Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
In 2016, American Airlines was one of the first US airlines to offer a premium economy fare on long-haul international flights. After years of reconfiguring its fleet, American Airlines Premium Economy is almost available on all planes offering deluxe services to passengers both on the ground and in-flight.
Premium Economy was created for passengers who want to have more space and comfort when flying but only at a fraction of the cost of a business class fare. It’s basically a fare class ground between business and economy, in terms of price and location within the aircraft.
What Is American Airlines Premium Economy?
Premium economy class is one of American Airlines’ best-selling products. It’s true to its name because it comes with premium travel perks such as extra legroom, priority boarding and check-in, and luggage assistance at a price that’s just a little bit higher than economy but lesser than business class.
Located between business and economy, it has a separate cabin of its own and typically has 8 seats per row – 2 seats by each window and 4 seats in the middle. There’s more space in this fare class so it’s perfect for travelers who want to stay comfortable, especially on international long-haul flights.
One of the primary benefits of being in premium economy is having faster check-in, security, and boarding. When crowds start to build up, just look for “Priority” signs at the American Airlines check-in counter and you’ll be guided by the staff on where to proceed next.
Premium Economy passengers belong in boarding group 4. Here are more details about American Airlines’ boarding groups:
- ConciergeKey – ConciergeKey is an invite-only status offered by American Airlines. It’s the highest status on AAdvantage and they’re given topmost priority during boarding.
- Group 1 – First-class passengers (business class on a 2-class plane), active duty military with I.D, and AAdvantage Executive Platinum passengers.
- Group 2 – AAdvantage Platinum Pro members, OneWorld Emerald members, and business class passengers on a 3-class plane.
- Group 3 – AAdvantage Platinum Pro members and OneWorld Sapphire members.
- Group 4 – AAdvantage Gold members, OneWorld Ruby members, AirPass holders, Premium Economy passengers, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers, travelers who bought Priority boarding, and eligible corporate travelers.
- Group 5 (Preferred boarding) – Main cabin extra passengers (excluding Basic Economy) and eligible AAdvantage cardmembers (see reference below).
- Group 6 – Regular AAdvantage members (no elite status)
- Group 7 – Group 7
- Group 8 – Group 8 and Basic Economy to/from Europe & South America
- Group 9 – Basic Economy within the U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico & Caribbean
American Airlines Premium Economy also offer in-flight benefits to make your trips even more comfortable. Here are some of the benefits that you’ll get:
- Wide Leather Seats– Leather seats with retractable foot and head rests.
- Chef-inspired Meals – Chef-inspired meals with complimentary beverages and spirits
- Free In-flight Entertainment – Personal led monitors and noise reduction headsets with free on-demand entertainment
- Wi-Fi – Complimentary high-speed wifi
- Power Outlets – Seats come with power outlets to charge your phones and other devices
- Amenities – Shinola and D.S. & Durga amenity kit (only available on international flights)
- Casper Sleep sSet – Comfortable pillows and blankets from Casper
Which Aircraft Is Premium Economy Available In?
As of this writing, Premium economy class is available in these aircraft but expect more planes to have it in the future.
- 787-8s (for international flights and flights to Alaska)
For more details, you can check the American Airlines website here.
Redeeming Premium Economy Award Flights
You can earn AAdvantage miles by flying on American or its partner airlines and earning miles through co-branded cards. Here’s an award chart on how much it will cost you to book flights using miles when you’re flying from the U.S. & Canada.
Here are some cards that can help you earn AAdvantage miles. Additionally, having these cards will give you access to boarding group 5.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
- 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®
Is American Airlines Premium Economy Worth It?
If you’re someone who wants to have spacious seats and extra amenities but at a cheaper price than business class, then Premium Economy is for you.
The on-the-ground benefits aren’t that special since you can have priority boarding and check-in if you have a co-branded credit card or an AAdvantage elite status. However, the in-flight experience you’ll get such as free drinks/booze, in-flight entertainment, and spacious seats are definitely worth it.