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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The American Airlines launches a trial Plusgrades program which allows flyers to bid on upgrades

American Airlines has recently launched a new trial program on their website which is known as the Plusgrades program. It allows flyers to bid for upgrades to the business or first class 6 days before the flight. The airline shall then notify the passengers if their bid has been accepted prior to check in. In order to make a bid for the Plusgrades program, flyers need to –
- Choose the amount that they would like to bid for the upgrade of each segment in the travel itinerary.
- Enter the payment information (it will only be charged if the offer is accepted).
- Submit the bid and wait for the airline’s response.

The passengers who bid for the American Airlines Plusgrades Program shall be informed at least 24 hours prior to departure whether they have been upgraded to the higher class and if their bid has been accepted or not. If the bid does get accepted, the credit card is automatically charged and passengers can avail of all the services offered in the higher classes. Currently, this program is only being tested in 13 undisclosed markets. Therefore, if you find a seat open in the higher class, you should place your bids and hope for the best. If it is accepted, you can get access to priority check ins, baggage and boarding upgrades as well as complimentary food and beverage services and all other amenities offered in the higher segment.

However, there are a few terms and conditions that flyers need to be aware of before bidding for upgrades with the Plusgrades program. Once a passenger bids for the program, they are not entitled to any refunds unless the flight gets cancelled. You might miss out on the upgrades even if there is a delay in your connecting flight and you miss the flight on which you were upgraded. Furthermore, the airline is under no obligation to accept a particular bid. Your bid might get rejected even if there are seats lying vacant on the higher class.

Now, most Executive Platinum AA members might wonder how this program will affect their elite upgrades considering the fact that AA does actually take great care of its elite flyers. Well, all elite members can continue to use their 500 mile upgrades as they usually do. The bidding program has basically been planned for passengers who do not have the advantages offered to AA members. Furthermore, elite members will continue to get priority on upgrade requests and the Plusgrades program shall have no impact on their requests.

American Airlines plans to run the program until the month of January 2014 at which time they will decide whether to gamble with the program on a larger scale or not.

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