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American Airlines Admirals Club: Beginner’s Guide

The AA Admiral Club is a great way to relax before the flight and enjoy complimentary food. Here's how you can get an access to these lounges
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

How Does The American Airlines Admirals Club Work?

If you enjoy traveling in style and are brand loyal to American Airlines, you may have considered joining the Admirals Club. The Admirals Club is the American Airlines network of airport lounges and members can enjoy a place to relax, rest and work before a flight.

Inside each lounge, you’ll have access to complimentary refreshments, comfortable seating, free WiFi and other conveniences. There are Admirals Club locations in over 50 airports around the world including major hubs such as Dallas Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare and London Heathrow in the UK.

To gain entry to the Admirals Club, you will need to show your Admirals Club membership card or if you have membership via a credit card or as military personnel, you can show your government issued photo  ID. Members may have immediate family or up to two guests accompany them into the Admirals Club lounge, but they cannot enter alone.

American Airlines Admirals Club
American Airlines Admirals Club at Lambert Field Airport (Photo by RozenskiP/Shutterstock)

How To Get Into The Admirals Club

As we’ve just touched upon, there are a number of ways to enjoy access to the Admirals Club. These include:

The most obvious way to get into the Admirals Club is to purchase an annual membership. The rates for an annual pass vary according to your American Airlines frequent flyer status. The current prices range from $550 to $650 per year for new memberships with renewal prices typically offering a $50 discount on the annual membership cost.

The annual membership allows you to bring your immediate family, which includes your spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 with you. Alternatively, up to two guests may accompany you. You can also purchase a household membership which allows access for you and your spouse even if you’re not flying together.

If you don’t want to commit to an annual membership, you can purchase a day pass for the Admirals Club. These are available at select locations with the current price of $59 or for redeeming 5,900 AAdvantage loyalty program miles. A day pass provides access for yourself and up to three children who are under 18 years old.

Unfortunately, day passes are not always available. Even if the location typically offers day passes, if there is high demand on that occasion, you may not be able to buy a day pass.

There is currently only one credit card offering Admirals Club lounge access as a perk, the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. This card offers Admirals Club membership for you and your immediate family or up to two guests, but you can also bring up to 10 authorized card users with you.

The card is primarily a travel credit card offering AAdvantage miles for your purchases and a miles bonus if you meet the spend requirement in the first three months. The other card perks include reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, free checked bags for you and up to eight of your travel companions and priority screening, check in and boarding.

This card does have a hefty annual fee, but this is lower than even the cheapest purchase price for an annual membership, so if your primary objective is to have Admirals Club access, the cost of the annual fee is easily offset.

If you fly business or first class on a qualifying American Airlines flight or those operated by oneworld or marketed by JetBlue, on an international itinerary, you could access Admirals Club lounges. Qualifying itineraries include the U.S to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and Central America.

There are also transcontinental flights that are ticketed as Flagship, which qualify. These include flights between Los Angeles and Miami, JFK in New York and Los Angeles , JFK New York and San Francisco, JFK New York and Orange County

A Flagship also provides access if you are flying Charlotte to Honolulu, Fort Worth Dallas to Honolulu, Maui or Kona, Chicago O’Hare to Honolulu.

If you’re an international first class passenger, you can bring one guest with you to the Admirals Lounge, but other status travelers can enter the lounge, but will not have any guest privileges.

How To Get Into The Admirals Club
If you fly business or first class on a qualifying AA flight, you could access Admirals Club lounges (Photo by sparkzen/Shutterstock)

You can also receive Admirals Club access by earning the higher tiers of AAdvantage Elite Status. If you qualify as Executive Platinum, Platinum or Platinum Pro, you can access the lounges when you fly internationally on the routes we covered above. You will not qualify for lounge access if you are traveling within North America.

If you hold Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status, you can access the Admirals Club lounges if you have a qualifying itinerary for same day travel on Oneworld carriers. As an Elite status holder, you can bring one guest with you to the lounge.

Since Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K elites automatically receive Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald status match respectively, they can also access Admirals lounges.

If you’re a serving member of the armed forces and traveling in uniform, you will be able to access both domestic and international Admirals Club lounges if there is available space. The exception to this is the JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu. You shouldn't be part of the AAdvantage program or any other requirements.

You will need to present a valid military ID and your same day boarding pass for an American Airlines operated flight.

Uniformed military personnel traveling with their family, may bring immediate family members or two guests with them into the lounge.

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The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
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Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

Admirals Club Benefits

The Admirals Club can offer travelers a variety of benefits that can enhance your travel experience. These include:

One of the biggest bugbears about flying is trying to get comfortable at the airport. It is almost impossible to relax or work in the crowded departure lounge with those annoying plastic seats.

So, it can be a revelation to experience the comfort offered in the Admirals Club lounges. There is usually a choice of seats from traditional lounge seats with consoles, dining tables and booths, and high backed seats for enhanced privacy with built in shelves.

Wherever you’re sitting, you should find easy access to outlets to charge your devices and you can make use of the free WiFi.

Admirals Club Benefits
Comfortable Seating, Access to Business Centers and premium food are just part of the Admirals Club Benefits (Photo by M101Studio/Shutterstock)

If you want to get some work done before your flight, you’ll find the Admirals Club lounges a great place to find some space and a quiet atmosphere.

