Alaska Airlines elite 75k and 100K earn upgrades that can be utilized on American Airlines international routes. This Alaska Airlines Elite benefit was announced in 2021 for the 2022 program year. Now 6 months into the 2022 program year, Alaska Airlines has FINALLY delivered the elite benefit. The systemwide upgrade (SWU) certificates work very similarly to American Airlines elite SWU benefit. Upgrading passengers from Economy Class to Business. When Space is available.
Check your inbox! The email is titled Exclusive upgrade codes: Limited-time international upgrades. From email@example.com. Elite 75Ks earn 1 SWU and 100K earn 2 SWU.
Anyone who is familiar with American Airlines SWU elite upgrade process will understand the process. However, most Alaska Airlines elites are not former AA elites. So the process is new, and these upgrades work differently than Gold Guest Upgrades.
Upgrade Certificates Need to Knows
There is a lot to know, but more importantly note that these certificates are only valid per direction. A maximum of 3 segments per direction. See all terms and conditions. These certificates are valid for the entire AA system.
An upgrade is good from economy to business class, or Business class to First class. If the flight offers premium economy, the upgrade certificate is still good to upgrade you to business from economy. Skipping over premium economy.
Next, award flights are not upgrade eligible. The flight must be a revenue flight. All revenue tickets count, including those booked in a saver/basic economy class fare class. Just note, earning miles are base on the original booking class. Not the upgraded class of service.
Finally, you have to find award space. Upgrades are compacity controlled. The easiest way to find award space is to search expert flyer for upgradable space. “A” Space is needed from Business to First Class. “C” fare class to upgrade from economy to business on international flights. The same fare code, C, is necessary for domestic flights from economy to domestic first. If you don’t have access to ExpertFlyer, Bookingguru will help you find the upgrade for a finders fee. Note that these fare class may be utilized for discount first or business. So just because you see it on AA site doesn’t mean it’s available for upgrade. Confusing, yes. Call for clarification.
If upgradable space is not available. You can be waitlisted. This is a major win of AA’s upgrade certificates. Unlike Alaska Airlines gold guest upgrade certificates, AA will place you on a waitlist. As A or C space becomes available you will be upgraded. Often times this is at the gate or within a few days of departure. Of course, there is an upgrade priority system. AA’s Executive Platinum’s using systemwide upgrades are waitlisted higher than Alaska Airlines 75Ks and 100Ks.
Applying the Upgrade
The process for applying the Alaska elite upgrade to American Airlines is fairly straightforward.
- Book your flight at aa.com and include your Alaska Mileage Plan number.
- Call American Airlines at 1-888-824-1816.
- Provide your unique American Airlines access code XXXXXX, and Mileage Plan™ number.
- American Airlines will confirm your upgrade immediately if space is available. Otherwise you will be placed on the waitlist.
Unfortunately wait times may be long with American Airlines. Again, to ensure there’s upgrade space, do you research and follow the instructions above.
Finally, beware that the upgrade certificates are only valid on American Airline flights. Codeshare flights are not eligible. Do not buy an AA flight marketed by British Airways. Or operated by another airline. If you do, you will not be able to use your Alaska Airline upgrade certificate on AA.
Alaska Airline elites upgrade certificates on American Airlines long haul international flights are finally here. Certificats are valid for use in 2022 or even 2023. Use and apply the upgrade certificates before 11:59pm on Dec 31, 2022. It’s been a long wait, but now elites can finally plan travel on AA and hopefully enjoy an upgraded experience. Just be ready to hunt for upgradable space. Just like domestic flights, you will likely have to sweat out the upgrade list and wait until day of to really clear on most routes.