How To Access American Airlines Admirals Clubs

How To Access American Airlines Admirals Clubs

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Want to learn more about accessing US airline lounges? See my series about how to access Alaska LoungesAmerican Admirals ClubsDelta SkyClubs, and United Clubs.

American Airlines operates a network of nearly 50 Admirals Clubs globally. There’s often confusion about who gets access to these lounges, given how policies differ around the world. In most places in the world, any business class ticket will get you lounge access, while that’s largely not true in the United States.

In this post I wanted to take a comprehensive look at how American Airlines lounge access works.

What should you expect from American Airlines Admirals Clubs?

Don’t get too excited when it comes to the quality of American Airlines Admirals Clubs.

For the most part, Admirals Clubs are just lounges that are typically calmer than the terminal, with complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks, and drinks (including house beer, wine, and liquor).

American Airlines Admirals Club Miami

On top of that, Admirals Clubs typically have more substantial food, as well as premium drinks, available for purchase.

In some cases Admirals Clubs are significantly calmer than the terminal, while in some cases they’re still quite crowded. Personally I find the Admirals Clubs at my home airport of Miami to pretty consistently be quiet, so they’re my lounges of choice here.

American Airlines Admirals Club Miami

How to access American Airlines Admirals Clubs

American Admirals Clubs are membership lounges, meaning that they’re primarily intended for members. However, there are some other ways to access Admirals Clubs as well, depending on your status, the type of ticket you have, what credit card you have, etc. Below are all the options for American Airlines lounge access.

Buy an Admirals Club membership (with miles or cash)

The most obvious way to access Admirals Clubs is to outright buy an annual membership, which can be done with miles or cash. The cost of this varies depending on your elite status with AAdvantage, and whether you’re looking for an individual or household account.

Here’s the cash cost to buy an Admirals Club membership:

American Admirals Club membership cost in cash

Then here’s the cost to purchase an Admirals Club membership with miles:

American Admirals Club membership cost in miles

As you can see, this is valuing AAdvantage miles at one cent each, so in general I wouldn’t recommend redeeming miles this way (I value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each). I’d much rather pay cash and use my miles for more worthwhile redemptions.

As a last option, you could also redeem 3,300 points through American’s Business Extra program for an annual membership. For those of you not familiar, this is American’s small business rewards program. Personally I’d rather redeem my Business Extra points in another way, but it’s an option.

A couple of things to note for Admirals Club members:

  • You can only use Admirals Clubs when flying same day on American Airlines or a oneworld partner airline (though you can also use the lounge on arrival)
  • You can either bring your immediate family members with you (including spouse, domestic partner, and children under 18), or up to two guests

Get the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) is one of my all around favorite airline credit cards. The card has a $450 annual fee, and offers an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember.

In and of itself that represents cost savings compared to a membership, as the cheapest cost for an Admirals Club membership is usually $550 per year.

But it gets better than that. Those with the card can add up to 10 authorized users, and each of those authorized users receives Admirals Club access when flying American Airlines same day for them and two guests or immediate family (they don’t have to be flying with the primary cardmember).

Yes, that single $450 annual fee can get up to 11 parties access to Admirals Clubs, which is amazing. If you want Admirals Club access and are eligible for the card, that’s without a doubt the best way to access Admirals Clubs.

Buy an Alaska Lounge membership

One alternative to getting an Admirals Club membership directly is that you could instead buy an Alaska Lounge membership. Alaska Airlines offers two different lounge membership plans. An Alaska Lounge membership gets you access to just Alaska Lounges, and costs:

  • $450 annually for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • $350 annually for Mileage Plan MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K members

An Alaska Lounge+ membership gets you access to Alaska Lounges and American Admirals Clubs, as well as select Qantas Clubs (when flying Qantas) and select United Clubs (when flying Alaska), and costs:

  • $600 annually for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • $500 annually for Mileage Plan MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold 100K members
Alaska Lounge membership cost

As you can see, in some cases this could represent a marginally better deal, depending on your status and lounge needs.

Alaska Airlines Lounge New York

Buy a day pass

It’s also possible to buy Admirals Club day passes, at the cost of either $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles. Between those options I’d definitely recommend paying cash rather than redeeming points. It’s also possible to redeem 300 American Business Extra points for an Admirals Club day pass (these are different than American AAdvantage miles).

