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What is American Airlines Five Star Service?

a plane parked at an airport

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What is American Airlines Five Star Service?

Have you ever walked off of an American flight and see someone standing holding a sign with a passenger’s name on it? It’s happened to me many times and I’ve thought…what DO I DO to get that level of service?!? How VIP do I need to be? Do I need to be a Jonas brother? Is it the elusive Concierge Key?  Well, I tasked Miles with the challenge of figuring it out and luckily he is a very clever monkey. What he found was something called American Airlines Five Star Service.

Five Star Service has evolved over time, and since our first breakdown of the program in 2016, it’s changed A LOT. Currently it comes in 6 different levels of service, and if you want the uber VIP experience with an agent at the gate, Cadillac transferring you on the tarmac…it’s going to cost you.

A look at AA’s private transfer vehicles.

a group of white cars parked in a parking lot

So What is Five Star Service?

It’s something you can either pay for if you’re flying in Business or First class…or get complimentary as part of being a Concierge Key. It’s also only available in certain cities. It makes your travel experience far smoother, but the program has gotten considerably more expensive over time, and what used to cost just $250, now will set you back $650+

It’s also split into 6 categories, all priced separately:

  • Five Star Essentials
  • Five Star Service
  • Five Star Select
  • Arrival Services
  • Departure services
  • Private Suite + Blade Helicopter Transfer

a glass doors with a sign on the wall

Five Star Essentials

This is the most stripped down version of 5 Star service and also the cheapest. If you want to make your check in, connection, etc a bit easier then you could lay down $149 to get the following *gotta make the reservation 72 hours in advance

What you Get:

  • Priority Check-in
  • Security and Gate escort
  • Connection meet and greet and escort to your next gate

The Cost:

  • $149 for up to 2 adults and 3 children or 15k miles
  • $25 per additional adult or 2500 miles per adult

Five Star Service

This is the 2nd level of Five Star Service and not nearly as cool as it used to be. You’ll get lounge access and Car Service coordination, but you won’t get the gate transfer, etc.

What you need:

  • A  a ticket in any of AA’s premium cabins

What you get:

  • Access to Flagship® First Check-In and the Admirals Club® lounge
  • Priority boarding and re-accommodation status
  • Car service coordination

The Cost:

  •  $350 for the first person or 35k AA miles
  • $100 per additional adult or 10k AA miles
  • $50 per child (age 17 and under). 5k miles

Where is it available?

U.S. locations:
  • Austin (AUS)
  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
  • Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Nashville (BNA)
  • New York Kennedy (JFK)
  • New York LaGuardia (LGA)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington Reagan (DCA)
International locations:
  • Buenos Aires (EZE)
  • London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Sao Paolo (GRU)
  • Tokyo Narita (NRT)

an airplane with seats and people in the back

Five Star Select

Five Star Select adds on a few extras like tarmac/cart transfers, but it’s available at fewer airports and is considerably more expensive. First guest is a whopping $650

What you need:

  • A ticket in any premium cabin that doesn’t qualify for Flagship Experience

What you get:

  • Access to Flagship® First Check-In and Flagship® First Dining*
  • American Airlines Cadillac or cart transfer**
  • Priority boarding and re-accommodation status
  • Car service coordination

What’s it cost?

  • $650 for the first person
  • $150 per additional adult
  • $75 per child (age 17 and under).

Where is it available?

  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
  • Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York Kennedy (JFK)

a stuffed animal on the seat of a plane

Five Star Private Departure Assistance

To put it simply…You’ll get TSA Pre processed at The Private Suite, swept off to Flagship dining, your hand held everywhere you go, board early,  and THE SWEET SWEET SWEETNESS of always feeling like your $#*! don’t stink 😉

What you need:

  • Premium Cabin Ticket
  • Departing from LAX

What you get:

  • Flagship® First Dining access
  • Gate escorts
  • Priority boarding and re-accommodation status

You’ll arrive at The Private Suite where you’ll be processed quickly via TSA Pre. A Cadillac awaits you, which will whisk you off to Flagship Dining. Gate agents escort you everywhere, and you’ll board the plane priority.

What’s it cost?

  • $1,200 for 2 people in the same party
  • $250 per additional adult or child.

Where’s it available?

