I think a second round of congratulations are in order. Not only has American Airlines inaugurated a new class of ConciergeKey members, but these are the same people that so richly benefited by donating to charity in exchange for massive amounts of AAdvantage frequent flyer miles last year.
Those Who Scored Big With Cheap Miles Last December Now Enjoying Invite-Only ConciergeKey Status On American Airlines
Remember the SimplyMiles promotion from last December? By donating to worthy causes, many received up to 240 miles per dollar. Some, including friends like Gary from View From The Wing and Ben from One Mile At A Time, went all-in and earned millions of miles through this promotion.
Now, they and others are sitting on millions of American Airlines miles, reducing the effective price of just about anything to pennies on the dollar.
But wait, there’s more! This week, American Airlines has made many of those same beneficiaries of cheap miles part of the invite-only ConciergeKey (often misspelled Concierge Key) level of the AAdvantage program, historically reserved for high spenders…on flights as well as corporate travel influencers. It appears that non-flight spending, when massive, may count.
For example, Gary bought 7 million miles, which (and we are only guessing) American Airlines seems to have mapped to about $70,000 in spending (though of course Gary bought the points for closer to $30,000).
Benefits to ConciergeKey include two extra systemwide upgrades, no co-pays when using miles to upgrade (a huge benefit), and of course priority status on all waitlists. ConciergeKey members are also more likely to receive car transfers at major hubs between flights.
Am I envious about this? Well, I try to be envious of nothing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a struggle. So not only did I miss out on the deal of a lifetime on purchased points but also the chance to enjoy invite-only status on American Airlines?
But it doesn’t hurt me nearly as much as those who spend $10-20K per year on AA tickets, have for decades, and now find themselves trumped by folks who profited off what may have been akin to a mistake fare (at least in terms of the cost-benefit analysis). One reader I spoke to is taking the drastic step of redirecting spending from American Airlines due to this issue.
I still take this approach to such situations and do not find it constructive to dwell on issues of fairness. So I’m just going to say congratulations to those who got it and enjoy the status.
What another great week it has been for those who gambled and bought miles cheaply last December. Not only are they enjoying those miles, but now they will enjoy seven months of ConciergeKey status from American Airlines. Let this all be a lesson to us: seize the moment when it arrives.