Want To Board Sooner? How To Get Priority Boarding With American Airlines.

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How to get priority boarding with American Airlines AA

American Airlines Boarding Groups & How To Get Priority Boarding

Getting priority boarding with American Airlines can be helpful. Less clamoring for overhead bins. More space for your feet now. Less waiting behind people who love to clog the aisles during boarding. Let’s look at American Airlines boarding groups and how to get priority boarding.

American Airlines Boarding Groups & How To Board Sooner

American Airlines outlines their boarding process here. It’s no secret. Let’s look at who boards when, so then we can understand how to move up in the line. I’m purposefully not including pre-boarding for people who are disabled, pregnant, have babies, etc.

  1. ConciergeKey℠
  2. First class
  3. Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
  4. Executive Platinum / oneworld® Emerald℠
  5. Business class
  6. Remaining elite status classes: Platinum Pro, Platinum, oneworld® Sapphire℠, Gold, oneworld® Ruby℠, AirPass members
  7. Premium Economy
  8. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers
  9. Travelers who bought Priority boarding
  10. Corporate travelers from a company with a Corporate Travel Agreement
  11. Main Cabin Extra
  12. AAdvantage® credit cardmembers (boarding group 5)
  13. Boarding Groups 6, 7, and 8
  14. Basic Economy

There it is. That’s how we are getting on the plane with American Airlines. Depending on a ton of factors like your frequent flyer status, when you bought your ticket, how much you paid, class, etc., you can move up in the line. Let’s see how we can move up.

How To Get Priority Boarding With American Airlines

Want to move up in the line in the American Airlines boarding groups and board earlier? If that’s your goal, there are several options. Let’s examine them from the top of the list and work our way down.

Earn Elite Status

If we look at who truly boards first, it’s the top of the top from elite status. ConciergeKey is invitation-only for those who spend big bucks on American Airlines ever year. There are tons of Google searches for what ConciergeKey is, but it’s not even listed on the AA status site. Let’s assume most of us aren’t getting in this group.

The more realistic options for status are with the various levels of American Airlines or their oneworld partners. Shawn has some posts about benefits of his Executive Platinum status, which is the highest level for us regular people.

Priority boarding with AA if you fly in first or business class

Fly In A Higher Fare Class

Moving down the list, we’ll see first class and then business class. If you want to get priority boarding with American Airlines, this is a feasible option. Without all of the effort and mileage runs needed for elite status qualification each year, book a higher fare class. Look for points breaks and deals on flights in first, business, or even premium economy. This boarding group is obtainable with points & miles, rather than shelling out for it. Cardholders can also take advantage of reduced mileage fares.

Buy AirPass membership

What’s AirPass? Spend a ton of money to buy your status. For a minimum of $10,000, you can buy status and lounge membership through American Airlines. If you’re going to spend a bunch of money with AA, I recommend…flying. People earn status through mileage runs for cheaper than this. Sure, it’s guaranteed and easy, but I hope you aren’t considering this option.

Get A Credit Card

This is another simple option for moving up higher on the list. You can get priority boarding with American Airlines by having one of their co-branded credit cards. The credit cards fall into 2 groups for where they board. Group B is in item 12 on the list above. That group includes all of the following credit cards:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express® Card
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa Signature
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

Simply make sure the frequent flyer number on your card is linked to your ticket. If so, you’ll qualify for this boarding group.

if you’d like to board in number 8 above, that is group A of the credit card path to priority boarding. Only one card is in group A: the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive
World Elite™ Mastercard®. For the $450 annual fee, you get priority boarding with AA, Admirals Club lounge membership, and reimbursement for your Global Entry / TSA Pre-Check application fee.

Travel For Work

If you’re traveling for work and your company has a Corporate Travel Agreement with AA, you move up to number 10 on the list. That’s not something most of us can set up, but it’s nice to know this is out there. If you travel for work and use American Airlines often, see if this is something your company can establish.

Be Active Duty Military

One last thing to mention about getting priority boarding with American Airlines: military. Active duty military are number 3 on our list. AA will let you board very early in the process by showing your CAC card and/or orders with your ticket. If you’re military, make sure to check out our articles about special perks from American Express and banks that waive fees for military members & their families.

Final Thoughts

Now we know how the American Airlines boarding groups work and how to get priority boarding with American Airlines. We looked at the order of boarding and how to move ourselves further up in the line. Having one of their American Airlines co-branded credit cards (learn more) is not only a good way to get priority boarding but also free checked bags on domestic flights. Status and class of travel are other ways to move up quite high on the list. If you’re really desperate to move up on the list, there are also options to pay for it. Enjoy your flight!

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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  1. How do you link you airline credit card to your boarding pass. Or can you just show your credit card with your boarding pass when they call that certain Group to board ? I am flying Alaska Air this week and bought my ticket with the Alaskan air credit card, but I have no idea if that automatically puts my boarding pass on that specific boarding Group or not.

    • Alaska is a little different. This article is specifically about American, but the same rule applies. As long as your frequent flyer number listed on the credit card is also listed on the booking, you should get the line advancement that comes with it.

  2. I hate to be critical but the way you have this laid out isn’t correct or very clear. For example, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Sapphire is “Group 3” not lumped into “Group 4” which contains “Gold, Ruby, AirPass, Premium Economy Citi AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers and those who bought Priority boarding as well as certain corporate travelers (those with special corporate travel contracts). Group 5 has the other Citi cardholders along with Main Cabin Extra. I get that you want us to get the cards to get priority boarding which is nice but it sounds better that you’ll get “Group 4” with an Exec card than #8 out of whatever. There is really only 9 “Groups” with American not including Military and Pre-boards not 14 or more. Again I don’t want to be critical but the list on post is just confusing I think.

    • I get your point, but a group with 2 totally unrelated items is easier to discuss when treated as 2 separate things (ex: military and first class). There’s no way to talk about those 2 things together, so unrelated items were split. I hope that makes sense now.


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