How to Upgrade Your Seat on American Airlines: Points, Payment, and Elite Benefits

Learn how to upgrade your seat on American Airlines for a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. Use points, pay for upgrades, or leverage elite status benefits.

Upgrading your seat on American Airlines can enhance your travel experience, providing you with more comfort and additional amenities. In this article, we’ll explore various ways to upgrade your seat, including using points, paying for upgrades, and taking advantage of elite status benefits.

Using Points for Seat Upgrades

American Airlines allows you to use your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your seat on flights marketed and operated by the airline or American Eagle[1]. Upgrades are valid for a single one-way trip with a maximum of three segments and are subject to capacity controls[1]. Excluding award tickets and Basic Economy fare tickets, eligible fare types for upgrades include Discount Economy, Premium Economy, Full-Fare Economy, Discount Business, and Full-Fare Business[1].

Paying for Seat Upgrades

If you don’t have enough American Airlines miles, you can pay for seat upgrades, which typically range from $75 to $550[2]. To upgrade your seat, you can follow these steps:

  1. Contact the American Airlines customer service team to request a seat upgrade.
  2. Pay the applicable charges from your registered account number.
  3. If the upgrade is not available, your request will be transferred to the waiting list, and you will be upgraded as per the next possible availability[2].

Free Seat Upgrades for Elite Members

AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum, and Gold members can receive complimentary upgrades on American Airlines flights within North America[3]. These upgrades are valid from the Main Cabin to the next class of service and are based on availability[3]. Starting June 9, 2023, complimentary upgrades on award tickets will be available to AAdvantage Platinum Pro, Platinum, and Gold members[3].

Seat Upgrade Costs

The cost of upgrading your seat on American Airlines depends on various factors, such as your fare type, destination, and availability. AAdvantage elite members can purchase a 500-mile upgrade for $40[4]. Non-elite members can also purchase a higher-class seat if available by paying the fare difference and upgrade fee[4].

Upgrading to First Class

To upgrade your seat to first class on American Airlines, you can use systemwide upgrades, which are available for one-way travel for up to three flight segments on American Airlines marketed and operated flights[5]. These upgrades can be used to upgrade from most Business fares to First, from Premium Economy to Business, or from Economy to Premium Economy[5].

Canceling Seat Upgrades

Paid seat upgrades on American Airlines are generally non-refundable[6]. However, the airline will refund your seat assignment fees if you cancel, rebook, and buy seats on your new flight[7]. American Airlines will also refund your seat assignment fees in certain circumstances, such as if you pay to upgrade to First or Business class or if the airline cancels the flight[7].

Tips for Getting Seat Upgrades

To increase your chances of getting a seat upgrade on American Airlines, consider the following tips:

  • Use your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your seat[1].
  • Check for upgrade availability when booking your flight or during check-in[8].
  • Be strategic about the flights you choose, as some routes may have more upgrade availability than others[9].
  • Maintain elite status with American Airlines to receive complimentary upgrades[3].

In conclusion, upgrading your seat on American Airlines can provide a more enjoyable travel experience. By using points, paying for upgrades, or leveraging elite status benefits, you can secure a more comfortable seat and additional amenities for your flight.


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