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How to get priority boarding with American Airlines

Settle in your seat sooner with priority boarding.

American Airlines priority privileges expedite your passage through the American Airlines counter, security lanes and your gate. Just follow “Priority” signs throughout the airport. Priority boarding can be particularly useful, getting you on flights before general boarding groups. Normally this benefit costs $9 to $74, but you can get it at no cost through elite status, credit cards and more.

How to get American Airlines priority boarding

You can board your flight early if you:

  • Earn AAdvantage elite tier status.
    There are four tiers you can earn by flying American Airlines: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum. Depending on the tier, you can board with Group 2, 3 or 4.
  • Earn Oneworld elite tier status.
    Frequent flyer members of other airlines from the Oneworld Alliance that have achieved elite status with their airline, automatically achieve Oneworld elite status as well. These are Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, which correspond to Group 2, 3 and 4.
  • Purchase higher fare class.
    First class board Group 1, followed by Business class, Premium Economy and Main Cabin Extra.
  • Get an AAdvantage credit card.
    Eligible credit cards offer priority boarding in different boarding groups. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® cardmembers board with Group 4, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® board with Group 5.
  • Purchase AA AirPass.
    You can purchase an elite tier status membership with AirPass, starting from $10,000 per year. You can board Group 2, Group 3 or Group 4, depending on which tier status you buy.
  • Purchase priority boarding.
    Priority boarding costs $9 to $74. This puts you in Group 4. In addition, you also get priority at check-in and priority security check when available at certain airports.
  • Are active duty US military.
    Carry your military ID and you get to board with Group 1.
  • Are a corporate traveler.
    Eligible corporate travelers can board with Group 5 if their employer has an active American Airlines Corporate Travel Agreement at the time of ticketing and travel. Your tickets must be booked and paid for through an authorized Agency of Record for the company with a CART number. Also, you need a valid AAdvantage number in your reservation at time of check-in.

How to get American Airlines priority boarding

  1. Compare credit cards that can get you American Airlines priority boarding.
  2. Apply for an eligible AAdvantage credit card.
  3. Use your card to purchase your ticket.
  4. Depending on your card, you will receive either Group 4 or Group 5 boarding on your boarding pass.

Who gets priority boarding?

The highest levels of priority boarding are reserved for the AAdvantage elite tiers, for active duty US military personnel and for the highest fare class.

Next in line are owners of the American Airlines credit cards who haven’t earned elite status, and those who have bought priority privileges.

Flyers who need special assistance and families with children two years old or younger can ask to board early at the gate.

Boarding Order

GroupBoarding pass type
ConciergeKey℠ membersConciergeKey℠
Group 1First
Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
(Business on a 2-class international plane)
Group 2Executive Platinum
oneworld® Emerald℠
(Business on a 3-class plane)
Group 3Platinum Pro
oneworld® Sapphire℠
Group 4Gold
oneworld® Ruby℠
Premium Economy
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers
Travelers who bought Priority boarding
Group 5 (Preferred boarding)Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy)
Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers*
Eligible corporate travelers**
Group 6Group 6
Group 7Group 7
Group 8Group 8
Basic Economy to / from Europe
Group 9Basic Economy within the U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico & Caribbean

eligible cardholder chart Image: Supplied

Bottom line

Getting the top levels of priority boarding is reserved for the most frequent flyers, active military members and higher fare class. You can also board early by being an AAdvantage card member.

However, if you prefer other airlines, look for other travel cards that offer priority boarding and compare your options.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: GettyImages

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