American Upgrades Executive Platinum Boarding

American Upgrades Executive Platinum Boarding

22

American Airlines has just updated its boarding priority for AAdvantage Executive Platinum members. It amazes me how often airlines tinker with the boarding process, because we’re essentially seeing American’s 2014 boarding policy restored.

Executive Platinums can now board with first class

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum members can once again board with Group 1, which is the same group as first class.

For some context, the policy up until this point was that:

  • Concierge Key members could pre-board
  • First class could board next (Group 1)
  • Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members could board after that (Group 2)
  • Platinum Pro, Platinum, and oneworld Sapphire members could board after that (Group 3)

With the updated policy:

  • Concierge Key members can pre-board
  • First class and Executive Platinum members can board next (Group 1)
  • Platinum Pro and oneworld Emerald members can board after that (Group 2)
  • Platinum and oneworld Sapphire members can board after that (Group 3)
Executive Platinums can now board with Group 1

Why is American Airlines making this change?

While we can only speculate, I think it’s not too tough to figure out the logic here, as this change coincides with Platinum Pro members becoming oneworld Emerald members:

  • If American didn’t change boarding priority, Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and oneworld Emerald members would have all been able to board together
  • It seems like American is trying to differentiate Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro a bit (especially given the improvements we’ve seen to Platinum Pro, like the introduction of Elite Choice Rewards), which is why boarding priority for Executive Platinums is likely being improved
Platinum Pro members can board with Group 2

How does this compare to other airlines’ policies?

How does American’s boarding priority for top-tier elite members compare to the policies of Delta and United (I’m excluding invitation only elite tiers here)?

  • Delta lets Diamond Medallion members board with first class
  • United lets Premier 1K members pre-board ahead of first class

Personally I think Delta (and now American) have the right idea — allowing top-tier elite members to board with first class seems fair, since these members are otherwise entitled to unlimited complimentary upgrades domestically, and clear more often than not.

I find United’s policy to be unnecessary. Sometimes a majority of passengers in first class are Global Services and Premier 1K, and I’ve found it often creates a bottleneck, since you have other first class passengers lining up to board, and then all the elite members have to squeeze their way around them to get onboard.

American now has a similar boarding policy to Delta

Bottom line

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum members can now board with first class (Group 1), which is an upgrade over the previous Group 2 boarding priority. This comes as Platinum Pro is being made oneworld Emerald, so I guess American wants to differentiate boarding between tiers.

What do you make of American’s new boarding priority for Executive Platinums?

Conversations (22)
Oldest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Jdwprldtraver

    Am I the only one who does this but I book an isle or emergency exit row and wait to board last. I mean dead last, waiting several minutes after the last passenger in the boarding area so the line on the jetway is clear. Most domestic single isle flights take about 30 minutes to board. I haven’t seen pre-departure beverages in a long time so I do this even when I am upgraded. I...

    Am I the only one who does this but I book an isle or emergency exit row and wait to board last. I mean dead last, waiting several minutes after the last passenger in the boarding area so the line on the jetway is clear. Most domestic single isle flights take about 30 minutes to board. I haven’t seen pre-departure beverages in a long time so I do this even when I am upgraded. I only carry a bag that fits under the seat and use the overhead for my personal item ask the flight attendants if they can hang my suit jacket. With the larger overheads and gate agents checking carry on bags, I always find some space in the overhead. I look at it like the flight is 30 minutes shorter for me. I fly over 100k miles a year so it adds up. Risky, I know, but I don’t usually show up for the flight till after the boarding starts. AI just don’t understand the desire to get on first unless you are traveling with elderly or children.

    1. Raj

      I'm with you if I'm able to not need overhead bin space.

  2. 1984

    LOL. If you have ever been at the boarding gate, you may have noticed that there is a herd / swarm of people at the gate. There is no way to act with grace and board normally. Agents call all Concierge, then, immediately call Group 1. 15 seconds later, agents call Group 2 and 3 - at same time. I imagine Group 4 is about 1 minute after that. All the while, the herd and...

    LOL. If you have ever been at the boarding gate, you may have noticed that there is a herd / swarm of people at the gate. There is no way to act with grace and board normally. Agents call all Concierge, then, immediately call Group 1. 15 seconds later, agents call Group 2 and 3 - at same time. I imagine Group 4 is about 1 minute after that. All the while, the herd and swarm of holiday goers in 2021, make it all a not worth traveling.
    This conversation bears zero content.

    1. Raj

      Yes, the calling of Group 2 and then, very often, the immediate calling of Group 3 is such a waste of a very nice EP/Group 2 benefit. Now, EP's either board with First, or are upgraded to First. Nicely consistent. Well-played AA.

