GREAT DEALS: Upgrade New American Airlines Reservations From Just $50 (Today Only)


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American Airlines is in the middle of its second week of ‘Daily Deals’ and this week has been a mixed bag so far. Monday’s deal wasn’t particularly exciting, Tuesday’s deal was pretty good (and is ongoing) and yesterday’s deal appeared to be a repeat of Tuesday’s deal. Today, however, things look very good as American airlines is offering domestic upgrades from just $50 one-way.

The Offer

Travelers can upgrade new bookings to Business Class for $50 one way for nonstop flights under 500 miles and for $100 one way for nonstop flights over 500 miles. Upgrade options and the pricing for upgrades will be shown at check-out.

Key Terms

  • Offer valid for reservations made in the US for nonstop flights originating in the contiguous 48 U.S. states to US destinations.
  • Excludes:
    • Chicago (CHI) – Fort Myers (FMY)
    • Dallas (DFW) – Forty Myers (FMY)
    • Vail/Eagle (EGE) – Miami (MIA)
    • Philadelphia (PHL) – Fort Myers (FMY)
    • New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
    • New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO)
  • Offer is valid for reservations made January 14, 2021 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Central Time.
  • Offer is valid for travel from January 21, 2021 through February 28, 2021.
  • This offer cannot be applied retroactively or to existing reservations.
  • No promotional code needed.
  • Offer is valid for travel Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Excludes travel on Fridays and Sundays.
  • Valid only on nonstop flights operated by American Airlines and American Eagle.
  • Not valid on codeshare flights.
  • Valid for one-way or round-trip travel.
  • Offer is not valid on all fares, including but not limited to Award Miles Reservations and contract fares.

Full terms and conditions can be found on the offer page.

Quick Thoughts

The first thing to note is that although the terms and conditions indicate that upgrade options and the pricing for upgrades will be shown at check-out, American Airlines appears to be showing the upgraded fares in the search results (at least that’s certainly the case for the one-way fares that I’ve seen). Here, for example, is what I see when I search for a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago:

And here’s what I see when I search for a fare from New York to Miami:

Things can be a bit hit and miss when searching for roundtrip fares. I’ve been trying to find roundtrip fares between Los Angeles and Miami that are only $200 more than the Main Cabin fare and I haven’t found anything (yet), and when I search for roundtrip fares for travel between Los Angeles to Chicago (for example), the cost of the roundtrip upgrade isn’t exactly $200…

…so I’m not sure if what I’m seeing is promotion pricing or simply the offer to upgrade that American Airlines happens to be showing on this route.

Still, all of that aside, there are clearly some very good fares available right now. It’s hard to argue with a First Class fare of under $300 for roundtrip travel between LA and Chicago and when you can book lie-flat 777 Business Class seats for just $283 roundtrip between Miami and New York, things are definitely looking good.

As usual, all travelers should keep in mind the circumstances that a lot of us are living with right now and amazing fares shouldn’t tempt you to travel if it’s not safe to do so. Also, keep in mind that some areas of the US have strict measures in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. most of California is under a stay-at-home order of one kind or another and requires visitors to self-isolate upon arrival) so make sure you know what your chosen destination’s current conditions are before you decide to book a trip (you may even need a negative COVID test to travel).

Book With The Best Card

Make sure you get the best deal out of whatever fare you book by using a credit card that gives you a good return on your travel spending and, preferably, one that also comes with good travel protections.

The Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express both earn 5 points/dollar for spending made directly with airlines while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3 points/dollar for just about all travel spending. Also, and this is key, all three of these cards offer good trip delay, trip interruption, and trip cancellation protection.

The Amex Green Card earns 3 points/dollar for just about all travel spending but doesn’t offer the same level of protection as the Platinum Card or the Sapphire Reserve, and although the Citi Prestige Card matches the Platinum Card with its earnings of 5 points/dollar on spending made directly with airlines, the fact that it offers no travel protections at all makes it a less appealing option.

Bottom Line

For the rest of today (Central Time), American Airlines is offering one-way domestic upgrades from just $50 for travel within the contiguous 48 US states. The promotion applies to travel from January 21st through February 28th, 2021.

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