Like Delta and United, American Airlines offers a high-touch airport meet and greet service called Five Star. (United’s service is actually outsourced.) What’s new is that American Airlines now lets you purchase their VIP airport service with AAdvantage miles.
You need to be ticketed in a premium cabin on an American Airlines flight in order to purchase Five Star service, which gets you airport meet and greet and escort through security, to the lounge and from there to the gate (there’s also service for connections and on arrival). It includes Admirals Club access, priority boarding, and assistance with flight re-accommodation during irregular operations.
Five Star is offered at 16 domestic airports and 4 international locations:
- Domestic: Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, LAX, Miami, Nashville, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Washington National
- International: Buenos Aires, London Heathrow, Sao Paolo, Tokyo Haneda
LAX Flagship Check-in
While I haven’t seen any announcement, JonNYC reports that American will now let you redeem AAdvantage miles for Five Star Service – at an unsurprising rate of 1 cent per mile.
First customer: $350 or 35,000 miles
additional adult: $100 or 10,000 miles
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) July 14, 2020
Only the base Five Star service is currently available. The additional premium offerings launched last year – like access to Flagship lounge and Flagship dining, tarmac transfers and use of the LAX Private Suite terminal are not currently available.
I wouldn’t redeem miles at a penny apiece, but those who have plenty of miles and no desire to add travel to a busy work travel schedule (in the normal world) certainly value using their miles for things besides flights. American doesn’t offer many of those opportunities, but is increasingly following the Delta model of allowing members to spend miles for things inside the airline.
Maybe a rollback of the 2018 price increase is in order for an era of lower travel demand?