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As we learned in February, American Airlines is spending many millions of dollars to renovate its lounges around the world. Following United’s example, that would mean Admirals Club fees are about to climb — and they are. Interestingly, however, AA isn’t matching the United Club’s pricing, which is what we might have expected.

Instead, annual membership fees are jumping by $50 across the board, with household memberships increasing by $100. A one-day pass will cost $59 instead of the current $50, and the 30-day membership option is being discontinued. All changes take effect on July 25, 2016.

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Fortunately, it looks like the annual fee for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard will stay the same, with that card priced at $450 per year. These changes make that card even more valuable — you get a full Admirals Club membership, but you’ll also get free authorized users (who get lounge access as well), a Global Entry credit, a free first checked bag, an opportunity to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles after you make $40,000 in purchases in a calendar year and other perks.

Ultimately, we’re glad to see American making these much-needed lounge improvements, and while nobody likes to see increased fees, they could have been a bit worse. And, with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard still priced at $450 per year, the best option for securing Admirals Club access just became even better.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

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.

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More Things to Know
  • 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 access for guests traveling 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 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.99%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Recommended Credit
Excellent

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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