A few days ago, American Airlines announced a few changes to the AAdvantage program. Starting in 2017, you will be able to earn up to $6,000 elite-qualifying dollars (EQDs) on their co-branded Aviator cards. They also made their by-invitation-only Concierge Key status an official one, so Concierge Key members will be prioritized above Executive Platinum members in upgrades, etc.
JonNYC mentioned on Twitter that American will also be introducing early boarding and a “Next Flight Guarantee” for Concierge Key members.
BTW, not reported/public in this yet; CK new early board and "next flight guarantee"– whatever that is
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) November 7, 2016
In many ways, these benefits are similar to what United offers their by-invitation-only Global Services members. They already get (announced) priority boarding ahead of everyone else, and they also get a “Next Flight Guarantee,” though details on that are not made public.
JonNYC of Traveling Better today posted the details on how the “Next Flight Guanratee” will work for American Airlines’ ConciergeKey members. Essentially, if a flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 3 hours, American will confirm the ConciergeKey member and one companion onto the next available flight. The guarantee is only for Main Cabin seats, and works for both mainline and regional flights, as well as both domestic and international itineraries.
There is actually a small “catch,” though. The guaranteed flight must depart at least an hour after you’ve made the request. If you’re already at the airport and there is a flight leaving in 30 minutes, you could be accommodated on it, but won’t be guaranteed on it. I can understand the logic behind this, because it looks like AA is even willing to bump someone else off the next flight if flight is full. If they have to ask for volunteers to take a later flight in order to accommodate a ConciergeKey member, guaranteeing a flight that hasn’t started boarding yet (1 hour) gives them a higher chance of doing so.
I am sure Concierge Key members already get prioritized help and accommodations during irregular operations, but this guarantee should give them an even better peace of mind!