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Exclusive first look: The Club now open at Charlotte airport

March 30, 2022
8 min read
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Charlotte is American Airlines' turf.

The city's Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is a fortress hub for American, and the carrier operates two of its Admirals Club lounges there. There’s also an American Express Centurion Lounge as well as two Minute Suites – plus a USO lounge.

But if you're flying from the A concourse where Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United flights depart, you won’t find a lounge in the gate area.

However, that all changes Wednesday. Starting March 30, those with a Priority Pass card can access The Club CLT. This new lounge features a locally inspired design, contactless food ordering and plenty of places to work and relax before your flight.

It’s also a well-timed addition. American’s largest Admirals Club recently closed for renovation, which has led to crowding at its other smaller location and at the airport’s other lounges. The Club gives passengers another option – especially for those not flying American.

TPG has an exclusive first look at the lounge — so, let's go inside and check it out!

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Location and hours

You will find The Club in Charlotte's A concourse, near gates 11-29. This is near where JetBlue and Southwest flights depart, and not far from the Delta gates.

Since all concourses are interconnected at Charlotte, you can access the lounge regardless of the airline you're flying or the gate you're departing from.

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The Club CLT is open from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days a week, so you can access the lounge for early morning and late-night flights. The lounge officially opens March 30 with full hours.

Access

You can access the lounge with a Priority Pass membership, included with cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Just present your physical Priority Pass card or scan the QR code on the Priority Pass app.

If you don't have access from a credit card, you can purchase daily access for $45 per person at the door. All food and drink is included with purchase.

Layout

The Club CLT was designed to reflect Charlotte and its dynamic terrain. This starts with the exterior of the lounge, which has the silhouette of a mountain range. It's understated but unique, giving the lounge a high-end feeling.

When you enter the lounge, you're greeted with a check-in desk. There's also a small seating area at the front of the lounge, complete with a porch swing. As you walk through the check-in area, you'll find filtered water to your right.

The lounge has two distinct areas: one for dining, and one for productivity. Of course, you're welcome to work or eat on either side of the lounge — but one side feels like it will be noticeably quieter than the other.

After checking in, you'll see a large seating area with tables, booths and a variety of chairs. This range of seating in the dining area means there should be something for everyone, although given the compact nature of the lounge, I can see this area filling up quickly.

There's an espresso machine, tea and light snacks available at the island on the right-hand side of the lounge.

There's also an area where you can see all of the food on offer, but don't mistake it for a buffet. All food is ordered through the QR code on your table and delivered to you — more on that soon.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

There's a bar on the left-hand side of the lounge. I was told that this will be a full-service bar, serving up local cocktails, liquor and craft beer. There's plenty of seating, and each seat has its own power outlet below the bar.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Toward the back of the lounge, you'll find a closed-off "family zone" where children can play.

There's seating along the back wall of the lounge as well, with sweeping runway views and plenty of natural light.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

To the right of the bar is the lounge's productivity area, likely designed with business travelers in mind. You'll find a row of traditional desks lining the wall.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

There's also booth-style seating — dubbed "Privacy Pods" — which provides privacy and sound dampening for phone calls. Each booth and desk has its own power outlet and USB ports.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

There are also three private offices to the left of the booths. This is where you'd want to take an extended Zoom or phone call, as you have complete privacy. You can even control the music volume in private offices.

Finally, there are napping chairs next to the offices. I can't see myself actually napping in a crowded airport lounge, but they look like a comfortable place to relax during a long layover. If you need to actually sleep, consider using Priority Pass to enter the nearby Minute Suites.

As you can see in the photos, there's a very clear green-and-gold color scheme throughout the lounge. The lounge's management told me this was intentional, as the gold accents are meant to represent North Carolina's gold rush in the late 1700s. You'll find gold accents on the ceiling and other finishes, and I think it's a nice touch.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Food and beverage

As discussed, there's no buffet at The Club CLT. Instead, you scan a QR code on the table where you're sitting and select the food you'd like delivered to you. I was able to test the ordering system and found it straightforward.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

When I visited, I was treated to a small tasting menu. The breakfast menu is pretty basic, with things like yogurt parfaits, cinnamon rolls and eggs on offer. Everything I ordered was tasty, and the food was much more premium than what you'd find at a nearby Admirals Club.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

For lunch, I was treated to an open-face barbecue sandwich, cornbread and fried pickles. I was a huge fan of each of these — each tasted like it could have easily come from a restaurant.

The bar wasn't stocked when I was in the lounge, but the staff prepared me a strawberry mojito mocktail. It was refreshing and presented in an attractive fashion. This makes me eager to try a drink at the bar the next time I fly from CLT.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

While all food and beverage is ordered through the app, you can prepare your own coffee at the espresso machine in the center of the lounge.

Amenities

The Club has everything you'd expect from an airport lounge. Wi-Fi is fast, and more than adequate for Zoom calls and other light computing. I was able to pull 65.54 Mbps download speeds and 128.85 Mbps upload speeds.

(Screenshot from speedtest.net)

One great perk of The Club is its shower room. There is a single shower suite in the lounge, so it might be hard to come by during peak hours. However, it is a large room and I was assured that premium bath products would be offered when the lounge opens.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

You will find power outlets throughout the lounge too. In fact, almost every seat in the lounge is accompanied by a standard outlet and a USB port, so it's not hard to stay charged.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

But the best benefit of the lounge? The views. It's a great place for planespotting, as you're right up against the runway and sandwiched between two rows of gates. You might even see a military plane take off, as the Air Force has a handful of aircraft based at CLT.

Bottom line

It's great to see The Club open a new location in the Charlotte airport. The A concourse has long needed a lounge given how many airlines fly from this terminal. It feels like a truly premium lounge offering, and is definitely a step above The Club DFW.

You will find high-quality food and beverage and an assortment of seating options. Furthermore, it's beautifully designed with local flair, something that I hope we see in all new The Club lounges as the chain continues to expand around the world.

Featured image by (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/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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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • 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
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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®.
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  • 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®

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  • 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
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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