Wish I Had I Known Before I Set My Alarm for 1AM: American Airlines Upgrade Priority

I’m in the midst of an American Airlines status challenge for Executive Platinum, and adjusting to how they do things has been more difficult than I thought.

I attended PizzaInMotion‘s great intro talk on American Airlines at the Frequent Traveler University a few months ago and felt like I had enough of a baseline to go on. Then on my first upgraded American Airlines flight, I couldn’t even figure out where my tray table was!

So fast forward to this morning, 1:30 AM when my alarm goes off. I’m doing a status mileage run to Anchorage this weekend and only one leg of my 4 flights hadn’t upgraded yet. The redeye Anchorage to Dallas segment.

I really want this to clear, and I assumed, without checking, that American Airlines, like United, factors time of check-in when determining where you fall on the upgrade waitlist. So I set my alarm for 24 hours from when my flight will be departing Anchorage. 1:30 comes and I blearily log in to my AA account, only to discover it won’t let me check in.

I don’t know if it’s because my outbound hadn’t taken place yet (that shouldn’t have affected it) or just a glitch, but there I was at 1:30, ready to be at the top of the upgrade list and no dice. :(

The next morning I do more research including asking fellow American Airline elites (something I should have done before setting my alarm) and discover that check in time is not an upgrade priority factor for American. Sigh.

Nothing like starting off a 24 hour straight turn to Alaska and back with interrupted sleep. I’ll break free of my United Airlines habits soon! I hope…


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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  • It may be hard to break those old UA habits, but I think you’ll be sooooo much happier once you’re converted over to the dAArk side. I’m kind of surprised that your upgrades didn’t clear in advance for a weekend flight. Did they give you EXP for the challenge or are you still a lower level?

    • Keri Anderson

      They gave me the EXP challenge :) The DFW-DCA cleared in advance. The ANC-DFW didn’t clear til about 4 hours before the flight left. I didn’t want to risk it and did cash & miles to confirm my outbound upgrade.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      The dAArk side, I love it!


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