Comped Concierge Key Complains About Getting “Dumped” By American

Casey Neistat is a well known YouTuber. That’s not to say that I know who he is, but he does have over 2.5 million subscribers on, so I feel pretty safe making that statement.

I’ve seen a couple of his videos in the past, as they pertain to American Airlines. For example, back in 2013 he uploaded a video entitled “Free Business Class Upgrades, everytime.” As someone knowledgable about miles & points you won’t learn anything new, but when geared at the average consumer, it’s pretty well done:

I was just made aware that today Casey uploaded a video entitled “breaking up is hard to do,” which is about him losing his Concierge Key status. For those of you not familiar, Concierge Key is American’s invitation only status level.

Here’s the video, starting at the 3min26sec mark, where he starts talking about American:

For those of you not interesting in watching, I’ll briefly recap the video.

He explains how he has been an American Concierge Key for a couple of years. Back then they got in touch with him and told him they appreciated all the nice things he has said about them, and gave him Concierge Key. And then just recently they contacted him and told him he wouldn’t have his status renewed, as it’s review on an annual basis. He’s terribly offended by this:

“And it’s not like I don’t earn it. Last year I flew the equivalent of around the planet five times, and with very few exceptions, I didn’t get on a plane unless it was American Airlines.”

Five times around the world is 120,000 miles. So what he really earned was Executive Platinum, which is American’s top published elite tier. Though my guess is he didn’t even earn 100,000 elite qualifying miles, as I’m guessing many of those miles were award tickets, and he also says some of those miles were on other airlines.

But he feels he deserves Concierge Key because he also says nice things about the airline. When he explained this to them, they apologized, and said that he doesn’t spend enough money with American. And that makes him realize that American is just another money hungry corporation, and doesn’t have a soul or heart:

“See I thought, naively, that American was a real company with like a soul and a heart, and they’re just another money hungry corporation.”

Presumably if he actually flew American the equivalent of five times around the world on revenue tickets, he’d still be Executive Platinum. But since he feels American “dumped him,” he’s instead trying to find a new airline, and vlogs about his trip on JetBlue.

Alrighty then…

Bottom line

I’ve known that American gives Concierge Key to some people who don’t spend enough to otherwise earn it (either because they’re celebrities, responsible for big corporate contracts, social influencers, etc.). And I’m sure the airline gets a lot of lip service in return.

But what we’re seeing here is quite interesting — American’s generosity and attempt to generate good PR seems to have backfired, as Casey (rather ridiculously, in my opinion) seems to think he’s entitled to Concierge Key for life because he says nice things about them.

Where do you stand on this?

(Tip of the hat to @MikeScottX)

Comments

  1. However misguided he may be in this video, his bike lanes video makes him a permanent badass in my book. One of my favorite videos of all time…

  2. I suppose if AA gives him CK just for saying nice things about them, it’s not terribly unsurprising that he’s annoyed when they pull it (assuming he was still saying nice things about them before…) 🙂

  3. As a long time Neistat viewer I found his video infuriating. He sometimes comes across as entitled and this one really struck a chord with me.

  4. I think Casey misunderstood the intention of AA. Their removing the status to empower him to devote more time to his family, educate his children by example, and give back to the community. 🙂

  5. Have you tried reaching out to AA about granting you a Concierge Key? If anyone deserves it, it’s you!

  6. @Lars We can see in many of his vlog that AA offered him a limo ride to and from the plane when needed.

    I love Casey’s work but he is pretty stupid on this one.

  7. Clearly he didn’t earn it by flying enormous amounts of miles–rather, he earned it by flying largeish amounts of miles and then blogging about it.

    Much as I don’t appreciate the melodrama, he is not wrong to be bewildered at the fact that they chose not to renew him.

  8. As a CK for a few years now I am happy he is out. It is not the purpose of the status. Flying on award tickets or a little over 100k miles won’t qualify you for CK. Helping with airport and ground service is the key point.
    “Talking good things” about AA to a very general public is not that valuable. If you look at the upgrade video is VERY basic.

  9. Lucky, you are right on! CK sounds like a spoiled child who’s favorite toy broke. Nothing is forever; well almost nothing!

