Whoa: American Admirals Clubs Selling Krug Champagne

Filed Under: American

American Airlines Admirals Clubs might just be the best place to buy Krug champagne nowadays… though unfortunately you do have to consume it in the lounge.

American Admirals Clubs selling Krug

It’s being reported that American Airlines has started selling Krug champagne in Admirals Clubs. Specifically, half bottles (375ml) of Krug Grande Cuvée are available for $65. This is an incredible price — the cheapest price I see online is $75-80 at retail.

Not all Admirals Clubs have Krug for sale — it seems most likely that it would just be clubs in Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, though note that the Los Angeles club is closed right now.

Apparently Krug is displayed in the bar for the clubs where it’s on sale, and it also shows on the menu. While American has long sold premium alcoholic drinks in Admirals Clubs, Krug is a new one.

Krug champagne is for sale in select American Admirals Clubs

That brings us to the other interesting implication here…

What are the implications for Flagship First Dining?

It’s pretty clear what’s going on here — we’ve seen airlines liquidate all kinds of excess inventory in these tough times, and this is no different. Historically American has served Krug in its Flagship First Dining facilities, which are for those traveling in international or select transcon first class.

Enjoying Krug in American Flagship First Dining

American has Flagship First Dining in DallasLos AngelesMiami, and New York. However, for the time being both Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining are closed. While Flagship Lounges will likely eventually reopen, it’s anyone’s guess if and when Flagship First Dining will reopen.

The way I see it, there are a few ways to read into American selling Krug in Admirals Clubs, starting from the most extreme to least extreme explanation:

  • American will eventually close Flagship First Dining; arguably the business case behind it wasn’t really there to begin with, and that’s even more the case post-coronavirus
  • American doesn’t plan to reopen Flagship First Dining anytime soon, so the airline might as well liquidate this inventory to raise cash, and it can always buy more Krug in the future (should it return at all)
  • American had a long-term contract for buying Krug, and the airline has more than it’ll realistically be able to serve in the coming years in Flagship First Dining, so it might as well sell this inventory
  • American plans to reopen Flagship First Dining but wants to lower costs, so won’t serve Krug anymore in the future (I’m surprised it was ever introduced in the first place)

American Flagship First Dining New York JFK

Personally I think it’s highly unlikely that Flagship First Dining will return anytime in the next couple of years, if at all. The big question is how this space would be repurposed, since Flagship First Dining is found within Flagship Lounges.

Bottom line

American has started selling Krug champagne in select Admirals Clubs, presumably at airports that also have (closed) Flagship First Dining facilities. If you like good champagne and can afford it, $65 for a half bottle of Krug is a phenomenal value, and a lower price than you’ll find just about anywhere. Too bad you can’t actually enjoy this at home…

The big lingering question is what happens to American’s Flagship First Dining in the future. Personally I think it’s highly likely that these facilities stay closed for at least a couple of years, and I’d put the odds of them reopening at all at 50/50, give or take.

Anyone traveling soon on American, and plan to enjoy a bottle of Krug?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments
  1. There is one other option – AA expects to modify the FF Dining experience and rein in costs. Replacing Krug with another option (especially if it is poured by the glass from a standard 750ml bottle by the bartender rather than a 375ml bottle opened for the customer) would likely save a good amount of money. Selling Krug now not only raises cash, but it enables a seamless shift to the new experience so it isn’t 6 weeks of Krug and then a downgrade.

  2. Krug half bottles regularly sell for $50 retail (yes 2 half bottles is cheaper than a full bottle). So while it’s a good deal to buy in an airport I wouldn’t call it a phenomenal deal.

  3. Not as good as redeeming 10,000 Skymiles for a full bottle of Krug in the Delta Clubs though! Sometimes you can even negotiate so they will let you leave with it… a little tip usually helps ;).

  4. I’m going to be mad AF if the permanently close FFD.

    Ben, can you please ask your contacts at AA what is up?

  5. Krug can wholesale as low as $12/full bottle depending on the size of the order (you’re usually talking 50 cases or more for a price that low). I don’t think I would read into this with any long term implications. Its just as likely they got a good deal from their distributer (who is also likely hurting) and is a quick way to raise some cash with the massive markups.

