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American Airlines is bringing new life to its Admirals Club network of airport lounges. Worn down, tired and crowded spaces are getting a much-needed facelift — and American Airlines travelers have plenty of reason to be excited.
The airline unveiled on Thursday its first refreshed Admirals Club lounge location at Washington, DC’s Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). CNN Underscored got a preview of the lounge before it starts to welcome passengers through its doors in the next few weeks, and we were seriously impressed.
Gone are the bright colors, bold patterns and harsh lighting of Admirals Clubs of yore. In their place are soft, warm and cozy tones and designs — something that DMAC Architecture Interiors, the firm responsible for the refresh, intended to get across.
The new refreshed DCA Admirals Club lounge is located in Terminal 2 in the E Concourse, second level — above Capitol File News. Spanning 14,500 square feet, the new space is the largest Admirals Club at DCA with the ability to accommodate up to 236 passengers at any given time.
From the entryway, passengers can see the start of a cozier, homier experience, taking inspiration from the local surroundings. In this case, the stone entryway at DCA was designed with some of the Washington monuments and museums in mind. The front desk, meanwhile, is built with locally-sourced American walnut wood.
Dwayne MacEwen, principal and creative director of DMAC, told CNN Underscored that these local influences are something that will continue in other refreshed Admirals Clubs to come. Elsewhere around the DCA Admirals Club, you’ll find infinity landscapes of cherry blossoms, fragments from historic American speeches and more. This local flavor was largely missing from previous Admirals Clubs — instead, many clubs were cookie cutters of one another.
For VIP loungegoers, DMAC and American Airlines modeled a special part of the lounge after the Library of Congress. Federal representatives who frequent the lounge will be able to access the VIP room, which features a conference table, TV and comfortable seating.
The Club elected to keep its nearly uninterrupted views of downtown Washington, DC as a highlight of the lounge. From the cozy chairs in a corner of the lounge, you can see the Capitol building and Washington Monument in the distance.
The lounge utilizes an open concept, separated by sections best suited for quick visits, other areas for those who want to spend more time dining and spots for passengers who just want to relax. The “Dining Pavilion” is highlighted by a stunning bar, complete with plush bar stools, aesthetic light fixtures and TV screens. During the early mornings when alcohol isn’t as popular, staff can retract a set of screens to temporarily block out the liquor bottles behind the bar.
Directly next to the bar is an open-concept food area where passengers can serve themselves light bites. The Admirals Club network has long been known to trail behind its competitors — Delta Sky Clubs and United Clubs — with regard to light refreshments. Typically on offer in Admirals Clubs, you’ll find cubes of cheese, crudités, crackers and occasionally avocado toast, among some other relatively underwhelming selections. At this time, the airline isn’t introducing new food options.
For passengers who want to spend their time in the dining area, they won’t be disappointed with the seating options. There are a number of dining tables, as well as smaller booth-like options at the rear of the lounge.
MacEwen told CNN Underscored that the lounge has small hidden nods to aviation and travel spread around it. For example, there are split-level columns throughout the lounge to showcase the horizon break that pilots see, and the corners of the bar were made to emulate the round curvature of a jet engine. The booth seats at the rear of the lounge were designed to resemble the iconic Louis Vuitton trunk cases.
The real highlight of the lounge comes in what the airline is calling the “Lounge Pavilion.” Surrounded by wood slats, this central gathering space is designed to feel like you’re in a protected sanctuary, with a fireplace being the most eye-grabbing feature — a fantastic and warm design concept. During the colder months the fireplace area, which again offers partial views of central DC, will be a great spot for passengers to relax before their flight.
Ultimately, with the design concept, MacEwen and DMAC’s vision was to bring the outside, inside. With design touches such as cherry blossom trees and wood elements that feature on the walls, ceilings and in bathrooms, the final product doesn’t feel at all like a standard Admirals Club. If it weren’t for the subtle branding around the lounge, it could, in fact, feel like you’re in a high-end lounge space outside of an airport.
The new design was made with longevity in mind. According to MacEwen, the seat fabrics and hard surfaces were chosen because of their ability to take thousands of passengers coming through the lounge every year. Some of the seating at the bar can take up to 125,000 sits before showing wear, MacEwen said. Other smart design elements, such as rumble strips close to corners, will help to let passengers know their baggage is close to the wall to avoid any inadvertent bumps or scratches.
