Oneworld has been teasing (read more here) about a similar program that Star Alliance has had for years that allows members to upgrade partner flights using miles (always requires costly fare classes).

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Now, American Airlines has begun allowing AAdvantage members to upgrade flights that are operated by British Airways and Iberia.

You can access AA’s page for partner upgrades here.

Eligible fare classes:

  • Full-Fare Economy with published fares booked in Y (excluding Military or Government fares) on American
  • Full-Fare Economy with published fares booked in Y or B on British Airways or Iberia
  • Premium Economy with published World Traveller Plus fares booked in W (unrestricted fares only) on British Airways. Doesn’t apply to Excursion fares.
  • Full-Fare Business with published fares booked in J, D or R on American and C, J, D or R on British Airways or Iberia

You cannot upgrade the promotional economy, premium economy, and business class fares.

Each upgrade is valid for up to three segments. The eligible flights must be operated and marketed by American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia.

Here’s the AAdvantage partner upgrade chart:

American Airlines AAdvantage Partner Upgrade Chart

*Includes travel on codeshare flights marketed by American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia and operated by any of the three carriers.

**Upgrades on British Airways from Economy Class are valid to Premium Economy where a Premium Economy Cabin exists.

^North America is defined as the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Conclusion

Partner upgrades using miles is as bad of a deal with Oneworld as it has long been with Star Alliance. You can usually find cheaper discounted premium tickets than lower-class higher fare ones that are eligible for upgrades.

This only makes sense for corporate travelers that are forbidden to book higher fare classes, but who are booked in one of these expensive flexible fares. They can then use their miles to upgrade to a higher cabin.

It is always good to have more ways to use your miles and upgrade partner flights.

Here are the terms and conditions of partner upgrades:

  • All upgrades are subject to availability at the time the mileage upgrade is requested. Mileage upgrade seats may not be available on all flights or to all destinations and are subject to capacity controls.
  • No waitlisting or standby is allowed for an upgrade on British Airways or Iberia flights.
  • The upgrade is a single cabin upgrade from the cabin booked, to the next cabin. This may vary depending on which carrier operates the flights and the aircraft configuration.
  • A maximum of three segments in one direction may be upgraded. All segments being upgraded must be on the same ticket.
  • The fare conditions of the original purchased fare will still apply.
  • Tickets upgraded using mileage upgrade awards will accrue miles based on the original purchased fare.
  • American Airlines, British Airways or Iberia flights or codeshare flights marketed and operated by American Airlines, British Airways or Iberia are eligible. Reservations booked through a source other than American Airlines must include at least one flight with an American Airlines flight number in order to be eligible (includes codeshare flights operated by British Airways or Iberia but booked as an American Airlines flight number.)
  • Cancellations to the original ticket purchased 7 or more days prior to departure will have up to 24 hours from the time it’s ticketed to be eligible for a full ticket refund including the reinstatement of award miles and a refund of the co-pay amount paid.

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