American Sends Out Concierge Key Invites

Filed Under: American, American AAdvantage

While American’s top tier status with published qualification criteria is Executive Platinum, there’s actually an official tier above that — Concierge Key.

For those of you not familiar, Concierge Key is American Airlines’ invitation only status. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect that you won’t get Concierge Key if you spend less than $50,000 per year on the airline. Even spending that much doesn’t guarantee you the status.

Earning Concierge Key isn’t exclusively about how much you spend, but rather about how profitable you are to the airline. This means someone who spends $50,000 per year booking full fare first and business class tickets is more likely to get it than someone who spends $50,000 booking discounted economy tickets.

On top of that, American extends the status to certain people responsible for corporate contracts, as well as some influencers (Casey Neistat was given it at some point, and was then angry when it was taken away).

It used to be that this was an unpublished tier, but as of 2017 American made this a formal tier in the AAdvantage program (even though the criteria still aren’t published). What are the benefits?

  • Executive Platinum status
  • An Admirals Club membership, and access to Flagship Lounges
  • Two additional systemwide upgrades
  • Co-pays 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

Anyway, the point of this post is that if you’re someone who is spending too much money on American Airlines (why???), it appears like American sent out their annual Concierge Key invitation and renewal emails yesterday.

So if you’re someone who was worried about whether you’d requalify, be sure you check your email, and if you’re someone who has been spending a lot on American this year in hopes of earning Concierge Key status, check your account to see if it has been updated.

To those who are Concierge Key, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to congratulate you guys, or send my condolences for how much time and money you’re spending on the airline. 😉

  1. Summary: American begins offering food scraps from Economy class as enticement for Concierge Key members. Along with the previous year’s edition of Executive Platinum status

  2. My dad got his email yesterday. It’s the 5th year he’s qualified – he would happily fly something else and agrees AA has really gone downhill lately but at MIA they have a monopoly. There is no competition whatsoever and therefore no other choice. For what it’s worth they do treat him very nicely both on the ground and in the air.

  3. He also goes to the yearly Concierge meeting with the AA execs and Doug Parker in Dallas which is a cool perk.

  4. Most corporate contracts come with a handful of CK statuses to hand out to executives or friends at the company. I’d say the bulk of people with CK were given it versus earning it through huge spend. Same goes for global services

  5. @Lucky given your recent anger at AA, how would you react if you were offered Concierge Key? Would you give them another shot?

  6. Is this AA’s priority ? They cant keep their planes in air and customers are mad as hell. Stock is dropping under a frogs butt.

  7. @ Jimmy — I’d turn it down. I do everything in my power to experience airlines and hotels the same way anyone else traveling in a particular class of service would. That is always my priority.

  8. Your complaint is in contrary to the requirement of CK, as you stated. More likely those earned CKs fly a moderate amount but on full fare tix. As a result, they won’t spend too much time in the metal tube. In my 150k BIS Miles wth AA this year, there was no signicant delay I could recall. Just another data point.

  9. Jealous perhaps? Why would CK’s need anyone’s condolences? The corporate travel influencers and Ryan Bingham types aren’t flying on their own dollar. AA doesn’t care where the dollars come in from, only that they just keep coming in which is the point of CK.

  10. In case you are interested there are several posts on Flyer Talk’s American Airline Forum under the -AA Concierge Key / ConciergeKey / CK members (master thread). Many flyers have posted their spends and activities.

  11. @Lucky – Aproximatly how many EQD’s, EQM’s, and EQS’s do you get in a year on AA?
    Have you ever gotten the Concierge Key invitation?

  12. AA has quickly become the worst of the majors, in my opinion. Their employees at LAX and their lack of customer relation empathy is what’s spiraling them downwards.

  13. I like American. Am platinum and get to upgrade whole family to economy plus for free. Service on phone always friendly. I like there long haul biz. Recently missed flight and they rebooked for no fee which was nice. Awards on hold is great. Could never use points but am now centered on middle eastern airlines. 100k Abu Dhabi Sydney in apartments isn’t bad. Points on sale for 1.77 not horrible for top up. I’ve even been able to use the odd 500 mile upgrade here and there.