  • LAX

Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Los Angeles ( LAX )

Five Star Arrival assistance

The VIP level goes up a notch when you arrive into LAX internationally. It’s still pretty cool domestically, but I could see where Celebrity/Uber VIP clients would take advantage of this service.

What you need:

  • premium cabin tickets

What you get:

  • International arrivalsAn escort will take you to the The Private Suite via an AA Cadillac. Dedicated customs officers will clear you while you bags are collected and delivered. Voila. Done.Domestic arrivalsYou’ll be greeted and escorted, but the best part of this service is you don’t have to get your bags. AA will deliver them to your address. An alternative…dine at Flagship First Dining or hang in the Private Suite while your bags are collected.

What’s it cost?

  • $1,200 for 2 people in the same party
  • $250 per additional adult or child.

Where’s it available?

  • LAX

 

an airplane with windows and a television
AA Business Class 772 and 787-8 Zodiac

You can even take it to another level with the Private Suite and Blade helicopter Transfers

If you just want to be absolutely swaddled in luxury and live like royalty…try adding on these features.

The Private Suite:

For $1k, and only on your first time, you can access the Private Suite at LAX with up to 4 people on any international or domestic flight. Here’s what you’d get

  • Access to an individual suite with a private bathroom, food-service pantry, a 2-person daybed, and a view of the runway

  • Private transfer across the tarmac from The Private Suite to the door of the plane

  • Private on-site TSA screening for departures and private U.S. Customs and Immigration processing for arrivals

  • Up to 3 complimentary travel companions; non-traveling companions may join for a meeting or send-off at no charge

  • Complimentary, pre-ordered gourmet dining and meals

  • Complimentary in-suite manicures, massages, or haircuts

  • Access to on-site shower spa and amenities

Once you’ve done it that first time…you’re eligible to buy a Private Suite membership at select pricing.

Add on Blade Helicopter services

Departure

  • Arrive a the Blade Lounge via Helicopter and wait
  • AA Cadillac will transfer you to Flagship First check-n
  • Enjoy all of the 5 Star benefits listed above

Arrival

With checked bags
  • Escort to customs / bag claim
  • AA Cadillac will transfer you to the Blade helipad
Without checked bags
  • AA meet and greet at the gate
  • AA Cadillac will transfer you to the Blade helipad

The Cost?

  • Additional $350 on top of the Blade transfer fee

SOOOOO is it worth it?

All depends on your station in life I guess. These are exceptionally high fees compared to what they used to be a few years ago. At the old $250 mark…why not? You could have done it for two people for $325 ( $250 + $75 each additional ) and for a special occasion, or on a cheap award ticket, I’d be a fun experience.

$325 is cheaper than the basic 5 star service now that doesn’t even include Cadillacs and gate transfer. You’d need to pop up to Five Star Select to get that treatment. Pass.

Funny enough, I flew British Airways from Paris to LAX via LHR at the end of 2019. My connection was so tight that I was told on descent into London that I’d be met at the gate. To my surprise, I was whisked away in a Mercedes sitting on the tarmac. I had private, expedited security, and then was personally escorted to my 747, where I was individually checked in and boarded via the jetway. All free. I was in Club World btw, and it was as seamless a service as I’ve had with Lufthansa in the past.

 

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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11 Comments

  • Cristina September 1, 2017

    Is it customary to tip the person who greets you and walks you through the airport with this service?

    • Miles September 1, 2017

      Hey Cristina – I haven’t used this specific service, but Lufthansa offers an escort upon arrival when traveling in First and refuses a tip when we offered. With that being said, I would probably offer a token amount as a gesture of good will, but I don’t think it’s expected. Thanks for reading!

  • […] What is American Airlines Five Star Service? […]

  • BeachMiles October 19, 2016

    Also, does Delta offer a similar service on international flights?

    • Miles October 19, 2016

      Hey BeachMiles – Delta offers a program called VIP Select. I’m investigating it further, but it’s an unpublished service that looks to run $350 give or take.

  • Kay October 18, 2016

    Oops, one more question – is there a similar service for purchase on British Air?

  • Kay October 18, 2016

    Hmmm. Very interesting and something to consider, especially at Heathrow! Thanks for the info!

  • BeachMiles October 17, 2016

    Can this service be added onto an award ticket to Europe?

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