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American will now sell access to its Flagship Lounges, but it won’t come cheap

Sept. 13, 2021
3 min read
American will now sell access to its Flagship Lounges, but it won’t come cheap
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Looking to upgrade the ground experience before your next flight?

Well, if you're traveling with American Airlines or a Oneworld partner, you're in luck. Beginning on Sept. 14, the Fort Worth-based carrier will reopen the doors to its Flagship Lounges, and anyone can enter... if you're willing to pay up.

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For the first time ever, AA will sell single-visit day passes to its premium lounges, an airline spokesperson exclusively told TPG. But at $150 per person (children under the age of two are free), access won't come cheap.

This isn't just a pandemic-era revenue play; American confirmed that this new option will remain even after the pandemic subsides.

To purchase a pass, you'll need to physically visit the Flagship Lounge and request to buy one. This way, the airline can monitor crowding in real time. Depending on how it goes, I wouldn't be surprised if AA eventually added the ability to purchase a Flagship Lounge pass during the booking or check-in process.

A seating area in American Airlines' Flagship Lounge at New York-JFK. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

As mentioned, any American Airlines or Oneworld partner flight qualifies, even if you're flying on a short domestic hop from Miami to Tampa, or from Dallas/Fort Worth to Austin.

Note that the pass is valid for one visit on the day of travel — you'll only be able to access the Flagship Lounge in the airport in which you purchased the pass, even if you're connecting in another airport with a different Flagship Lounge. Additionally, you won't be able to use the Flagship First dining facility when purchasing a single-visit pass.

While $150 is definitely steep, I'd consider the splurge for a special trip, or during long connections or rolling delays. If you're traveling as a family, though, the cost will quickly creep up.

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Though I have access to AA's Admirals Club network through my Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, Flagship Lounges are a big step up from a traditional membership lounge.

Inside, you'll find elevated food and beverage offerings — including revamped menus from award-winning chefs — as well as plenty of space to relax and refresh, including a handful of shower suites that are now stocked with D.S. & Durga soaps and lotions and Dyson Supersonic hair dryers.

Though American is opening the Flagship Lounge to more passengers, they should remain a much more private oasis compared to the often overcrowded Admirals Clubs.

In addition to selling day passes, AA recently expanded the list of travelers eligible for complimentary access to the Flagship Lounge to include those traveling in biz or first on one of AA's long-haul flights to or from Hawaii.

AA operates five Flagship Lounges, four of which also feature a Flagship First Dining facility. You’ll find the full directory and reopening details below:

  • Chicago (ORD) — reopening later this Fall, and this location doesn’t offer Flagship First Dining.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — reopening later this Fall.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) — reopening later this Fall.
  • Miami (MIA) — lounge reopening on Sept. 28, Flagship First Dining reopening on Sept. 30.
  • New York-JFK — lounge reopening on Sept. 14, Flagship First Dining reopening on Sept. 16.
Featured image by (Photo 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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more