This is valid for the entire day, so if you’re connecting you can use multiple clubs. These passes can be purchased directly at the club.

While the pass is per person, you can bring up to three children under the age of 18 with you without needing extra passes. You also need to be flying American or a partner airline the same day to buy a day pass.

For the most part I wouldn’t consider this to be a very good deal, unless:

  • You happen to have a very long connection, or multiple connections
  • You’re traveling with kids under 18, since they can come with you at no extra cost

Book an eligible business or first class ticket

A standard domestic first class ticket won’t get you access to Admirals Clubs. However, certain types of tickets will. If you are traveling first or business class on an eligible international or premium domestic flight operated by American or a oneworld partner, you do get lounge access.

Qualifying international itineraries include flights between the United States and:

  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Caribbean (this includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, even though they’re part of the US)
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South America

There’s just one exception — if you’re an Alaska Airlines first class passenger traveling between the United States and Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico (excluding Mexico City), you wouldn’t get Admirals Club access.

Qualifying domestic itineraries include those between the following city pairs:

  • New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO)
  • New York (JFK) and Orange County (SNA)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA)
  • Dallas (DFW) and Honolulu (HNL)
  • Dallas (DFW) and Kona (KOA)
  • Dallas (DFW) and Maui (OGG)
  • Chicago (ORD) and Honolulu (HNL)
  • Charlotte (CLT) and Honolulu (HNL)

Those traveling in business class can’t bring any additional guests, while those traveling in international first class or transcontinental A321T first class can bring one guest.

Select business class passengers receive lounge access

Have Concierge Key status

This is along the lines of the Admirals Club membership above, but American’s invitation only Concierge Key members receive a complimentary Admirals Club membership, so they’d get Admirals Club access under the same conditions as members.

Have American Airlines AAdvantage elite status

American AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum flyers get Admirals Club access when traveling same day on a oneworld flight between the United States and:

  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South America

There’s just one exception — if you’re a oneworld elite member flying Alaska Airlines between the United States and Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico (excluding Mexico City), you wouldn’t get Admirals Club access.

You don’t just get access at the international gateway, but rather at all airports throughout your journey. Eligible AAdvantage elite members can bring one guest with them.

Have oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status with a foreign program

If you’re a oneworld Sapphire or Emerald member who earns status through a program other than American AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan, you can access Admirals Clubs whenever you’re flying oneworld same day, even if you’re not traveling internationally.

Eligible oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members can bring one guest.

oneworld elite members with foreign programs get lounge access

Be an active duty military member

Active duty United States military personnel traveling in uniform on a same day American Airlines flight receive complimentary Admirals Club access. You’ll need to present your military ID.

Eligible military personnel can bring two guests or immediately members, including a spouse and children under 18.

What about American Airlines Flagship Lounge access?

In addition to Admirals Clubs, American Airlines also has Flagship Lounges in ChicagoDallasLos AngelesMiami, and New York. These are American’s premium international lounges, and they offer a much better selection of food and drinks, as well as other elevated amenities.

While these lounges were closed for over a year during the pandemic, they’re progressively starting to reopen. In September 2021 we saw the Flagship Lounges in Miami and New York reopen, and we should see other Flagship Lounges open in the near future.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge Dallas

How do the lounge access requirements compare? Of the above groups, the following also receive Flagship Lounge access:

  • Concierge Key members, and non-American AAdvantage and non-Alaska Mileage Plan oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members, on any American or oneworld flight (even domestic)
  • Those on eligible business and first class itineraries
  • AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Mileage Plan MVP Gold, Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K, and Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K members on eligible itineraries

What are eligible itineraries for the purposes of Flagship Lounge access? Qualifying business and first class itineraries include the following:

  • Between the US and Asia
  • Between the US and Australia
  • Between the US and Europe
  • Between the US and New Zealand
  • Between the US and South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela)
  • Between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Between New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO)
  • Between New York (JFK) and Orange County (SNA)
  • Between Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA)
  • Between Dallas (DFW) and Honolulu (HNL)
  • Between Dallas (DFW) and Kona (KOA)
  • Between Dallas (DFW) and Maui (OGG)
  • Between Chicago (ORD) and Honolulu (HNL)
  • Between Charlotte (CLT) and Honolulu (HNL)

Then Alaska Mileage Plan and American AAdvantage elite members get Flagship Lounge access in all of the above markets when not in first or business class, except the nine domestic city pairs above.

