New ConciergeKey Benefit: American Introducing Next Flight Guarantee for High Revenue Customers

On Monday I wrote that American would be treating its super secret ‘ConciergeKey’ status as a new top elite tier for upgrades and wait lists. ConciergeKey members will clear domestic upgrades ahead of Executive Platinums, beginning 120 hours prior to departure.

As I wrote at the time, ConciergeKey began mostly for corporate travel buyers and folks in their old VIP program back in 2007, and gradually expanded to individual high revenue customers.

  • Benefits have primarily centered around assistance during irregular operations. ConciergeKey provides airport escorts and pre-boarding sometimes as well as a dedicated customer service line. Members get access to international first class (“Flagship”) check-in.

  • ConciergeKey supposedly gets proactive monitoring of flights for rebooking assistance.

  • It also comes with an Admirals Club membership and members can use miles to upgrade without paying the cash co-pay required of other members.

You cannot qualify for ConciergeKey with a specific amount of flying or a published amount of spending, however over $50,000 in a year may be enough (or buying a $50,000 ‘AAirpass’). ConciergeKey is also given out to decision-makers of big corporate contracts.

ConciergeKey members have told me that they’ll receive new boarding privileges next year as well. But the biggest new benefit may turn out to be Next Flight Guarantee in the event of irregular operations. Per Traveling Better:

(Click to enlarge)

Starting in January if a ConciergeKey member’s flight is cancelled or delayed more than 3 hours, they (and a companion) are entitled to travel on the next flight in coach even if it is sold out. American will bump another customer to make this happen.

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. Man, that’s definitely worth something. If they are going to make a CK push, might as well give it some good, defined benefits.

  2. Not such a big deal IMO. But a good try since AA’s reliability seems to be going downhill fast. You must be cancelled or have a three-hour delay for the guarantee to kick in. A CK member is not going to wait three hours to try getting on another flight if there is a delay and usually delays are gradually extended and not set back three or more hours at the time of original departure. So most times the CK is trying to get rebooked for a delay the guarantee won’t apply.

    It also depends on how they define “next flight.” Does it have to be a the exact same routing as the original flight?

    International travel presents another problem since AA may not have a “next flight” for a long time. In that situation it would be nice if “next flight” included other OneWorld airlines.

    The CK will undoubtedly have been in first or business on the original flight. Sitting in coach, maybe even a middle seat, might provide a little humility.

  3. As if the service isn’t bad enough for peasants called Exec Plats and Plats
    Bounce the little common people called elites off their flights
    Be sure to give little to no customer service and finish your race to the bottom
    It’s time to throw Americans CEO in jail and fine them millions
    he’s evil and the government needs to regulate the companies abuse to passengers at every level for their consistent irregular operations and lack of decent acceptable/ reasonable customer service
    That’s the only way to get them to clean up their act
    Im already flying other airlines after 20 years with them so I suppose it really doesn’t matter
    I feel sorry for all stuck on American

  4. @DWonderment So…you want the government to regulate a company when even you admit people have a choice of service and at least some, including yourself, are choosing that other choice? If that’s true, the Feds don’t need to regulate American, other people just need to join you or accept the consequences of their actions and fly crappy AA, right? Why would the government need to get involved? If there are specific things that are real injustices, let us know and what is reasonable. At the same time, please explain why only American should be regulated and not Delta, United or Southwest. We’re all ears.

  5. @David Gonzalez
    To hopefully better clarify Yes ALL airlines should be held accountable for lost and damaged bags,irregular flight operations due to their own maintenance issues and anything of a similar nature.In a perfect world the carriers would do this on their own in a fair and reasonable time frame.I don’t see this coming as they have become to big, powerful,complacent and for now highly profitable
    In Europe the government had to step in to force carries to compensate for delays and such when the airlines didn’t do the right thing for the traveling public
    I believe unless the airlines can meet satisfactory reasonable expectations for customer service
    then yes the government should regulate and hold them reasonably accountable
    Since the mergers have taken place everything has gotten worse from the programs to the customer service .Customer Relations problem solving and responding to passengers shouldn’t be a choice on the airlines part.In light of higher pricing,stingy award availability and a devaluation of most everything its the least they should do but they are clearly not doing so.

    With regard to American a brand I have 20 years experience with and once admired
    prior to the mergers I would rate American satisfactory or above average to their elite customers in years past
    They could be reached with ease and they typically solved most any issue airline created
    Today its a fight with little outcome.

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