  14. @steve

    I guess that’s a perk, aside from having to be in Dallas. I’d frankly like to be paid to *not* go there, ever. I’ve never been anywhere in the first world more devoid of culture, life and even basic sanitation. It’s the Mumbai of the US.

  15. United sent out GlobalServices “renewals” on Thursday to those who were GS members already. Program seems better than CK

  16. I’m a multi-year CK and have had my own issues with AA, but this incessant bitching about AA is quickly growing into a tiresome, large chip on your shoulder.

    Bottom line: No airline is perfect, especially these days. I fly more than I’d like, have helped direct a ton of business towards AA’s coffers and am at times still treated as ‘just’ another CK by AA… And that’s fine. I know what I’m getting with AA under current management. Like politics, this kind of thing is cyclical and will eventually change. If I wanted my ass constantly kissed, I’d fly private.

    Others have nailed it here already: You fly on awards and points, likely never making you a candidate for the program. You intelligently make the existing mileage system work for you and that’s great. This is why your blog exists.

    CK’s are rewarded for their bottom-line numbers (and in some cases, their influence on others to ultimately make AA money). We are the breathing example of the Pareto principal.

    It’s apples and oranges, but don’t disrespect the program just because you’ve had a tough time with the airline or haven’t been extended the invite.

  17. I too like American . They get me where I want to go safely and on time . Service is friendly and helpful . Never had a complaint . I will continue to fly American Airlines. I’m one of those people who still remember when flying was glamorous and exciting .
    My mother actually wore tweed suits and pearls to fly from coast to coast . That was another era. I’m sorry that things are so different now when all we worry about is status , upgrades , miles , and complaints. I will never be at the Platinum level but I fly a lot . . I am just happy to be on the plane and I am happy to arrive at my destination safely .

  18. Yes, lucky. Your obvious bias against AA has grown tiresome.

    You really need to get over it, or at least, just MOVE ON!

  19. Haha sunny! So true. I always had to wear a button down as a kid to travel. :). Ironically I’ve gone full circle. I’m now in first in sweats.

  20. I am CK with 159,000 BIS miles this year 80% full fare.

    Lucky has every right to complain. I fly AA as have very little option. AA undeniably needs to improve and it’s very valid that bloggers expose what a lot of people feel.

    As for the program it self it is not terrible but the is the very least you should get when you spend 70K + a year.

    I find service on the ground and on the phone a lot better than in the air.

    No Arline is perfect but AA can do better, I had decent experiences flying Delta Biz this year and a whole lot better experiences with international airlines flying in first and bizz.

    I normally use my miles to get tickets for family members, AA award availability is a disgrace but for intentional travel I can often find a Oneworld partner that does the job!

    AAs bad service and irgularites need to be highlighted in order for change, so Luky keep up the good work.

  21. @benjamin… Absolutely no airline is perfect but on a scale of 1 to 10, AA would owe the scale 10 points. The bitching about AA is legit and warranted but for that matter USA airlines suck anyway. Funny how none ever make the real top 10 rankings. One reason, they’re all crap in the premium cabins and led by AA. The operator of this blog is 100% right.

  22. I work with a few AA CKs and I’m sure they’re doing fine without condolences or sympathy. Occasionally I take a flight with one of my CK colleagues and it’s a special treat.

    It’s not the criticism of AA that is tiresome because frankly those of us who use them are well aware of the warts and problems but it’s rather the assumption that we should be headed for Delta or Jet Blue or some other carrier that’s far superior. Some of us are hub captives, flying regular routes that are tailored better for certain airlines and sometimes it all just comes down to cost within a geographic market. Those of us in the real world who actually reside in a specific city, and have a job that dictates our travel destinations and frequencies do not have the choice to just find bargain fares on boutique airlines wherever and whenever we decide to go. The CK program works really well from my vantage point as an outsider who has friends in the program. With my EQD at only $25,000, I’ll probably never be extended an invitation but I’d love to be in the program. Don’t see any other airlines offering anything equal to or better than CK.

  23. My buddy is a CK, I’m a LH Hon Circle member. I can definitely spot differences in the way AA and LH treat their (presumably) best customers.
    Some of you threw in “bias” towards Lucky: let’s face the truth, we are all biased and stick to our preferences for most of the time. Peace!

