Can't buy upgrade to first class on American Airlines?

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Oct 20, 2016
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#1
I recently contacted American Airlines in order to inquire on purchasing an upgrade to first class for myself and my wife on our upcoming trip to Cabo San Lucas in December. I was advised that since we purchased our tickets via Expedia website, American Airlines can't offer to us upgrade for purchase because they don't know how much we paid for our tickets with Expedia. I was advised to contact Expedia to resolve my problem. I called Expedia and I was told that they are unable to process my request because they don't have this kind of capability to sell me upgrade without canceling my original tickets. I was told to wait until our departure date and try to resolve the problem at the airport. I am quiet shocked that I called two companies, I was unable to purchase my upgrade, and no one was interested in charging my credit card for their product.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#2
I recently contacted American Airlines in order to inquire on purchasing an upgrade to first class for myself and my wife on our upcoming trip to Cabo San Lucas in December. I was advised that since we purchased our tickets via Expedia website, American Airlines can't offer to us upgrade for purchase because they don't know how much we paid for our tickets with Expedia. I was advised to contact Expedia to resolve my problem. I called Expedia and I was told that they are unable to process my request because they don't have this kind of capability to sell me upgrade without canceling my original tickets. I was told to wait until our departure date and try to resolve the problem at the airport. I am quiet shocked that I called two companies, I was unable to purchase my upgrade, and no one was interested in charging my credit card for their product.
I'm not an AA person but I looked into this and it seems the process is similar to other airlines. Provide your AA frequent flyer number to Expedia for the flight. You should also have an AA record locator number. Then on AA's site, or by phone, link the record locator number to your AA ff #. Then you can do the upgrade online, by phone or at check in- I think. If you don't have an AA FF account, just create one now. Expedia will definitely give you an AA record locator number.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#4
I'm not an AA person but I looked into this and it seems the process is similar to other airlines. Provide your AA frequent flyer number to Expedia for the flight. You should also have an AA record locator number. Then on AA's site, or by phone, link the record locator number to your AA ff #. Then you can do the upgrade online, by phone or at check in- I think. If you don't have an AA FF account, just create one now. Expedia will definitely give you an AA record locator number.
This should work.
 
Likes: AAGK
Oct 20, 2016
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#5
Hi, Thanks for your replay to my question. I have already tried both. On AA website, the first class section is not showing on my flight, so I can't do it myself. I spoke with AA customer service twice now, and each time they told me that since I bought my tickets via Expedia, they can't see how much i actually paid for them, so they don't know how much in difference i need to pay in order to upgrade to first class. This seems ridicules! I called Expedia, and they told me that they don't have access to AA system where they can upgrade me without cancelling my current tickets. BTW, they said that in order to cancel/change, i would have to pay $200 change fee per ticket ???? This is crazy. So, Expedia was no help either. They said to wait until we travel and try to do it at the airport, which can work if the first class seats are still available on that date. This seems crazy, but no one wants to charge my credit card in this case!!!!!!
 
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
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New York
#7
This should work.
H
Hi, Thanks for your replay to my question. I have already tried both. On AA website, the first class section is not showing on my flight, so I can't do it myself. I spoke with AA customer service twice now, and each time they told me that since I bought my tickets via Expedia, they can't see how much i actually paid for them, so they don't know how much in difference i need to pay in order to upgrade to first class. This seems ridicules! I called Expedia, and they told me that they don't have access to AA system where they can upgrade me without cancelling my current tickets. BTW, they said that in order to cancel/change, i would have to pay $200 change fee per ticket ???? This is crazy. So, Expedia was no help either. They said to wait until we travel and try to do it at the airport, which can work if the first class seats are still available on that date. This seems crazy, but no one wants to charge my credit card in this case!!!!!!
Do you have an AA record locator number?
Do you have your AA miles account associated with your Expedia reservation.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#8
@Tanya is right. There are many fare classes with eligibility for different kinds of things. We would have to see the fare rules for your particular ticket. Expedia makes some odd bookings. To Hawaii my partner's ticket was booked as.m G fare (I have no idea how Expedia did this bc those fares are reserved for governement employees, which he isn't). He was still able to pay for an upgrade with the airline.

