American Airlines Concierge Key: Incredible Perks for the Most Loyal Flyers

For those who qualify for this ultra-elite status level, the perks do not disappoint.
Last updated Feb 6, 2020 | By Ben Luthi
Man flying First Class

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If you’re among the most frequent of flyers, certain airlines offer elite programs to rewards that kind of loyalty. American Airlines Concierge Key is one of those programs. While the airline hasn’t publicly disclosed details about its exclusive, invitation-only program, we’ve gathered some details based on reports from others about how to qualify for American Airlines Concierge Key and the incredible perks you can expect once you’re in.

Here’s a quick guide to this mysterious program for the most loyal and elite American Airlines travelers.

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What is American Airlines Concierge Key?

American Airlines has four elite status levels that are open to the general public: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum. Concierge Key is a fifth level of status that you can achieve only if you’re personally invited by the airline.

In 2013, American Airlines described Concierge Key as “an invitation-only program that provides day-of-travel assistance for selected customers.” In addition to that, Concierge Key members typically carry Executive Platinum status, so they also get all the perks with that level.

Because of the exclusivity of the program, it’s typically only available to the most loyal American Airlines flyers. This means you need to spend a (very) healthy amount on flights with the airline in order to be considered for Concierge Key status — we’ll get into that in a minute.

What are the benefits of American Airlines Concierge Key?

American Airlines doesn’t provide a comprehensive list of perks you’ll receive as a Concierge Key member, but here are some that we found on the airline’s website:

  • First in boarding order at the airport.
  • Access to Flagship First Check-In, which provides an exclusive check-in area, personalized assistance, and expedited security in select airports.
  • Access to the premium Flagship Lounge in select airports, as well as the Admirals Club lounge, when traveling with the airline.
  • Globalist status with the World of Hyatt rewards program, plus 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent at qualifying Hyatt properties.
  • Bonus miles on qualifying car rentals with Avis (1,250 miles), Budget (1,250 miles) or Payless (500 miles).
  • Complimentary upgrades on all eligible flights.
  • Complimentary upgrades for passenger and a companion on flights of 500 miles or less.

Additionally, we found reports of other benefits that American Airlines Concierge Key members have received in the past, including:

  • A private ride on the tarmac to your next connection if you have a short layover.
  • Invitations to exclusive events, such as dinners at top-tier restaurants, the chance to meet the airline’s CEO, and more.
  • A dedicated phone line and email address for more effective customer service.
  • In 2017, select Concierge Key members were given the opportunity to gift Executive Platinum status to another AAdvantage member.
  • A guaranteed seat on the next flight if your flight is canceled.
  • No copay on upgrades paid for with AAdvantage miles.
  • A complimentary food item and alcoholic beverage when you fly in the main cabin.

Because Concierge Key members typically also have Executive Platinum status — the requirement is much lower than what it takes to qualify for Concierge Key — they’ll also get all the benefits related to that status level. That includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Oneworld Emerald status
  • A 120% mileage bonus
  • Three complimentary checked bags on American Airlines
  • Priority bag delivery
  • Complimentary same-day standby and flight changes
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
  • Waived ticketing service charge
  • Waitlist priority for purchased first- and business-class fares
  • Guaranteed availability in the main cabin
  • Expanded award seat availability
  • Waived award change and reinstatement fee

All in all, American Airlines Concierge Key status provides a lot of incredibly valuable benefits to travelers who qualify. And if you fly American enough, it may be well worth the effort to achieve it. But how do you do that?

How to earn American Airlines Concierge Key status

It’s not clear exactly what you need to do to qualify for the American Airlines Concierge Key program. Several sources have stated that you need to absolutely love American and spend more than $40,000 or even $50,000 per year on flights with the airline.

In one report we found that provides a little more clarity, a four-year Concierge Key member received an email from American Airlines telling him that his earning nearly $50,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and flying more than 200,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) that year wasn’t enough. To maintain the status for the following year, he’d need to earn $14,000 more EQDs on flights marketed and operated by the airline in just two and a half months.

By contrast, you can achieve Executive Platinum status when you earn at least $15,000 EQDs (Elite Qualifying Dollars) and 100,000 EQMs (Elite Qualifying Miles) or $15,000 EQDs and 120 EQSs (Elite Qualifying Segments).

Interestingly, the airline has publicly stated that it offers the status to people who have received the Medal of Honor, which is the highest medal awarded to members of the armed forces for valor in combat. But for the vast majority of travelers, that path is unattainable.