  10. I have been watching Casey’s videos since Day 1 and love his style of “pick up everything and go” mentality. Also his love/hate relationship with JFK (esp T8) is my same exact sentiment LOL
    However, his latest redemption of hundreds of thousands of miles for his recent JFK-LHR-CPT-LHR-JFK leg in BA F showed me that he really might not know all that much, since he coulda flown in EY F or QR F which are prob better products.
    I think his primary card is the Amex Plat because he frequents the Centurion Lounges at LGA, DFW, MIA, and seems to use that often for purchases.

  11. Interestingly, he recently put up two videos where he purrs about the amazing seats/food/service in First and Business in BA… Except he didn’t mention BA once in the videos. In fact, you wouldn’t know it was BA if you were a regular one of his 2.5m subscribers apart from a very brief clip which showed a BA plane. Did he not want to upset American?

  12. No experience with this YouTuber but if he were given CK purely based on his social media work, then revoking it right now — when he is even more popular and has a wider outreach — seems very confusing.

  13. Wow. Watched that bike video. Somehow I don’t think the NYPD would be cool with him riding into the back of their police car and potentially causing damage to it. Not sure if he got permission from the cab before slamming into it, but guy comes across as kind of a jerkoff.

  14. The sad thing is that even with the sentiment in this post, this does NOTHING good for AA, all it does is cause more people to be aware of Casey Neistat. Not that he isn’t an interesting person, but nobody should gain fame from crap like this.

  15. BA is a one world partner of AA so, they wouldn’t get let down because it’s just easier to stay in one terminal. Second, this is a terrible look for AA because of the large audience, and finally I thought that they were denying him EP not,CK much less of a big deal.

  16. Lucky I am not one to correct you but I don’t think he was not comped this status, I think he earned it in the past. Knowing Casey’s working history is travel has gone way down from where it has been in the past. In the past he ran a large production company and was a prolific public speaker, all of which he has curbed vastly since diving into Youtube and his social media app Beme. With this come as dramatic drop in spending and thus the loss of his Concierge Key. I think some times people in this hobby can forget how much knowledge we have and see some like Casey and expect him to be as knowledgeable, however that his just not the case. Casey did not understand that Concierge Key is based on being on the highest level of revenue for American not just being a outstanding brand champion.

  17. Chris you must be completely naive if you think Lucky posting about one of the most famous youtubers on the planet is gong to spread his fame.

    Remember though, the big youtube channel fans are all KIDS under high school. He probably has much less clout then you think. The only big advantage is that he has a sufficient subscriber base to make videos go viral quite quickly.

  18. @Chris, pretty sure his fame isn’t gained from this, but from stuff like this https://youtu.be/ZwYy4scOJi8 or this https://youtu.be/qRv7G7WpOoU 🙂

    I really like his videos for its content and creativity. And I don’t think his comment in the video came from a place of understanding of the AA program as the many FF expert who comments on this blog. This might be what is known as “confirmation bias” from either sides. And hey, this post draws clicks from both sides of the aisle as well. #domore than just flying First. 🙂

  19. Nah I realize being on this site isn’t going to make a huge difference, but it’ll hit 100 other travel blogs now, filled with people who have no clue who Casey is. It’s all about hitting different niches, and this kind of news does stuff like that. Either way, his fame is only increasing and The cost to AA is much larger than the cost to giving him the key status.

  20. Time to fire the idiot at AA that gave CK to this other idiot.
    BTW who cares about the stupid CK anyway.
    If you want to fly in the front, you pay for it like I do.
    Tired of flying front of the AA plane with kettles that I got upgraded.

  21. The guy always came across as too entitled.

    Better for both parties for them to part.

    Mint is for people who don’t have corporate budgets – and he fits that. As long as it’s $599 he’ll be happy.

    But I can’t help but sense some passive aggressiveness on the part of Lucky, perhaps because Suzanne didn’t award him Concierge Key.

  22. I’ve never heard of him, and based on some of the comments here, I have no desire to head over to YouTube to learn more about him.

    (I’m going to hazard a guess that I’m older than most of your readership)

  23. Long time reader, I like this blog because it’s informative. Ben as a blogger, does a good job. As a person, he’s probably an entitled stock up diva, which is funny because he’s being passive aggressive to Casey for being a little diva too…

  24. The simple fact is that Casey is very much the “it” vlogger of the moment. He gained over two million followers in less than a year, was invited to the Oscars, has been featured in many mainstream outlets and has several viral videos north of 15 million views. To a certain demo he is more famous than most old school celebrities and certainly is very influential on social media.

