Apparently Citi AAdvantage cardholders have been enjoying a benefit by mistake that they were not entitled to. One of the many perks to holding a Citi American AAdvantage credit card is priority boarding – you’re among the first to get onto the plane so you don’t have to worry (as much) about finding space for your overhead bag. However, cardholders have actually been given Priority AAccess – a set of privileges normally reserved for airline elites and passengers flying in first or business class.
American Airlines has caught on, though, and informed its co-branded credit cardholders that the priority boarding their card entitles them to is only “Group 1 privileges” that allow them “to board the plane at the beginning of the general boarding process,” and that tickets booked or altered after November 14, 2012, will no longer display Priority AAccess.
Translation: No cutting in front of elites or first or business class passengers just for having a Citi AAdvantage card, and none of the other perks of Priority AAccess like priority check-in and security lines. Apparently American’s elites have spoken up and voiced their concern.
That policy is in line with American’s new economy fare class system where you can purchase bundles of extra perks like free checked bags, Group 1 boarding and no change fees, as well as bonus miles and waived confirmed flight changes for an extra fee on the basic fare. Again, you’ll note the use of the term “Group 1 boarding” since elites will still have Priority AAccess as will premium class customers that gets them onboard earlier.
Personally, I get Citi’s AAdvantage cards because of the opportunity to rake in 100,000’s of American miles by applying for two cards at once – rather than getting them for the perks that I already get (actually I get more!) as an Executive Platinum elite with the airline. Still, if you’re not a frequent flyer and were thinking of getting these cards specifically for the benefits you won’t get through elite status, this is a pretty annoying erosion of those benefits.
From the perspective of an elite traveler, this is a great move that will make elite boarding less of a cattle call, though I doubt if this will actually make much of an impact. However, I work hard to retain my status, so I’m glad that American respects that.
Even if you are miffed by this change, there are still other reasons to get AAdvantage cards, though, including the 10% mileage award refund for cardholders (up to 10,000 miles a year) with personal products like the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature Card; a 5% annual mileage bonus with the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage World Mastercard; and Admirals Club access with the Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard.