As of September 1, 2012, American will be updating their lounge access policy for transcontinental flights.
With American’s current policy, they allow all two-cabin full fare first and business class transcon passengers (those booked in F, Z, J, and U fare buckets) Admirals Club access, and three-cabin full fare first class transcon passengers Flagship Lounge access. Oddly they consider “full fare” passengers to be either those paying a full fare revenue ticket or those using miles, which excludes those passengers that are upgraded and those on paid discounted premium cabin tickets.
The policy seems kind of illogical to me. Someone on a 25,000 mile one-way business class award ticket from New York to Los Angeles is granted Admirals Club access, while someone on a $2,000 one-way discounted business class ticket that spends 15,000 miles to upgrade to first class isn’t granted access. And that’s where this policy simplifies things… at a cost.
The bad news
With the new policy, American will only allow passengers booked on nonstop flights between New York and Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and Miami and Los Angeles lounge access. Those passengers flying other transcontinental routes (including those out of Newark, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington) will no longer have lounge access.
The good news
American will no longer be limiting lounge access to those on full fare tickets. Instead, all premium cabin passengers, regardless of whether they’re on a revenue, award, or upgraded ticket, will get lounge access. Business class and two-cabin first class passengers will get Admirals Club access, while three-cabin first class passengers will get Flagship Lounge access.
On the whole I’d say the change is a wash. This is a lot simpler, and there’s something to be said for simplicity. At the same time it seems kind of asinine to tick off those passengers on full fare first class tickets by denying them lounge access.
Still, on the whole I’ll give this a “thumbs up,” simply because the old policy of giving access to those on award tickets but not those on discounted paid tickets made no sense to me.
(Tip of the hat to AAdvantage Geek)