Best Credit Card For Admirals Club Access

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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 $59. 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:

Benefit

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Admirals Club Membership

Annual fee

$450.

$500 - $650.

Welcome offer

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

-

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every five years ($100 value)

Included.

-

Priority boarding

Included.

-

Free checked bag for you and up to eight companions

Included.

-

25% savings on in-flight food and drinks

Included.

-

Table showing benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard.

The annual fee for this credit card is $450, while stand-alone registration to the Admirals Club is between $500 and $650 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:

  • 2 miles/Loyalty Points for every $1 spent on eligible American purchases.

  • 1 mile/Loyalty Point for every $1 spent.

  • 10,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Considering that you’d already earn 40,000 Loyalty Points by spending $40,000, you’d end up with 50,000 Loyalty Points, which would grant you AAdvantage Gold status under the new loyalty program.

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 $59 or 5,900 miles. Here are the other credit cards you could use to earn American Airlines miles:

Other ways to access the Admirals Club

As mentioned above, travelers can pay $59 or 5,900 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.

Military travel

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:

  • Alaska Airlines.

  • British Airways.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Finnair.

  • Iberia.

  • Japan Airlines.

  • Malaysia Airlines.

  • Qantas.

  • Qatar Airways.

  • Royal Air Maroc.

  • Royal Jordanian.

  • S7 Airlines.

  • SriLankan Airlines.

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.

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 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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