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In December, we reported that American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders would be losing access to Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs in March. I personally loved this benefit, as being able to visit a lounge before or after a flight to do work, freshen up, have a drink or take a call was always a perk of the card that I enjoyed.
With the Amex exclusion, the only cards that will get you into the Admirals Club now are the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard (which comes with full Admirals Club membership) and more recently, the Citi Prestige, which just added Admirals Club access (not membership though) to its benefits.
To mark this exclusive partnership (and really, to woo those Amex members who are upset about losing this benefit) during the month of April, Citi is offering complimentary One-Day Passes to any domestic US Admirals Club lounge or US Airways Club to travelers whose credit cards no longer provide complimentary access.
Those travelers with a credit card that previously enabled access to the Admirals Club (specifically the Amex Platinum cards) can bring their credit card to any Admirals Club (or US Airways Club) in the domestic US starting today through April 30, and they will receive a complimentary One-Day Passes from a Citi Ambassador at the lounge entrances.
During the first week of the program, Citi Ambassadors will initially be in clubs Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 am – 5 pm. Citi Ambassadors will expand to extended evening and weekend hours at select clubs throughout the remainder of the month. To receive complimentary One-Day Passes, travelers must meet with the Citi ambassador and show their credit card that previously enabled access to the Lounge. Clearly that’s where they’ll try to sell you on the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard – but hey, that card’s sign-up offer is currently at 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 in 3 months, so you might be considering it anyway.
The terms are unclear whether you are able to redeem this benefit on more than one occasion, but I suspect you can pick up passes whenever you’re passing through an airport with an Admirals Club or US Airways Club in it, and One-Day Passes are generally good for up to a year, so even if you’re on a tight schedule, you can use it anotehr time.
Obviously this is a nice way of Citi/American extending an olive branch to the Amex members who have felt slighted by the loss of this benefit, and as a smart and savvy way to encourage them to join the Citi family. I personally have the Citi AA Executive Platinum Card (and recently signed up for it again with the 100K bonus), and if Admirals Club access is an important factor for you, it’s a good card to carry – especially now that Amex Platinum cardholders have lost AA/US lounge access in their own right.
I also think it’s interesting that Citi is going after premium Amex customers so aggressively – so hopefully we’ll see some more benefits and higher bonuses as the competition heats up.