    So if being a tastemaker is at all important to AA Casey certainly fits the bill.

    Therefore I assume that AA really does not factor that into CK choices that heavily. From purely a miles point of view he is Platinum and not CK. Casey may be confused and assumes his quasi celebrity status is what has earned him CK in the past or perhaps their policies have changed.

    Casey is no expert on award travel nor has he professed to be one. He has however generally made AA look very good often several times a week to millions of people.

    Seems foolish of AA to drop him in
    my opinion but equally petty of Casey to retaliate as he did (even filming himself tossing the CK card into the garbage).

  25. CK is a private thing….As a simple EXP………I only know one kind actor living in LA with child in Montreal he needs to visit each week… he was invited by AA due to weekly visits. Its very simple.
    Thats it.
    period.

  26. BTW Susan, I am 47, MUCH older than what the majority of his fan base is (like their dad’s age) but I am in fact a fan of his. He is a very interesting guy who grew up with very little and has an insane work ethic.

    His videos are cinematic and very well made and he does them DAILY all while running a social media start up. It’s amazing frankly. He is well worth devoting some time to and far from entitled (though he is certainly now given a great deal, that’s what fame does).

  27. Brent says:
    March 28, 2016 at 9:12 pm
    If you wanted any reason why AA may dump a D-List celebrity from having complimentary CK status……….

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>I agree!

  28. Hah! I actually found his videos to be quite entertaining…not really offended at all.

    Sure, perhaps there is a bit of entitlement that comes across, but from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think he acts so much more than entitled than many of us who follow this blog (myself included).

  29. Few EXP calling others entitled. LOL.
    Sam “you” didn’t get anyone upgraded and if you’ve got a problem with these “kettles”, go and complain to AA. Oh wait, nobody gives a f***.

  30. Lucky,

    Maybe I’m one of the few people who thinks this but I believe that he deserves the concierge key card.

    While he might not fly the required miles, his YouTube channel is worth millions…

    He is constantly giving American Airlines free advertising. If an advertiser were to pay for product placement or an advertisement in his Vlog, they would pay tens of thousands of dollars. When every daily video that he uploads gets between 925k and 1m views a day, the advertising and praise that he gives is well worth the concierge card.

  31. Few EXP calling others entitled because he got CK for being a popular YTer. LOL.
    Sam “you” didn’t get anyone upgraded and if you’ve got a problem with these “kettles”, go and complain to AA. Oh wait, nobody gives a f***.

  32. Not only does this guy constantly sing the praise for AA (and no cost to AA, most likely), but AA shares his videos via social media. Bad PR move.

  33. I watch Casey Vlogs daily. He does come across as entitled on more than a few occasions. Yet I do think American Airlines is doing a stupid PR thing by not renewing his status. He always Vlog his journeys and fly on American Airlines a lot of times (Maybe not recently anymore). His Youtube channel is growing tremendously and almost every Vlog video he makes has 1 million views. That is a LOT of free publicity for American. Even if not all his flights are revenue based, he does spend a lot of time flying and I am guesstimating 70% – 80% of it is revenue based flights.

    He recently went on a sponsored trip to Istanbul sponsored by Turkish Airlines with his son last year. I will be very interested to know how much of a sales bump did Turkish Airlines get from that Vlog trip that Casey did with Turkish Airlines.

  34. People that are commenting on this post, seem to not understand the ideology and morals of Casey Neistat. I personally, am a massive fan of his and enjoy every second of his content. The style of his films and vlogs are a reflection of what 2.5 million people enjoy. He’s a cutthroat person with an INSANE work ethic. His somewhat entitled attitude is what makes him so charming, and a pleasure to watch. Along with that, his point for why AA shouldn’t take away his CK his completely valid. He promotes AA to millions of people, and truly enjoy(ed) their product, and would go out of his way to fly with them. Anyone with a right mind would feel betrayed when so much devotion has gone into something that is one-sided. AA has been profiting off his advertisement, and is very wrong in taking away his CK. It seems as though everyone commenting has no respect for this person they are quick to judge. Everyone (including Lucky), has jumped to conclusions way too early about an amazing man who they know nothing about. His work inspires and is enjoyed by many, but is often misunderstood by most non-viewers of him. His content his created as a reflection of who he is, and many people (including me to a great extent) enjoy that amazingly. I sincerely hope that all of you who have rushed to judge Casey as an entitled, stuck up person, will get to know him for who he is, and not a person who is (rightfully) ranting about their CK being taken away.