  3. Keith

    IMHO, AA has the worst customer service in the industry. I really don't see the big deal of paying a huge price to sit on the plane longer before takeoff.
    Regarding airlines, I would fly Delta any day before this half-assed airline

  4. PM1

    I'm a 1K with United. I love preboarding, especially if I have a carry on.

  5. Adam

    Hey Steve,

    Maybe the system was designed to assume a basic level of integrity instead of narcisstic opportunism.

    But I guess you're just in it for Steve.

    1. Steve

      Haha love how you get mad that i share that exit rows can board whenever. Like i am committing a crime or something, Im sorry i forgot AA is the pinnace of integrity. I should turn my self into the nearest police station for boarding with group 2 when i was group 4.

  6. Yolanda Sandate

    My flight on Southwest was canceled on June 24th and was not given a choice to rescheduled flight. I made reservations with American airlines 20 minutes before flight took off and when I land at my first stop I had to see Ticket agent to get an assigned seat. The agent was very nice and sympathetic to my situation. He handed me my boarding pass and said "Merry Christmas " at which I responded ""and...

    My flight on Southwest was canceled on June 24th and was not given a choice to rescheduled flight. I made reservations with American airlines 20 minutes before flight took off and when I land at my first stop I had to see Ticket agent to get an assigned seat. The agent was very nice and sympathetic to my situation. He handed me my boarding pass and said "Merry Christmas " at which I responded ""and Happy New Year?"
    He said "look at your ticket" I saw group 1! I smiled and thanked him for listening and caring! I had no idea it was First Class!! I don't know if my story has anything to do with this conversation. But. I just wanted people to know that what this ticket agent did to make my day, is what I needed . I had lost faith in mankind . I don't care about first class, yes its very nice ! But, it meant so much more that someone cared about making my day better. Thank you American Airline.
    Thank you for your employee in Dallas Texas on June 24th working gate A34 at 8,:50pm from Dallas to Seattle!

  7. DC not in DC

    I am EP with AA and have not been upgraded even once this year. AA should let us preboard, as UA does (I am 1K).

    Boarding with AS hasn't been a problem, because I have been upgraded on every flight this year. AS will probably follow AA example now that it has joined OneWorld.

  8. D3kingg

    An EP would most likely be upgraded in domestic first nowadays regardlesss. As long as they don’t pull that I have one roller bag that are actually 3 bags attached with Velcro and flood the first class cabins on those regional jets before I reach my seat. I’m platinum pro.

    1. DC not in DC

      I am Exec Plat and have not been upgraded even once this year on AA.

      This should have happened long ago.

      Next, AA should follow UA's example and have us Exec Plats preboard. I am 1K with United and we started preboarding a few years ago. Prior to that, we boarded in Group 1 with Platinums.

  9. Brad

    I agree with Sarah here as a 1K also. There isn’t any squeezing by first or business class passengers as you phrased it - they wait in line in group 1, and 1Ks and globals/other preboards board from the general front of gate area (and they don't line up with the others). I’ve been doing this for a few years and find it far better than the old process of grouping 1Ks together with lower...

    I agree with Sarah here as a 1K also. There isn’t any squeezing by first or business class passengers as you phrased it - they wait in line in group 1, and 1Ks and globals/other preboards board from the general front of gate area (and they don't line up with the others). I’ve been doing this for a few years and find it far better than the old process of grouping 1Ks together with lower tiers of the program. This recognizes top loyal fliers apart from the invite-only Global Services.

  10. DC not in DC

    Finally! I am AA Exec Plat. and receive almost nothing from AA.

    In the last 4 days I have had 4 flights on AA. I board in group 2 because AA has not upgraded me a single time this year.

    I am AS Gold 75K, and have been upgraded 100% of the time this year, so I always board in between preboard and Group A.

    AS will probably follow AA with this, as both...

    Finally! I am AA Exec Plat. and receive almost nothing from AA.

    In the last 4 days I have had 4 flights on AA. I board in group 2 because AA has not upgraded me a single time this year.

    I am AS Gold 75K, and have been upgraded 100% of the time this year, so I always board in between preboard and Group A.

    AS will probably follow AA with this, as both are trying to align themselves now.

    On a better note, my UA 1K status gets me preboarded, meaning an upgrade to F does not improve my boarding order.

  11. David alan Watson

    READ THE FINE PRINT! STATUS RETAINED THROUGH JAN 31, 2023!!!!

    Elite retention through AAdvantage® credit card spend terms and conditionsThis content can be expanded
    The AAdvantage® Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, or Executive Platinum elite status level held as of January 1, 2021, will be retained through January 31, 2023 for the primary cardholder (“you”, “your”) if the member spends $15,000 (USD) on eligible purchases made with eligible Citi® / AAdvantage®, AAdvantage® Aviator® credit cards,...

