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Now Cardholders Get Preferred Boarding on International AA Flights

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Written by Charlie

If you have one of the many American Airlines credit cards, you will now get preferred boarding on international flights. This makes it easier to claim overhead bin space!

Airlines try hard to insert value with their co-branded cards so members do not just close them at the end of their first year. Some of the benefits are helpful while others help the banks more than the customer.

Now Cardholders Get Preferred Boarding on International AA Flights

Link: New AA Cardholder Benefit

The Fight for Overhead Bin Space

As American Airlines continues to impose Basic Economy tickets on their routes, it is becoming harder for non-elites to get what they used to with their ticket just a few months ago. Now, they board at the back of the line and they do not even get a carry-on (that would go in the overhead bin, you do get a small personal item for under the seat in front of you).

The same is becoming true for international flights during busy times (but without the Basic Economy). I have been on many international flights in coach where people had to have their carry-on bags checked due to no room in the bins. It is even worse on international flights since passengers are far more likely to carry the roller-boards for the long trips than just a small backpack.

Cardholders Now Get Preferred Boarding On International AA Flights

Now, American Airlines has chosen to introduce preferred boarding on their international flights for their credit card holders. This perk has existed for their domestic passengers for a while (along with a free checked bag domestically) so it is nice to have it now available for international flights.

It is amazing how long those boarding lines can be for international flights! I mean, if you are at the back of one of the last zones, you will be standing a while and probably not getting overhead space! If you are an American Airlines credit cardholder (or traveling on the same reservation with someone who has it), you will now get preferred boarding on international AA flights.

This means you will board in Zone 5 for international flights. This means you will board behind the elite flyers so there should still be plenty of overhead space for you. Here are the cards that get that preferred boarding benefit:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard (this card is currently offering 60,000 miles for new customers)
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard (this card is currently offering 60,000 miles for new customers)
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express® Card
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa Signature
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

If you have the Citi Executive AAdvantage card, you actually get to board in Zone 4.

Details About This Benefit:

  • For benefit to apply, the Citi® / AAdvantage® account must be open 7 days prior to air travel, and reservation must include the primary cardmember’s American Airlines AAdvantage® number 7 days prior to air travel
  • If your credit card account is closed for any reason, this benefit will be cancelled
  • This benefit will not be available for travel on codeshare flights booked with an American Airlines flight number but operated by another airline
  • Up to four (4) customers traveling with and listed in the same reservation as the Citi® / AAdvantage® primary credit cardmember are eligible to board at the same time as the primary cardmember.

Normally, I do not like how airlines and credit card companies try to describe incremental benefits but I actually completely agree with AA’s view on this benefit:

3 reasons why you’ll love preferred boarding

  • Sometimes those overhead compartments can fill up fast — but you won’t have to worry about that, since you can board sooner than most.
  • It can take some extra time to get the kids seated before a long flight — get yourself and your family situated before the rest.
  • There’s nothing worse than rushing to take your seat and prepare yourself before a flight — preferred boarding will allow you to relax, unwind and catch up with your favorite book before takeoff.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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