A couple of weeks ago, American Airlines announced that it’s making improvements to its Admirals Clubs, though the cost to access Admirals Clubs is increasing as a result. Suffice it to say that this is a mixed bag. I wanted to recap the changes, as they are now live.
Admirals Clubs getting better food & drinks
American Airlines is improving the food and drink selection at Admirals Clubs in the coming months. These changes have started to roll out at select clubs as of July 23, 2023, and will be available at all clubs by early 2024:
- Admirals Clubs will feature a more substantial selection of complimentary premium food, with a new hot and cold breakfast, and all-day menus with regionally inspired selections; this will include Cuban pork sliders in Miami and mini crab cakes in Washington DC
- Lounges will offer convenient grab-and-go snacks for those with limited time
- Admirals Clubs will feature complimentary sparkling wine, craft beer, and spirits (including scotch and tequila); customers can also enjoy complimentary cocktails like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and signature cocktails with local flavors
These improvements of course sound great. Only time will tell how substantial these changes are actually are, both in terms of quality and variety. I’m skeptical, given the track record that Admirals Clubs have. I’d also probably manage my expectations when it comes to the grab-and-go snacks, as I can’t imagine this will be like the Capital One Lounge DFW.
These changes complement American working on redesigning its Admirals Clubs, with the first new Admirals Club having opened at Washington National Airport (DCA). I’ve reviewed the lounge, and was very impressed by the changes. You can expect the next airports with these redesigned lounges to be Denver (DEN) and Newark (EWR).
Admirals Club membership fee increase
As you’d expect, these positive changes come at a cost for Admirals Club members and guests. As of July 23, 2023:
- The cost of an Admirals Club membership has increased to $850 or 85,000 AAdvantage miles; previously, membership cost $650 or 65,000 AAdvantage miles (for existing members, the new rates only kick in for renewals as of September 10, 2023)
- The cost of an Admirals Club day pass is increasing to $79 or 7,900 AAdvantage miles; previously, a day pass cost $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles
- The annual fee on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) has increased from $450 to $595 per year, and you’ll no longer get free Admirals Club access for authorized users; I’ve covered the card changes in more detail in a separate post
American Airlines is making major changes to its Admirals Clubs. On the plus side, we’ll see an improved food and drink selection, which is long overdue. As you’d expect, it will come at a cost, though. Admirals Clubs will have higher membership fees, higher one day pass costs, and the annual fee on American’s premium credit card is increasing.
I’m conflicted on these Admirals Club changes. On the one hand, some positive lounge changes are long overdue. On the other hand, no one likes paying more, and the changes to the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card are especially brutal (though we knew these changes would come sooner or later).
What do you make of these American Admirals Club changes? If you visit an Admirals Club with any of the changes, please report back (and if you can share pictures, even better)!