Review: American Admirals Club New York (JFK)

Review: American Admirals Club New York (JFK)

NAME: American Admirals Club
Airport: JFK
DATE: March 2023
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: While American has hugely upped its lounge game at JFK, the airport's sole Admirals Club is the exception. It's outdated, not very big, and has a weak food and drink selection.
12
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American Airlines has recently hugely invested in its lounges at JFK Terminal 8, coinciding with British Airways moving to the terminal. I’ve reviewed the Greenwich Lounge, Soho Lounge, and Chelsea Lounge, which are the three premium lounges in the terminal. All three lounges are fantastic.

In this installment I wanted to review the American Admirals Club in JFK Terminal 8. Unfortunately this offers a very different experience than you’ll get at one of the three specialty lounges. This lounge is outdated, doesn’t have an ideal location, and has the typical Admirals Club fare.

So while I’m not a fan of this lounge, I also understand the circumstances that led to this. American closed its other Admirals Club in the terminal in order to expand the Greenwich Lounge. Here’s to hoping that this lounge is renovated soon in line with the new style American Admirals Clubs, as we’ve seen at Washington National Airport (DCA).

Admirals Club New York JFK location

The American Admirals Club JFK is located in Terminal 8 Concourse C, near gate 42. Once you clear security, just keep walking straight, underneath the signage for American’s other lounges in the terminal.

JFK Terminal 8 airside

Eventually you’ll see signage leading to gates 31-47, which requires taking the escalator or elevator down a level to the underground walkway.

JFK Terminal 8 airside
JFK Terminal 8 escalator
JFK Terminal 8 underground walkway

Once you ascend on the other side, you’ll find yourself in Concourse C. Before you get to any gates, you’ll see the entrance to the Admirals Club on the left.

American Admirals Club JFK entrance

The above entrance only has a staircase, so if you’d prefer to use an elevator to access the lounge, that’s located right across the hall. The lounge is one level above the main concourse, on the third floor.

American Admirals Club JFK elevators

The lounge location won’t be ideal for many travelers. If you’re not departing from gates 31-47, you’ll have to go back to your gate via the underground walkway, so it’s quite a detour.

Admirals Club New York JFK hours

The American Admirals Club JFK is currently open daily from 4:30AM until 11PM, covering a vast majority of departures from the terminal.

Admirals Club New York JFK entry requirements

There are a variety of ways to access American Admirals Clubs, ranging from buying an Admirals Club membership, to having elite status and being on an eligible itinerary.

Personally I access Admirals Clubs using the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review), which is one of my all around favorite airline credit cards. The card has a $595 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 $850 per year.

Note that if you’re traveling internationally in a premium cabin or with elite status, you’ll probably have access to one of the better lounges in the terminal, so I’d absolutely go out of my way to use them.

See my guide to American Admirals Club access.

Admirals Club New York JFK seating & layout

The Admirals Club JFK isn’t about to win any design awards, to put it mildly. The lounge clearly received new furniture in the past few years, but the rest of the lounge design will transport you back to the 90s. There’s also not much coordination between the new furniture and the old design, so it feels really mismatched. And those ceiling “tiles” ain’t pretty either.

Anyway, on to the lounge’s layout…

When you enter the lounge, there are rows of seats facing one another to the left, and then the bar area to the right. The bar area has cafe-style tables, as well as some high-top seating at the bar counter.

American Admirals Club JFK seating
American Admirals Club JFK bar area

Once you go down that first hall, you’l find yourself in the main part of the lounge, which has red and gray chairs arranged in rows, as well as a handful of cafe tables and some communal high-top workstations. The lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer great views of the apron.

American Admirals Club JFK seating
American Admirals Club JFK seating
American Admirals Club JFK seating
American Admirals Club JFK seating
American Admirals Club JFK seating

Then closer to the entrance of the lounge but on the other side are two TV rooms, separated by a glass partition.

American Admirals Club JFK TV area
American Admirals Club JFK TV area

Lastly, the lounge has a small play area for kids. Even this is totally no frills.

American Admirals Club JFK kids play area

It’s not a big lounge at all, but then again, (hopefully) a vast majority of passengers have access to American’s more premium lounges, especially with JFK being a major international gateway.

Admirals Club New York JFK food & drinks

American isn’t exactly known for its great Admirals Club catering, and this lounge is no exception. The self-serve buffet is located just past the bar area.