    Mathew

  35. Wealthy celebrity who is given tons of free stuff including cameras, phones, hover and boosted boards etc. whines when he doesn’t get some free stuff. That’s my take.

  36. “Casey Neistat is a well known YouTuber. That’s not to say that I know who he is”

    Phaedra would be proud, Lucky.

  37. This post looks like a way for lucky to vent his jealousy for not getting a concierge key despite always being on American Airlines side, even though they run a sub par airline

  38. Considering channels of his size can and do charge brands $20K+ to be featured in one video. Considering he features them many (15-20) times a year I think he can complain…

  39. This is funny. Some short dick man with a complex posts videos on YouTube and I am supposed to be impressed? He now complains about CK…..Please!

    If you want to impress me call Gulfstream in SAV and order a G-650 for 70 million. Then your operating expense will be around $65,000 an hour. Then blog about that. Until then STFU!

  40. He annoys me to no end. I wonder how many of the 2.5 million followers are real people.

    How anyone can stand watching through his videos is beyond me.

  41. Erm, I don’t see what is so special about what he says in the initial video (about how to get upgrades every time)… so I have to fly a lot? Tell me something I don’t know.

    Basically his video is nothing more than a big moving jerk off of how he…. just flies around in business class?

  42. Dear OMAAT readers,

    As an 18 year-old who is slightly more informed with the YouTube world, I completely agree with Shane. What you do not seem to understand is that YouTubers like Casey make $2000-3000 per videos, but that does no include sponsorships. To feature one product in a video on his channel, he could easily charge $10 000+ and given how many times he has spoken positively about American, I find it absolutely ridiculous that they would let him go. This is one of the biggest mistakes AA has made when it comes to online marketing – dropping the world’s most influential vlogger at the moment, and thereby making him stop giving you FREE publicity, is NEVER a good idea.

  43. I believe his over reaction of having felt entitled to this will prevent similar generosity, from this or any airline.

  44. This reminds me of the scene from the film This Is The End when Seth Rogen and his buddies just start saying nice things about each other hoping it will get them into heaven.

  45. How much does giving concierge key to one person really cost AA? Seems like a bad move to get bad PR for something that doesn’t really cost them anything. Casey is well known in New York and his bike lane video is amazing. He even had a show on HBO for a while, so not exactly a nobody.

  46. Casey is not flying Lufthansa, Swiss, Qantas and Emirates First (3/4class airlines) so i would hardly consider him mingling or influential with the elite uppercrust, maybe his business class appeal to the new-rich entitled but we know that business class is available for everybody points/paid/work/leisure-oriented. AA won’t suffer all to much from this.

  47. The stupid thing AA did was to give it in the first place, his online presence and following has gotten greater since they gifted it. What did they expect when they took it away, he was obviously going to vlog about it.

    I would assume it costs them very little but they gain in the online PR from his vlogs. I would assume it’s cheaper for them to renew it from all the target advertising he gives them.

    Then again most corps don’t understand social media / b/vlogs. However when you didn’t first earn it the right way he obviously feels entitled to it.

  48. Entitled and spoiled person used to getting freebies complains when it’s taken away.
    Nothing to see here.

  49. Have you never heard of loyalty?
    Casey is constantly promoting and showing the high quality services of American Airlines. I would even go as far to say he was one of their biggest promoters. Casey is 100% right by saying they’re a money hungry company.
    And excuse you, but if you don’t watch his videos how do you know if he didn’t fly the equivalent of 5 times around the world?
    American Airlines is being stupid and losing a massive free promotion. You’re being petty because they don’t offer it to you.

  50. Instead of dissin’ Casey, why not get more travel for less.

    Google this:

    29 of the best travel tips to help you vacation like the pros

  51. Its like AA pulled an ad campain from a magazine and they complained about it. To be featured on vlogs like Caseys is a way of advertisment and usually it involves a lot of money to pay from brands to be featured once ( with his view he’s def in the +10k ).
    The big question is just is AA still seeing Casey as the right plattform for someone with a CK card? Or its a perfect pitch to say “hey airlines I’m up to grap?”

  52. @Sam re: “If you want to fly in the front, you pay for it like I do. Tired of flying front of the AA plane with kettles that I got upgraded.”

