American’s ‘Would You Rather’ Upgrade Survey

by Sam Roecker
American Airlines Dreamliner

Image: American Airlines

American wants to know how elites feel about upgrades

American sent what appears to be a targeted survey today to select AAdvantage elite members. The survey below was sent to an Executive Platinum asking about upgrades – and middle seats. Yes, American actually listed “moving from a middle seat” as an upgrade option!

American survey sent to AAdvantage elites

Ranking potential benefits by importance

Another survey question asked respondents to rank the following potential benefits in order of importance:

  • Complimentary upgrades on all domestic flights (confirmed up to 100 hours before departure)
  • 4 domestic upgrade certificates good for a one-way flight
  • A one-year membership to the Admirals Club
  • 25,000 bonus miles
  • 8 complimentary onboard Wifi certificates good for one flight each
  • 3 change fee waivers per year
  • Ability to pool miles with your family

I certainly hope no one selected Wifi vouchers as their top choice! There are some interesting options here, however. Depending on your travel habits, the three change fee waivers could be a valuable benefit.

American Airlines AAdvantage Upgrades

Image: FlyerTalk

American also threw out some hypothetical scenarios

This question asked members to choose between two options for three different benefit categories:

Seating on longhaul flights: 

  • Option A: Premium Economy middle seat
  • Option B: Main Cabin Extra window or aisle seat

Upgrade confirmation: 

  • Option A: four systemwide upgrades that clear when there’s availability (same as today)
  • Option B: two systemwide upgrades that clear if there’s a seat open

Domestic vs international upgrades: 

  • Option A: unlimited complimentary domestic upgrades (100-hour confirmation window)
  • Option B: two systemwide upgrades that can be used on any flight

Will American follow United’s aggressive upgrade selling?

United is particularly aggressive with day-of upgrade offers to elites and non-elites. It looks like American wants to know how its members feel about discounted offers to buy up to first class.

Image: FlyerTalk

H/T: FlyerTalk Thread (user platbrownguy)

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Dom July 23, 2018 - 9:47 pm

This blog post owes more than just a hat tip to FlyerTalk. The substance of it was cut and pasted from FlyerTalk,

Sam Roecker July 24, 2018 - 9:18 am

Hi Dom, thank you for your feedback. The first three screenshots were actually sent directly from a friend who received the survey. I’d be happy to update the last question with a more specific source – please email me at sam[at]pointmetotheplane[.]com

DaninMCI July 24, 2018 - 4:28 am

As a Gold AA flyer my ranking questions didn’t include any lounge option but included same day standby option and some watered down versions of what you have above. The survey seems to obviously point to the future on the domestic 3. Upgrades will mostly be premium economy or seat locations instead of premium cabins. Also AA flyers like me that have moved over to United can see that United buy up options are much better. I’ve never seen AA offer me a cash buy up option. While not great for high level elites on the upgrade list, the ability to upgrade with cash is sometimes a good deal on United.

Sam Roecker July 24, 2018 - 9:20 am

Hi Dan, I totally agree, I have taken United’s offers more times than I’d like to admit! Thanks for ready and happy flying.

– S

Ralph Pena July 24, 2018 - 11:52 am

EXP got the survey yesterday. Every question, every scenario pointed towards yet another devaluation.

Sam Roecker July 24, 2018 - 12:08 pm

Thanks, Ralph. How do you feel about AA teasing the idea of selling upgrades like United?

Andrew July 24, 2018 - 2:50 pm

This would be the last straw for many AA elites, myself included. In my mind there’s no point in actively attempting to maintain status without this benefit. This would also affect my relationship with the AA credit cards, I’d divert more spend to “program neutral” cards such as the CSR or Amex Plat.

Of course, some would welcome this change. Everything is a zero-sum game with these programs.

Sam Roecker July 24, 2018 - 3:03 pm

Thanks for your comment, Andrew. You’re absolutely right, it’s impossible to please everyone when benefits change. Which benefit are you referring to specifically – free domestic upgrades?

Andrew July 24, 2018 - 5:41 pm

Yes, the domestic upgrades. That’s really the only reason I care about being elite. I’m sure many others feel the same way.

Sam Roecker July 24, 2018 - 6:41 pm

For sure, although that definitely depends on your upgrade success! As a UA flyer, I miss the days of 500-mile certs, although I’m definitely in the minority there.


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