American Admirals Club JFK buffet
American Admirals Club JFK buffet

I was there during breakfast, and options included hardboiled eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit (both whole fruit and fruit salad), cereal, muffins, bagels, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs (with accompaniments like cheese, bacon, tortillas, and pico de gallo).

American Admirals Club JFK breakfast
American Admirals Club JFK breakfast
American Admirals Club JFK breakfast
American Admirals Club JFK breakfast
American Admirals Club JFK breakfast

To drink, there was tea, an espresso machine, La Colombo drip coffee, orange juice, and water. Other soft drinks are available from one of the bartenders.

American Admirals Club JFK drinks
American Admirals Club JFK drinks
American Admirals Club JFK drinks

There’s also a kitchen area of sorts across from the buffet, though there’s not anything there most of the time. Sometimes the avocado toast bar is opened, but that wasn’t the case during my visit.

American Admirals Club JFK service area

Admirals Clubs offer complimentary house beer and wine, as well as basic liquor. Meanwhile premium drinks, as well as more substantial food, are available for purchase. You can find the menu for those options below.

American Admirals Club JFK food & drinks for purchase
American Admirals Club JFK signature drink

While American has made some mild improvements to its lounge catering in recent years, think this is an area where there’s lots of room for improvement.

Admirals Club New York JFK bathrooms & showers

The Admirals Club JFK bathrooms are located past the bar area and to the left. The men’s room has three sinks, two urinals, and three stalls, so it’s not exactly a huge bathroom situation.

American Admirals Club JFK bathrooms
American Admirals Club JFK bathrooms

There are also some shower suites in the Admirals Club, though I didn’t have a chance to check them out. I’ve used them before, though, and they’re fine, though not as modern as the showers in the other clubs. At least American makes an effort to have showers in its membership lounges, unlike some other airlines.

American Admirals Club JFK showers

Bottom line

While American has done an amazing job elevating its lounge offerings at JFK, the Admirals Club Terminal 8 is the exception. The lounge is on the small side, has an outdated design, and has a fairly disappointing selection of food and drinks.

This is such a contrast from the Greenwich, Soho, and Chelsea Lounges, which are all phenomenal. Hopefully American gets around to renovating this lounge. Then again, that will mean that there won’t be an Admirals Club at JFK for some amount of time.

What do you make of the Admirals Club JFK?

Conversations (12)
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  1. Eliane Kostek Guest

    I found the lounge to be super crowded with very few seats left. The selection of food was very limited specially for people that are Celiac. No gluten free options for bread, crackers, desserts. Even the main course was breaded!!! The Tea selection was also limited, just black tea or green tea! No herbal teas.

  2. jon_isp New Member

    There's a whole other room off of the check-in area to the right as you come off of the elevator. This area is designated as the "quiet area" and has some day-beds as well as another small drink/snack station. This area is typically less crowded than the main lounge area.

  3. shoeguy Guest

    I bet American will close the Admirals Club in Concourse C eventually, and go back to having one adjacent to Greenwich (Flagship) as it was originally, but smaller. That way, they will have a renovated space and just need to put better furniture and keep the costs lower rather than overhauling the Admirals Club in the C concourse. The Brooklyn Bar concept is a nice to have, but doesn't really dramatically enhance the experience all...

    I bet American will close the Admirals Club in Concourse C eventually, and go back to having one adjacent to Greenwich (Flagship) as it was originally, but smaller. That way, they will have a renovated space and just need to put better furniture and keep the costs lower rather than overhauling the Admirals Club in the C concourse. The Brooklyn Bar concept is a nice to have, but doesn't really dramatically enhance the experience all that much.

    The argument for 2 Admirals Clubs because of perceived distances to gates is a bit thin. It doesn't take that long to get from B to C.

  4. Bill n DC Diamond

    Too bad about the crowding. I like the view from the far left corner. DCA flts usually had me walk by on way to TWA Hotel or some fancier lounge at another terminal. So I’d have a moment, enjoy the view & a beverage, then move on.

    Food looked like DCA middle pier AC last month. I can make a bacon egg cheese salsa taco
    Will enjoy new DCA AC again Friday morning

  5. George Romey Guest

    Now that AA is down to a single AC I've found this one much more crowded. The big problem I see is that many of AA's ACs are too small to try to somewhat replicate the new DC AC or maybe even the expanded LGA AC. The JFK location is no exception. The current ACs were never made to be at near full capacity nearly 100% of the time. I write this as I sit...