The catch is that not all airports have Flagship Lounges. In other words, if you’re traveling from Tampa to Miami to London as an Executive Platinum member you could use the Admirals Club in Tampa and then the Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge in Miami (I’d highly recommend using the latter).

Lastly, American Airlines now sells Flagship Lounge access for $150 or 15,000 AAdvantage miles. I wouldn’t consider this to be a very good deal unless you have a very long layover, and plan to eat and drink a lot.

Admirals Club & Flagship Lounge Miami entrance

Bottom line

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to get American Airlines lounge access, in particular for Admirals Clubs.

These American Airlines lounges are primarily membership clubs, and if you are considering a membership, I’d highly recommend getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card instead. The card has a $450 annual fee so you’re already saving at least $100, and then you can get access for authorized users as well.

On top of that, select premium cabin passengers and oneworld elite members also receive Admirals Club access.

Hopefully the above clears up everything you could want to know about American Airlines lounge access. If I missed anything, please let me know.

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  1. SC Guest

    What is a qualifying connecting flight with a Oneworld partner like JetBlue? Any exclusion destinations?

  2. Rhonda Guest

    Maybe you can help, I am confused. I have a flight from Rome to Detroit with a layover in Philadelphia. Business class and first class respectively. I was just told on the AA chat that because I am not an Admirals Club member I would have to pay $59 to use the lounge in Philly. Does my business class international ticket not grant me access? Their Flagship lounge has been closed for several years. Additionally,...

    Maybe you can help, I am confused. I have a flight from Rome to Detroit with a layover in Philadelphia. Business class and first class respectively. I was just told on the AA chat that because I am not an Admirals Club member I would have to pay $59 to use the lounge in Philly. Does my business class international ticket not grant me access? Their Flagship lounge has been closed for several years. Additionally, do you know if there is a lounge in Rome at FCO that I would get complimentary access to? Thank you!

    1. Brian Guest

      There is an ok lounge in Rome. Partner lounge..usually very crowded.

  3. WJ Guest

    wonder if exp get upgraded on lax bos have access to the lounge?
    TIA

  4. Richard Guest

    I would not waste my time and especially my money to access this club and add profit to a lousy airline

  5. AaronP Guest

    Business Extra ran a promo last month offering day passes for only 200 points!!!

  6. Frank Guest

    You dont get access to Flagship Lounge if traveling to Lima from Miami. Weird cause I just flew that route and got denied.

    1. Sonny Guest

      @Frank Do you have OW status or you were flying business or first class?

  7. Cwyfan Guest

    If travelling one world business from Heathrow to Anchorage through Seattle , would access to the lounge in all 3 airports be included?

  8. Guy Guest

    OneWorld Emerald earned through non AA/Alaskan also gains Flagship lounge access even on domestic inventories. This includes one guest and is one of the main reasons I credit everything for AA to BA.

    1. Guy Guest

      Oops totally missed the paragraph stating this above! Sorry!

  9. Stephen Addison Guest

    The rules for being able to use Flagship lounges are a bit more complicated. As AA platinum, I can access the MIA Flagship lounge on my CLT-MIA-EZE round trip in PE for the outbound trip but not on the return. Here's the rule: "Get access if you’re departing on or connecting to a qualifying same-day international flight marketed and operated by American or a oneworld® airline (regardless of cabin)."

    1. TranceXplant Member

      You should be able to access it in both directions. My most common (non-pandemic) route is MSP-ORD-HKG roundtrip in PE, and I've never had any trouble getting into the O'Hare Flagship lounge to or fro. I've also gotten in when pasting together tickets (for price reasons) for odder itineraries - eg. MSP-ORD-SEA + SEA-HKG-SYD or SYD-LAX-ORD + ORD-MSP. Be sure to have them scan the international ticket, not the domestic one.

  10. Al C Guest

    Why would this route be listed for routes which qualify for Flagship lounge:
    Between Charlotte (CLT) and Honolulu (HNL)
    ?

    Neither CLT nor HNL have a Flagship lounge...

    1. DenB Diamond

      Because you might make a connection enroute and wish to use the lounge at the connection point.

  11. Scotes New Member

    JetBlue. With JetBlue not becoming a OW member but having all these other great reciprocal benefits with AA when will AA allow ticketed B6 flyers access?!? I'm talking to you LAX T5 AC....

