptable business practice.

1
BenjaminGuttery Gold

Agreed Dempseyzdad! I'm in a similar boat! Platinum Pro the last 4 years (earned it by flying, even during the pandemic) Platinum for a few years before that. I earned all of mine by paying for expensive flights. I think that's worth more than $40 bucks a piece, as how much did it cost on average to EARN 10k Elite Qualifying Miles???

1
Ben P Guest

Unfortunately not - they changed their terms and conditions to clarify that only 500-mile stickers purchased before April 19 are eligible: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/aadvantage-terms-and-conditions.jsp#terms500mile

1
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