One Month Left To Figure Out A New Admirals Club Access Plan

Filed Under: American, Citi
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As we first learned last July, some major changes are being made to the Citi Prestige® Card as of July 23, 2017. This is a card that I considered to be one of the most well rounded out there, thanks to the $250 annual airline credit, Admirals Club access, fourth night free hotel benefit, etc.

As of July 23, 2017, the Citi Prestige® Card will no longer offer access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs, meaning that many of us have a month to figure out how we want to access American’s lounges going forward.

While this certainly reduces the value of the Citi Prestige Card to me, I still find it more than worthwhile to hold onto. I’ve used the fourth night free hotel benefit on the card many times, and it has saved me thousands of dollars. So it does take away a benefit I’ve long valued, though it doesn’t impact whether or not the card still makes sense for me.

Nonetheless I’m in a position where I seriously need to think about how I plan on getting Admirals Club access in the future. On one hand I wonder if it’s even worth bothering, given that the lounges are often overcrowded, to the point that I’ve sometimes found myself just sitting in the terminal rather than the club, even when I have access.

On the other hand, it’s still a nice option to have, especially if the cost is reasonable. The most obvious way to get Admirals Club access is to buy an annual membership, though the pricing is steep:


The much better value is getting the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, which has a $450 annual fee and offers an Admirals Club membership. So paying a $450 annual fee compared to a $450 membership fee may seem like a wash, though the key benefit of this card is that you can add authorized users on this card at no additional cost, and they receive Admirals Club access as well. You can potentially add 10 authorized users and not pay any extra. So I might as well do this and be able to get Admirals Club access for friends and family at no extra cost, essentially.

The sign-up bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles upon completing minimum spend isn’t half bad either. 😉

Best of all, it looks like I should be eligible for this card and sign-up bonus again. I had this card back in the day, but canceled it in the first half of 2015. In looking at the online statement for my card, it looks like I haven’t had it opened in the past 24 months:

The terms regarding the sign-up bonus state the following:

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

The common interpretation of this is that you’re not eligible for the bonus if you’ve opened or closed any personal Citi AAdvantage Card in the past 24 months. While I have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, I’ve had it open for years. That means I should be eligible for the bonus, since I haven’t actively opened or closed a Citi AAdvantage Card in over 24 months. I suspect many other are in the same boat, and are in fact eligible for this bonus.

Bottom line

Right now four people in my family have the Citi Prestige® Card, and most of them will probably still find the card worth holding onto for the fourth night free benefit. However, Admirals Club access comes in handy to all of us at least to some degree, so my plan is to sign-up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and then add several authorized users. I view it as a buy one Admirals Club membership and get 10 free deal.

Best of all, it looks like I should be eligible for the sign-up bonus again, since I haven’t had the card in over two years.

Anyone else plan on picking up the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® for Admirals Club access?

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  1. I’m using my Business Extra points since they tend to be worthless otherwise to me. The redemption for flights are awful, and upgrades require an already more expensive ticket (no thanks, EXP takes care of most upgradable opportunities). Seeing as how most of my travel is international it gives you the option to just buy day passes as well, or full year memberships. Worth looking into if you don’t want to use another credit card, especially seeing as how hard it can be to use AA miles effectively.

  2. Did you mean
    so my plan is to sign-up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® EXECUTIVE World Elite™ Mastercard® and then add several authorized users. I view it as a buy onE Admirals Club membership and get 10 free deal.

    Couple of errors I think – Executive instead of Platinum select and buy one, not buy “on”

  3. I just added the Citi AA Executive Card because my whole family enjoys the admirals club. I have the prestige but received enough value from it to keep it ev n when the loss of Admirals Clubs comes at the end of July.

  4. I’ve had the AA Executive World Elite MasterCard for a while now and generally like it. I don’t put much spend on it, but I have added a few friends and family members as card holders and they enjoy the AA lounge access. We find that Admirals Clubs work for odd locations (John Wayne) where it’s useful to have the membership. When flying Virgin America out of San Francisco we really enjoy the SFO club. Additionally since my membership is a full membership, we also have reciprocal lounge access with Alaska, which we use in both Seattle and Portland.

  5. Do you have to be on an AA ticket to get into the admirals club with the world elite mastercard?

  6. @nikdro no, and they don’t ask for a ticket ever. Ive flown united and JetBlue while using it. They just swipe your card and usually on the first visit will photo copy your ID in so you don’t need to provide it after the first time. Pretty decent card

  7. @Brian thanks! I will consider getting this card then. I rarely fly AA since I’m in Denver and I prefer direct flights, so I typically find myself on Southwest. But there is a serious lack of lounge options at DIA

  8. Can one bring in guests with this card?

    I have the Prestige and I’m keeping it due to the other benefits (especially fourth night refund at hotels), but I’m considering the World Elite for the lounge access now.

  9. @ trup @ tina — I think another 100K bonus is highly unlikely, since that was offered around the time that the Amex Platinum Card no longer came with Admirals Club access. So while I think a higher sign-up bonus is possible at some point, I’m not convinced it will be soon, and I certainly don’t think it will be 100K.

  10. I picked up the Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard last fall hoping for the 50,000 point bonus. When it didn’t post, I called to find out why. I learned (the hard way) that it was 24 months since you’ve opened or CLOSED one of the Citi AAdvantage cards. I’d literally last closed an Executive card 23-1/2 months earlier. rrrggghhh. My own damn fault.

