American Airlines Lounge (Admirals Clubs) Access Guide [2020]

Lounge access can truly be a lifesaver in certain situations as it can provide a much needed spot to refresh and relax. But sometimes the lounge access policies can be a little bit confusing because there are so many different ways to get access.

In this article, I will break down the American Airlines lounge access policies which include both Flagship Lounges and Admirals Clubs. I’ll cover everything including prices, guest policies, and also entrance into partner lounges.


What are Admirals Clubs?

Admirals Clubs are the standard airport lounges for American Airlines and you can find them all around the globe (keep reading below for a full list of locations).

In these lounges, you may find comfortable places to relax, free food and drink, showers, business meeting rooms, kids room, and sometimes other amenities as well.

In my experience Admirals Clubs are pretty nice but I would not put them on the same level as Amex Centurion Lounges.

I found Admirals Clubs to be pretty basic in terms of what they offer for free but they still get the job done. For example, for breakfast you might find Oikos and Chobanil yogurt along with a selection of fruits including pineapple, cantaloupe, melon, and mixed grapes, and possibly hard-boiled eggs.

If you do want hot food items you can pay for those and you can also pay for premium drinks.  For example, a Bloody Mary may cost you $10 and an imported beer may cost $8. If you are interested in what the full experience is like, you can read my full review of the Admirals Club at Houston IAH. (Just note that that is one of the smaller AA lounges and there are definitely more equipped Admirals Club lounges like those at DFW.)


What are Flagship Lounges?

Flagship lounges are the premier lounges offered by American Airlines. These are only found in a handful of airports and offer a more premium dining and drinking experience.

For example, you can find dishes created in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, a premier American culinary organization. The admission policy for Flagship lounges is a little different but there is some overlap and I will go over the access policy in detail below. 


What is the Admirals Club access policy?

There are several different ways that you can get access to an Admirals Club. For example, you could get access based on a purchased lounge membership, the class of your airline ticket, or certain types of elite status. I will break all of those down in detail below.

Before jumping into the different ways to get admission, it’s worth noting that as of November 2019 American Airlines made changes to their admission policy. Now, you must have a boarding pass for same-day travel on an “eligible flight” to enter a lounge. 

An “eligible flight” would include any departing or arriving flight that is marketed or operated by American, any oneworld airline, or Alaska Airlines.


Different types of Admirals Club admission types

Below I will go into detail about all the different types of admission types for an Admirals Club lounge.

One thing that you need to remember is that the policies for things like documents needed for entry and guest entry can differ based on the type of admission you are granted. So remember to not assume that the guest policies will be the same each time you visit a lounge.

Admirals Club members

The first way to get access to an American Airlines airport lounge is to have an Admirals Club membership. These memberships come in different forms and you might have an annual membership or even a lifetime membership.

One of the easiest ways to get an Admirals Club membership is to get the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard. This card has some great perks that would interest anybody looking to frequently fly with American Airlines, such as: 2X on purchases on American Airlines, free baggage, and priority boarding privileges.

If you are a primary cardholder on this card you will get a complementary Admirals Club membership.

You might also get an Admirals Club membership if you are a ConciergeKey or AirPass member with Admirals Club privileges.

If you are okay with spending some cash you can also purchase an Admirals Club membership. The price of your membership will be based on the type of elite status you have and also on whether or not you are purchasing an individual membership or a group membership.

Here are the prices. You should keep in mind that the annual fee for the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is only $450 so if you get approved for that card you can save a lot of money on your membership.

