I have purchased two tickets to Hawaii using my American Airlines miles. I had hoped to upgrade to first class paying cash or using additional miles, at least for one leg, at check-in, but was told they no longer allow upgrades when using airline miles to buy a ticket. Any tips on how to upgrade? I heard there are still 5 open seats in first class and it is at the discretion of the ticket agent at the airport. BTW, I leave this week. Thanks for your help!
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Since you used miles for your tickets your options are somewhat limited—although, you are on the right track. Continue checking the flight’s load factor or number of unsold first class seats prior to your flight. If first class seats are still available on the day of your flight, arrive at the airport a little early, get through security, and then find a lead gate agent who does not seem terribly busy. Then what you will need to do is plead your best case to this agent. If you had enough miles for two tickets to Hawaii, I would suspect that you have a history of loyalty with American Airlines, so stress your loyalty. Also, while speaking to the agent, make mention of your willingness to pay a little extra for an upgrade or that you would use miles for an upgrade. This will demonstrate your sincerity and make the gate agent more willing to help you. Don’t worry about having to pay any extra money or miles, because at this point the agent will upgrade you based on your sincerity and past loyalty.
Good luck and enjoy your time in Hawaii.