Upgrading Low-Fares

Upgrading Low-Fares 2016-01-31T19:41:54-08:00

Hi Joel,

A friend and I will be traveling to the UK this summer (July) and are approximately in our early twenties. Thus we could only afford coach when purchasing tickets with American Airlines through StudentUniverse.com, a discount travel site for students.

First, can we expect to somehow get upgraded on our flights from Chicago to Heathrow, and then from Gatwick to Chicago? What can we do to get this service? Neither one of us has flown extensively and are novices when it comes to upgrades and perks with airlines.

Second, how, if at all, could I use the miles I travel to the UK and back for a Frequent Flyers program? I fly once or twice a year and am not familiar with American Airlines FF program or any other for that matter.

Your advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for your valuable time,


Answered by The Penny Pincher

Hi Ross,

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your chances of getting upgraded on a ticket purchased from StudentUniverse.com are minimal. As a matter of fact, most airlines summarily dismiss upgrade requests from travelers with tickets from third party discount sites such as StudentUniverse.com.

Unfortunately many travelers do not realize that in most instances they do not save that much money when using a third party site. On top of this, if there are any mishaps, such as flight delays or cancellations, tickets purchased on third party web sites often have to be handled in a time-consuming manner. In some cases, the airline cannot make any changes to the tickets, leaving the traveler to call an off-site 800 number and speak to a representative who has no idea about the problem or concern. I suggest that you read my book to learn more about how to avoid this predicament in the future.Penny II.

If possible you might look into seeing if you can refund your ticket and book one of the European Super Saver fares currently being offered on American Airlines’ web site aa.com. But do not do this if you have to pay any cancellation fees, it will not be worth it.

As for the second part of your question, your ticket should be eligible to earn miles. Note that some highly discounted air-tickets are ineligible for frequent flyer miles. I suggest that you enroll in American Airlines’ AAdvantage Program atwww.aa.com. Membership will allow you to earn and redeem miles on over twenty airlines, including, Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Qantas, and soon Swiss International Air.
Good luck with your future travels.


edited answer