Membership typeAAdvantageAAdvantage GoldAAdvantage PlatinumAAdvantage Platinum ProAAdvantage Executive Platinum
Individual – new$650$625$600$575$550
Individual – renew$600$575$550$525$500
Household – new$1,250$1,225$1,200$1,175$1,150
Household – renew$1,200$1,175$1,150$1,125$1,100

You can also purchase a membership with miles at the following rates:

Membership typeAadvantageAAdvantage GoldAAdvantage PlatinumAAdvantage Platinum ProAAdvantage Executive Platinum
Individual – new65,00062,50060,00057,50055,000
Individual – renew60,00057,50055,00052,50050,000
Household – new125,000122,500120,000117,500115,000
Household – renew120,000117,500115,000112,500110,000

Lounges that offer access:

If you have an Admirals Club membership then these are the lounges that you will have access to:

  • Domestic and international Admirals Club locations
  • All Alaska Airlines Lounges (when departing on flights marketed and operated by American, Alaska Airlines or Virgin America)
  • All Qantas Clubs (when departing on same-day flights operated by Qantas, or operated by American out of Auckland, New Zealand or Sydney, Australia)
  • Select partner lounges operated by third parties (on same-day flights operated by American)

What you need to enter:

In order to be admitted into the lounge, you will need the following items:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Admirals Club membership card or Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard or AAdvantage elite status card
  • A boarding pass for same-day travel on an eligible flight. (Same-day priority verification cards will be accepted.)

What is the guest policy?

You will be allowed to bring in immediate family members which would include your spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 or up to 2 guests. It’s worth noting that guests must be accompanied by the eligible member and present boarding passes for same-day travel on American or a partner airline.


Eligible first class and business class passengers

If you are flying first class or business class then you might get lounge access but it depends on your route.

If you are flying domestically, you can get lounge access if you are flying on certain premium routes like the following:

  • New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
  • JFK and San Francisco (SFO)

Note that if you are flying between other premium routes, you will only get lounge access if you are flying on the right type of aircraft.

  • LAX and Boston (BOS) – traveling on A321T aircraft only
  • LAX and Miami (MIA) – traveling on Boeing 777-300 aircraft only

If you are flying on an international route then you will get lounge access for the following routes:

Flights between the U.S. and:

  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • Mexico City (MEX)
  • New Zealand
  • South America

It’s worth reiterating that for Mexico you only get lounge access if flying between the US and Mexico City. I have personally flown American Airlines to other Mexican destinations and unsuccessfully persuaded an agent to allow me access. :/

If you meet the criteria above, you can also get access to the American Flagship lounges.

What you need to enter:

  • First or Business boarding pass
  • Government-issued photo ID

What is the guest policy?

You will be able to bring in one guest with you and children over two count as a guest. Also, any guest accompanying the customer must be traveling on a departing oneworld flight.

American Airlines first class.

Qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum

If you hold elite status with American Airlines you can get lounge access as long as you hold Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum and you are flying on the following routes:

Flights between the U.S. and:

  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • Mexico City (MEX)
  • New Zealand
  • South America

If you meet the criteria above, you can also get access to the American Flagship lounges.

What you need to enter:

  • First or Business boarding pass
  • Government-issued photo ID

What is the guest policy?

You will be able to bring in one guest with you and children over two count as a guest. Also, any guest accompanying the customer must be traveling on a departing oneworld flight.

oneworld Emerald and Sapphire

If you hold elite status with the oneworld alliance you can also get access. This includes customers on all departing flights marketed and operated by American or a oneworld airline (regardless of cabin).

AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum customers traveling solely on North American itineraries don’t qualify.

If you meet the criteria above, you can also get access to the American Flagship lounges.

What you need to enter:

  • Qualifying boarding pass with oneworld Frequent Flyer number
  • Government-issued photo ID

What is the guest policy?

You will be able to bring in one guest with you and children over two count as a guest. Also, any guest accompanying the customer must be traveling on a departing oneworld flight.

Admirals Club One-Day Pass customers

Another route that you can go is to purchase a one day pass at domestic and international Admirals Club locations for $59.

The cool thing about a day pass is that you should be able to use it at multiple Admirals Club lounges if you have a connection. For example, I recently purchased a day pass and I was able to use the lounge in Houston (IAH) and Dallas (DFW) on the same day.

Another cool thing is that the day pass purchases usually trigger airline incidental credits. So if you have a card like the American Express Gold Card that has a $100 airline credit, then you can essentially get into the lounge for free.

