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The American Airlines Airpass is a membership program that allows members to buy discounted fares by paying a large deposit upfront. Members can then draw from their deposit money to buy tickets in the future. An Airpass membership also includes other travel benefits, priority services, and VIP privileges.
An Airpass membership provides a lot of value but the problem is that upfront membership fees are very expensive, starting at $10,000. It’s worth considering joining the program given the benefits it offers, but of course, not all travelers have that kind of money.
If you’re undecided whether to get an Airpass or not, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know in this article.
What Is American Airlines Airpass?
The American Airlines Airpass program provides its members travel benefits like fixed fare rates, VIP privileges, elite status, priority services, and lounge access. Membership fees typically start at $10,000 and they must be paid upfront upon signing up.
Your upfront payment will serve as your deposit money which will get deducted every time you purchase tickets (just like a bank debit system).
The fixed fare rates are the program’s main selling point because it allows members to make last-minute flight changes and still pay for the price they originally bought it for. This is very useful, especially for corporate people and business travelers who have unpredictable schedules.
For those of you that don’t know, American Airlines Airpass was first launched in the 1980s (formerly known as AAirpass) where it offered unlimited first-class flights to people for a one-time fee of only $250,000 and a companion ticket of only $150,000.
The old program stopped for a while in the 1990s due to a number of incidents where people took advantage of the flights and violated program policies. Now, the program runs under name of Airpass and is only offering discounted fares and premium travel perks.
How Much Does American Airlines Airpass Cost?
Prices cost between $10,000 to $30,000, and there are two types of memberships that you can choose from: Corporate and Personal. For each category, you can choose between an individual or a shared membership, depending on your needs.
Personal Airpass memberships are suited for individuals or families who want an upgraded travel experience when they travel. The fixed rates will also help them save more money, especially when there are sudden changes in their schedules.
- Individual – Requires at least $10,000 of upfront payment, and the member will enjoy premium travel benefits. The primary member can also bring one companion per flight, with the companion getting the same privileges as the primary member.
- Shared – A shared membership requires $10,000 per member. All members will get Airpass benefits, and they can share the travel funds with each other.
Corporate memberships work best for business owners or business representatives who fly on business trips regularly and often on short notice.
- Individual – Requires at least $10,000 of upfront payment, and the member will enjoy premium travel benefits. One companion is allowed per primary member, and the companion will also get the same privileges as the primary member.
- Shared – Requires $10,000 in travel funds per member. The funds can be shared amongst the members, who will also get Airpass travel benefits. This works best for businesses that have two or more representatives who travel on a regular basis and will greatly benefit from the fixed rates.
Read More: Does American Airlines Have Wifi?
American Airlines Airpass Benefits
Here are the multiple benefits you’ll get with your Airpass membership:
Companion Travel Benefits
An Airpass member can bring one travel companion with them, and the companion’s ticket will be priced according to the Airpass member’s rates. The companion will also receive all Airpass travel perks like priority services, lounge access, in-flight benefits, and more. Additionally, both travelers will each earn AAdvantage miles for the flight.
A lot of airlines offer flexible flight changes for passengers these days, but in most cases, you still need to pay the price difference. The cost can be expensive, especially if you make last-minute changes on your flight.
With your Airpass membership, you’ll get fixed-fare rates on American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, and Japan Airlines’ networks (as long as the flights are ticketed through American). This allows you to book your flights anytime you want, even up to the last minute, yet still get the same price that you originally paid.
No Cancellation Or Change fees
There are no fees when canceling and making changes on your flights. As long as routing remains the same, you can reschedule your flight and pay nothing.
Instant Elite Status
Airpass members will automatically get an AAdvantage loyalty program elite status upon joining. The status that will be awarded to you will depend on the amount of the upfront payment made.
- AAdvantage Gold – $10,000
- AAdvantage Platinum – $20,000
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro – $25,000
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum – $30,000
Members will be prioritized from check-in to boarding, so they get to avoid long lines and big crowds at the airport. There are 9 American Airlines boarding groups, and Airpass members may belong to Boarding groups 1-4 depending on the elite status they were awarded.
For example, if you deposited $30,000, you will get an Executive Platinum elite status, so you’ll board with Boarding Group 1.
You and your traveling companion will also get complimentary checked bags. Upon arrival at your destination, your baggage will one of the first ones to be placed on the baggage carousel so you can immediately leave the airport if you’re in a hurry.
Having access to American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges is part of your Airpass membership. The Admirals Club is a network of airport lounges found in more than 30 locations worldwide. The lounges provide a relaxing space for travelers to eat, work, or sleep.
Regardless of your AAdvantage elite status, you’ll get instant seat upgrades, preferred seating, in-flight Wifi (on domestic routes), and complimentary snacks and drinks. For those with a higher elite status, you’ll have a chance to upgrade your flight to a premium cabin.
All Airpass tickets will earn AAdvantage miles, plus the bonus miles you’ll get from your elite status. The higher your elite status is, the more miles you’ll earn.
How Much Do Individual Flights Cost?
You can use the Airpass flight calculator to determine the standard fares for the routes you want. The cost of the flights is based on the distance in miles x 0.40/mile fixed rate x cabin multiplier. Here’s an example of the fare rates for each cabin on a JFK to SFO flight.
While Airpass prices may not be the cheapest, the benefit of having to book fares at a fixed rate regardless of price fluctuations in the market is what makes it very valuable for customers.
Bottomline: Is AirPass Worth It?
The value of an Airpass membership all boils down to how you travel. If you’re someone who looks for the cheapest fares in basic economy, then Airpass isn’t for you.
Basically, Airpass is for frequent travelers who fly multiple times a month and want the flexibility to make sudden changes in their itineraries at fixed prices and without extra fees. While the other travel perks are also enticing, they must not be the primary reason for you to get an Airpass membership.
For example, if you want to have access to Admirals Club lounges, just get the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. Or if you just want to have lounge access, just get any credit card that offers a complimentary Priority Pass like the Capital One Venture X or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Who is the Airpass for?
- Business travelers and corporate people who fly multiple trips a month. They have trips that can get canceled or rescheduled anytime so they need the flexibility of rebooking and the predictability of the prices to save thousands of dollars in travel expenses.
- People, especially those with big families, who are always on the road or on air. They travel to different locations multiple times a year whether it’s for work or vacation so they need fixed prices to lower travel costs.
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