  6. …or it could just be that AA got together with their supplier of Krug and came up with a great way of generating some online publicity, just as they did when they introduced it into Flagship First Dining. When they did that, it generated multi-millions of dollars in free publicity (and still does) online, as well as in mainstream media…from 20/20, to the WSJ, to the NY Times and the Times of London. Looks like they are being successful again, and for good reason! As a CK, I look forward to the return of FFD, and the use of our free certificates. I’m confident it will happen as soon as a reasonable percentage of international and transcon first seats actually start selling again (typically, in volume, for business flyers).

  7. As someone who is in the business of importing and brokering wine, there is the always difficult issue of storing large quantities along with the relative short shelf life of champagne. This is an excellent price for a 375ml bottle of Krug and if the excess inventory is still for sale in February at DFW when I transit there next, I’ll definitely be all in.

  8. Does AA really use 375ml bottles in their first class or flagship lounges for pouring rather than full bottles? If isn’t the case then I dont think its to “clear excess inventory” and rather to make some extra profits.

  9. Luke, they do use 375ml bottles in first class dining within the flagship lounges. I always assumed it was a cost cutting measure, but those more in the know seem to disagree.

  10. @Brodie yes it’s a cost cutting measure. As I stated above it’s cheaper both retail and wholesale to buy the half bottle.

  11. @GuruJanitor I call BS. On what planet you getting Krug 750ml wholesale at $12?

    @Omar I’d buy every single 1/2 bottle at $50. Typical retail is around $70

    @M “What’s the expiration date on all their Krug…” good one

  12. @the original donna

    if you are someone in the wine biz, you should know champagne of this level doesnt have a short life

  13. Haha did someone ask what the expiration date is? To you i dont think you’ll be able to taste the difference so you dont need to worry about paying extra for this, you probably cant access the lounge anyways.

  14. Well I like that the MIA AC has the former mixed nuts served in F. For domestic flights other than transcons they were the best part of the meal. The bartenders always give me a big heap of servings when I order a drink from the bar. Unfortunately, the nuts aren’t served warm.

  15. @jordon23- I used the term “relative” short life while commenting on storage conditions. Three to five years maximum under ideal storage conditions is not what I would consider a long life.

  16. Champaign. Overpriced. Sparkling wine gives a similar effect and is much cheaper. They are not “giving it away” – if they really need the money they would sell it for even less.

  17. @The Original Donna

    i have and have had many a Krug, both vintage and grand cuvee, well past 3-5 years. Strike 2.

  18. Flagship Dining.. probably not to reopen, along with international First. Corp contracts that kept international F around will most likely take a while to return and likely be smaller if/when they do. It may remain on the A321T though (if those remain in the current config). As far as the physical space of F Dining goes, knock down a wall and do some slight reconfiguring, now you have additional dining room for the main Flagship Lounge. If F remains on transcon they can do as before and offer a private holding room for celebrities/high-rollers that demand such amenities.

  19. Even though I’m a Knicks fan, I have to agree with Jordan23. Having worked in Michelin starred restaurants for over a decade, champagne can age just fine (it is a wine after all). I plan on popping some vintage bubbles when the Knicks make the playoffs again…thanks to James Dolan, mine might be aging for another decade…

  20. @D3kingg, Anthony Mason (RIP) was my guy.

    375ml bottles do age at a little faster rate (given ideal storage conditions for each particular wine), and champagne will lose some of its vibrancy over time. But, I’ve had older champagne that might have been considered past the point of being good which was excellent, so it’s a crapshoot. Wine is a living substance, so how you treat it/store it and a number of other factors (such as the initial quality of the wine) can be consequential to how it drinks when opened. Aging “two buck chuck” for 20 years won’t turn it into Lafite. But, if you do have a half-bottle of Krug, it’s really meant to be enjoyed as soon as it’s cold.

  21. @jordan23, @applesa. The comment from @GuruJanitor may not be that far fetched. A quick search on Alibaba can find Krug, Dom, and others available for $12-30 per bottle with a 50-100 case minimum. Whether or one can actually trust what’s inside the bottle is another story.

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