Purchasing a day pass can be tricky sometimes because they will only sell you a day pass if they are not at capacity. So if you are flying during busy hours then you might want to have a back up plan.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite does not provide you with a complimentary day pass to lounges. Unlike the United Explorer Card which gives you an annual free day pass for two people, that is not one of the perks of the Platinum Select.

What you need to enter:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • One-Day Pass
  • A boarding pass for same-day travel on an eligible flight

What is the guest policy?

You can bring up to three children that are under 18. Children must be accompanied by the adult day-pass holder and present boarding passes for same-day travel on American or a partner airline.


Citi AAdvantage Executive Card authorized users

If you are an authorized user for the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard you will not get a complete Admirals Club membership but you will still get entry into Admirals Club lounges.

One of the coolest things about this card is that you can add up to 10 authorized users for free which means that you can give free access to up to 10 individuals which is pretty crazy. Authorized users still get guest access so it is an extremely lucrative deal.

As an authorized user, you will get access to domestic and international Admirals Club locations.

What you need to enter:

  • Valid Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • A boarding pass for same-day travel on an eligible flight.

An important requirement to remember here is that you will need to have your valid Executive card on you when visiting a lounge in order to get in. Since you won’t have an official Admirals Club membership, that card is the only ticket to your admission.

What is the guest policy?

You will be allowed to bring in immediate family members which would include your spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 or up to 2 guests. It’s worth noting that guests must be accompanied by the eligible member and present boarding passes for same-day travel on American or a partner airline.


Admirals Club locations

As mentioned earlier, you can find Admirals Clubs all across the globe. Here are the current locations:

  • Atlanta, GA (ATL)
  • Austin, TX (AUS)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
  • Charlotte, NC (CLT)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD)
  • Dallas / Fort Worth, TX (DFW)
  • Denver, CO (DEN)
  • Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
  • Houston, Texas (IAH)
  • London, England (LHR)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
  • Miami, FL (MIA)
  • Nashville, TN (BNA)
  • New York J.F. Kennedy, NY (JFK)
  • New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Orange County, CA (SNA)
  • Orlando, FL (MCO)
  • Paris, France (CDG)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
  • Raleigh Durham, NC (RDU)
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG)
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
  • St. Louis, MO (STL)
  • Tampa, FL (TPA)
  • Tokyo Narita, Japan (NRT)
  • Toronto, Canada (YYZ)
  • Washington D.C. (DCA)

Parter lounges

You can also get access to partner lounges which again can be found all around the world. The list of partner lounges is pretty long but I will give a rundown of the locations that you can find partner lounges in.

One very important thing to note with partner lounges is that sometimes you might have to have a same-day departure on an American Airlines operated flight to get access. Or if you are flying on certain airlines like Qantas, you may need to show a same-day boarding pass for a Qantas operated flight or an American Airlines marketed flight operated by Qantas.

So just because you see a lounge listed below, don’t assume you’ll get access and instead be sure to check about the requirements for that specific lounge and in particular what type of boarding pass you will need. You should be able to find the requirements here.

Asia

  • Beijing, China (PEK): Air China Business Class Lounge
  • Hong Kong (HKG): Plaza Premium Lounge G35; Club Bauhinia
  • Seoul, South Korea (ICN): Asiana Airlines Business Lounge West (Terminal 1 Main)
  • Shanghai, China (PVG): Air China Business Class Lounge
  • Singapore, Singapore (SIN): The Qantas Club
  • Tokyo, Japan (HND): Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge

Europe

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS): Aspire Lounge 41
    Athens, Greece (ATH): Goldair Lounge
  • Berlin, Germany (TXL): British Airways Lounge
  • Bologna, Italy (BLQ): Marconi Business Lounge
  • Budapest, Hungary (BUD): Platinum Lounge
  • Dublin, Ireland (DUB): 51st&Green Lounge (operated by the Dublin Airport Authority)
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (DBV): Airport Business Lounge
  • Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI): British Airways Lounge
  • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA): Japan Airlines First Class and Sakura Lounge
  • Lisbon, Portugal (LIS): ANA Lounge
  • Milan, Italy (MXP): SEA Sala Montale Lounge
  • Munich, Germany (MUC): Airport World Lounge
  • Prague, Czech Republic (PRG): MasterCard Lounge
  • Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF): Icelandair Saga Lounge
  • Rome, Italy (FCO): Passenger Lounge
  • Shannon, Ireland (SNN): Boru Lounge
  • Venice, Italy (VCE): Marco Polo Lounge
  • Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH): Primeclass Lounge

South America

  • Bogota, Colombia (BOG): Salon LAN
  • Montevideo, Uruguay (MVD): Aeropuertos VIP Club
  • Santiago, Chile (SCL): LATAM VIP Lounge – Terminal 1

South Pacific

  • Adelaide, Australia (ADL): The Qantas Club; Qantas International Business Lounge
  • Auckland, New Zealand (AKL): Qantas International Business Lounge
  • Alice Springs, Australia (ASP): The Qantas Club
  • Brisbane, Australia (BNE): The Qantas Club; The Qantas Brisbane International Lounge
  • Broome, Australia (BME): The Qantas Club
  • Cairns, Australia (CNS): The Qantas Club
  • Cambridge, Australia (HBA): The Qantas Club
  • Canberra, Australia (CBR): The Qantas Club
  • Coffs Harbour, Australia (CFS): The Qantas Club
  • Darwin, Australia (DRW): The Qantas Club
  • Devonport, Australia (DPO): The Qantas Club
  • Emerald, Australia (EMD): The Qantas Club
  • Gladstone, Australia (GLT): The Qantas Club
  • Gold Coast, Australia (OOL): The Qantas Club
  • Kalgoorlie, Australia (KGI): The Qantas Club
  • Karratha, Australia (KTA): The Qantas Club
  • Launceston, Australia (LST): The Qantas Club
  • Mackay, Australia (MKY): The Qantas Club
  • Melbourne, Australia (MEL): The Qantas Club; Qantas International Business Lounge
  • Perth, Australia (PER): The Qantas Club; Qantas International Business Lounge
  • Port Hedland, Australia (PHE): The Qantas Club
  • Rockhampton, Australia (ROK): The Qantas Club
  • Sydney, Australia (SYD): The Qantas Club; Qantas International Business Lounge
  • Tamworth, Australia (TMW): The Qantas Club
  • Townsville, Australia (TSV): The Qantas Club
  • Wellington, New Zealand (WLG): The Qantas Club

US

  • Anchorage, U.S. (ANC): Alaska Lounge1
  • Los Angeles, U.S. (LAX): Alaska Lounge1
  • New York, U.S. (JFK): Alaska Lounge1
  • Portland, U.S. (PDX): Alaska Lounge1
  • San Diego, U.S. (SAN): AirSpace Lounge2
  • Seattle, U.S. (SEA): Alaska Lounge – Concourse C1; Alaska Lounge – North Satellite1; Alaska Lounge –
  • Concourse D

Flagship lounge access

There is some overlap with the Admirals Club lounge access. One of the biggest differences is that you don’t get access to Flagship lounges if you have an Admirals Club membership or a Citi Executive Card. But here is a rundown of the people who qualify for Flagship lounge entry.

  • Eligible first class and business class passengers
  • Qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum
  • oneworld Emerald and Sapphire
  • ConciergeKey

You can read more about the Flagship lounges here.


Flagship lounge locations

As mentioned above, the locations for Flagship lounges are much more limited.

  • Chicago (ORD) – Terminal 3
  • Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) – Terminal D
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Terminal 4
  • Miami (MIA) – Concourse D
  • New York (JFK) – Terminal 8
  • Philadelphia (PHL) (coming soon)

It’s worth pointing out that you can also get access to the International First Class Lounge – Terminal 3 in London (LHR). However, you only get access if you’re traveling in first on a qualifying international or transcontinental flight marketed and operated by American or a oneworld airline.


Final word

Overall, the lounge access policy for Admirals Club and Flagship lounges is pretty clear-cut. If you are looking for an easy way to get access, I would recommend looking to the Citibank Executive Card since that is a great way to save money and give free access to authorized users.

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