What Are The Benefits Of American Concierge Key Status?

Reader Gary emailed me a couple of days ago to say he was invited to American’s Concierge Key status, and he asked what benefits it comes with. Many may know of Concierge Key status through “Up In The Air,” a movie several years back starring George Clooney, where he had the status.

What is Concierge Key status really? How do you earn it, and what benefits does it come with? The truth is that there’s little published information out there about it, but lots of data points. So this post is based on what I’ve heard and read.

What is American Concierge Key status?

On the most basic level, Concierge Key is American’s invitation only status level. There’s no published criteria to earn it, and it has to be renewed every year, so you can earn it one year and lose it the next.

Concierge Key status is completely separate from the rest of the AAdvantage program, so Concierge Key members are also Executive Platinum members. A Concierge Key Executive Platinum doesn’t necessarily beat a “regular” Executive Platinum on the upgrade list, though. I’ll get more into that below.

How do you earn American Concierge Key status?

The criteria to earn the status are unpublished, but generally there are a few ways to earn it.

One way is to spend a ton on American Airlines travel. We’re talking $50,000+ of spend per year. That’s not to say that spending $50,001 will get you Concierge Key status, but rather that if you spend less than that, don’t assume you have any chances of being invited. So in theory you can earn Concierge Key purely through your own travel.

We don’t fully know what American looks for in this regard, though. Do they care purely about the dollar amount you spend, the typical fare classes you fly in (consistently full fare first class, for example), or something else?

But you can also earn Concierge Key through the influence you have over others’ travel. Sometimes American will give Concierge Key nominations as part of a big corporate contract, or to key travel planners who have influence over a lot of others’ travel.

American is even known to comp Concierge Key to social “influences.” For example, a YouTuber who was comped Concierge Key made a video about how he was unhappy when American took it away from him.

For avoidance of doubt, I’ve never been offered Concierge Key status. 😉

What are the benefits of American Concierge Key status?

The benefits of Concierge Key status are pretty “soft.” In other words, you’re not getting guaranteed first class upgrades with every flight, unlimited award seats, and 1000% bonus miles on flights.

Per the FlyerTalk wiki about Concierge Key status, benefits of Concierge Key include the following:

  • Executive Platinum status
  • An Admirals Club membership
  • Two additional systemwide upgrades
  • Copays waived on international upgrades
  • A dedicated phone number and email address with 24/7 support
  • Flagship check-in
  • Assistance during irregular operations
  • Airport escorts and pre-boarding

American-Flagship-Lounge-New-York-04
American’s Flagship check-in at JFK, which Concierge Key members have access to

Those last two are probably very much a case of “your mileage may vary.” On a good day, Concierge Key will get you proactive rebookings when flights are canceled and delayed. American even has some Cadillacs with which they provide tarmac transfers, so during a short connection you may be picked up planeside and driven to your connecting flight.

At the same time, there are also instances where you’ll likely be disappointed, because they’re not always going to deliver 100% of the time.

American-777-Business-Class - 2
Concierge Key members receive extra systemwide upgrades

Concierge Key status bottom line

Concierge Key status won’t be life changing, and probably isn’t as widely recognized as United’s invitation only status, Global Services. So day to day, don’t expect this status to be life altering.

At the same time, Executive Platinum status, two extra systemwide upgrades, an Admirals Club membership, and all around better treatment when things go wrong, is nice.

If you’ve a Concierge Key member, what has been your experience with the status?

Comments

  1. CK benefit also includes being picked up in a golf cart at the airport between connecting flights

  2. Many CK memberships are given out via sales, and not to individual travelers spending $50k but as part of corporate travel deals.

    Before the US Airways integration there were 8k – 10k CKs and somewhere ~ 55k EXPs in total.

  3. Had a very real experience where 3 CKs got rebooked on another flight that left with empty seats after a 3x mechanical delay on the flight we were oringally on despite them leaving dozens of other passengers at the gate.

    Under the new system they will also unofficially get upgrade preference I would imagine if they align it by EQD.

  4. I had key for 1 year, honestly the service was nothing spectacular with the exception of when I would go in and out of Chicago at which time I was always greeted by a CK representative, besides Chicago I never got anyone else to acknowledge that I was a CK. The 1 thing that I really appreciated and thought it was great was a good email communication system that I could use to communicate about any change of plans that I needed to make, that is it, nothing else

  5. One benefit I get a lot of value out of on United is the ability to redeem miles for a guest at saver level when I am flying on a paid ticket. I’m not sure if this is because I am Global Services or because I am 1K.

    Do you know?

    And is there a similar benefit on American for ExPlatinum or Conciege Key, or for being a Delta medallion?

