Rumor: American Airlines system-wide upgrades can be used on British Airways, starting next week

American Airlines and British Airways are finally tying the shoelaces of their upgrade partnership and you can soon (starting next Monday) use your American Systemwide upgrades on British Airways flights.

British Airways also entered into an agreement with American Airlines some time ago that allows BA Upgrade Vouchers for AA flights to be used for upgrades of one cabin class.

American Airlines and British Airways have always had a very strong transatlantic partnership, including codeshare, relying on each other to power the many frequent long-haul flights each day between the UK and the States States, but the upgrade partnership has certainly taken off in time.

There will be an official announcement this weekend or Monday, but reliable Flyertalk rumors are pretty definitive that it will finally happen.

Gary from Wing view also wrote about this last night and it looks like frequent fliers are in luck once again when this kicks in.

Gary says that

“American Airlines’ system-wide upgrades will operate on routes including transatlantic and intra-European British Airways flights within Europe. This includes American Airlines codeshare flights operated by British Airways.

This means that if you book an American Airlines flight across the pond and upgrade it, you can also upgrade your connecting flight on BA in Europe. And that means that as long as you have an American Airlines domestic flight in your itinerary, you can use a system-wide upgrade to upgrade to a cabin on British Airways across the Atlantic.

This requires a route that has a mix of American Airlines and British Airways to switch to BA in Europe. There must be at least one American Airlines segment in the itinerary for American to process the upgrade on BA. …

We will see how this will evolve. I guess (and it’s really just a guess at the moment since we don’t know more) that AA won’t be able to waitlist you for upgrades like they can 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 made some improvements to the business class product. I wouldn’t say British Airways business class is necessarily better and in terms of food it certainly isn’t. If I had a choice today, I would probably fly AA over BA.

American Airlines Executive Platinum Members have several system-wide upgrades to use each year and they can be applied to any AA flight, and even upgrade multiple segments (up to three). How to use them is really a case-by-case decision.

Last year, which was my last year before my EXP and upgrades expired, I ended up using them for an indoor route because I had no other use for them. As far as I can tell, John’s upgrades have expired entirely without being used.

For British Airways Executive Club members, this also works in reverse on AA flights:

British Airways upgrade vouchers can now be used for American Airlines flights

I wish oneWorld was easier with upgrades and follow the lead of Star Alliance where inter-airline upgrades are very common, provided you are in the correct booking class and there is availability.

This has always been one of the drawbacks of OneWorld. At least it seems to be improving slightly now.

Conclusion

We can expect an announcement from American Airlines and British Airways that from next week AA system-wide upgrade vouchers can be used on BA flights (including codeshares) , provided there is at least one AA segment in the booking.

This will all be based on availability, and it hasn’t been the best when it comes to British Airways reward space. Therefore, I would not hold my breath that change alone will be the ultimate salvation. No reward space = no upgrades even though it is technically possible to use them.

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