American Airlines and British Airways are finally tying the shoelaces of their upgrade partnership and you can soon (from next Monday) use your American Systemwide Upgrades on British Airways flights.
British Airways has also struck a deal with American Airlines a while back that allows using BA upgrade vouchers for AA flights for one cabin class upgrades.
American Airlines and British Airways always had a very strong transatlantic partnership, including codesharing, relying on each other to be a feeder for the many long-haul flights that frequent every day between the UK and the U.S. but the upgrade partnership has certainly taken its sweet time.
There will be an official announcement either this weekend or on Monday, but reliable rumors on Flyertalk are pretty definitive that this will finally happen.
Gary from View from the Wing also wrote about it last night and it seems frequent flyers are lucky once more when this goes into effect.
Gary says that
“American Airlines systemwide upgrades will work on itineraries that include British Airways transatlantic and intra-European flights within Europe. This includes American Airlines codeshare flights operated by British Airways.
That means if you book an American Airlines flight across the Pond, and upgrade it, you’ll also be able to upgrade your connecting flight on BA within Europe. And it means as long as you have a domestic American Airlines flight in your itinerary, you can use a systemwide upgrade to move up a cabin on British Airways across the Atlantic.”
This requires an itinerary that has a mix of American Airlines and British Airways in order to upgrade on BA within Europe. There has to be at least one American Airlines segment in the itinerary in order for American to process the upgrade on BA. …
We shall see how this is going to progress. I’m assuming (and it’s really just an assumption right now since we don’t know more) that AA won’t be able to waitlist you for upgrades as they can do for their own flights.
British Airways has improved some of its Business Class services with the Club Suite, but at the same time, AA has also done some improvements to the Business Class product. I wouldn’t say that British Airways Business Class is necessarily better and in terms of food it definitely isn’t. If I had the choice today I’d probably take an AA flight over BA.
American Airlines Executive Platinum members have several of the Systemwide Upgrades to use each year and they can be applied to any AA flight, and even upgrade several segments (up to three). How to use them is really a case-by-case decision.
Last year which was my final year before my EXP and upgrades expired I ended up using them for a domestic itinerary as I had no other use for them. As far as I know, John’s upgrades expired entirely without being used.
For British Airways Executive Club members, this also works in reverse on AA flights:
I wish that oneWorld would be easier with upgrades and follow the example of Star Alliance, where cross-airline upgrades are very common, providing you’re in the right booking class, and there is availability.
This has always been one of the drawbacks of OneWorld. At least this seems to be slightly improving now.
We can look forward to an announcement by American Airlines and British Airways that starting next week, AA systemwide upgrade vouchers can be used on BA flights (including codeshares), providing there is at least one AA segment in the reservation.
All this will be availability based, and that hasn’t been the greatest as far as British Airways award space is concerned. Therefore I’d not hold my breath that the change alone will be the ultimate salvation. No award space = no upgrades even if it’s technically possible to use them.