American Airlines Offering Free Elite Companion Upgrades From 7/14/22; 500 Mile Upgrades Converted End Of July


Back in February of this year, American Airlines announced that they’d be revamping how upgrades would work for elite members, particularly with regards to upgrades when traveling with a companion, but also the future of 500 mile upgrade certificates.

They’ve now provided a more definitive timeline for these changes, with the free elite companion upgrades policy starting tomorrow (July 14).

a man and woman sitting on a beach

Complimentary Companion Upgrades

As a quick recap, companions traveling with an Executive Platinum or Platinum Pro member were entitled to free upgrades on domestic flights, but only if they were eligible for an upgrade themselves. If they weren’t, the Executive Platinum or Platinum Pro member had to redeem 500 mile upgrade certificates for their companion.

That’s no longer the case. From Thursday July 14, 2022, American Airlines will upgrade one companion traveling with someone who has AAdvantage elite status – including those who only have Gold status – with your companion receiving the same upgrade priority as you.

Note that these upgrades will only be processed automatically when your reservation has no more than two people on it. If your companion’s ticket was booked on a separate reservation or there are more than two of you booked on your reservation, you have to contact the American Airlines AAdvantage team to assist you with this.

500 Mile Upgrade Conversion

The other feature that American Airlines announced earlier this year is that they’ll be doing away with 500 mile upgrades, the certificates that were previously used to ensure upgrades for elite members and a companion traveling with them.

These upgrades will each be converted to 250 Loyalty Points and credited to the member’s AAdvantage account, giving them a boost towards the next level of elite status this year. Depending on your elite status, you might have received these upgrade certificates free in the past. However, American Airlines also sold them in packages, so getting 250 Loyalty Points per upgrade in that situation isn’t a fair exchange. If you’re one of the elite members who’ll be out of pocket, be sure to reach out to the AAdvantage team because they’ve been known to provide compensation.

This conversion will be happening at the end of July, although a specific date hasn’t yet been given.

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Would these miles qualify as account activity to extend the expiration of AA miles?


Re: Companion Upgrades
I admit I am not well-versed in all this, but I think the new companion upgrade allowance is probably a net-negative for me. I rarely travel with a companion, especially domestically, so the upside is minimal. I am a newly-minted Gold member (who may make it to Platinum by the end of the year), and it feels like this change could reduce the (likely slim) chance of a domestic upgrade because there will be higher-status people whose companions can take the upgrades instead. Am I assessing that correctly?


I posted on the linked article too. But here is what AA customer service just told me:
I see that you have a few
purchased (500 mile)
upgrades. You do have the
option to request a refund for
those purchased before April
19, 2022, however requesting a
mileage conversion has been
discontinued. Your earned or
complimentary upgrades (5)
will be converted to 250
loyalty points per upgrade by
the end of July

Me: Well, I would rather have the
miles. If needed, I’m sure this
request can be escalated/
reviewed by a supervisor.
Doing some reading, I see
numerous reports of people
getting 5,000 miles per
purchased certificate. Which
is in line with how much
American was charging, in
miles, for upgrade certs for

AA Response:
The option was available
previously but we have
discontinued the option to
request miles for upgrades.
this cannot be submitted. In
order to speak to a supervisor/
manager you can call
advantage customer service at…

Seems it’s refunds to credit card on file only


Yeah. However, if you purchased the upgrades with your AA Plat or Gold back when they used to have the airlines incidental, I would be worried that AMEX’s RAT team might do a clawback because they think you’re gaming the system.