Common questions about American Airlines Concierge Key status

As we researched the program, we came across several frequently asked questions by travelers interested in learning more. Here are those questions, along with their answers.

What is Concierge Key status on American?

Concierge Key is the highest status level you can attain with American Airlines. The program is so exclusive that it’s not available to the public — you need to receive an invitation from the airline to get in.

Concierge Key provides many of the same benefits as the Executive Platinum status, along with some other perks that can save you money and elevate your travel experience. While only current Concierge Key members know exactly which perks they have access to, we’ve shared what we know about based on information from American Airlines and reports from members.

How much do you need to spend to get American Airlines Concierge Key?

We’ve seen reports that American Airlines requires anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000 in a calendar year on flights, but there is no hard-and-fast rule provided by the airline. In fact, we found one report of an existing Concierge Key member receiving a warning that earning close to $50,000 EQDs wasn’t enough to keep his status for the following year.

Also, note that spending isn’t the only factor the airline considers. Based on reports, you need to be extremely loyal to American Airlines, and possibly have influence in the travel community or decision-making abilities for corporate travel accounts.

How many Concierge Key members are there?

Because American Airlines is pretty tight-lipped about the program, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people are in the Concierge Key program. However, an Instagram post by a chocolatier in early 2019 shared an order of 11,300 boxes of hand-painted chocolates designed for Concierge Key members.

Of course, it’s hard to say whether all members received the boxes, and some estimates by experienced travel bloggers go as high as 15,000.

What are the status levels on American?

American Airlines has four public status levels, in addition to Concierge Key, including:

  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Platinum Pro
  • Executive Platinum

Each level comes with its own set of perks, but if you’re Platinum status, you’ll receive all the benefits of Gold status plus more, and the same goes for the higher status levels.

How do you earn Executive Platinum status on American?

You can earn Executive Platinum status by combining EQDs (Elite Qualifying Dollars) and EQMs (Elite Qualifying Miles) or EQDs and EQSs (Elite Qualifying Segments). More specifically, you can achieve Executive Platinum status with $15,000 EQDs and 100,000 EQMs or $15,000 EQDs and 120 EQSs.

Executive Platinum status shares many of the benefits you receive as a Concierge Key member but falls short in many areas compared with the exclusive program.

Earn elite status faster with these 3 American Airlines credit cards

Achieving elite status with an airline can be challenging. Unlike hotel rewards programs, which offer automatic elite status to anyone who opens a co-branded credit card, getting automatic elite status with an airline isn’t really a thing.

That said, there are some American Airlines co-branded credit cards that allow you to earn EQDs or EQMs, which can help you get closer to achieving elite status with the airline.

Card name Elite Qualifying Perks Welcome offer Earning rate Annual fee
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard Earn 10,000 EQMs after you spend $40,000 in a year Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months 2X miles on American Airlines purchases and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases $450
AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard Earn $3,000 EQDs after you spend $50,000 in a calendar year, and earn 5,000 EQMs after spending $20,000 and another 5,000 EQMs after spending an additional $20,000 in a calendar year None 3X miles on American Airlines purchases, 2X miles on hotels and car rentals and 1X miles on everything else $195
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard Earn $3,000 EQDs after you spend $25,000 in a calendar year Earn up to 75,000 miles: 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, and another 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at American Airlines and office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants; plus 1X AAdvantage miles on everything else $95

If you’re getting an American Airlines credit card with the hopes of achieving elite status, it’s important to remember that you need to meet requirements for both EQMs and EQDs or EQSs and EQDs to qualify.

Only the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card offers the chance to earn both with your spending alone — and even the 10,000 EQMs and $3,000 EQDs you can earn isn’t enough to achieve Gold status. This means that you’ll still need to have a plan to earn elite status by flying with the airline.

It’s also important to note that you can’t currently apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card. Instead, you’ll need to apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard and then upgrade to the Silver card.

The bottom line on American Airlines Concierge Key

The Concierge Key program can make you feel like a very important person, but for most travelers, it’s out of reach. Still, if you regularly fly American for business or you spend an inordinate amount of time and money on personal travel, you may be able to meet the minimums required for the airline to extend an invitation to join.

But just because the Concierge Key program is unattainable for some, that doesn’t mean you should give up on elite airline status entirely. With a combination of the right credit cards and travel with American, you may be able to achieve one of the airline’s lower status levels, which can also provide some excellent perks whenever you fly.

Admirals Club Membership and More

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Benefits

  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Admirals Club membership and priority check-in