Unboxing The American Airlines ConciergeKey Welcome Kit

Two weeks ago I woke up to the unbelievable news in my American AAdvantage account that I’d been granted ConciergeKey status. Traditionally that’s been reserved for VIPs directing big corporate business to the airline and for their biggest spending customers (usually over $60,000 per year on high fare tickets).

However they are now looking not just at ticket spend, but on total activity with AAdvantage during the year, similar to to how most activity counts towards earning published status levels in the Advantage program. And I earned a windfall of 7 million miles at the end of December.

Following the change to my account status, from Executive Platinum to ConciergeKey, I received a welcome email and then a phone call thanking me for my business. I was told to expect a welcome kit in about 3 weeks. In total it took 17 days.

On Friday I received an email that I had a Fedex package coming from “Specialty Print Communications” and that it would arrive by Tuesday. I googled them and saw they did work for American Airlines, so I knew this had to be my ConciergeKey package.

Inside was a label addressed to me, that identified itself as ConciergeKey, and a very solid black box that read simply, “ConciergeKey” on the front.

Inside was a letter and ConciergeKey credentials.

At the top of the package was a welcome letter under Julie Rath’s signature. Julie is leaving the role of Vice President of AAdvantage to become Senior Vice President of Airports.

The letter directs members to the public ConciergeKey microsite which details benefits of the program. There is also a site which requires credentials to access that notes the ConciergeKey telephone number and e-mail address. There’s a dedicated email that gets real answers from the airline on an as-needed basis.

Benefits of ConciergeKey include top priority for upgrades; a ‘next flight guarantee’ where they’ll put you on the next flight during many delays even when that next flight is already sold out; proactive flight monitoring and rebooking; escorts between flights during tight connections; Flagship business class lounge access even when flying domestic economy; and more.

Behind the letter were customer service appreciation certificates. These are included in the welcome kits sent to Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members as well.

Each coupon is a raffle entry. They used to be called “Round of Applause” certificates, often referred to by frequent flyers as “AAplause” certificates. Each month American would draw winners of prizes of AAdvantage frequent flyer miles (and before that the You’re SomeOne Special or “SOS” program gave positive space travel). They’ve moved to the US Airways system of regular drawings for cash. It’s a nice way to say thank you to employees who provide ‘above and beyond’ service.

At the bottom of the package was a ConciergeKey luggage tag and membership card.

Here’s the luggage tag itself, and explanation of the tag. The tag has my name on it and the year (2022). And it turns out that it is made out of metal from a retired American Airlines Boeing 757.

On the bag of the tag is a drawing of the aircraft and its service dates in the fleet. The accompanying tag explains that 757 tail N657AM was turned into the tag, and provides stats on the aircraft’s travels.

Finally, here are close ups of the tag and explanation.

I’ve already had occasion to use my ConciergeKey benefits. There’s a domestic flight I’m booked on that’s operated by an Airbus A319 – only 8 first class seats – and one opened up for upgrade. I’m traveling on a Thursday afternoon and the flight is over 4 hours. I decided to drop 15,000 miles to confirm the upgrade, and as a ConciergeKey member I didn’t have to pay the $75 cash co-pay that’s normally required for domestic mileage upgrades.

I have also called the airline a couple of times to sort out future travel, and haven’t had to wait on hold – not even the short time I’m used to as an Executive Platinum member (a status I’ve held for over a decade).

While I am almost certain to lose this status – I am not a heavy spender on tickets, and I don’t expect any mileage windfalls like the SimplyMiles bonanza from the end of 2021 again – I am hoping that they offer new ConciergeKey members ‘at least’ 12 months of status, so that I’ll have my status extended through March 2024 – instead of losing it after a mere 9 months, when the current status year ends.

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