    You have no idea what’s going on do you? It’s not 2004 anymore, upgrades are history, try to keep up.

  53. I can go either way on Casey’s reaction to being dropped. He is a bit salty/whiny, but he also seems a bit surprised by the decision.

    To me, that fact that he is surprised by the decision is the most egregious failure by AA. They needed to give him advance warning – make the breakup easier. Tell him he needs to spend more money over the next year. Tell him he needs to send more people their way. Make him appear at a corporate event to keep his status. Offer him a new, albeit, lesser status and tell him they want his opinion. Tell him “it’s me, not you.” Just don’t dump him out of the blue.

    And now AA must pay the price. In social media, love is better than hate. Indifference is better than hate. The old adage is that there is no such thing as “bad press,” but with the amount of control individuals have over the content they view, that is just not the case anymore. People will not stumble upon Casey’s video and say “I hate Casey and will fly AA more now.” The only people who watch him are people who trust his opinion. AA may have just lost those customers.

  54. Last year, Turkish airlines paid Casey $65,000 as part of a larger campaign, in return he talked about them and featured them in just 3 videos (that’s $21,500) per video. This was at a time when his channel was half the size it is now.

    Fact is, AA were getting $20K+ worth of advertising for close to nothing with every video he made on them which was 15-25 videos a year..

    For all of your calling him “entitled” for wanting this low-end form of compensation, go watch mr. entitled go sign a deal with JetBlue or Delta were they will pay him the amounts listed above and mean AA will lose out on a massive amount of yearly advertising they were getting for spending next to nothing.

  55. @Ted (11:25pm) – at 47, you’re closer to my age group, but I still have a few years on you. It would appear that I should at least go and find out more about this vlogger (although I don’t follow *anyone* on YouTube, and rarely visit the medium).

    I would hazard another guess that I’m old enough to be Ben’s mother. 🙂

  56. Being given something is a privilege and not a right. He should be thankful he had it at all, especially to someone his age.

    We don’t really know why they gave it to him in the past, but if it is no longer a mutually beneficial relationship, which it sounds like its not, then it’s not their duty to continue providing him with a complimentary status.

    Let’s not keep perpetuating the entitlement mentality of the younger generations guys.

  57. @Shane – I have no doubt he was paid (in addition to the free tickets/hotel/guides/etc), but I’m curious where you got the data (dollar amount) from? Thanks!

  58. @Jim, It’s just a figure I can see on record internally (You can probably find it online with a bit of searching for the campaign which was between Turkish airlines & a company called Rightster)
    I work at a company that specifically deals with YouTube influencer marketing so it’s a topic I’m familiar with.

    A typical piece of branded content for note costs 60-100 dollars per 1000 views, extra if you are making the person travel around, so that’s where I am getting the estimates for this guy’s channel overall.

  59. I’ve seen a few videos of Casey and I am amazed how influential he is consistently earning more than a million of views every vlog. Casey provides free ads for AA(well the CK may be considered as the payment), as far as I know he is also in an advertising business before with Mercedes-benz, J. Crew and Vogue. AA should’ve taken advantage of what this guy can do.

  60. He’s obviously not entitled to Concierge Key. No one really is, if it’s an invite program, but it’s based on revenue, so it’s easy to see why he’s upset. Given that his daily views generate an average of 250k views (low estimate), and some as high as millions, and that he advertises American Airlines very frequently, it’s understandable why he’s upset. If AA had to pay for the good press and adverts on his vlogs, it would be likely equivalent to what you’d need to spend to earn a Concierge Key invite.

    Let’s do some crude math here:
    Advertising on YouTube costs, on the low end, 10 cents per view. For someone with Casey’s viewership, that can be as high as 30 cents per view, but let’s go with ten cents. If he’s averaging 250k views per video, and mentions American Airlines, say 25 times in a year (he does more), that comes out to over half a million in advertising value. It’s easy to see why he’s upset. Free for American.

    And to be honest, this post does have some passive aggressiveness in it as Greg mentioned earlier in the comments.

  61. Cannot believe the amount of posts this has generated! As a long time frequent flyer I don’t want to watch or listen to someone who is paid to give me biased information. That is why I subscribe to OMAT and similar blogs who receive most of their compensation through credit card links. Ben, Gary and others give unbiased information and reviews with pros and cons and the readers/viewers decide if it is good for them or not. I would drop anyone who was paid by a provider to give me favorable advice about that provider. The young frequent flyers don’t get it today!

