You can now use your American AAdvantage miles to upgrade your airport experience

Jul 15, 2020

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American Airlines lets its premium cabin passengers pay for extra-special treatment via its Five Star Service offerings. And now, you can use your miles as a payment option.

As first noted by Twitter user @xJonNYC and confirmed with the airline, American will now let you redeem AAdvantage miles for the base level Five Star Service. As usual, the buy-up is only available to those traveling in either first or business class on at least one segment of the American Airlines itinerary.

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What American Airlines Five Star Service gets you

This VIP experience is ideal for travelers who find business or first class isn’t premium enough. It makes the ground experience more enjoyable, providing extra perks like priority check-in — including access to Flagship First Check-In, where available — expedited security screening, access to the Admirals Club, an escort to and from the gate, pre-boarding, priority re-accommodation during delays and more.

While some perks like priority boarding may seem redundant for premium cabin passengers, having access to the exclusive Flagship First Check-In area and expedited security can be valuable. Even more so during times like this when social distancing is more important than ever.

Access is usually reserved for Flagship First passengers on qualifying three-cabin flights, AAdvantage Executive Platinum members on qualifying international flights, ConciergeKey members and Oneworld Emeralds. Unlike the usual priority security privileges, passengers coming from the Flagship First Check-In area are escorted directly to the front of the line.

Flagship First check-in
Flagship First check-in at LAX. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

How much does Five Star Service cost?

Five Star Service usually costs $350 for the first person and $100 for each additional adult. Passengers 17 and under pay just $50. With miles, the service costs 35,000 miles for the first adult and 10,000 miles per additional adult or 5,000 miles per additional child, meaning the airline is valuing miles at 1 cent apiece.

Adding more options for redeeming miles is a welcome development, but the value proposition isn’t very good. TPG values AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, so there are definitely better uses of your miles. For instance, you can redeem 32,500 miles for a Flagship Business seat on American’s premium transcontinental A321T flights.

Related: Choosing the Best Credit Card for American Airlines Flyers

Which airports offer Five Star Service?

Five Star Service is offered at 16 U.S. airports and four international ones. However, only its U.S. locations are bookable with miles:

  • 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)

You can purchase Five Star Service by calling 877-578-2702 or emailing fivestar.service@aa.com.

American’s more premium Five Star experiences like Five Star Select (which includes perks like Flagship First Dining and American Airlines Cadillac or cart transfers), Five Star Private Departure and Five Star Private Arrival have been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic. It’s unknown whether those will become bookable with miles when they resume.

Bottom line

This new feature comes two months after American Airlines introduced the option to purchase seats with miles. The airline also recently made adjustments to boarding timesaward change and redeposit feeselite status and more.

Related: Earn up to 7x bonus miles on your next flight

Featured image by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.

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