American Restricts Admirals Club Admittance, Raises Costs of Membership
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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|
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|
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.
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 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
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.