  62. I’ve watched his videos. Correct good work-ethic, and generally positive message. Started a daily vlog year + ago, and in many episodes he gets free stuff to promote/review. You’ll see he generally tells it how it is, and a bad product will be shown as such, although it seems a lounge shower and a half-decent seat seems enough gets a ‘thumbs-up’ review from him. He smart enough to ‘get it’ and that the ‘relationship’ ran it’s course, but obviously you’d be a bit miffed to lose CK. As someone who posts content daily, you know this just was something that happened in his space that gave him a subject/topic for the content for the day. A bit passive-aggressive satirical, but he posts about his day, and when life gives you lemons…post about it from the Jetblue terminal.

  63. I have no stake in this, but for several years AA thought that he was entitled to CK; therefore I wouldn’t blame him for thinking so.

  64. I watch his vlogs semi often and he shows AA in there many, many times giving them tremendous free publicity. He always is in business/ 1st so he is either buying them outright or he’s exec platinum to clear all the upgrades. fBig ail by AA and fail by all the haters here.

  65. Being a CK for the past 5+ years I find it a good and bad thing Casey is out. The status is purely for those who spend appox. 50k in revenue base fares on the airline. Saying “nice things” about an airline doesn’t meet those fields. Although he does influence the general public on American as an airline that doesn’t mean he’s worthy of this top tier elite status, especially with him not spending very much money on this airline. Due to him ‘dissing’ AA in his latest video American may very well reinstate his status so he doesn’t negatively affect the airline. But we all know the new AA won’t do that as they are very selfish.

  66. Saying CK is strictly for those spending $50k annually is not or at least has not been the case. Perhaps AA has changed their policy in which case it would affect Casey and many others. Otherwise AA has commonly given CK status to celebrities and as thank yous to program leaders who don’t come close to spending that.

    I will say this: his vlogs consistently made AA look very good. I generally do not fly AA (though ironically did today) but after seeing his vlog the last year I was contemplating making the switch. This would have been virtually 100% because of how he has portrayed it. Now I have much less interest in changing and AA in general (today’s flight sucked).

  67. Crunching the real numbers over the past 12 months he has generated almost 93 million views in videos where he has directly (and positively) mentioned AA. 93 million views ! That’s worth well over a million dollars to AA. Not to mention they are getting exposure in a very competitive and attractive medium with a huge “hip” factor. Very short sighted of AA …I’d be comping him free everything, everywhere, anytime if it was my business.

  68. @Shane : Kinda curious if there is anyway to know how much of a sales bump did Turkish Airlines get for that Sponsored trip of Casey and his son Owen to Istanbul? I’ve always wondered about the ROI of such Youtube/celebrity sponsored trips or Instagrammers. Does it really contribute enough to the bottom line?

  69. AA made the mistake of giving him CK as a “thank you” for repeatedly saying nice things about them on YouTube; if he maintained the same behavior that AA “rewarded” him for in the first place, I can understand his disappointment, though he should be enough of a savvy traveler at this point to know that any program that doesn’t publish qualification requirements for membership can’t be counted on to act in the same way year over year. The writing was on the wall with the changes to AAdvantage – AA now rewards direct revenue alone, not intangibles, and he wasn’t generating the revenue necessary for the New American to justify renewing his CK membership.

    While I do understand his disappointment, I also think he should suck it up and move on.

  70. I do like Casey Neistat in general but this video made me shake my head. AA, perhaps naively, assumed that a person would be grateful when they gave him amazing access to their priority lines and upgrades. They also, again perhaps naively, assumed that a person who has not earned these perks would just say thank you for the great service and, like the rest of us “normal folk”, would be happy to get to their destination in comfort. No so, however, as this somewhat immature man now badmouths them for their past kindness. He says, ‘See I thought, naively, that American was a real company with like a soul and a heart, and they’re just another money hungry corporation.’ Really? He thought that this company would just hand out status keys out of the goodness of their “heart”? Does he realize that this is a company with the goal of making money for their shareholders? That is the job of the employees: to maximize shareholder returns. Not to make some internet vlogger happy and feel special. And he immediately runs off to a new airline as opposed to sticking with AA whom he claimed was so great and offered such wonderful service in the past.

