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The Best Credit Card for Admirals Club Access (Plus Other Ways To Access)

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Jarrod West
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Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited: 24

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...
Edited by: Juan Ruiz
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Juan Ruiz

Compliance Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 40U.S. States Visited: 27

Juan has been involved in credit cards, loyalty, travel, and personal finance for more than 10 years. He has worked for several outlets including The Points Guy and Forbes and was previously Editor-in...

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Everyone loves airport lounge access. Instead of the chaos of an airport terminal, you have a nice, quiet space to relax, charge your devices, and enjoy some complimentary food and drinks while you wait for your flight.

If you’ve been reading Upgraded Points for a while, you’ll know that there are many different airport lounges to choose from. However, if you’ve clicked on this article, you are likely an American Airlines frequent flyer looking to learn what credit card you can use to get Admirals Club access. Read on to learn what option you have for accessing Admirals Club lounges.

The Best Credit Card with Admirals Club Access

Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.
Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
70,000 miles
$980
$595
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a go-to card thanks to its exclusive perks and benefits for people who love to fly American Airlines. With a complimentary Admirals Club membership, free checked bags, inflight discounts, and the ability to earn Loyalty Points for every $1 you spend, there is plenty to love about the card.

Pros

  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Cons

  • $595 annual fee
  • Doesn’t earn many miles on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:

Card Categories

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American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

Unlike Delta and United which offer multiple credit card options for access to their lounges, American Airlines offers only one — the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card.

By simply holding the card, you and up to 2 traveling companions can access every American Airlines Admirals Club and American’s partner lounges worldwide when you fly with American Airlines or one of its partners. Given that there are now 50 Admirals Clubs locations, you’re likely to find one in many domestic airports that American services.

Further, the card offers perks like free checked bags for you and up to 8 traveling companions, priority boarding, 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases, and a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit.

Other Ways To Access Admirals Clubs

Aside from holding the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, here are the other ways that you can access Admirals Club lounges.

Day Pass

Select Admirals Club lounges sell day passes that allow you to access the lounge without a membership, so long as you are flying on a flight operated by American or one of its partners. The price of the day pass is $79 or 7,900 miles.

Paid Membership

As with most airline lounges, American Airlines allows you to purchase a yearly membership to the Admirals Club at the following rates based on your AAdvantage status level with the airline.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Status LevelCash PriceMileage Price
No Status$85085,000
AAdvantage Gold$82582,500
AAdvantage Platinum$80080,000
AAdvantage Platinum Pro$77577,500
AAdvantage Executive Platinum$75075,000
ConciergeKeyFreeFree

As you can tell from the chart, unless you have ConciergeKey status, purchasing Admirals Club access is going to cost you anywhere from $550 to $650 each year. In our view, it feels silly to pay this price when you could pay $595 for the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, which is much less, and still receive Admirals Club access along with all of the other perks the card offers to boot.

When you consider the mileage price the value proposition is even worse. We value American Airlines miles at 1.4 cents per mile, so redeeming them at a rate of 1 cent per mile towards a lounge membership would be a suboptimal use of those hard-earned miles in our opinion.

Elite Status

If you hold Platinum status or above in the AAdvantage loyalty program, you can access Admirals Clubs no matter what class of service you are flying on, as long as it is a long-haul international flight operated by American Airlines or one of its partners.  These include American’s signature Flagship Lounges that provide an elevated experience above the standard Admirals Club.

Further, those who have Oneworld Sapphire via an airline other than AA can access Admirals Club lounges on eligible long-haul itineraries, and those with Oneworld Emerald status can access business and first class lounges like AA’s Flagship Lounges.

Hot Tip: Check out our guide on how to get American Airlines AAdvantage elite status!

Premium Cabin Tickets

Lastly, if you are flying in a premium cabin on a qualifying international American or Oneworld partner flight, or a premium cabin on a qualifying transcontinental flight between NYC and Boston to Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’re able to access both Admirals Club and Flagship First lounges.

Final Thoughts

While it is true that you have multiple options for achieving Admirals Club access, in our view, the best option by far is simply holding the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card. The annual fee can be justified from the membership alone.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What credit card gets me into the Admirals Club lounge?

The only credit card that offers access to the Admirals Club lounge is the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card. 

Does The Platinum Card® from American Express get you into the Admirals Club?

No, while the Amex Platinum card is easily the best card for airport lounge access, Admirals Clubs are not one of its eligible lounge networks.

Does Executive Platinum get you Admirals Club access?

No, the only status level that gets you free Admirals Club access is ConciergeKey, which is American Airlines’ very top, and unpublished, status level. If you have Executive Platinum status, you’ll still need to earn Admirals Club access another way, like by holding the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card.

Does Priority Pass get you into the Admirals Club?

No, Priority Pass only includes access to Priority Pass lounges, and does not include Admirals Clubs.

Does a first class ticket get you access to Admirals Club?

If you are flying in a premium cabin on a qualifying international American or Oneworld partner flight or a premium cabin on a qualifying transcontinental, you’re able to access Admirals Club lounges.

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About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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