I'm trying to book a flight for my mom to Shanghai by using my AA miles but I'm not sure if I should use Anytime Miles or MileSAver Miles. If I booked her Anytime miles would the possibility of getting her upgraded to business class be higher? She will be traveling with my son who is not yet two so he will be sitting with her. I just want to make sure she's as comfortable as possible on this flight. Please advise. I've only used my miles once to book a flight for my mother in law to fly from Florida to Ohio and she didn't have any issues. In fact, she said they put her up front in the business class and gave her a glass of wine. Thanks for any suggestions.

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    If you want to sit in the business cabin, the only sure-fire way to arrange it is to book a business seat! Why not book a business ticket at the saver rate and ensure it?
    – Gagravarr
    Nov 13, 2015 at 14:10
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    Does the child have his own seat, or in her lap? Two upgrades are less likely than one. Also, I don't know what their policies say, but I suspect the airline may not be real keen on putting a small child in business class, who might be noisy and disturb their other premium passengers. Nov 13, 2015 at 15:04
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    It is extremely doubtful that using AAnytime miles will increase your chances for an upgrade in a meaningful way— whether handled by the computer or by an agent, the process will favor fare-paying passengers over reward passengers. Operational upgrades are also extremely rare on intercontinental flights as compared to domestic ones. Related: What's the difference between MileSAAver and AAnytime reward tickets on American Airlines?
    – choster
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


Upgrades on long hauls are usually only offered when economy is oversold and there are no re-routing options for passengers they have to bump. They are not common and the chances of your mother reaching the top of an upgrade que is next to zero.

When choosing who gets upgraded, elite frequent flyers get the highest priority, ordered by their elite level and the ticket they are flying on, followed by full fare paying non-elite passengers and then down through the fares from there.

While having a FF ticket paid for at AAnytime levels puts her ahead of a person holding a ticket paid for at MileSAAver levels, that distinction likely would not come into play.

You don't really specify it, but it sounds like you plan for your son to travel as a lap child. Going from the states to Shanghai is a long time for a child almost two to sit in a lap in an economy seat. Your mom is a saint to volunteer. Have you looked at using MileSAAvers to get her a business class seat from the get go?

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