American Admirals Club Membership Fee Increasing

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As someone who is primarily an American flyer, I value Admirals Club access. Not because the lounges are amazing, or anything, but rather because I value having a (relatively) quiet place from which to work with free wifi. However, I’ve never directly purchased an Admirals Club membership.

Admirals-Club-Honolulu-Airport-11
Admirals Club Honolulu

Admirals Club membership costs increasing

For those of you who do pay for an Admirals Club membership, the cost will be increasing for memberships purchased or renewed as of July 25, 2016.

If you’re purchasing a membership in cash, the cost is increasing by $50 for an individual membership or $100 for a household membership:

Admirals-Club-Membership-Cost-1

Meanwhile if redeeming miles for a membership, the cost is increasing by 5,000 miles for a personal membership or 10,000 miles for a household membership (but please don’t redeem your miles for an Admirals Club membership, as it’s a horrible value):

Admirals-Club-Membership-Cost-2

There’s one other change which is being made to Admirals Club memberships in the process. American is discontinuing 30 day Admirals Club memberships as of July 25, 2016. That costs $99, and is a relative bargain, in my opinion. A day pass costs $50, so you’d come out ahead after two visits. That doesn’t even account for the fact that you can bring in guests with a 30 day membership, while each individual would have to buy their own day pass.

It’s also interesting that American expressly added the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard® to the membership chart, explaining that the annual fee on that card isn’t increasing. The card comes with an Admirals Club membership, and with these changes the annual fee on the card is now identical to the lowest possible membership cost for Executive Platinum members.

Two better ways to get Admirals Club access

It’s interesting that American is raising the cost of Admirals Club access, since I suspect the number of people actually buying memberships is decreasing, while the number of people accessing them through credit cards is increasing. Though that’s likely by design, I suppose.

There are two fantastic credit cards which offer Admirals Club access. These include the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card and the Citi Prestige Card. Both cards have $450 annual fee, and come with some awesome perks.

The Citi Prestige Card offers Admirals Club access, rather than an outright Admirals Club membership. The major distinction here is that you only get Admirals Club access when you’re flying American the same day, while with a membership you get access even if you’re flying another airline.

What makes the card so awesome is that it comes with many other great perks, including the following:

That $250 annual airline credit is almost good as cash to me, so for mental accounting purposes I’m paying $200 per year for the card. And for that I get so many awesome perks. The fourth night free benefit alone has saved me thousands of dollars. So when I look at all the perks, I don’t really have to allocate any amount of the annual fee towards the Admirals Club access offered by the card.

Meanwhile the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers an Admirals Club membership, rather than just Admirals Club access. That means you get Admirals Club access even if you’re flying another airline. But the real kicker is that authorized users on the card get Admirals Club access as well. You can add up to 10 authorized users on the card at no additional cost, so the $450 annual Citi AAdvantage Executive Card will really cover Admirals Club access for 11 people.

While I plan on keeping the Citi Prestige Card long term and it covers my Admirals Club needs, I’m tempted to pick up the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card as a way of getting Admirals Club access for 10 friends & family members.

Admirals-Club-LAX-2
Admirals Club Los Angeles

Bottom line

It’s a bummer that the Admirals Club membership cost is going up, though I’ve also never paid it, and in my opinion there’s no good reason to do so, unless you’re not eligible for US credit cards. I suspect this is almost being done as a way to push their co-brand credit card even more.

Does anyone reading actually pay for an Admirals Club membership, rather than have access through a credit card?

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Comments

  1. Most hideously bland lounge in the world. I would rather sit in the transgender public toilets rather than the AA lounge. As for the staff they are toxic unionized gestapo left over from those auswhitch days.

  2. My access has been personally paid for or provided as a business perk through our BusinessAadvantage program for the last 8 years. I don’t know where Lady Carnavon Von villy visits, but the service for me has always been excellent. The club staff has gone above and beyond. One time the SAN club allowed me to cash a check for cash after having my wallet stolen earlier that day. The ORD-G club has helped both my wife and daughter out of travel dilemmas when I was not with them. The enhanced free food offerings are saving me money.

  3. I have had a Lifetime Admiral’s Club membership for 30 years. It cannot be bought for any amount of money now and when I show it to enter the club, all the agents want to see it. LOL

    Once they even let me in with 7 others in my group in Honolulu. No complaints at all with the Admiral’s Clubs

  4. It’s true the amenities in the clubs aren’t great, but if you are faced with IRROPS, the lounge staff can save you when the line outside is ridiculous as is the wait when calling in.

  5. Who in their right mind would purchase a $500, $450, or even $400 Admiral’s Club membership for one person when you can get the Citi Executive MasterCard for $450 (with all the other perks that come with it), AND grant Admiral’s Club membership to 10 others?

  6. is the day pass set to remain at $50? i know that’s a rip off…but not if you’re a member of skyguide exec privilege club!

  7. Oh no! I was going to buy my Austrian brother-in-law a 30 day pass for their travel from July 26-August 11. Do you know whether it can still be used after July 25 if PURCHASED before July 25 Ben?

  8. I went to the one in MIÁ and I was not impressed
    No free wine, beer or wells
    Just cheese, crackers and the soup was all gone
    Beverages just coffee machine , unsweetened tea and water
    Chairs were ok
    That’s about it
    Nothing to write home about
    AA usually follows delta and United. But here I say they are years behind

    I will be trying at least 8 different clubs in next 3 months Hope they are better then A C MIÁ

  9. Wow so the very first comment is “Most hideously bland lounge in the world. I would rather sit in the transgender public toilets rather than the AA lounge. As for the staff they are toxic unionized gestapo left over from those auswhitch days.”

    That escalated very quickly.

    No transgender wants YOU in THEIR bathroom. Vile and disgusting behavior; you should be ashamed.

  10. Best airline-related investment I ever made was Lifetime Admirals Club access in 1969 for a one-time charge of $75.

  11. Hi Lucky,

    You hit the nail on the head when you stated that ”unless you’re not eligible” for a US credit card. I’m certain I’m not the only non-US citizen on the planet but as a Canadian, I feel shunned by US carriers, cruise lines, hotels etc. that won’t allow us Canucks to apply for a card.

    Even Amex Canada does not offer any US lounge access except the Amex Aeroplan Platinum card, yet they have no problem taking our money. I just booked 5 seats (YYC-HNL) and paid for the flights in CDN funds but United charged me USD for economy plus seat selection, now there’s a puzzler.

    I would travel a lot more if we had the same bebefits our fine neighbours to the South enjoy.

  12. Yes, the Admiral’s Club amenities vary wildly, but I think it still is a very good deal, even as I’m sitting in the EWR club, which is the worst one I’ve seen. Any good snack at an airport will cost you about USD20 per person, so $59 for unlimited snacks, good wifi, a comfortable space, makes a lot of sense.

  13. I would get the thirty day pass when travelling to cover both ends of my trip, 2-3 times a year. If I can’t get one, I won’t be going to the Admirals Club at all. Can’t get a US credit card, and frankly don’t want it.

    That’s $300+ a year that AA won’t be getting. Will invest it in a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones and find a quiet corner of the terminal.

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