The Cool Gift American Airlines Sent To Its Super Secret ‘Concierge Key’ Members

Concierge Key is the status that American Airlines gives to its top spending customers and top corporate travel influencers. It became legendary when George Clooney was portrayed as a Concierge Key member on a quest to earn 10 million miles in Up In The Air. The benefits of this status include top priority for upgrades (and no cash copay when spending miles for upgrades); airport escorts and even occasional vehicle transfers on the tarmac; access to Flagship business class lounges (and regular invites to First Class Dining); and a next flight guarantee to ensure they get to their destination.

American usually sends chocolates each year to Concierge Key members. This year’s package is better. A reader generously shared photos of the chocolates and model Boeing 787-9 that they received. The base of the model 787 is personalized with the name of the member.

The gift also contains “an exclusive American Airlines NFT custom made for ConciergeKey members.” So there’s that.

Three years ago the chocolate company that provided American Airlines with the Concierge Key gift published that American had ordered 11,300 of them. That’s consistent with the 10,000 to 15,000 estimate for number of Concierge Key members I’d been using since 2014.

You cannot qualify for Concierge Key with a specific amount of flying or a published amount of spending. Over $50,000 has historically been enough – at least buying a $50,000 ‘AAirpass’ of prepaid travel would come with the status. Spending alone isn’t the only driver. Margins matter more. For instance spending $50,000 and flying 300,000 miles isn’t likely to earn Concierge Key, while there are members spending $45,000 to fly no more than 100,000 miles who will make it.

American has run ‘challenges’ for Concierge Key membership. A targeted fast track has included four spend levels for American Airlines flights that had to be met during a 90 day period. Different members received different amounts, $10,000; $12,000; $14,000 EQDs; $16,000. (Those are annual run rates between $40,000 and $64,000.)

Concierge Key is also given out to decision-makers of big corporate contracts. There are also more than one tier of Concierge Key. There are a handful of members (perhaps a dozen) that are tagged ‘Do Not Miss’ because of their commercial importance to the airline.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Funny, aside from the personalized base, the plane looks identical to the one JAL gives kids for free on some long haul flights.

  2. “Up in the Air” was really a sad movie. Using non-actors who had been fired to portray people being fired was brilliant. But Clooney’s life was as sterile as the planes, hotels, and the apartment he inhabited. Perhaps he found grace once his “career” ended, but it was not exactly an advertisement for doing a lot of flying. I wonder if anyone in the airline industry got that. Certainly “About Schmidt”, which showed a similarly empty life, doesn’t seem to have been understood by the insurance company that was portrayed.

  3. Eat your hearts out all
    @ the extraordinary AA generosity roll eyes
    Stunning 😉

    I’d be happy getting to my destination with my bags not destroyed as a mere Lifetime Platinum plebian
    An upgrade is out of the question
    I’m tired of being treated like crap on occasions
    when they have operational nightmares with little to no recovery
    I frequently find myself on Southwest for less than half the miles or revenue especially in markets AA no longer flies non stop too anymore

  4. @drrichard I had a colleague how found Clooney’s life in the movie sad as well. As an international road warrior, I never really understood why she would feel that way.

  5. I believe AA just made aviation history as the first major airline to issue an NFT. Pretty cool! Would love to see what the NFT looks like.

  6. “an exclusive American Airlines NFT custom made for ConciergeKey members”:

    Cue Bob Barker saying “And the actual retail price is: $0”

  7. I think the gift is quite nice, something tangible rather than a letter of appreciation or something hollow. Of course, I’m an airplane geek, myself.

  8. Maybe a CK member could comment about what they do with these gifts?
    Does a CEO, major-decision maker, high-valued client really keep a model AA 787 on their desk?

    just asking, for a friend – of course…..

  9. @Ryan & @Elias-
    As a model airplane collector for over 20 years, it is easy to see that this one must be custom. It feels just like the heavier ABS used in the pricier 1/100 models. This is definitely NOT the same as the Skymarks American 787-9.
    The plane alone is probably worth double the value. I’m definitely not selling mine. This one is a keeper!

