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First look: American's expanded — and stunning — Admirals Club in LaGuardia

July 25, 2022
7 min read
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The first-ever American Airlines airport lounge opened in 1939 at New York's LaGuardia Airport — and now LGA is home to the carrier's newest.

Late last year, American opened a brand-new Admirals Club in the new Terminal B at LGA to coincide with the carrier consolidating operations into the terminal's Western Concourse.

While the new space was undoubtedly an improvement compared to the original one in the airport's dated (and now demolished) Central Terminal, it wasn't fully complete when it opened on Dec. 16, 2021.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Instead, American split the construction into two phases. The first phase opened last December, and now the second — and perhaps more exciting — phase is opening on Tuesday, July 26.

In advance of the grand opening, American invited TPG to get a first-look tour of the finished product — and we left quite impressed.

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First look at American's completed Admirals Club in LGA

Headlining the upgrade is an expansion in the number of seats and space to move around.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Together with Phase I, the new lounge now measures 22,000 square feet, which is 50% larger than the original LGA lounge that closed last year. Phase I opened with 130 seats and now the second phase adds 234 seats.

There's seating for more than 360 flyers in total, which should definitely make the space feel more comfortable during peak travel periods (i.e. this summer) and during irregular operations.

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While the first phase felt somewhat like a teaser, the newly expanded club is definitely the "real deal." In fact, it marks the last major construction milestone for American at LGA.

Several stand-out features of the expanded lounge include an additional full-service bar, serving a range of complimentary alcoholic beverages and premium drinks for purchase.

There's even a six-bottle automatic wine dispenser, similar to the self-serve one you'd find in the American Express Centurion Lounge in San Francisco.

There's also an expanded self-serve buffet, which will feature American's standard food and (soft) beverage offerings.

While American has been working on the lounge's "hard product" — the design and physical aesthetic of the space — hopefully the carrier will further invest in its culinary offerings in the coming months and years. (If American needs any inspiration, it should look no further than Delta's latest Sky Club catering offerings.)

The good news is that the LGA club will now be the first to have a permanent avocado toast and guacamole station, which has historically been offered on a pop-up basis at the airline's other clubs.

In terms of amenities, business travelers will appreciate that the expanded space includes a separate workstation area with five business pods and three enclosed phone rooms (that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis).

There's also plenty of high- and low-top counter space for travelers to place their laptops and catch up on work.

American even added two private VIP conference rooms with the expansion. The larger one is outfitted with a 10-seat conference table. This room can be reserved for $65 an hour.

There's a smaller room that's better suited for VIPs and families. This one features a small conference table, couch and individual recliners. It can be reserved for about $50 an hour (the price point hasn't been officially set yet.)

Reservations for these spaces can be made when you arrive at the lounge or in advance by calling 800-237-7971.

Another welcome addition is a quiet area. This space offers a handful of individual recliners and even features three Eames chairs, another first for an Admirals Club. You'll notice that the lights are dimmed in this area to help you relax and possibly catch some shut-eye.

Families with young children will likely appreciate the new game room with two polycade arcade machines. These machines are silenced, but you can tap into the audio by connecting a pair of wired headphones.

The arcade machines are built into one of the most visually-appealing rooms in the entire lounge. It's essentially a mini-lounge within the lounge, with wood-paneling and accent lighting that gives it a luxurious feel.

American also added atmospheric custom design elements that reflect New York City. This includes several bookshelves throughout the space that are adorned with books about the city.

My personal favorite feature is the new display that features 16 whiskey bottles from C.R. Smith’s original private selection.

When American's first club in the nation opened in LaGuardia in 1939, liquor laws didn't allow the carrier to sell alcohol.

So, C.R. Smith, the airline's president at the time, kept a private whiskey collection at the club that he offered to "Admirals," which was the title given to some of American's best customers. (Now, they're called Concierge Keys.)

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

These bottles are now locked behind glass — and they're not available for your enjoyment, no matter how much money you spend on American flights each year.

The new lounge trades apron views for an open-air aesthetic overlooking the terminal and taxiways in the distance — which might be the only downside for some aviation enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, for those looking to freshen up before or after an important meeting, you'll find an additional set of restrooms in the expanded lounge.

The airline will also open two shower suites in August, but these will be located in the original lounge area.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The expansion builds on a strong foundation

The newly expanded area of the lounge is split from the existing space just after you enter. There's a narrow bridge over the escalators that brings you to the enlarged seating area.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

But, regular American LGA flyers will likely already be familiar with the first phase of the construction that opened last December.

This includes a range of seating options, including a media room, dining tables and individual recliners.

There's a small triangle-shaped bar in the corner of the dining area and a self-serve buffet along the wall.

There's even a tree in the center of this space, which helps add a sense of tranquility to an otherwise hectic airport experience.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Restrooms are available on this side of the lounge, but the new ones are larger.

Bottom line

America's now-completed new Admirals Club in LaGuardia has decidedly improved its lounge offering there.

At more than 22,000 square feet and with seating for over 360 travelers, this new space should be a relaxing escape during busy travel days.

The expansion that opens on Tuesday features several improvements, including private workstations, a game room, a second bar and buffet and even shower suites.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Though the Admirals Club looks nothing like the original one did when it opened in 1939, that's a good thing. The airline has upgraded its club (and entire LGA airport experience) to 21st-century standards.

Just be sure to pack your walking shoes because getting from the curb to the lounge to the gate will take many more steps than it did back in 1939.

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees