American Airlines has never been terribly aggressive about selling upgrades, at least in comparison to Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. As an elite member, I’d consider that to be a good thing, since it leaves more seats for elite members to be upgraded to.
To my surprise (as I don’t remember the last time I received something like this), I received an upgrade offer for an upcoming American flight. My only takeaway is that American is very bad at selling upgrades.
I had booked a $49 (non-basic) economy ticket from Tampa to Chicago, and today I received an email offering an “upgrade to a premium cabin,” talking about how “premium upgrade options are available,” and how I should “act now for best availability.”
I clicked through to the offer, figuring maybe I’d get a decent deal. My assumption was that the upgrade cost would be either the fare difference between economy and first class (so not a deal at all), or a slight discount. Well, it was neither of those things.
The upgrade cost was $336, which sure seemed steep, since that was more than the difference between economy class and first class at the time that I booked. Also note that if you take the upgrade offer, you don’t earn any bonus redeemable miles, elite qualifying miles, elite qualifying segments, or elite qualifying dollars, for the additional amount you’re spending.
I figured that maybe the cost of first class had increased, so I looked up the flight again — the economy fare was still $49, and the first class fare was still $373.
$373 minus $49 is $324. American has no change fees anymore. So if I want to fly first class, I have two options:
- I could outright change my ticket to upgrade to first class for $324, and I’d earn bonus redeemable miles, bonus elite qualifying miles, and bonus elite qualifying dollars
- I could take this upgrade offer for $336 (an extra $12), and I’d earn no bonus redeemable miles, elite qualifying miles, or elite qualifying dollars
Well, or I could just stick to my $49 ticket and hope for an upgrade, which is exactly what I’ll do. While I value first class, I don’t value it quite that much.
American Airlines isn’t very aggressive about trying to sell upgrades, and in a way that’s a blessing, since it leaves more seats for elite upgrades. Now I finally received an upgrade offer, and it’s $12 more than the difference between the economy and first class fare, and I wouldn’t earn any extra redeemable miles, or extra credit towards elite qualification.
I hope American Airlines keeps selling upgrades this way, because I’d say it’s good news for elite members. 😉
Has anyone else received an upgrade offer from American? If so, was it as silly as this one?