Regardless if you've flown or upgraded your flight to business, you can access a business center with semi private cubicles with desks, power outlets and lamps. You can also use a wireless fax/printer/copier or computers if needed.

Inside the lounge, you’ll find a variety of complimentary food including morning and afternoon snacks along with full meals. This includes made to order specialities according to the local area. The specific food options can vary by lounge, but generally include snacks and light meals.

For example, some lounges may offer fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, bagels, and cereal in the morning, while later in the day, they may serve soup, sandwiches, salad, cheese and crackers, or hot appetizers. Some Admirals Club locations also offer a more extensive food selection for purchase, such as full meals or a la carte items from a menu.

American Airlines Admirals Club members have access to a variety of premium beverages depending on the location of the lounge. In general, most Admirals Club locations offer complimentary beer, wine, and spirits, as well as non-alcoholic beverages like soda, coffee, and tea.

Some locations also offer premium spirits and wines for an additional cost. For example, some Admirals Club locations offer premium wines by the glass, such as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or French Chardonnay. Additionally, some locations offer premium spirits like single malt scotch or top-shelf tequila for purchase.

If you want to freshen up before the next leg of your journey, you can use the shower suites in the lounge.

These include complimentary bath products and are fitted with showers, toilets, sinks and towels. Just be aware that during peak periods, there may be a short wait list to use the facilities.

The lounge also provides access to televisions, newspapers and magazines, so you can relax with your preferred media.

Can I Get a Free Admirals Club Membership?

There are a couple of ways that you can get an Admirals Club membership without needing to pay any cash. As we discussed earlier, you can get an Admirals Club membership as a perk of the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. While you need to pay an annual fee for this card, you’ll get this and other perks which more than offset the cost.

The other way to get a “free” membership is to use your AAdvantage miles to purchase a membership, but this is typically limited to day passes and are subject to availability and location.

Where Are The Main Admirals Club Locations?

There are approximately 50 locations in the Admirals Club network, but there are some locations that exemplify the features and benefits on offer.

1. Boston Logan Airport

The Admirals Club at Boston Logan has been updated to the latest American Airlines design, with fresh, modern decor, featuring earth tones and white with bright red accents. The lounge has floor to ceiling windows with cathedral ceilings, which create an inviting, spacious ambiance.

There are plenty of seating options including semi private spaces, many of which have views of the tarmac. You can also access a complete catalog of amenities including conference rooms, phone booths and shower suites, along with a family friendly wellness room and kids room.

2. Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C

This lounge has two main areas, with a bar, snacks and coffee machines on one side, along with seating, bathrooms and standing desks.

On the other side, there is seating with views of the Washington D.C skyline and the runways. In this area, there is a fireplace, lots of seating and a small bar offering drinks and snacks.

3. LAX in Los Angeles (Terminal Four)

This is considered to be one of the best Admirals Club lounges with the Admirals Club on one side and The Flagship Club on the other. The overall size of the lounge is an impressive 14,500 square feet and the decor is tasteful with semicircular windows overlooking the concourse.

The lounge features a large bar with bar stools, but it is self serve, with sections for a wide variety of alcoholic drinks and soft drinks. There is also a hot buffet and cold buffet, along with an omelet station.

Admirals Club lounge at LAX airport, Los Angeles
Admirals Club lounge at LAX airport, Los Angeles. (Photo by Mystic Stock Photography/Shutterstock)

4. Fort Worth- Dallas

This is a relatively new location, so it features the new decor design, but the layout is long and thin with floor to ceiling windows so you can enjoy excellent views of the tarmac, runways and planes.

There is a superb buffet with international foods throughout the day and plenty of beers, wine and spirits. This includes pancakes at breakfast, marinated meats, salads and more.

5. JAL Sakura Honolulu

This is a more locally themed lounge, which features orange seating rather than the signature AA colors and they play Hawaiian music, creating an international ambiance. While this does make the decor feel a little dated, there is plenty of seating and U.S power sockets.

The food on offer is also internationally themed with Japanese dishes, noodles, croissants, cookies and crackers. There is a soda fountain and self service spirits, beer, and juices.

While there are no shower suites in this lounge, there are toilet facilities and you can enjoy garden views and plenty of natural light as you relax before your flight.

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Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

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Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
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95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers

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Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

FAQs

You can purchase a pass online or at select locations. However, if you choose to purchase a pass at the airport, you may find you are refused due to the lounge capacity at that time. So, it is usually a better idea to purchase the pass via the AAdvantage website.

Yes, there is a wide selection of alcoholic and soft drinks that are complimentary in the Admirals Club lounges. This varies according to the location, but most lounges typically offer a good variety of options.

Yes, if you are traveling on a first class American Airlines flight, you can access the Admirals Club lounge.

The cost of membership varies according to your frequent flyer status. This varies from $550 to $650 per year for new memberships.

Yes, in most locations, you can use the Admirals Club on arrival, but you’ll need to show a same day boarding pass as verification.

If you’re not flying American Airlines, you’ll not be able to use the Admirals Club, unless you’re flying with a partner airline, such as JetBlue.

Picture of Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
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Top Offers

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Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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