  11. There is also a different, potentially more cost effective option. If you have status with Alaska a membership can be as low as $295 for an Alaska Lounge membership. The Alaska Lounge membership gives you full access to Admirals Clubs. You need to be flying either AS or AA, but it works.

    After PP stopped working most of the time at Alaska Lounges, and knowing that the benefits of the Prestige card were running out, that was my solution.

    The Citi AAdvantage card isn’t an option, as I’m still in the 24 month period…

  12. I have QR platinum status, does that allow me to use domestic AA lounges when flying AA in the USA
    In KL
    I can go into their F lounge with my QR card while flying economy on MH

  13. @Thomas

    My thoughts exactly..except I went ahead and bought the 3 year membership because I knew they were opening a club at IAH (and maybe another too). Now going from NYC, Houston, and LAX/SNA, I have access during layovers and somewhere to go when I inevitably get delayed due to weather. and I wanted to protect myself in case they increased membership prices.

    Also, does an Admiral’s club membership give you access Departing AND Arriving? the language was ambiguous so I’ve been interpreting the language from Alaska’s website where it says “departing or arriving” as “I get access on both ends” lol. but agents @JFK and IAH were more than just happy to learn since they havent seen that many Boardroom members

  14. @Yehuda.

    yup, including access to Flagship lounges. if you say jump, they should ask you “how high?” lol.

  15. I must have been “Lucky.” 😉 Last year I got both the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite cards and received bonuses on both of them about 6 weeks apart. 50,000 on the former and 80,000 on the latter. While I have only flown one domestic AA flight ever, I have flown them on international trips to/from Europe. A few on awards on AA metal. I have no loyalty to the airline as they have no loyalty to their frequent flyers. $1000+ in surcharges for an award seat on BA in J is a real slap in the the face, especially when the price I paid for Business Class tickets YLW-SEA-DFW-MAD and VCE-PHL-SEA-YLW departing next week, returning mid-July was $1864. I plan to burn off my 420K AAdvantage miles on EY F back from the Middle East and look at CX for Asia.

    The few flights I do internationally with AA gets credited to AS. Alaska Airlines is my go to airline as Horizon Air has 3 times daily service from my hometown in the Okanagan of British Columbia to Seattle which connects to their network. I love their companion fares (I get four of them each year) with one BOA Alaska Airlines Visa and 3 MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard accounts in Canada. The Gold Guest Upgrades (GGU) can be applied to the Companion Fare itineraries and connections of less than 4 hours are also upgraded. In October I am going from ANC-LAX-SJO with one upgrade certificate and nearly 6000 miles SJO-LAX-SEA-PVR with one certificate. I also like that Costco takes VISA now in the USA and Costco takes MasterCard in Canada.

    Sorry! I kind of got off tangent but the reason I keep the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is that it does allow me access to the Alaska Lounge in ANC, SEA, PDX & LAX as other posters have noted above but also gives me access to the Admirals Club in cities where Alaska Flies but does not have a lounge such as SFO, DFW, JFK & PHX so it is a win for me to be able to access the Alaska Lounges (even when the notorious no PP access sign is out) and still have access to the Admirals Club.

    Keep in mind that if you have Authorized Users on the AAdvantage Executive world Elite MasterCard the reciprocal lounge agreement precludes them from using the Alaska Lounge. Only the primary account holder is granted access. The primary account shows Admirals Club on the back right side of the card just below the magnetic strip. The Authorized User cards do not have the Admirals Club logo on the back of the card.

    Love your posts Lucky.

    From someone who learned to type on a typewriter before they were electric, I find typing on a “smart devices” to be a challenge and I often make typos myself. I call it “fat thumb” syndrome. One a real typewriter the only thing your right thumb touches is the space bar while the left thumb is never used. The internet is fraught with errors in spelling, punctuation, composition & often grammatically challenged too; including the likes of many mainstream media outlets. Despite occasional errors, I still read and understand your thought processes and really enjoy you sharing your knowledge with the community.



  16. I have 2 complementary AA Admiral Passes. In Hawaii now so plan to use them at Honolulu Airport but read they must be usd at JAL lounge. Will they be accepted w/o a problem? I read if it is too crowded, they will issue $30 vouchers on the spot. Advise please.
    Also I want to compliment AA for finding and changing to an earlier flight for me on Hawaiian Airlines without a change fee!!!! Was I surprised and happy.

  17. @SFO, DFW, JFK & PHX, Alaska Lounge Membership give you access to partnered-lounges at each location – assuming you’re flying Alaska that day. you’d have access to Cathay Pacific lounge out of SFO, United Club at PHX, and Admirals Club at all 4 airports. LAS, MSP, PHL, DCA, & YVR also have partnered lounge locations if you’re flying AS that day.

    If history repeats itself and AS eventually increased lounge membership, buying the 3-year membership at a discounted rate might be a decent hedge.

  18. Try to status match to another OneWorld carrier. My CX status always gets me and a guest in even when I am flying AA domestically.

  19. About 6 months ago I kicked the AA club to the curb. Poor food options and the clubs were always crowded. I just sit in the main terminal or book trips that have longer layovers with Centurion lounges available.

    I don’t miss that club one minute. Never even find myself wanting to go in and I fly multiple times a week on American.

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