My Last Free Upgrade & A Quick Tip That Won’t Last Long

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us airways complimentary upgrade aadvantage
The view from my room at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

Last Free Upgrade & A Quick Tip

I just landed in Las Vegas following my amazing trip to Kauai. While I will have a full review soon, the Grand Hyatt Kauai is quite the hotel. Its reputation is definitely well deserved. You can see some of my photos on Facebook and Instagram.

I flew home on US Airways from LIH-PHX-LAS. I paid for my flight with 17,500 AAdvantage miles in lieu of 17,000 British Airways Avios. Avios is probably the better redemption, but I have many more AAdvantage miles right now.

Scoring An Upgrade on an Award Ticket

As you can probably tell, I was only able to book into coach for my award, but I had hope for an upgrade. While AAdvantage elite members are not eligible for free upgrades on US Airways Hawaii flights or on award tickets, I thought I would give it a try.

At the airport in Kauai, the agent was very willing to upgrade me to 1st class, however it was completely full. She did tell me to check in Phoenix for the upgrade on the final leg. Not once did she mention that I was on an award ticket.

Once in Phoenix I headed to the Admiral’s Club (thanks Citi Executive card) and inquired about an upgrade for my short flight to Vegas. Without even a question, the agent put me on the upgrade list and my upgrade was confirmed by the gate agent. Easy peasy.

My last free upgrade?
My last free upgrade?

My Last Free Upgrade For Awhile

My AAdvantage Platinum status (gained through one single ticket) expires in two days and thus I will no longer be eligible for free upgrades on US Airways. Of course, with Dividend Miles going away, only Executive Platinum members will get complimentary upgrades going forward. (At least I still get some benefits with MVP Gold).

Until that happens, if you are a AAdvantage elite, it is possible to get free upgrades on award tickets. It won’t happen automatically and the agent could deny you, but I have done it several times now. There is no limitation in their system preventing them from putting you in for the upgrade.


Unfortunately my AAdvantage status is winding down much like the Dividend Miles program, but at least I was able to get one last free upgrade. If you are an AAdvantage elite member flying on an award ticket with US Airways, don’t forget to ask for yours. At least until the programs merge in the next month or so.

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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