    If you are a frequent business traveler this is a very valuable benefit as it allows you to bring a spouse or child along on a trip with a modest use of miles.

  6. @John that is a great benefit I am EVP in AA and Diamond on Delta and they do not have similar benefit

  7. You can buy your way into Concierge Key pretty simply—though certainly not cheaply—with AirPass (not to be confused with the unlimited travel in first class AAirpass), just like you can buy your way into Global Services with United’s PassPlus.

  8. Lol, lucky has been trying to get the key for many years now. Look at all his reviews praising American for their crappy service and product.
    I guess AA don’t want another free loader to join their club

  9. Like another poster said, KEY is nothing special. In fact, I would argue the KEY CS phone agents are less capable than the EXP agents (for whatever reason they are not as well versed in fare rules and complex issues with ticketing). The only time it makes a difference is in extreme irrops when they will not hesitate to put you on a different carrier.

  10. I will add though that they do occasionally hold some cool events for KEY members, such as a free dinner at Le Bernardin recently with some of AA’s top brass in attendance.

  11. I think AA should have a direct complaint line for CK members. You can contact CEO directly about your stories of rude AA cabin crews. I have to say it does not matter what class you are travelling with AA, you will get rude staff on board. I had a horrible staff serving in first/business class from Mexico City to Dallas recently. It is really sad Qantas partnered with American!

  12. I’d certainly say that AA’s ConciergeKey is pretty sad compared to Qantas’ Chairmans Lounge membership (which is much more beneficial) – and QF’s CL is not the best out there (just in the top tier of “invitation only” programs).

    While not a beneficiary myself of QF CL, I travelled frequently with a couple of CLers for a number of years, and they get looked after very well indeed.

  13. @james
    Just wait james for the ever increasing reviews on AA and its delightfully crap service. Luckys trying real hard for the key haha.
    Maybe if he sucked up alittle harder and actually spent some money perhaps he’d be worthy of the key.
    I reckon she spends alot of time plotting away how to get the key the key! Ha ha

  14. @james @cintilingus You both seem extremely petty, and mean in the way that only the saddest and most miserable people on this planet can be. I suspect it comes from a place of insecurity, where you get a rush of power from being sanctimonious and superior to people you don’t really know. Please turn inward and conduct a thorough self-assessment of how you ended up here, and how you might change.

    For what it’s worth, I’d be surprised if Lucky is really gunning for CK. Especially after the recent changes to AAdvantage, his more recent blog posts suggest that he’s no longer going to be uniquely loyal to AA. I mean, dude has even written multiple times on whether he should switch to Delta!

  15. After being both CK and United’s GS, GS actually gives more useful benefits in my opinion.

    Btw, CK does not always give you Executive Platinum status. I was CK Plat one year as I didn’t fly enough…

  16. I’ve been CK for years and it’s helped me and my family a lot – from wishing us across the Tarmac at Heathrow to a close connection and helping me navigate with one child and one grandma in tow thru SFO. Most especially, they got me home to Dallas from NYC just before hurricane Sandy hit.

    I travel to Asia at least once a month, and CK makes it so much easier.

  17. CK for a year. EP for many years. CK makes life easier when you have delays, mechanical problems and you are sitting inside the plane. I mean, if you are already an EP you got all of the benefits. CK will give you some extra service.

  18. By the way. the Golf Cart benefit is very unpredictable. You never know when someone of CK will be awaiting for you.

  19. I’ve been EXP for many years and a CK in the last few years. Probably got it because of my spending at AA (between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 every year). I fly around 200,000 miles / year and no economy class tickets.
    Main benefits are:
    -Dedicated CK desk phone number. Most of the time you get an agent immediately. They recognize your cell phone number and call you by your name.
    -Dedicated CK email address. Very fast and effective!
    -Golf cart ride between terminals or through immigration (escorted at diplomatic line at immigration). This is valid in AA hubs only but happens most of the time (80% + of my trips). The golf cart is available in some international hubs like LHR. In DFW the ride between terminals is done in a Cadillac (cool!). If you have a tight connection you can request the cart ride and almost be sure to get it.
    -If you have a cancelled flight (or a flight about to be cancelled), they call you on your cell and inform that you have been booked in the next flight (obviously in first class), just in case. Super convenient!
    -You are pre boarded in all the international flights and some domestic flights. As CK is now considered to be an official status looks like domestic flights pre boarding will happen everywhere. Plenty of room available for you in overhead bins!
    -You have access to flagship check-in (available only in big hubs like JFK, MIA, LAX or ORD). Now the former premium check-in at LHR is a flagship check-in. No lines! Your check-in takes only a couple of minutes.
    CK agents are usually very friendly and have a lot of power to do things for making your trip more convenient.

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