You seem to want to pay for the fare difference so I don't see why AA can't charge you the dif bwn the fare class you booked on that day and the current F fare rate. That info is easily available to them. If AA didn't know the fare you paid, it wouldn't issue a ticket.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#12
@Tanya is right. There are many fare classes with eligibility for different kinds of things. We would have to see the fare rules for your particular ticket. Expedia makes some odd bookings. To Hawaii my partner's ticket was booked as.m G fare (I have no idea how Expedia did this bc those fares are reserved for governement employees, which he isn't).
G isn't just for gov't employees (assuming you're talking about AA). There's a certain type of gov't fare that books into G, but anybody can book the fare class if it's available on a particular flight. That's how Expedia booked your partner into it. Nothing odd about it.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#13
If you're doing a cash upgrade to a flight, what you're actually doing (typically) is cancelling the coach ticket, buying a new ticket in business or first, and paying the fare difference. Airlines typically waive any cancellation penalties in this scenario (since you're paying them more money). Problem is, since the ticket is booked through Expedia, AA can't just net out of the cost, and Expedia can't just waive the cancellation fee for the coach ticket.
 
#14
AA does not offer paid upgrades.

If you want F then you will have to cancel your ticket, pay the change fee and buy a new first class ticket.

Every airline has different policies- both UA and DL do offer paid upgrades inside 24 hours when available.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,199
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San Francisco
#16
If you're doing a cash upgrade to a flight, what you're actually doing (typically) is cancelling the coach ticket, buying a new ticket in business or first, and paying the fare difference. Airlines typically waive any cancellation penalties in this scenario (since you're paying them more money). Problem is, since the ticket is booked through Expedia, AA can't just net out of the cost, and Expedia can't just waive the cancellation fee for the coach ticket.
This is EXACTLY the case. Unless you have status with an airline, you don't 'upgrade' a coach tix to first with cash, you cancel the coach and buy a tix in first. AA would do this for you without a fee had you booked directly with them. Expedia could do this too but they probably don't know how and/or can't be bothered. Because you're flying over the holidays when biz class is less populated, you may have an opportunity to 'upgrade' your tix for cash at the airport. But there would only be a very small possibility.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Oct 28, 2015
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#17
I'm not an AA person but I looked into this and it seems the process is similar to other airlines. Provide your AA frequent flyer number to Expedia for the flight. You should also have an AA record locator number. Then on AA's site, or by phone, link the record locator number to your AA ff #. Then you can do the upgrade online, by phone or at check in- I think. If you don't have an AA FF account, just create one now. Expedia will definitely give you an AA record locator number.
Except that the last time (3 weeks ago) I asked Expedia to add Frequent Flyer number to the airline reservation and another frequent guest number to a hotel reservation I was told that Expedia lost the capability to collect and transmit such numbers. The airline refused and the hotel chain simply did not care to pick up9 the telephone line.
Anyway - what Frequent Flyer number has to do with upgrading a ticket for money? Record locator - maybe - but still - like old days - tickets from consolidators had been jinxed and difficult to do anything with as there was no price printed on them. So today - there is nothing printed at all.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#18
Except that the last time (3 weeks ago) I asked Expedia to add Frequent Flyer number to the airline reservation and another frequent guest number to a hotel reservation I was told that Expedia lost the capability to collect and transmit such numbers. The airline refused and the hotel chain simply did not care to pick up9 the telephone line.
Go to the airline's website with your record locator number, look up the reservation, add the frequent flier number. Don't know what airline, but easy to do with DL, UA, or AA. Most of the major hotel chains have a "look up your reservation" option on their websites as well.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,103
16,248
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#19
Except that the last time (3 weeks ago) I asked Expedia to add Frequent Flyer number to the airline reservation and another frequent guest number to a hotel reservation I was told that Expedia lost the capability to collect and transmit such numbers. The airline refused and the hotel chain simply did not care to pick up9 the telephone line.
Anyway - what Frequent Flyer number has to do with upgrading a ticket for money? Record locator - maybe - but still - like old days - tickets from consolidators had been jinxed and difficult to do anything with as there was no price printed on them. So today - there is nothing printed at all.
Many hotels no longer will give stay points if you don't book directly. They are trying to get people to book directly.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#20
Many hotels no longer will give stay points if you don't book directly. They are trying to get people to book directly.
Depends on the booking type. If you're booking opaque (i.e. Priceline name your own price), then almost certainly no points. If you're booking a prepaid rate on Expedia/Orbitz/etc., then no points, but you might get any status benefits. If you're booking a "pay on arrival" rate, then I've never had a problem entering my frequent guest number and getting points and credit, whether booked directly with the hotel or via an agent or OTA.