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Although we normally span the globe for our Wine Wednesday series in search of delicious wine regions, we thought it would be fun to mix things up today and cover the booze that many of us are likely to be drinking in transit: the complimentary beverage selection at airline lounge bars. We’re sticking to the free drinks with this compilation, but many lounges also offer premium or top-shelf options as well for purchase.
Remember, even if you don’t have membership in these individual airline lounges, if you have the personal Amex Platinum, Mercedes-Benz Platinum or Business Platinum cards, you can get into them all except United Clubs.
American Admirals Club
Although the list on this FlyerTalk thread hasn’t been updated for a while and offerings can vary from lounge to lounge, here’s a list of what you’re likely to find at American’s domestic lounges.
- Spirits: Gordon’s or McCormick Vodka, Gin, Rum, Early Times or Sutton Club Whiskey, Juarez Tequila
- Wines: Trinity Oaks Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
- Beers: Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite
Delta recently downgraded revised its list of complimentary beverages served in its domestic Sky Clubs per this FlyerTalk thread. Per the Delta representative on FlyerTalk:
“Delta Sky Clubs are changing the selection of both complimentary and for-purchase premium alcoholic beverages beginning tomorrow. Complimentary well-known alcohol brands will still be provided at the Club just as they have been.
Altering our complimentary offerings will enable us to expand our portfolio of premium for-purchase products and maintain complimentary spirits, beer and wine as we continue to invest in the overall Club experience. We review our Club offerings periodically so that we are able to make changes based on customer feedback, financial considerations and other factors including the variety of options we offer our members.
The new offerings are comparable to house/well brands in other airport lounges.
- Complimentary spirits: Vodka – Gordon’s; Gin – Gordon’s; Rum – Myers’s Platinum; Scotch – Scoresby; Bourbon – Jack Daniel’s; Sweet Vermouth – Martini & Rossi; Extra Dry Vermouth – Martini & Rossi.
- Complimentary beer: Budweiser and Miller Lite
- Complimentary wine: no changes to current wine offerings
Other brands will be available through our for-purchase options available through our Luxury Bar. Our goal is to offer members quality products and services at reasonable prices that are competitive with other airport lounges while continuing to provide good value for membership.”
A definitive list is hard to come by but according to anecdotal reports you can expect to find the following in United Clubs (please share your findings in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list).
- Spirits: Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Gordon’s Gin, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Canadian Club Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s, Seagram’s 7, Kahlua, Campari, Crown Royal Brandy
- Wines: House wines
- Beer: Miller Lite, Bud Light
US Airways Club
Although it’s unclear what will happen to these post-merger, for now, here’s what you can expect at US Airways Clubs. The one big drawback is that US Airways only offers complimentary beer and wine but not spirits (come on!).
- Wines: Beringer Chardonnay, Beringer Merlot, Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon
- Beers: Bud Light, Budweiser, possibly Becks
While far from impressive, these lists are still better than what they were a few years ago – especially since many airline club lounges stopped serving complimentary alcoholic beverages for a while a few years ago. While I still might choose to go to a bar in a terminal and pay for a drink instead of opting for the complimentary ones here – or worse, paying for “premium” options even at discounted prices, at least there are some offerings in domestic airline clubs these days. While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.