The American Airlines Admirals Club is a place to relax and recharge before a flight on American Airlines or its partners.
Inside the lounge, you can expect complimentary refreshments, free Wi-Fi and a place to sit away from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal. You’ll find Admirals Clubs in 50 airports worldwide, including major American hubs like Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), as well as outposts in non-hub airports like Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), among others.
There are a handful of ways to access the Admirals Club before your next flight — let’s take a closer look at your options.
Same-day flights on American, JetBlue or other Oneworld carriers
Regardless of how you gain access to the Admirals Club, know that you must present a same-day boarding pass on American, JetBlue or a Oneworld partner airline. This means that if you’re an Admirals Club member traveling on United Airlines, you won’t be able to access the Admirals Club. Also, note that Admirals Club members traveling to or from Europe on JetBlue do not have access to the Admirals Club.
Arguably the best way to access the Admirals Club is by opening the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, which comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. As American’s most premium credit card, cardholders receive a complimentary membership to the Admirals Club, which largely offsets the $450 annual fee. They can also bring in their immediate family or up to two guests.
The real hidden gem of this card comes from its generous authorized user policy. You can add up to 10 authorized users to your account, each getting their own Admirals Club access privilege when they hold a same-day ticket on American or its partners. This is the case even when the primary cardholder isn’t traveling.
Because of this, some might consider splitting the annual fee with several authorized users to bring down everyone’s lounge costs.
Just be aware that authorized users do not get a full membership but rather just access. This is critical because their privileges only extend to Admirals Club locations, not partner lounges. Nevertheless, it’s still a valuable way for you to make the travel experience easier and less stressful for your friends and family members who travel on American.
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Of course, you can always purchase a membership the old-fashioned way: by paying cash. Here’s how much you should expect to spend:
|Type of membership||Annual price (individual membership)
||Annual price (household membership — membership for you and your spouse or domestic partner)|
|AAdvantage member.||$650 ($600 to renew).||$1,250 ($1,200 to renew).|
|Gold.||$625 ($575 to renew).||$1,225 ($1,175 to renew).|
|Platinum.||$600 ($550 to renew).||$1,200 ($1,150 to renew).|
|Platinum Pro.||$575 ($525 to renew).||$1,175 ($1,125 to renew).|
|Executive Platinum.||$550 ($500 to renew).||$1,150 ($1,100 to renew).|
You can also use miles to purchase an Admirals Club membership at 1 cent apiece. TPG values American miles at 1.77 cents, so we generally don’t recommend redeeming American miles this way.
|Type of membership||Annual price (individual membership, in miles)
||Annual price (household membership — membership for you and your spouse or domestic partner, in miles)|
|AAdvantage member.||65,000 (60,000 to renew).||125,000 (120,000 to renew).|
|Gold.||62,500 (57,500 to renew).||122,500 (117,500 to renew).|
|Platinum.||60,000 (55,000 to renew).||120,000 (115,000 to renew).|
|Platinum Pro.||57,500 (52,500 to renew).||117,500 (112,500 to renew).|
|Executive Platinum.||55,000 (50,000 to renew).||115,000 (110,00 to renew).|
You can use one-day passes at some Admirals Club locations. These are available for purchase for $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles. During peak hours, however, be prepared to be turned away with a one-day pass.
Elite status access rules are nearly identical for the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge, so if you have a choice, go to the Flagship Lounge.
American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan elites
If you hold Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status through American AAdvantage (via Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum status) or the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (via MVP Gold, 75K and 100K status), you and a guest can access Admirals Clubs or Flagship Lounges on qualifying international itineraries operated by American or a Oneworld partner, even in economy class.
Other Oneworld elites
If you are a Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald member with a program other than AAdvantage or Mileage Plan, you and a guest can access an Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge when traveling on American or another Oneworld carrier.
Loyalty Point Choice Rewards
Starting in the 2023 membership year, the following Loyalty Point Choice Rewards are available to help you get into an Admirals Club:
- 175,000 Loyalty Points: six one-day passes.
- 250,000 Loyalty Points: six one-day passes or an Admirals Club membership (remember, when you achieve this tier, you can select from two Loyalty Point Choice Rewards, but the Admirals Club membership requires both of your selections).
- 400,000 Loyalty Points: An Admirals Club membership (requires two choices).
- 550,000 Loyalty Points: An Admirals Club membership (requires two choices).
While standard domestic first-class tickets won’t get you access to Admirals Clubs, the following types of tickets will:
- Business- and first-class tickets on international American- or Oneworld-operated flights.
- Domestic Flagship-ticketed flights. This includes Flagship nonstop flights between:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), John Wayne Airport (SNA) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and LAX.
- Miami International Airport (MIA) and LAX.
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) or Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG).
- Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and HNL.
Again, if you’re flying through JFK, LAX, MIA, DFW or ORD, you should seek out a Flagship Lounge. Still, for premium transcontinental passengers originating in Boston or San Francisco, Admirals Club access can be a benefit.
You won’t be able to bring in a guest if you’re getting lounge access this way unless you’re flying in international first class, in which case you’re allowed one guest so long as they’re on the same flight.
With a valid military ID and same-day American Airlines boarding pass, U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform can access the Admirals Club and partner club locations. You can bring in your immediate family or up to two guests.
However, U.S. uniformed military personnel can’t access these two partner lounges:
- Airspace Lounge in San Diego International Airport (SAN).
- JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).
There are numerous ways to access the Admirals Club. While the creature comforts of American’s Admirals Clubs significantly vary, these lounges are still better than sitting in a crowded terminal and spending more than $5 on a bottle of water.
Just make sure you’re well versed in the ins and outs of accessing the Flagship Lounge. After all, if you have access to the Flagship Lounge, you wouldn’t want to visit the Admirals Club mistakenly.
If you’re like most TPG staffers who value an Admirals Club membership, a single credit card that provides membership for you and access for your guests may be the way to go.
Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg.