American Airlines held a dinner in New York for Concierge Key members.
Concierge Key is status has for spend and traveler influencers. When it first started it didn’t confer any elite status in the AAdvantage program, now it comes with Executive Platinum status and Admirals Club membership. I believe Concierge Key members no longer pay cash co-pays if using miles to confirm an upgrade.
If I had to guess, I’d think that there are between 10,000 – 15,000 Concierge Key members but I am not certain of this.
Unlike United’s Global Services, it doesn’t directly put someone at this level higher up on waitlists such as the upgrade queue. (There are reports of inventory management opening up confirmed upgrade space on occasion, but otherwise a Concierge Key member doesn’t generally trump an Executive Platinum on the upgrade list as far as I know.)
Instead, it’s more about special service — access to Flagship Check-in (but not American’s first class Flagship lounges) and assistance during irregular operations. Members may get met by a golf cart to make a tight connection, for instance.
Some Concierge Key members think the level is super special, and others feel like it’s more or less just a card made famous in Up in the Air.
Apparently American plans to improve the Concierge Key experience in the very near-term, perhaps even this week. Some speculation:
- Tarmac transfers, presumably for tight connections or as a surprise and delight the way Delta has been doing for awhile and United copied with Mercedes.
- A spouse status benefit.
- A higher elite tier in the AAdvantage program. This could just be going to a 4-tier program the way United and Delta have, which makes sense since US Airways has four tiers. Or it could be making Concierge Key the 4th tier the way that United treats Global Services as top tier. (Speculation is this would be farther off than an imminent announcement.)
As an Executive Platinum with fairly high, or at least not low, spending but one that hasn’t made (probably even come close to making) the cut for Concierge Key, I’m personally hoping that it isn’t a new top tier.
I want loyalty program goals to be clear, so we have defined benefits with a clear criteria to obtain them and keep them. I’ve loved that I know presently flying 100,000 miles with American gets me that top tier status. I could understand if they followed Delta and made it 125,000 miles. And I could understand if they set a published minimum spend threshold for a true top tier. But they shouldn’t make it an opaque moving target. We’ll know soon, I’d imagine with the start of the 2015 program.
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