Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
The best way to escape the airport madness — besides traveling by train or car — is by gaining access to an airport lounge. These premium spaces are limited to eligible travelers and often include amenities like showers, free snacks and premium dining options.
With more than 50 locations worldwide, the American Airlines Admirals Club is an attractive place to relax before a flight. There are various ways to gain access to these lounges, including buying a day pass or annual membership, flying on a qualifying business or first class ticket, or holding elite status. However, if you want Admirals Club access, the easiest way is with a credit card.
Top credit cards for Admirals Club access
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (Easiest)
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the only credit card that offers membership to the Admirals Club just for carrying the card.
Single day access to an Admirals Club lounge is available at certain locations for $79. To get the full value of the annual fee from just lounge access, you would have to visit an Admirals Club lounge eight times during the year.
However, if you’re visiting more than eight times, here's why this card is the best option:
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Admirals Club Membership
Up to $850.
Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every five years ($100 value)
Free checked bag for you and up to eight companions
25% savings on in-flight food and drinks
The annual fee for this credit card is $595, while stand-alone registration to the Admirals Club is between $700 and $850 depending on your AAdvantage elite status level.
The card also provides several perks that the stand-alone membership does not, including mileage earning that’ll help you earn Loyalty Points toward elite status.
By carrying the card, you also earn:
4 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American purchases.
10 miles for every $1 spent on eligible hotels and rental cars booked through American Airlines.
1 mile/Loyalty Point for every $1 spent.
10,000 Loyalty Points if you reach 50,000 or 90,000 Loyalty Points during an elite qualifying year.
Get complimentary Admirals Club access for authorized users
You can further maximize the value of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® when you add authorized users. All users get their own card, and their purchases will earn you miles. Authorized users also get access to Admirals Club lounges, and the primary cardholder doesn’t need to be present. This is a unique perk that allows you to share lounge access with trusted family members.
The one downside to this is that authorized users don’t have full Admiral’s Club membership — just access. That means authorized users can’t visit partner lounges or get special pricing on conference rooms, for example.
Buy a day pass
If you seldom visit the clubs, a single day access pass to an Admirals Club lounge may be sufficient. While none of the AAdvantage credit cards come with day passes as benefits, you could use the miles earned on an American Airlines credit card to pay for access.
A day pass is available for purchase at certain locations for $79 or 7,900 miles. Here are the other credit cards you could use to earn American Airlines miles:
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®. Annual fee: $0.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®. Annual fee: $99.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99.
Other ways to access the Admirals Club
As mentioned above, travelers can pay $79 or 7,900 AAdvantage miles to access Admirals Club lounges at certain locations. You must be traveling on an American Airlines or partner flight to be eligible to purchase a pass.
U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform on an American Airlines-operated flight get complimentary access by presenting a boarding pass and military identification.
Oneworld elite status match
American Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, along with 12 other global airlines. As a part of this program, status holders of any member's frequent flyer program gain access to perks like lounge access when flying internationally.
The Oneworld alliance includes the following carriers:
If you're a member of any of these airlines' frequent flyer programs and have achieved elite status, you may have access to Admirals Club lounges. Each rewards program is unique, so visit this page to find yours and see if your status equates to Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status
AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members receive lounge access when departing on a Oneworld- or American-operated flight, excluding North American flights.
Even without status, flying first or business class on American or its Oneworld partners generally entitles you to lounge access before your flight as well.
» Learn more: 6 ways to access American Airlines Admirals Club lounges
Using a credit card to visit American Airlines Admirals Clubs
Access to Admirals Club lounges can go a long way to minimizing the frustrations of travel. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is an easy way to gain membership and share access with trusted family members.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card