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

Sep 13, 2021

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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.

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 photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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