    Now that AA is down to a single AC I've found this one much more crowded. The big problem I see is that many of AA's ACs are too small to try to somewhat replicate the new DC AC or maybe even the expanded LGA AC. The JFK location is no exception. The current ACs were never made to be at near full capacity nearly 100% of the time. I write this as I sit in the DFW A club. Almost every seat taken and the poor staff trying to keep up with the pace of refreshing food offerings and cleaning.

  6. Devan Thakur Guest

    From my understanding, as an EXP flying from JFK to LAX in economy in May, I don’t have access to any of the main lounges unless my upgrade clears in advance (unlikely to clear at all, even though I’m using a systemwide). I do have the cc to access this club, but this looks quite sad. I’m depressed

    1. The nice Paul Diamond

      Wouldn’t you be better off joining a non-US oneworld FF programme — any of them — and crediting your AA flights to that account? Then, having a non-US OW status, you’d get better lounge access than having OW status through AA.

  7. Ben Guest

    Delta Club at JFK is what a club SHOULD BE! Staff is so nice - they are constantly cleaning - the food offerings are amazing -- they even have a Nathans Hotdog stand -- with pretzels and hot dogs! Other clubs can learn from this.

  8. hotintx Guest

    If you turn left when you come up the stairs, there is an entire other area to this lounge. Maybe an additional 3/4 of the side that you reviewed. Seems to stay much more quiet and when I was there, the lights stayed dimmed. Didn't seem like many knew it existed. Nothing there except water/tea setup and seats, but helped to get out of the hustle of the other side.

  9. Anthony Diamond

    Ultimately, this is a major reason why I continue to fly Delta (for the most part) out of JFK despite currently being on an American Airlines status fast pass / challenge. Originating out of JFK, I would generally either have access to the lowest of Greenwich (or whichever is the business one) or this sad club. Or if I am flying a JetBlue flight, I have no club in that terminal. As a Delta flyer,...

    Ultimately, this is a major reason why I continue to fly Delta (for the most part) out of JFK despite currently being on an American Airlines status fast pass / challenge. Originating out of JFK, I would generally either have access to the lowest of Greenwich (or whichever is the business one) or this sad club. Or if I am flying a JetBlue flight, I have no club in that terminal. As a Delta flyer, I have access to the SkyClub and Centurion lounge now, and will soon have access to another SkyClub and a Delta One lounge.

  10. Gary Leff Guest

    During the pandemic when they had Greenwich available as an Admirals Club they had an opportunity to renovate this one. Then they wouldn't have needed to eliminate Admirals Club access entirely to do it. And they kept doing capital spend on other things, like retrofitting planes! They should have done work on this lounge when they had a much better chance. Sadly they did not. And sadly JFK Admirals Club members no longer have club...

    During the pandemic when they had Greenwich available as an Admirals Club they had an opportunity to renovate this one. Then they wouldn't have needed to eliminate Admirals Club access entirely to do it. And they kept doing capital spend on other things, like retrofitting planes! They should have done work on this lounge when they had a much better chance. Sadly they did not. And sadly JFK Admirals Club members no longer have club access at all on the main concourse, either.

  11. Rob Guest

    I was wondering what this Admirals Club was like. I appreciate the review.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Guest

Delta Club at JFK is what a club SHOULD BE! Staff is so nice - they are constantly cleaning - the food offerings are amazing -- they even have a Nathans Hotdog stand -- with pretzels and hot dogs! Other clubs can learn from this.

3
Gary Leff Guest

During the pandemic when they had Greenwich available as an Admirals Club they had an opportunity to renovate this one. Then they wouldn't have needed to eliminate Admirals Club access entirely to do it. And they kept doing capital spend on other things, like retrofitting planes! They should have done work on this lounge when they had a much better chance. Sadly they did not. And sadly JFK Admirals Club members no longer have club access at all on the main concourse, either.

2
The nice Paul Diamond

Wouldn’t you be better off joining a non-US oneworld FF programme — any of them — and crediting your AA flights to that account? Then, having a non-US OW status, you’d get better lounge access than having OW status through AA.

1
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