  10. American Airlines Has to give out gifts to its top spenders because the experience on the plane is so crappy

  11. AC’s welcome Million Miler (an actual million in seat base miles only flown on AC not any partners) gift is one of these quality models of its 787. It used to be the 777. I received the 777 when I qualified, but did get a 787 at the Montreal STAR MegaDo. Unfortunately AC will not exchange these for models in their new livery…these are in the “toothpaste” blue livery. I’m sure any jaded CEO who receives one will have a child or grandchild if they feel their model is not something they want in their office or home. Nice gift even if AA has delayed delivery of its actual new ones from Boeing.

  12. The hot gift in travel for a while was custom Covid tests- glad to see that they’ve moved on from that…

  13. @Elias: Good to know that Concierge Key members are worth at least $39.70 to American Airlines. Unfortunately, this year, I wasn’t worthy.

    Gary, does American Airlines publish information regarding the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas produced from manufacturing and delivering plastic model airplanes and yummy chocolate to their elite Concierge Key members?

  14. There are several photos of this gift on Facebook and every amateur poster managed much better representations than the two posted, which don’t even capture all the items in the gift set. The plane is a 1:200 scale model and of very high quality similar to the models in the $100+ range. Definitely going on my desk. Compartes chocolate bars retail for $9.99 each and there are four in the package. There is also a 789 pop-up card and the NFT, neither of which are pictured. The NFT is a rotating baseball card style 789 which is really cool. No clue what the card and NFT cost, but this gift package was certainly not cheap and very nicely done. Have to give credit where it’s due!

  15. What I find amusing with all the negative comments is regardless what AA could or does do for its coveted CK status Members, individuals find a way to bash any attempt to recognize a select group of high tiered Members that many of the complainers will never achieve. A CK will always be valued and listened to over a mouthy know it all ExPlatinum/Platinum/Gold/Silver/Dirt level Member and the obvious ‘penis envy’ drives many of You crazy. I am by no means a Fan of Doug Parker or how His reign has trashed the AA Brand but give Credit when credit is due. Some of the complainers will do cartwheels over a chocolate dipped Bischoff served on Delta yet find everything AA does is a FAIL. Talk about ridiculous.

  16. roger – what you say is true (although I am sure some will hate your comments) – but I am just intrigued by these types of loyalty gifts and what the mindset is of both the people who decide what to give and what it is for those who get them. In addition, I would wonder what the message would look like for a “high valued” decision-maker who helps funnel large contracts to an airline who has a nice flagship model on their desk.
    -m

  17. AA – What a fabulous surprise (arrived 8th feb) well packaged, great 3D Card with a QR code to scan, reward is an NFT (who knew?) the personalization of the 787-9 ‘wooden base’ is a nice touch + some chocolate, what’s not to love. AA is our preferred for DFW to London & Europe, FLAGSHIP LOUNGE is top notch in Dallas, our flights have never been late, always on time and service is good in 1st or biz class on the 777, FYI, we fly at last minute (nature of biz) and pay a premium, presume why Im CK, usually wife fly’s along too, we always tag a weekend in for fun in Europe, and, fyi – the 787-9 model, will be ‘parked’ at the home office.

  18. I’ve recently flown besides one of these “Do not Miss” Concierge Key members. It was Rosana Camargo Botelho, she’s a Brazilian billionaire of the construction conglomerate Camargo Correa. Such a sweet and kind lady, I’ll never forget.

  19. @Michael, I kept mine, nicely in my bookshelf behind my desk, along with a couple of other models.
    While AA has MANY flaws (Poor and small domestic first-class seats, lack of onboard IFE on domestic planes, etc) the concierge key program is WELL worth it. I couldn’t travel without it, just the peace of mind, knowing that there is always someone ready to help me out if there are any issues.
    I have even used their direct line to help out family members getting rebooked, there is never a wait, someone picks up the phone right away, no need to select options or anything (dedicated concierge key line), and depending on the occasion they will even double or triple book me on upcoming flights to ensure that I have a seat.
    And to be honest, their soft product has come a long way, food is much better now, service has been quite nice and for international flights their hard product isn’t bad either, there is always room for improvement but I really can’t complain.

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