American Airlines Has Purged Its Accidental ConciergeKey Members

Last summer, after more than a decade as an American AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, I was elevated to ‘top secret’ ConciergeKey status. The airline rarely talks about ConciergeKey, meant for their highest-spending customers. I was one of the ‘accidental ConciergeKeys’.

  • American revamped how status is earned, no longer just counting flights but looking at most miles earned. Customers doing a lot of credit card spend and online shopping are much higher margin than those who just fly. (Selling miles is more profitable than selling tickets.)

  • For the first time, the most profitable customers of AAdvantage overall were invited into ConciergeKey mid-year. And I had earned 7 million miles from American’s way-too-generous year-end 2021 SimplyMiles promotion.

There were plenty of others like me. It seemed that anyone who took advantage of SimplyMiles earning 5 million or more miles. This included several readers (I had heavily covered the offer).

ConciergeKey has been amazing. Benefits I took advantage of,

  • Emails to reservations for things I needed. I received text messages and was met at gets when dealing with delays.
  • No cash co-pays on mileage upgrades.
  • Met at gates with a golf cart when I had long connections. (I never received a tarmac transfer, currently a GMC from one gate to another on tight connections at hubs.)
  • Use of business class Flagship lounges when flying domestically, even on arrival, as well as Flagship check-in. At New York JFK this means access to the Soho lounge on domestic trips, and Chelsea on international.
  • Guaranteed next flight, they actually booked me onto a sold out flight to get me where I was going when my flight was cancelled.

Chelsea Lounge, New York JFK

I received the status in July, valid through March 2023. I’d hoped that the status would last ‘a minimum of 12 months’ and therefore I’d be renewed and keep it through March 2024. But that wasn’t to be. Others, like me, who got invited to ConciergeKey after earning millions of miles through the SimplyMiles deal – for the redeemable miles, having no idea it would have any effect on status – aren’t being renewed either apparently. These ‘accidental ConciergeKeys’ are being shed from the rolls.

I’ll never be in the league of those spending $50,000 – $60,000 on high yield tickets, and without a twice in a lifetime type of promotion like December 2021’s deal I’m unlikely to ever see that status again.

According to a company memo, it seems that many current ConciergeKeys who date from before the pandemic were simply extended again. That same policy didn’t apply to those of us who had it under a new approach, however.

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 »

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  1. I was CK for 7 years. Upwards of 500k “points” last year (all from CC, no buying points). I was not renewed in 2023. I’ll miss the folks that help when things go wrong the most…I knew many by name. Oh well.

  2. I was CK for seven years with almost 2m lifetime miles and 501k Loyalty Miles for qualification this year (all domestic). Often took inconvenient connections and hour drive from home to hub to stay brand loyal to American. I petitioned the CK Desk, general customer service, our Enterprise AA sales team (who were recently laid off) and even directly to the AA CEO (no response): they declined my renewal request multiple times.

    I even offered to get the AA Visa card and move my business expenses to that card too if they would work with me (~$150k spend per year). Nope, not interested.

    I got Delta to tier match my Executive Platinum to Diamond. I am now flying Delta almost exclusively. I am logging the Delta spend vs. the alternative AA flight options to send to American on a monthly basis.

    My CK usage was limited to their superb agents who helped me with travel disruption…what math justifies trading that cost for my business? I can’t understand their decision because IT WAS NEVER EXPLAINED TO ME, which is probably the most frustrating part of this experience.

    I will be seeing some of you in ATL…. 🙂

  3. I feel better now that it’s official??

    Thank you for being among the most loyal members of the AAdvantage® program. We appreciate the opportunity to deliver our world-class service to you across our global network, and hope we’ve made you feel cared for along your journeys with us.

    In recognition of the pandemic’s impact on travel over the last few years, all ConciergeKey® members who received their status between 2019 – 2022 retained their status through March 31, 2023. We have now resumed our usual process for reviewing ConciergeKey® status.

    While you were not selected to maintain ConciergeKey® status, we look forward to delivering the benefits of AAdvantage® membership to you.

    Earn rewards faster
    As a reminder, you earn 1 Loyalty Point for every eligible AAdvantage® mile earned when you fly or when you spend with AAdvantage® partners. You can be rewarded between and beyond status with Loyalty Point Rewards.

    Thank you for being a valued member of the AAdvantage® program.

  4. Yep. got those divorce papers yesterday as well. Although they are offering 2 FL passes. I am also quite confused. Had more LPs than some that are now new to CK. Use their credit card with high spend, have over 2 million miles, buy only first class tickets and travel 5-6 times a month. Had been CK for 5 years, prior to the pandemic. Feel the same about the agents. They were shocked to hear I had been dropped. Travel will be much more challenging now. Would consider the UA status match I got but I have 7 trips booked on AA right now.

  5. The offer of two Flagship passes as a consolation prize is regrettable: “Come see what you will be missing one more time.” These ‘perks’ will be hard to take advantage of as there isn’t a Flagship Lounge in ATL. I agree with Andi comments: “Why were we cut?” Others who renewed did not have the same stats.

    I just booked two trips on Delta this week for $5,135.

  6. I am now also part of the “Fallen Key” club (trademark pending…lol) and have been a Concierge Key since 2017. I go back to 2011 USAIRWAYS and am now about 2.7m miles.

    I earned it the hard way, domestically, with the except of vacation travel. I have no idea why it is was not extended, since may travel and spend in 2022 was at pre-pandemic levels and no one had the courtesy to discuss it with me?

    What I found completely appalling was not losing the status, both no notification until days after 3/31/23. I obviously saw my status downgrade on the app. But that email, almost a week later for the top airline loyalist was just classless.

    Over the years even through and post pandemic, I got a call from the Executive Liaison team….so nice….just checking in….when I spoke with them in the fall of 2022, similar to past conversations, they assured me if I was at risk of losing it, I would hear from someone well before the end of the year….so no news was supposed to be good news….NOT!!!

    So now that I am an EP, I needed to buy the AA Club membership, I wait for 1:05 for over an EP agent on my first post downgrade call, and loved (also NOT) being thanked for being a loyal EP.

    I have thought about calling Delta but I live in Philly…logistically it just makes sense to keep my loyalty….but will miss my CK team and trust me, when I have a blown connection due to AA, I will be asking for something I have never asked for…..compensation.

  7. In response to Wayne G. I was contacted by American executive team in May asking if I would like my CK back. Let’s see, can I think about it. Not sure if anyone hear has had this call or heard from others. Not sure who gets picked but it is a CK challenge where they reinstate you immediately but you have quarterly metric to keep it. It also takes you out of the running for reinvitation next year. Bottom line is that they want 1 million LPs in total. The 100+ LPs I had already did not count. It started from 0 which is really tough. I did the status match to UA as many others who were not reinstated did. Have so far been happy with the service but now am in a quandary which one to keep up as I will not be able to keep both as my travel has slowed for the summer.

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