American Restricts Admirals Club Admittance, Raises Costs of Membership

Oct 17, 2018

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American Airlines is increasing the cost of a membership to its Admirals Club lounges. With the investments the airline has made to its network of lounges, in addition to opening new locations, AA is expecting you to fork over more cash — or miles — in order to purchase a membership.

In addition to the new pricing structure, which will take effect next year, AA’s announced a new policy for admittance, devaluing an Admirals Club membership. As of Nov. 1, 2019, Admirals Club members will need to show a same-day boarding pass with American or one of its partners in order to access the lounge. Although the move was likely made to help with overcrowding in Admirals Club lounges, the new admittance restrictions are a downgrade for those looking to access clubs when traveling with an airline that’s not an AA partner. Currently, Admirals Club members can access lounges no matter which airline you’re flying.

Effective Feb. 1, 2019, American will increase the price of an Admirals Club membership to the following levels:

Type of Member (Individual) Old Annual Cost New Annual Amount Increase
Regular $550 $650 +$100
Gold $525 $625 +$100
Platinum $500 $600 +$100
Platinum Pro $475 $575 +$100
Executive Platinum $450 $550 +$100
Concierge Key Free Free N/A

Renewing memberships will reduce the above prices by $50. In addition, American’s getting rid of its household membership discount.

While AA is increasing the amount of cash you’ll have to pay for an Admirals Club membership, it’s decreasing the amount of miles you’ll have to spend in order to get a membership.

Type of Member (Individual) Old Annual Cost (AA miles) New Annual Cost (AA miles) Amount Decrease (AA miles) Cost of Membership Based on TPG Valuations
Regular 85,000 65,000 -20,000 $910
Gold 75,000 62,500 -12,500 $875
Platinum 70,000 60,000 -10,000 $840
Platinum Pro 65,000 57,500 -7,500 $805
Executive Platinum 60,000 55,000 -5,000 $770
Concierge Key Free Free N/A N/A

Like the memberships purchased with cash, renewing an existing membership reduces the above rates by 5,000 miles. In addition, the household membership discount will be discontinued for mileage pricing.

American says that the increases follow the airline having invested $220 million in updating and refreshing its lounges — all lounges, not just Admirals Clubs. In the past year, AA says it’s opened lounged in Houston (IAH), Orlando (MCO) and Los Angeles (LAX). In addition, it’s updated lounges in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Toronto (YYZ). Currently, it’s renovating the DFW D lounge space, which will also feature a new Flagship Lounge, as well as Admirals Clubs in Boston (BOS) and Charlotte (CLT).

Although not an Admirals Club specifically, AA says it’s also opened Flagship Lounges in New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX).

Keep in mind that although the cost of an Admirals Club membership is increasing on Feb. 1, 2019, you can get access for free from some of AA’s cobranded credit cards. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard entitles cardholders to an Admirals Club membership, along with access for immediate family members or up to two traveling with guests. In addition, authorized users of the card have access to Admirals Club lounges.

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