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Lounge access is lovely before your flight or on a layover. You get free snacks and beverages, generally comfortable seating, high-speed Wi-Fi access and outlets to charge your devices.
American Airlines is the largest domestic carrier, and it has Admirals Club lounges in airports around the world. Customers can even access lounges in airports American doesn’t fly to, thanks to a network of partnerships. Currently, options include over 50 Admirals Club locations and more than 60 partner lounges.
Importantly, American Airlines requires travelers to present a same-day boarding pass on American or one of its partners for lounge access. That's true for all of the below methods of gaining entry.
How to get into an American Airlines Admirals Clubs
There are several methods you can use to get access to an American Airlines lounge. Here are the details.
1. Buy an Admirals Club Day Pass
Day passes are available for purchase at select locations for $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles, which includes access for you and up to three children (under age 18). You can login to your AAdvantage account to purchase a pass or do so as a guest.
NerdWallet values American Airlines miles at 1.2 cents each. If you use your points to purchase a day pass, you’re getting only 1 cent per point. Based on the valuation, you’d be better off paying cash rather than using your points.
» Learn more: What's the value of American Airlines AAdvantage miles?
2. Sign up for a credit card that provides Admirals Club access
There is only one credit card that will get you into an American Airlines Admirals Club lounge.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® includes an Admirals Club membership, allowing you to bring your immediate family or up to two guests, and up to 10 authorized users with you. This card comes with the following sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The card includes a $100 reimbursement every five years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, a free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions as well as priority boarding, priority check in and priority screening.
You will also earn:
2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American purchases.
1 Loyalty Point for every $1 spent, which counts towards elite status.
10,000 Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 per year.
25% off on in flight food and beverages purchases.
Although the card has a steep annual fee of $450, as you’ll see below, that is still less than the cost of an annual Admirals Club membership. So, if you plan to visit Admirals Club lounges often, the cost of the card along with all its perks, will be your best bet for getting access to the lounges.
» Learn more: Best credit card for Admirals Club access
3. Purchase an Admirals Club membership
Admirals Club annual membership rates vary depending on your frequent flyer status with American Airlines:
Non-elite AAdvantage members: $650 (new membership), $600 (renewal).
AAdvantage Gold members: $625 (new), $575 (renewal).
AAdvantage Platinum members: $600 (new), $550 (renewal).
AAdvantage Platinum Pro members: $575 (new), $525 (renewal).
AAdvantage Executive Platinum members: $550 (new), $500 (renewal).
With an annual membership, you can bring your immediate family (including spouse and children) or up to two guests. You can also buy a household membership for $1,150 to $1,250 (depending on your status level), which includes access for you and your spouse or domestic partner even when you’re not flying together.
4. Fly on a first class or business class ticket
You can access Admirals Club lounges if you are flying first or business class on an international itinerary between the U.S. and Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Mexico, and New Zealand. Additionally, transcontinental flights with seats ticketed as Flagship qualify, including flights between New York-John F. Kennedy and San Francisco, New York-JFK and Los Angeles, New York-JFK and Orange County, and Los Angeles and Miami.
A Flagship ticket will also get you access if you're flying from Dallas-Fort Worth to Honolulu, Kona or Maui; from Charlotte to Honolulu; or from Chicago-O’Hare to Honolulu. International first class customers can bring one guest, but other travelers using status to enter the lounge will not have guest privileges.
5. Earn AAdvantage elite status
AAdvantage members who are Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro or Platinum can access Admirals Club lounges when flying internationally on the routes mentioned above — AAdvantage elites don’t qualify if they are only traveling within North America. If you have Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status, you can access Admirals Clubs and partner lounges with a qualifying itinerary for same-day travel on a Oneworld carrier. Elite status holders are allowed one guest each.
Alaska MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold elites automatically received a status match to Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire, respectively, and can access Admirals lounges. Eligible flights include the above mentioned domestic routes and international routes between the U.S. and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City (MEX), New Zealand and South America.
» Learn more: Guide to American Airlines elite status
6. Use your military benefits
If you’re traveling in uniform, you can access domestic and international Admirals Club locations (except the JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu) if there is space available. You will need to present your military ID and a same-day boarding pass for a flight operated by American Airlines. Uniformed military personnel can also bring their immediate family members or up to two guests into the lounge.
How to access the American Airlines Flagship Lounge and Arrivals Lounge
If you’re flying into London’s Heathrow Airport, you can freshen up at the Arrivals Lounge when you land. To use that facility, you need to be flying in first or business class or have AAdvantage Executive Platinum or ConciergeKey (invite only) status. Oneworld Emerald status will also get you access, as will British Airways Premier status.
A Flagship Lounge in Philadelphia will be opening soon. AAdvantage members with ConciergeKey status can enter Flagship Lounges. American Airlines Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum elites as well as Alaska MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold elites can access Flagship Lounges on qualifying international flights.
Lounge access can be the lynchpin between good flight experience and a great one. There are several ways to access American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, from having the right credit card to earning elite status with the airline. If you want a taste of the comforts, consider purchasing a day pass during your next American flight.
How to maximize your rewards
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