As someone who is primarily an American flyer, I value Admirals Club access. Not because the lounges are amazing, or anything, but rather because I value having a (relatively) quiet place from which to work with free wifi. However, I’ve never directly purchased an Admirals Club membership.
Admirals Club membership costs increasing
For those of you who do pay for an Admirals Club membership, the cost will be increasing for memberships purchased or renewed as of July 25, 2016.
If you’re purchasing a membership in cash, the cost is increasing by $50 for an individual membership or $100 for a household membership:
Meanwhile if redeeming miles for a membership, the cost is increasing by 5,000 miles for a personal membership or 10,000 miles for a household membership (but please don’t redeem your miles for an Admirals Club membership, as it’s a horrible value):
There’s one other change which is being made to Admirals Club memberships in the process. American is discontinuing 30 day Admirals Club memberships as of July 25, 2016. That costs $99, and is a relative bargain, in my opinion. A day pass costs $50, so you’d come out ahead after two visits. That doesn’t even account for the fact that you can bring in guests with a 30 day membership, while each individual would have to buy their own day pass.
It’s also interesting that American expressly added the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to the membership chart, explaining that the annual fee on that card isn’t increasing. The card comes with an Admirals Club membership, and with these changes the annual fee on the card is now identical to the lowest possible membership cost for Executive Platinum members.
A better way to get Admirals Club access
It’s interesting that American is raising the cost of Admirals Club access, since I suspect the number of people actually buying memberships is decreasing, while the number of people accessing them through credit cards is increasing. Though that’s likely by design, I suppose.
There is a fantastic credit card which offers Admirals Club membership, the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card. The card has a $450 annual fee, and comes with some awesome perks.
The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers an Admirals Club membership, rather than just Admirals Club access. That means you get Admirals Club access even if you’re flying another airline. But the real kicker is that authorized users on the card get Admirals Club access as well. You can add up to 10 authorized users on the card at no additional cost, so the $450 annual Citi AAdvantage Executive Card will really cover Admirals Club access for 11 people.
I’m tempted to pick up the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card as a way of getting Admirals Club access for 10 friends & family members.
It’s a bummer that the Admirals Club membership cost is going up, though I’ve also never paid it, and in my opinion there’s no good reason to do so, unless you’re not eligible for US credit cards. I suspect this is almost being done as a way to push their co-brand credit card even more.
Does anyone reading actually pay for an Admirals Club membership, rather than have access through a credit card?