I Have the Citi American Airlines Card – and One of My Favorite Benefits Keeps Getting Stripped Away

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I Have the Citi American Airlines Card – and One of My Favorite Benefits Keeps Getting Stripped Away

Joseph HostetlerI Have the Citi American Airlines Card – and One of My Favorite Benefits Keeps Getting Stripped AwayMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I wouldn’t bring this up except that it’s happened multiple times.

One of the less prominent benefits of airline credit cards, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, is that you get to board before lots of other passengers.  I have the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which gives me group 5 preferred boarding, allowing me to board before most other passengers.

But a careless gate agent can render this perk almost useless.

American Airlines Is the Biggest Priority Boarding Offender in My Experience

American Airlines Boarding Process

Boarding group 5 is dedicated for:

  • Travelers who purchased Main Cabin Extra
  • Eligible corporate travelers
  • Eligible American Airlines credit cardmembers

I love this benefit, because it gives you the opportunity to get on the plane while there is still plenty of overhead bin space for carry-on luggage.  The folks near the end of the line might need to either check their bag at the gate or spend an uncomfortable amount of time exploring the plane for space.

An example came from the gate agent conducting the boarding process for one of my American Airlines flights this Thanksgiving week.

After carefully and patiently boarding groups 1 to 4 (active duty military, folks with American Airlines elite status, etc.), he blazed through groups 5 to 9 with extraordinary momentum.  I found myself boarding behind plenty of group 6 passengers.  And while I did have enough overhead bin space in proximity to my seat, there was VERY little.  If I’d boarded any later, that space could well have been gone.

It occurred to me that gate agents perhaps don’t know that group 5 is considered a perk.  Groups 6 through 9 are assigned to passengers who simply buy tickets.  If you’re assigned a group lower than 6, you’ve made some kind of effort to earn it.

Boarding in group 5 with my Citi American Airlines Platinum Select practically guarantees I’ll have overhead bin space.  But with gate agents announcing group 5 in the same breath as groups 6 and 7, I now have to stand near the boarding lane and wait like an Olympic sprinter against starting blocks just to make sure I’m one of the first 45 people aboard.

To be clear, this isn’t the norm.  I’ve only noticed this trend lately.  Boarding in group 5 is still very convenient, and you’ll get it with cards like:

Let me know if you’ve experienced gate agents with little regard for your preferred boarding group.

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Information for the AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®, AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®, AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express®Card, and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa Signature has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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Travel with a cane and board early.

This reads like a commercial for the AA MasterCards.

Commercials don’t usually cover how features of a product are becoming worthless.

I used my AAdvantage points for a round-trip flight to Vegas and paid the taxes (plus $31 for upgrade seat) with my AAdvantage Citi card. I was not given group 5 but group 6 for boarding, which was disappointing. I complained to the gate agent and she was unsympathetic. She said group 6 was not bad.

I make a point of standing by the line at group 4 just to make sure I’m part of group 5.

Does everyone just have to find something to whine about these days???? You had enough space for your overhead, but very little? There was still space! Try enjoying your life and being thankful you’re alive and traveling on a plane like many people cannot even afford to do!

“Does everyone just have to find something to whine about these days????” <<< ummmm, yes. Yes they do.

I don’t think he was whining. He was describing a “near miss” experience and pointing out to readers one of the benefits they may not know they’re entitled to and also that a careless gate agent might make that benefit worthless. If you infer from this post that he isn’t enjoying life or thankful for what he has, I think you’re reading it wrong.

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