Skip to content

Your First Look at American's Renovated Admirals Club in Charlotte

Feb. 20, 2019
6 min read
Your First Look at American's Renovated Admirals Club in Charlotte
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

American Airlines is reopening its second airport lounge in Charlotte on Wednesday, one of a handful of recent Admirals Clubs the airline has refurbished amid fierce competition for premium customers.

TPG got an exclusive sneak peek Tuesday afternoon inside the redone club in Concourse B. If you haven’t been inside one of the 10 lounges American has updated in the last two years, you should know that the visual differences are striking.

The new clubs offer most of the services and snacks available at all Admirals Club locations: the cheese cubes, pita chips, hummus, espresso machines, soft drinks, soups, sweets, and free basic wines, beers and liquor. But the look is modern, sleek, and bright, and in Charlotte, a new bank of windows overlooks a runway and taxiing American planes.

The airline wanted to give customers "a clean, modern feel that makes them feel relaxed," says American spokeswoman Sunny Rodriguez. Besides CLT, in the last two years the airline has renovated Admirals Clubs at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Boston (BOS), New York-JFK (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Terminal A, Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), and Toronto (YYZ), and it added a club in Houston (IAH). Lounges in Pittsburgh (PIT) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Terminal D are under renovation. A new first-class Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining are being added in Dallas as well.

The battle for lounge customers is heating up, too, with airlines upgrading their facilities and opening new super-premium lounges that rival international competitors. Meanwhile, smaller entrants such as American Express, Airport Lounge Development, and Escape Lounges are adding locations.

“We are seeing more independent lounges being built than ever before, and legacy airlines are turning their old, tired locations into truly premium havens,” says Brent Griffith, chief marketing officer of LoungeBuddy, an app that rates lounges and sells passes. United’s Polaris lounges, American’s Flagship First Dining, and refreshed Delta Sky Clubs show that US airlines are “stepping up their game.”

“The best part about the club isn’t the food or the free drinks, it’s that you get your space,” said Moe Siddiqui, 51, a medical salesman from Tennessee. “You don’t have to be part of the herd.”

At Charlotte on Tuesday evening, travelers such as Siddiqui kept approaching the lounge, located between gates B3 and B5, on the mistaken belief that it was open. He then headed to the other, much larger Admirals Club in Terminal C. The renovated lounge in Terminal B, which has been closed for the last seven months, is about 4,500 square feet and has seating for about 100 people. The older lounge at Terminal C is about 23,000 square feet and seats 452.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

There are a few ways to gain entry to Admirals Clubs. Buying a membership has just become more expensive on February 1, at $650 or 85,000 AAdvantage miles per year, less for elite-level AA frequent flyers. You can also get in if you are flying on a qualifying first or business-class ticket; if you are an Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum elite-level flyer on an international same-day ticket on American or any airline in the Oneworld alliance, in any class; if you have a one-day pass ($59); or if you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, which gives access to the cardholder plus spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 or up to two guests. Uniformed military get in free.

Beyond the design and furniture, Charlotte’s new club does have some features older clubs lack, including a freestyle Coke machine and a wine machine called a Cruvinet, which keeps wines fresh and at the appropriate temperature. The airline also installed more plugs to charge electronic devices.

The renovation coincides with the Charlotte airport’s $70 million plan to renovate and expand its terminals to cope with a surge of people flying. In the last 10 years, the number of passengers stepping on a plane in Charlotte has increased by more than 30 percent. The airport says its changes make the airport look more modern, bigger, and brighter.

“It’s growth, but it’s also a desire to update our facilities to meet demand and to meet customer expectations,” says Jack Christine, the Charlotte airport’s chief operating officer. “Things like charging. People show up to the airport now with 18 different things they want to charge before they get on the airplane.”

Charlotte has grown to become the country’s sixth largest airport by flights, and it is American’s second-busiest hub behind only Dallas-Fort Worth.

All images by the author.

Featured image by The Executive card provides an Admirals Club Membership. (Photo by Tony Mecia for TPG)
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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

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

1 - 10X points
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

80,000 bonus points
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®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

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
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