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

July 15, 2020
4 min read
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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 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

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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 times, award change and redeposit fees, elite status and more.

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

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023