Best Credit Card For Admirals Club Access

Profile photo of Curtis Sprung
Written by Curtis Sprung
Profile photo of Meghan Coyle
Edited by Meghan Coyle
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Profile photo of Elina Geller
Co-written by Elina Geller
Lead Writer

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. 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

Annual fee


Up to $850.

Welcome offer

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)



Priority boarding



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:

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.

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 some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Airport Lounge Cards from our Partners
Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card

on Citibank's application

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ 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.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

See more Airport Lounge cards
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.