American Airlines boosts ConciergeKey lounge access perks

By Chris Chamberlin, June 2 2017

Members of American Airlines’ invitation-only ConciergeKey program can now enjoy access to AA Flagship Lounges prior to all US domestic and international flights with American or its Oneworld airline partners: a benefit previously off-limits when flying within North America.

It’s a considerable step up from the Admirals Club lounges that VIP travellers have been using instead until now, which are on-par with Australian Qantas Clubs and certainly not in the same realm as the Qantas Chairman’s Lounges for VIP travellers Down Under.

However, there’s a catch – American Airlines has just one ‘Flagship Lounge’ in its network right now, found at New York’s JFK Airport (pictured above).

All other better-than-Admirals-Club facilities are currently branded ‘International First Class Lounges’ while they’re renovated to AA’s new Flagship Lounge standard: and until those works are complete and the name change takes place, ConciergeKey members are left out in the Admirals Clubs.

The only exception is when flying in Flagship First Class on any route, or in any class of service from the USA to Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico City: in which case, ConciergeKey cardholders can use those first class lounges instead of the Admirals Club.

AA’s first class lounges in Los Angeles, Chicago and London will be converted into Flagship Lounges over the next 18 months – opening them up to ConciergeKey members whenever and wherever they travel with AA and Oneworld – joined by all-new Flagship Lounges in Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia and Miami.

Until then, “American Airlines ConciergeKey customers traveling solely on North American itineraries do not qualify for International First Class Lounge or International First Class Dining access,” reads the airline’s newly-updated website.

As part of that update, AA has confirmed that when visiting a Flagship Lounge, ConciergeKey members can be joined by up to two guests of any association, or by their immediate family: specifically, a spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age.

Most other travellers visiting the same Flagship Lounges, including Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge flyers, are instead permitted only one guest.

American Airlines ConciergeKey membership cannot be earned from travel alone, being a VIP tier reserved for the airline’s crème de la crème and providing other benefits such as a personal escort through busy airports, skipping even the priority queues to zip straight through.

Sometimes, that walk is replaced by a private car service from lounge to aircraft or from one flight to the next – but on a ‘surprise and delight’ basis rather than being a guaranteed benefit.

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Flagship Lounges also open their doors to Flagship First Class passengers, non-AA Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers prior to all Oneworld flights (such as Qantas Gold or above flying with American Airlines), and AA Executive Platinum cardholders prior to international flights beyond North America.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


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