American Airlines Drops Cadillac For Tarmac Transfers, Partners With Avis

On tight connections American Airlines sometimes meets their ConciergeKey members on the jetway of their arriving flight and driven across the tarmac to their onward gate in hub cities. They’ve done this since 2014 in a partnership with Cadillac.

However recently other General Motors vehicles have been spotted with American Airlines logos on the ramps of hub cities picking up passengers. It turns out that the Cadillac partnership is over.

Credit: James Androuais

According to an American Airlines spokesperson, the airline is “working with Avis now and will have a number of 2021 vehicles such as Suburban, Tahoe, Expedition and Yukon for ground transfer.”

Tarmac transfers are never guaranteed, even for an airline’s best customers and even during tight connections. They are more of a ‘surprise and delight’ and are cool no matter the vehicle type. Hulk Hogan got a tarmac transfer at Chicago O’Hare from the cops which got the cops in a bit of hot water.

I’m not even sure how much of a luxury brand Cadillac is anymore, though it’s a bit higher end than the Chevys American Airlines is using. Still, I don’t think any flyer is going to complain when a driver shows up with a passenger’s name on the jet bridge and guides them downstairs to a waiting vehicle.

Tarmac transfer programs are common both in the U.S. and abroad. Delta tells me that their Porsche tarmac transfer program isn’t just in effect at its Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Salt Lake City hubs but also at New York LaGuardia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as well. United, though, for its part hasn’t yet restarted its program – and appears it won’t be working with Mercedes anymore. A spokesperson tells me they are “are currently exploring new ways to deliver this experience at our hubs.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I hear Dihatsu is looking for a partner. It would be a great match with the Oasis layouts.

  2. Makes sense.

    The Chevy Sonic is much more on-brand, especially if the seatback pockets are full of junk.

  3. This benefit is available at roughly 20 airports at most. So, we’re not talking about a huge capital investment and this is not a cost-cutting measure. If I had to guess, this is more likely Cadillac not wanting to pay an “official tarmac shuttle” sponsorship fee to AA.

    I have received the tarmac ride as well as the golf cart ride as well the escort to the Admirals Club. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. Whether it is a Cadillac or a Chevy or a Subaru, it is a thoughtful gesture which I appreciate or for which I am grateful. Is anyone really going to complain that they made that close connection in ONLY a Subaru?

  4. When will American Airlines begin their partnership with Uber or rent-a-wreck to enhance the ConciergeKey tarmac transfer experience at their hubs?”

  5. American didn’t do this for me in Dallas and my connection left without me….so not flying American again. American has the be the worst airline flying today.

  6. You’re not sure how much of a luxury brand Cadillac is anymore?? Cadillac is clearly the most luxury brand of any American automotive brand, outranking Lincoln and Chrysler. As far as “anymore,” if anything I’d say Cadillac is a higher ranking luxury brand today than it was 20 years ago. It would be fair to say however, that high-end 2021 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans are really luxury vehicles, costing far more than the average Lexus or Acura.

  7. @Tony M – your case that Cadillac is luxury is to compare it to… Chrysler? “Cadillac is clearly the most luxury brand of any American automotive brand” just isn’t correct, cf. Tesla

  8. @Suz – My understanding was they were not allowed to accept tips. Hope someone else can correct if that isn’t the case.

Comments are closed.