    And yes... I've asked this same question every time Ben posts something related to the AA/B6 collaboration or the AC because these days the main travel is on a route that B6 is the only one with a direct flight from LA.

  12. John Guest

    Several credit card have annual incidental credits, such as the Ritz card. Charge your day pass to that card and you get the amount reimbursed.

    1. Fifs Guest

      If you purchase day pass can you use it to enter dfw lounge on arrival flying economy?

    2. Bill Guest

      Yes, you should be able to, because same day Admirals Club passes allow lounge access on departure, connections, AND arrival. My only concern is the crowding of lounges and possibly being denied entry. I tried to use a day pass at ORD and was turned away because "we are currently at capacity serving our members."

  13. DaninMCI Guest

    I agree with most of this but I believe if you buy the business advantage day pass it can be used by anyone (I could be wrong). I agree the clubs are mostly overcrowded and not a nice as they used to be. Too many people with access is the real issue.

  14. George Romey Guest

    I've been a member since 2008 and lately the clubs are packed beyond belief. Bathrooms are as dirty as they are in the terminal and often lines to use the "stalls." Food areas also dirty. It's not the staff's fault there's no way they can keep up. Wifi at the ACs is often unavailable because the bandwidth can't meet the demand. If you're lucky the airport wifi will reach within the AC. From what I...

    I've been a member since 2008 and lately the clubs are packed beyond belief. Bathrooms are as dirty as they are in the terminal and often lines to use the "stalls." Food areas also dirty. It's not the staff's fault there's no way they can keep up. Wifi at the ACs is often unavailable because the bandwidth can't meet the demand. If you're lucky the airport wifi will reach within the AC. From what I read the ACs are not alone.

    Like everything else with flying the business strategy is pack the place to the gills-clubs, gate areas, planes, TSA, etc. The clubs (not to mention the gates and security entrances) were never mean't for this level of passenger volume.

    Ultimately if you fly a lot a lounge membership is better than sitting at even lowder, crowder and dirtier gates. But the day of a lounge being an oasis from a crowded terminal are well over.

  15. Andrew Diamond

    I consider a day pass a very good deal when:
    1. You unfortunately have the AmEx Platinum and assigned the $200 credit to AA.
    2. You realize your Platinum Pro status invalidates any reasonable way to use it.
    3. It's at year end, and want to stick it to AmEx for being so greedy about their credits.

  16. Joe Guest

    Please note that Day Passes are valid only for one year from purchase, and are non-transferable - they must be used by the person named on the pass.

    They are not only intransigent on the non-transferable part, but they also won't extend the dates, even if the Clubs are closed during the year at your preferred locations.

    As mine expire on 12/31, and was unable to use them in both April and June...

    Please note that Day Passes are valid only for one year from purchase, and are non-transferable - they must be used by the person named on the pass.

    They are not only intransigent on the non-transferable part, but they also won't extend the dates, even if the Clubs are closed during the year at your preferred locations.

    As mine expire on 12/31, and was unable to use them in both April and June because of Club closures or capacity constraints, I had asked for an extension (no) or the ability to have a friend use them (no).

    Buyer beware.

  17. Brant Guest

    Hey Lucky, I can only assume that part of the impetus for this post is your previous post regarding OneWorld Emerald achieved through the bonus points promotion with Finnair. I’m probably going to go for that now since it doesn’t seem to be so which will last. However, I’d like some clarification about exactly how long the status will actually last. This seems a little vague. If I pulled that trigger on this promo today,...

    Hey Lucky, I can only assume that part of the impetus for this post is your previous post regarding OneWorld Emerald achieved through the bonus points promotion with Finnair. I’m probably going to go for that now since it doesn’t seem to be so which will last. However, I’d like some clarification about exactly how long the status will actually last. This seems a little vague. If I pulled that trigger on this promo today, what is you take on how long I’d have OW Emerald.

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SC Guest

What is a qualifying connecting flight with a Oneworld partner like JetBlue? Any exclusion destinations?

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Bill Guest

Yes, you should be able to, because same day Admirals Club passes allow lounge access on departure, connections, AND arrival. My only concern is the crowding of lounges and possibly being denied entry. I tried to use a day pass at ORD and was turned away because "we are currently at capacity serving our members."

0
Brian Guest

There is an ok lounge in Rome. Partner lounge..usually very crowded.

0
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