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Determining if you’re eligible to enter a lounge can seem like an arcane task, especially with all of the stresses and distractions of air travel. Sometimes your elite status will get you in, while other times it’ll be your credit card — and often only the primary cardholder on the account has access. However, there are a few cards — notably the Amex Platinum — that do offer lounge access to authorized users on the account.
Recently, however, American Airlines and Citi have expanded the perks and benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard by now providing Admirals Club membership to authorized users. AA has more than 50 Admirals Club locations worldwide, each offering complimentary drinks and snacks, Wi-Fi and power outlets — and a few even have on-site showers.
The card includes a $450 annual fee, but all but the most elite flyers will pay more than that amount for an Admirals Club membership alone, further adding to the card’s value. Also, lounge membership earned from the card or by paying cash for a membership provides access to the Admirals Club regardless of the airline you’re flying.
Moreover, American Airlines and Citi don’t charge cardholders for adding authorized users (unlike Amex Platinum’s $175 fee). The card also offers reimbursement for Global Entry or Precheck, the first checked bag free and 2x AAdvantage miles on American Airlines purchases. And if for whatever reason you’d prefer not to add any authorized users, you can bring up to two guests in the lounge and get a complimentary checked bag for up to 8 passengers on your itinerary.
Ultimately, this makes the Executive card more appealing for American flyers. While the card does have a premium annual fee, this new addition adds to the already valuable perks, and it’s especially nice that authorized users can be added at no extra cost. Moreover, if you have any big trips planned with a large group, it might be worthwhile to add some users in advance of the trip.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and guests with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*