Many people have heard the typical three (soon to be four) elite statuses for American Airlines: Gold, Platinum, (Platinum Pro) and Executive Platinum. Well, beyond that, there is an invitation only program called Concierge Key. Concierge Key is the invitation-only program that American offers its top travelers. It offers added benefits (I will explain further) than those obtained via Executive Platinum. It is meant for the most elite of the elite. So, after doing my research as to what it takes to obtain it and what it gives you, is it really worth it?

AAdvantage Cards (aa.com)

AAdvantage Cards (aa.com)

How to Obtain Concierge Key:

There is no published way to obtain Concierge Key. I have heard from reputable sources that it requires at least $50,000 spend on American Airlines tickets. They also look into which fare codes you book (especially if you travel last minute) and they take into account how you influence travel, especially those of premium travelers. For example, it has been offered before to travel agents for large companies, as well as travel managers for large companies. It is usually considered a hush-hush topic within American, but it is possible to achieve it without being a “trendsetter” or a corporate travel boss.

In my life traveling, I have only seen one Concierge Key tag. I say it that way, since Concierge Key is like any other AA status: it needs to be earned each year. So, unless you are planning on spending around $50K a year on American, it seems that it is out reach.

Benefits:

Concierge Key comes with the same benefits of Executive Platinum Status, as well as some other perks. Per the Loungebuddy website, these are the perks:

Flagship Check-In

This is a Benefit that you can use at American’s major hubs. There is a dedicated check-in area usually guarded by an employee, and is reserved for Concierge Key members and passengers traveling in 3-cabin First class. It adds a sense of exclusivity to your membership and increases personal service.

Admirals Club Membership

Probably self explanatory, the status comes with complimentary Admirals Club membership. Although they are nothing to rave about, I usually find the employees to be very helpful during unusual operations and/or disruptions.

American Airlines Admirals Club

American Airlines Admirals Club

Employee escort through your entire itinerary

This may be a really valuable perk, or one found to be a bit awkward. I have had escorts at airports before. Although at first it feels really cool and they are extraordinarily nice and helpful, when they cut you in front of other people, it feels a bit weird. Nonetheless, the employee will take care of your luggage and make sure everything is to your liking while you travel.

Priority over other Executive Platinums on upgrade lists.

Although not an official perk, they do give Concierge Key members higher priority than other Exec. Plats. This will be even more evident in the new upgrade system, since the CKs spend so much more, they would automatically be entitled to higher priority. Also, when speaking with agents via phone or at the gate, you tend to have more “influence”. Although it is at their discretion, they can facilitate things for you.

Executive Platinum Card (aa.com)

Executive Platinum Card (aa.com)

Waived co-pays on mileage upgrades

Super straightforward, if you want to upgrade using miles, your co-pay is waived. This is a good benefit, but I don’t know how often the CK’s would use it as they already spend a lot on full-fare tickets that do not require co-pays.

Priority 24/7 call line and email

Concierge Key members have access to a 24/7 phone line with no wait times, extremely helpful agents and usually very personalized service. They are very proactive when it comes to mileage tickets and go the extra mile to find your preferred itinerary.

Two extra System Wide Upgrades

You can earn up to 8 SWU if you are a Concierge Key. The initial 4 at Executive Platinum, 2 more at 150,000 EQMs and 2 for CKs.

American Business Class 77W

American Business Class 77W (aa.com)

Proactive flight monitoring and rebooking

An important perk, as soon as the airline knows you will be delayed, CK representatives will try to rebook you via another flight or connection to try to make you arrive on time. When this is not possible, they will book you on the next flight, similar to the “last seat availability” that is extended to Exec Plats.

Tarmac Transfers at certain airports

Probably the most fun of all the perks, at certain American hubs, you get chauffeured on a private car to your next gate, or from terminal to terminal. I think this is probably the coolest perk. I also think that it is simply the cherry on top of making CK’s feel special.

Is it Worth It?

Okay, now that you have had me rave about all the cool perks, the question is the value. How much is it really worth it? If you otherwise spend $50K on American, then by all means these benefits are a good reward for your loyalty. Yet, if you are one of the many many passengers who spends less, what can you do? Well, American offers a program called Five Star Service at select airports. The benefits are divided under three categories. Departure, Transfer and Arrival. Each is priced at $250 per option in the US and $300 internationally. They have similar benefits, but here are the main take aways (per the American Airlines website):

Departures:

  • FlagshipSM Check-In (where available)
  • Car service coordination
  • Curbside meet and greet
  • Expedited security screening (where available)
  • Admirals Club® lounge access
  • Priority re-accommodation during delays
  • Gate escort
  • Early boarding
  • In-flight special request coordination

Transit/Transfer:

  • Arrival gate meet and greet
  • Admirals Club lounge access
  • Priority re-accommodation during delays
  • Gate escort
  • Assistance with connections on other airlines
  • Early boarding

Arrivals:

  • Arrival gate meet and greet
  • Car service coordination
  • Escort through Customs and Immigration for international arrivals
  • Admirals Club lounge access**
  • Escort to Baggage Claim
  • Luggage retrieval
  • Escort to car service
Five Star Service Locations (aa.com)

Five Star Service Locations (aa.com)

So in summary, a full itinerary would cost $750. Let’s assume that you value the Five Star Service for every single trip, then Concierge Key becomes more appealing when you take 45 or more trips in a year. That being said, if you traveled that same number of times on full fare tickets, you would probably be offered Concierge Key status anyways.

Landing Thoughts:

I personally dream of having Concierge Key status, not so much for the benefits, but for the internal valuation I give it. Economically, I do not see the benefit. I would much rather pay for the occasional splurge on Five Star Service and try to save money. If you do travel that often and you usually spend a lot on your tickets, maybe concentrating on American may bring you closer to Concierge Key.

Concierge Key (Up in the Air)

Concierge Key (Up in the Air)

If you know anyone who is Concierge Key, please send them this article so that they can confirm or rebuff some of these benefits. I would like to learn how their experience has been. Since there are no published criteria for CK, their opinion would be much valued.

AAdvantage Logo (aa.com)

AAdvantage Logo (aa.com)