    Perhaps Mr. Neistat had to grow up a bit today but in the end is that such a bad thing?

  71. So a couple years ago, AA reached out to Casey and gave him the CK as a thank you for all his kind words. He has returned their kindness by (I’m a regular viewer of his) repeatedly saying nice things about them and showing them in a very positive light (he was flying AA several times per month) as his viewers have grown exponentially by the millions (embedded video above re business class has 2M+ views). He’s kept his part of the bargain and now AA contacts him and say we’ve changed our mind. Why shouldn’t he be pissed? He’s certainly as deserving as any celebrity who does none of the things he does to promote AA in a positive light.

    I get that a lot of E Plat status AA people who fly more would envy Casey’s CK status they don’t enjoy, but envy is not a reason for criticizing him.

  72. Thanks for the hat tip! With a few exceptions (me) the readership of this blog probably doesn’t spend too much time watching Caset Neistat’s work. I don’t think his influence in the space should be under-estimated. He is currently running a start-up and self-made film career before millions of people on a daily basis. Brands like Samsung have given him unrestricted access to the Oscars, and for good reason. Even if his primary demographic aren’t heavy airline spenders, in the age of viral video and mini-celebrities, Casey has faithfully brought the American Airlines name to millions of people in free advertising. It seems to me that CK is designed for someone exactly like that, someone who doesn’t fly like a Fortune 500 CEO but who is a brand influencer.

  73. Don’t blame him one bit. AA rewarded him with CK for the good publicity he gave them to the tune of a $1,000,000 a year in advertising they didn’t pay for. Now they decide he doesn’t spend enough money with them and ignore the free advertising. Well it’s their loss and he has every right to be ticked off and POST about it.

    A 67 year old viewer.

  74. Honestly it is a bad business move by AA. The guy is heading towards a million viewers a DAY, 365 million viewers per year, and for that publicity all they have to do is upgrade him from his current status to CK? Pretty good deal that they completely torpedoed. Goes to show it doesn’t take intelligence to get into high positions in the corporate world.

  75. Despite the saying, not all publicity is good. I’d never heard of Casey until now, but from what I can tell he’s a self promoting, kinda grating, likely to be forgotten in a year, online reality star.

    Perhaps AA just decided that his annoying ass didn’t fit the image they’re trying to promote with CK. Simple as that.

  76. People need to acknowledge that AA’s Concierge Key (or Delta’s 360, UA’s Global Services, BA’s Premier, QF’s Chairman’s Lounge, CX’s Diamond Plus, AF’s Club 2000, or EK’s Invitation Only, etc) program membership is given and pulled at whim by the senior leadership of the airline. Be happy if it’s offered to you, but don’t expect it forever after (that’s what lifetime statuses are for).

    Greg – But I can’t help but sense some passive aggressiveness on the part of Lucky, perhaps because Suzanne didn’t award him Concierge Key.

    JC – Ben as a blogger, does a good job. As a person, he’s probably an entitled stock up diva, which is funny because he’s being passive aggressive to Casey for being a little diva too…

    Kyle – This post looks like a way for lucky to vent his jealousy for not getting a concierge key despite always being on American Airlines side, even though they run a sub par airline

    Brian – And to be honest, this post does have some passive aggressiveness in it as Greg mentioned earlier in the comments.

    I’d agree, and this tends to be a bit of a habit with Lucky. Again, to anyone feeling put out they don’t have a invitation only status, don’t – it’s pointless to feel that way. You shouldn’t spend wasted energy into thinking how you can get it – it’ll either happen to you or it won’t. You’ll be far better off putting energy into earnt lifetime status (especially as invitation only status is rarely forever). If you just can’t cope with that, then become the head of a Fourtune 500 (or eqiv) company that has a huge flight spend, because that’s the easiest way to get an invite (these lounges aren’t overflowing with bloggers, that’s for sure – traditional media gets more invites).

  77. @Lars , CK gives you everything EXP gives you, a free Admirals club membership, a dedicated phone line with almost no hold times and if so under a few minutes, 2 extra SWUs, waived co-pay on upgrade awards, being met by CK rep. before flight for pre-boarding, tarmac Cadillac transfers (for tight connections) and golf cart terminal transfers

  78. @Dan

    “Despite the saying, not all publicity is good. I’d never heard of Casey until now, but from what I can tell he’s a self promoting, kinda grating, likely to be forgotten in a year, online reality star.

