How to Get VIP Treatment With American’s Five Star Service

JT GenterOctober 16, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
How to Get VIP Treatment With American Airlines' Five Star Service

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

From basic economy to Flagship First, American Airlines offers a wide range of service levels on board its flights. But for travelers who find the first class ground experience not luxurious enough, American Airlines offers ways to travel through the airport like a VIP — for a price.

For an elevated airport experience in 20 airports, American Airlines offers premium cabin passengers a chance to purchase Five Star Service. For an even more luxurious experience including private dining and gate transfer, Five Star Select service is offered at just five American Airlines hubs. And if you’re booked on a premium cabin flight through Los Angeles International, you can take the luxury experience to even greater heights by purchasing American Airlines' Five Star Private Departure or Five Star Private Arrival service, which give you access to a private suite in a dedicated VIP terminal.

Even better, you can experience Five Star Service for nothing out-of-pocket if you redeem AAdvantage miles for the experience.

What is Five Star Service?

American Airlines passengers who have booked a first class or business class ticket can elevate their airport experience in 20 airports by purchasing Five Star Service.

The Five Star Service experience will vary depending on which airports you’re flying through. At all participating airports, you’ll get priority boarding and car service coordination. Plus, if something goes wrong with your flight, you’ll get priority re-accommodation onto another flight.

In airports where American Airlines has an open Admirals Club, you’ll be able to enjoy the lounge before your flight. Even better, you’ll get access to Flagship First Check-In at the five airports that offer this private check-in experience: Chicago-O’Hare, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Miami and New York-John F. Kennedy.

How much does Five Star Service cost?

Five Star Service costs $350 for the first passenger plus $100 for each additional adult passenger and $50 for each passenger age 17 and under. Read on to see how you can pay for the experience using American Airlines AAdvantage miles at some airports.

If you’re mostly just interested in lounge access, you can pay just $59 for a day pass to an Admirals Club. Or you can sign up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, which includes Admirals Club membership in its $450 annual fee.

Airports with Five Star Service

American Airlines Five Star Service is currently offered at 16 U.S. airports and four international airports. The U.S. airports are:

  • Austin.

  • Atlanta.

  • Boston.

  • Charlotte.

  • Chicago-O’Hare.

  • Dallas-Forth Worth.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Miami.

  • Nashville.

  • New York-JFK.

  • New York-LaGuardia.

  • Newark.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Phoenix.

  • San Francisco.

  • Washington-National.

The four international locations are:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • London Heathrow, United Kingdom.

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  • Tokyo, Japan.

Use miles to book Five Star Service

Instead of paying $350 for Five Star Service, you can redeem 35,000 AAdvantage miles for the first passenger. Additional adult passengers cost 10,000 miles and passengers 17 and under cost 5,000 miles.

The option to redeem miles is currently limited to the 16 U.S. airports where American Airlines offers Five Star Service. There’s no option at this time to redeem miles for Five Star Service in international locations or for American’s more luxurious Five Star Select service.

What is Five Star Select?

Five Star Select is available at five of American Airlines’ hubs. Like with Five Star Service, you’ll get priority boarding, priority re-accommodation, car service coordination and access to Flagship First Check-In (where available).

On top of all that, Five Star Select includes access to Flagship First Dining. This is a private restaurant-like dining experience located in four of American Airlines’ Flagship Lounges: Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York-JFK.

Plus, you’ll be dropped off and picked up at the gate using either an American Airlines Cadillac or a terminal cart.

How much does Five Star Select cost?

This elevated experience comes at an even greater cost. Five Star Select costs $650 for the first passenger, $150 for additional adult passengers and $75 per passenger 17 and under.

When considering whether to splurge for this experience, keep in mind that you may get some of these experiences through your ticket. Passengers flying in Flagship First Class already get access to Flagship First Check-In, Flagship First Dining and priority boarding.

Airports with Five Star Select

There are five airports where you can experience Five Star Select:

  • Chicago-O'Hare.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Miami.

  • New York-JFK.

AA doesn’t offer Flagship First Dining in Chicago or Flagship First Check-In in Dallas-Fort Worth. So, you’ll miss out on that part of the experience when flying Five Star Select in these airports.

What are Five Star Private Departure and Private Arrival?

Los Angeles is a city of stars. If you want to be treated like a star — and maybe even rub elbows with one — you can purchase American Airlines' Five Star Private Departure or Five Star Private Arrival. As with all other Five Star services, you must be flying in business or first class on American Airlines to purchase this experience.

With Five Star Private Departure, your driver — or helicopter pilot — can drop you off at LAX’s “PS” (formerly known as Private Suite). There you will check in and go through private TSA security. Once through security, you’ll be transferred in an American Airlines Cadillac to the terminal. At the terminal, you’ll be able to enjoy a restaurant meal at Flagship First Dining before being escorted to your gate — where you’ll get priority boarding on the flight.

The Five Star Private Arrival experience depends on whether you’re arriving on a domestic or international flight. If you’re landing at LAX from overseas, you’ll get picked up at the plane in an American Airlines Cadillac and taken to PS. There, you’ll clear customs and immigration in a private setting with a dedicated officer and your bags will be delivered to you.

For domestic arrivals, you’ll get to enjoy a meal in Flagship First Dining. Then, you’ll be escorted to LAX PS for pickup. Plus, you can have your checked bags delivered anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area through American Airlines' VIP Baggage Delivery service.

How much do Private Departure and Private Arrival cost?

This true VIP experience doesn’t come cheap. Five Star Private Departure and Five Star Private Arrival both cost $1,200 for up to two passengers. Each additional passenger — whether adult or child — costs $250 each.

The bottom line

For most travelers, luxurious experiences like Five Star Service just don’t fit the budget. But some travelers may be happy to splurge on the experience for a special occasion, like a honeymoon. And now you can do so for nothing out-of-pocket by using your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your airport experience.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.