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American Airlines Raises Admirals Club Fees, But Here’s What You’ll Get in Return

Annual membership costs will rise by $200 or 20,000 AAdvantage miles later this month, although members can expect improved food and drink selections

by Lauren Smith

July 11, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of American Airlines

American Airlines will soon increase the entrance fee for their Admirals Club lounges. However, travelers can enjoy a better food selection and complimentary alcoholic drinks as part of the upgraded amenities.

Starting July 23, the Admirals Club lounge network will raise its annual membership fee to $850 or 85,000 AAdvantage miles, which is higher than the previous fee of $650 or 65,000 miles. This means having an Admirals Club membership will be more costly than a similar membership with Delta’s Sky Club ($695) and United Club ($650).

Photo: American Airlines Admirals Club at Reagan National Airport / Photo: Courtesy of American Airlines

A day pass to the lounges will also rise from $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles to $79 or 7,900 miles.

If you’ve been using your Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite credit card to access lounges, you will not be exempt from the price increase. The yearly charge for the co-branded card is also increasing from $450 to $595.

Additionally, only the named cardholder will get lounge access now, and any authorized users will need to buy day passes. (You’ll also need to pay $175 to add up to three authorized users on the card, whereas previously,¬†you could add up to eleven for free, part of a general stripping back of the card’s perks).

As a gesture of reciprocity, American Airlines is enhancing the offerings at the Admiral Club lounges. Patrons will now have access to a wider array of complimentary food, including hot and cold breakfast dishes and a menu featuring locally-inspired cuisines like Cuban pork sliders in Miami (MIA) and mini crab cakes in Washington DC (IAD and DCA).

Travelers in a rush can also help themselves to grab-and-go snacks before heading to their gates.

Soho Lounge, Terminal 8. Photo: Courtesy of American Airlines

But suppose you have time to raise a glass. In that case, Admirals Clubs will serve an improved selection of complimentary alcoholic beverages, including sparking wine, craft beers, spirits including scotch and tequila, and cocktails such as mimosas, Bloody Marys, and local favorites.

Upgraded food and beverages will arrive at select lounges as early as this month before being rolled out across the domestic club network by early 2024.

Meanwhile, American Airlines is continuing to renovate its Admiral Clubs, with its new lounge at Washington National Airport (DCA), open since last October, providing a sneak peek of the new look, with luxurious wood paneling, mood lighting, and cozy booths. Next in line to be revamped are the lounges at Denver (DEN) and Newark (EWR) airports, both of which will open later this year.