    Perhaps AA just decided that his annoying ass didn’t fit the image they’re trying to promote with CK. Simple as that.”

    I’ve been watching Casey’s videos for at least 6 months now. Possibly longer. He’s been vlogging daily for over a year now and there’s absolutely no reason to believe that he is going to suddenly stop, or drop in popularity. He has been building a steady increase in audience since he started vlogging. He used to get a minimum 300k views per vlog after a day or two. Now he’s getting closer to a minimum 900k-1mil views per vlog after a day or two.

    He’s not a perfect, angelic god from heaven. He doesn’t poop rainbows. But on the whole, based on how he acts in his vlogs, he’s a guy who makes a concerted effort to be kind to people, to be generous, and to have an overall positive, inspiring message, all while being entertaining and growing as an artist.

    I don’t know what it is people expect from celebrities – I imagine some of it comes from jealousy of the power and influence they hold – but this is one guy who is, at the very least, an overall polite and generous human being. I mean, he didn’t rant for 8 minutes about losing his concierge key and tell everyone to boycott AA (something that any vlogger in his position could have done). Instead, he made it into a story about breaking up and how it makes him feel and how he doesn’t understand why it happened.

    You don’t have to like the guy, but in this case, he’s being a hell of a lot nicer than a lot of people would be in his position. And we can go on about entitlement, but again, what he did and said about AA, if his influence “doesn’t matter to them,” shouldn’t be a big deal. It was something that happened and so he put it into his vlog, like he does with a lot of things that happen to him.

  79. This move was the dumbest decision AA made by far. He’s now up to 100 million views a month. A MONTH! For comparison the #1 top tv show in a month gets 40 million views. Just to clarify the article, when he said he always flew with AA but with few exceptions he meant it. Like maybe 2 or 4 times on something else. Many people flew him places not on his dime but always on American and that’s probably where AA told him to f off. Not really knowing that or choosing to ignore that important detail. I’m with Casey, they totally do not understand his worldwide influence, so keep on naming stadiums after yourself and maybe have another bankruptcy AA. You’re gonna deserve it again.

  80. Since when is a courtesy an obligation? I have worked for a number of years on “the other side of the equation” and have seen first hand that in the new millennium, no good deed goes unpunished. There was a time when the expected response for an added “something” – a “lagniappe” – as they say in N’awlins” – was “Thank you.” It wasn’t expected that forever in the future one would be moved to first class, placed in a luxury suite at no additional charge, given the keys to a Jaguar on a mid-size rental, or a birthday cake anytime he or she showed up, until the crack of Doom. The bottom line here is that Casey was extended a courtesy – he was not “contracted” by AA to do marketing – and, however diligent he may have been in promoting AA, it was HIS choice. Regardless if his “hits” and/or his “followers,” he is an independent entity whose business is to (hopefully, although, given his response, I somehow doubt it) provide valuable information to those followers. If there is truly an audience out there that lives vicariously through following “what Casey got for free” they are probably not that lucrative a market for the airline, since their expectations (“if I only get what I paid for, I’m being robbed”) are unrealistically high. As Quentin Crisp so aptly stated “Why strive to keep up with the ‘Joneses?’ Drag them down to your level.” Or stated another way, just because somebody gets a million hits on XTube, is Sealy obligated to provide them with free mattresses for life?

  81. Wow. what a bunch of opinionated, know-it-all…. Including the op.

    who cares… either way.

  82. From a marketing perspective what AA did was very foolish. Neistat is a youtuber who rarely puts ads in his videos. He has repeatedly given AA praise in videos that generate millions of hits. If anyone from marketing would have looked at this situation they would have realized just how anxious another airline would be to get that deal from Casey. For Neistat to create value in having him as a customer he pretty much has to do a anti AA video to make room for the next Airline who will comp him more for the exposure he gives them. The video he did was pretty nice under the circumstances.

  83. Kudos to Casey Neistat! Having your four million subscribers watch you doing something, going somewhere, using something makes them want to do the same.
    Brickbats to American Airlines. Would it be possible to be any more stupid? I won’t be flying on your airline.

  84. Well at least Emirates knows the power of the internet. As of me writing this Casey is closing in on 6 million subs.
    The video of him being upgraded to 1st class on Emirates is close to 26 million views.

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