  24. I was platinum until 1/31 and using my AA miles for worldwide awards on OneWorld carriers was great. I wasn’t in the USA much this year but enjoyed the Flagship lounges while I still had access. Compared to the hideous devaluation of SkyPesos and compared to the insane fees for many BA Avios awards and compared to the incredibly tight-fisted Miles & Less program I’d say AA still has one of the top FF programs. That said if I fly domestic it’s nonstop coast-to-coast so I’m insulated from most of the nonsense you all experience. Meanwhile my mom flew JetBlue Mint again last night and loves it.

  25. hi lucky, long time fan here.

    I have to agree with a few people above me. This AA bashing/bitching needs to stop. We get it, you are unhappy with AA. Oh well. Move on. Spend your money/miles on another airline. Please go back to posting interesting trip reports. where are Tiffany’s TRs? TRs have been so sparse lately, the site has consisted of a bunch of filler uninteresting posts. That’s so not OMAAT. Save those crappy posts for the TPG.

    Lastly, the last sentence makes it seem you’re salty for not getting a CK invite. i’m sure you’re not but still.

  26. Very negative / bitter post. For someone that claims to hate AA so much you write about them a lot and also continue to give them business and earn top tier status. You rarely write about the DL and UA so not sure what is up with that.

    I for one really like AA. I have been EXP for the past few years and will be EXP next year also. I like the benefits and they treat me very good. Rarely have any issues, no more than I would have at other airlines. I have spent $30K with them this year and would love the exclusive CK status but know I won’t qualify. My only complaint about EXP status is it has become much more difficult to get confirmed space at time of booking when using SWU.

  27. Just flew AA out of ORD, which was my first trip on AA in a while. Based upon Lucky’s recent complaints, I was prepared for a complete s***show.

    To my surprise, the ground staff and flight crews were friendly, flights were clean, on-time, and I had no complaints about the entire experience.

    Add me to the list of those who think Lucky’s complaints about AA are overblown – especially in comparison to the other US carriers, who are also imperfect. I enjoy the blog, but it’s good to remember that Lucky’s experiences are sometimes particular to him – not the entire customer base of an airline.

  28. Got it back yesterday. Previous year I had $38k spend and 180,000 Qualifying miles, and lost CK. This year I spent $58k and 212,000 qualifying miles (so far) and got CK back.

  29. I love OMATT. Very informative. Maybe those commenters complaining about Lucky’s complaining should stop complaining.

  30. The bitching about AA is right on. I had so many delays and poor experiences with them that after more than 5 years with them, I recently switched to Alaska. So far, Alaska is so much better. They’re better at communicating if there’s a delay.

  31. My typical routes are full of CKs. Even though I spent $20K in ~140k mikes. I seldom get upgraded. My company won’t pay for bis:/first class tickets. What makes no sense to me is that, after chatting with tens of CKs, at least 1/3 of them get upgraded all the time, those upgraded were clearly not true influencers either. So the program is obscure and corrupt. I am willing to ‘buy up’ premium cabins at a reasonable price and Im wondering how UA’s ‘buy confirmed upgrades at booking’ works for you. My second homes are NYC, BOS, SFO, (NRT, PVG), Any UA experience you could share?

  32. I get all of this sturm und drang. It’s actually very entertaining.

    Blogs are a numbers game. I don’t blame Lucky for vilifying AA: What brings people together better than anything is a common enemy. Keep em’ talking… And in front of those ads 😉

    As any airline will tell you, those who complain the most are those who are clearly flying minimums. People want to achieve status and then when they get it, they flog it like a central American donkey. Hand out, reaching for anything they can get. It’s not that I want to be treated like crap by my airline, but I almost universally ‘get’ why it happens when they do. I can follow the breakdown and have learned not to take it personally.

    As others have said here already, if you’re constantly unhappy with a business, vote with your wallet and move on. You’ve got options and clearly, you’re probably not making too many friends with AA’s management team.

  33. I am a bit disappointed I flew over 350k EQM’s and around $60k spend but no invite! Whaaaaa! To top it off I book a family trip to Hawaii for Christmas months ago and selected bulkhead seats but they changed planes and bumped us into crappy seats! Customer Service team does not care. I am going to start booking Delta!

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