    READ THE FINE PRINT! STATUS RETAINED THROUGH JAN 31, 2023!!!!

    Elite retention through AAdvantage® credit card spend terms and conditionsThis content can be expanded
    The AAdvantage® Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, or Executive Platinum elite status level held as of January 1, 2021, will be retained through January 31, 2023 for the primary cardholder (“you”, “your”) if the member spends $15,000 (USD) on eligible purchases made with eligible Citi® / AAdvantage®, AAdvantage® Aviator® credit cards, or AAdvantage® credit cards issued outside the U.S. between July 15, 2021 and November 15, 2021. This offer may not be achievable based on the assigned credit line and ability to maintain that credit line.

  12. Pierre

    This, combined with the brand new two easy ways to maintain status in 2022, makes me think that American

    1) has realized that FAR FEWER Executive Platinum members than they hoped will requalify in 2021 for 2022, even using the already 2 previous rounds of icentives released earlier, and

    2) that they want to retain their customer premium and FF base, and mostly avoid giving them up to any promotion by another major (which could...

    This, combined with the brand new two easy ways to maintain status in 2022, makes me think that American

    1) has realized that FAR FEWER Executive Platinum members than they hoped will requalify in 2021 for 2022, even using the already 2 previous rounds of icentives released earlier, and

    2) that they want to retain their customer premium and FF base, and mostly avoid giving them up to any promotion by another major (which could come at any time) nor to let them become "freelance" users of any opportunity with any carrier (the knee-jerk reaction to any program devaluation).

    This actually is a brilliant move, well timed since it beats any offer that might come from competitors. The number of passengers able to combine top status with several programs is infinitesimal.

    Having taken the lead with their initiative, I now expect them to target a status promotion at other proams, top clients.

    For once, very well done.

  13. AC

    Sounds reasonable. I was long time EP and now, since retired, falling back on my Platinum lifetime status (around 3 million miles on AA). First of all group 2 was only EP members that didn't get upgraded so many times were were very few, if any, people in that group depending on the flight. Also, I can see AA wanting to better differentiate PP from Platinum. Doing this almost required them to move EP to...

    Sounds reasonable. I was long time EP and now, since retired, falling back on my Platinum lifetime status (around 3 million miles on AA). First of all group 2 was only EP members that didn't get upgraded so many times were were very few, if any, people in that group depending on the flight. Also, I can see AA wanting to better differentiate PP from Platinum. Doing this almost required them to move EP to group 1. As for me I will always find room in group 3, can book main cabin extra seats and have a shot at upgrades so just fine w it.

    One discussion on another blog was how this overall cheapens EP. Not just this but Platinum Pro being moved to Emerald status and the fact they have unlimited complimentary domestic upgrades like EP. If I was still chasing status I would be highly tempted to stop at PP since about the only benefit if EP is the 4 system-wide upgrades, being able to board w group 1 and a slightly shorter window to get an upgrade (plus since AA goes by elite tier I guess even EP award ticket holders would clear upgrade before full fare PP ticket holders on the upgrade list).

  14. Mary

    I agree with Sarah. Pre-boarding for United 1K's is basically the only benefit that 1K's have gotten the last 16 months (no snacks or drinks in economy). I think every airline should give their highest tier members priority boarding over those in paid 1st class.

  15. Sarah

    I am a United 1K member and I admit that the pre boarding means something to me. Group 1 can be (and has been) quite substantial, so giving people who fly your airline (at least 100K miles a year) more than others is a good way for the airline to encourage and reward loyalty. Because of this and some other perks, United is the first airline I check for my travel. That works for the airline and works for me.

  16. Richard_

    This would matter more if AA GAs actually enforced the official boarding order.

    At very EXP heavy airports, this can make boarding more of a hassle for F pax.

  17. Steve

    AA trick if you have an exit seat you can board whenever you want, as the agent just sees the pop up to confirm if you are willing and able they dont see or care about your group number. Granted if you have an exit row seat you are probably in group 2-4 anyways but i board group 2 everytime in exits even if im group 4 or 5.

Featured Comments Load all 22 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Steve

Haha love how you get mad that i share that exit rows can board whenever. Like i am committing a crime or something, Im sorry i forgot AA is the pinnace of integrity. I should turn my self into the nearest police station for boarding with group 2 when i was group 4.

PM1

I'm a 1K with United. I love preboarding, especially if I have a carry on.

Sarah

I am a United 1K member and I admit that the pre boarding means something to me. Group 1 can be (and has been) quite substantial, so giving people who fly your airline (at least 100K miles a year) more than others is a good way for the airline to encourage and reward loyalty. Because of this and some other perks, United is the first airline I check for my travel. That works for the airline and works for me.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published