Ultimately, American’s freshly redesigned Admirals Club at DCA is something the airline can be proud of. And thankfully, it’s not the only lounge in the network that will have this cozy feel. The airline has unveiled plans to refresh its lounges across the network — the next three to be unveiled in the new style are Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). There’s no timeline on the final completion of the lounge project, but the airline is planning to keep each Admirals Club consistent with the design elements seen in the new lounge at DCA.
Airport lounges are a terrific way to kick back and relax before your flight. And, if you fly with American Airlines or its partner airlines, you may have access to the airline’s network of more than 50 lounges around the world.
But before diving into our list of all of the Admirals Clubs in the network, you’re going to want to learn how to get access to the lounges. Thankfully, there are a number of ways flyers can gain access to Admirals Clubs — from holding select credit cards to having American Airlines AAdvantage elite status and more. Here are the best ways to access Admirals Clubs.
In case you’re unfamiliar, American Airlines has its own portfolio of credit cards. And, by being a card holder of select American-branded cards, you can gain access to Admirals Clubs. Specifically, if you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll get an Admirals Club membership. With the membership that comes with the card, you’ll be able to get into any of the domestic or international lounges (as well as some select partner lounges) if you have a boarding pass for same-day travel on American or its partner airlines (including Oneworld airlines and most JetBlue flights).
If you, as the primary card holder, are traveling on a same-day American or partner flight, you can also bring up to two guests into the lounge with you. And not only does the primary card holder of the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite get an Admirals Club membership, but so do your authorized users. In fact, you can add up to 10 authorized users on your account — yes, that’s 10 — and each of them will get an Admirals Club membership.
Currently, the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite card comes with a sign-up bonus of 80,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $5,500 in the first three months after opening the account. While there’s a $450 annual fee that comes with the card, when you consider that an Admirals Club membership costs more than that, the card could easily pay for itself if you travel frequently enough.
As mentioned, the easiest way to get an Admirals Club membership is by holding onto the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite card. However, you can also buy your own Admirals Club membership. The rate you have to pay for membership depends on your level of elite status with American Airlines.
In addition to paying cash for a membership, you can also redeem your AAdvantage miles — though you won’t be getting the best value for your miles. Here’s how the membership cost breaks down for individuals:
- AAdvantage members: $650 or 65,000 miles
- AAdvantage Gold members: $625 or 62,500 miles
- AAdvantage Platinum members: $600 or 60,000 miles
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro members: $575 or 57,500 miles
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum members: $550 or 55,000 miles
Those redemptions are only worth 1 cent per mile, so you’re likely to do better by paying cash for the lounge membership and redeeming your miles for flights instead. Either way, you can buy a membership directly with American online, by calling 800-237-7971 or in any Admirals Club location.
If you hold AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro or Platinum elite status, you can access Admirals Clubs free of charge when traveling on select international routes. Qualifying international flights include those between the US and Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, New Zealand or South America. You must be traveling on a flight marketed and operated by American, a Oneworld airline (regardless of cabin) or marketed by JetBlue and operated by American.
If you’re accessing a lounge using your status on an international flight, you can bring one guest with you, who must also be traveling on an American or Oneworld flight.
If you’re flying in first or business class on select international, transcontinental or other domestic flights marketed and operated by American, its Oneworld airline partners or marketed by JetBlue and operated by American, you’ll get complimentary Admirals Club access.
Eligible international flights include those between the US and Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, New Zealand and South America. Eligible transcontinental flights include those with seats ticketed as Flagship between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), JFK and San Francisco (SFO), JFK and Orange County (SNA), LAX and Miami (MIA) and LAX and Boston (BOS). Finally, other qualifying domestic flights include those with seats ticketed as Flagship between Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) and Honolulu (HNL), DFW and Kona (KOA), DFW and Maui (OGG), Chicago (ORD) and HNL and Charlotte (CLT) and HNL.
Flyers traveling on qualifying international first-class tickets are permitted one guest who must also be traveling on a departing or arriving Oneworld flight. All other qualifying customers are not permitted any guests.
American still allows flyers to purchase day passes to enter its Admirals Clubs. Day passes are available at select locations and cost $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles. If you elect to purchase a day pass, up to three children younger than 18 can enter with you. Additionally, you must be traveling on a same-day flight that is marketed or operated by American, any Oneworld airline or most JetBlue flights.
If you’re US military personnel traveling in uniform on a same-day flight operated by American, you can access Admirals Clubs for free. All domestic and international Admirals Clubs are included except the Airspace Lounge in San Diego (SAN) and the JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu (HNL). You must present your military ID and same-day boarding pass with American, and your immediate family or up to two guests can enter with you.
Now that you know how to get into an Admirals Club, it’s equally as important to know where the clubs are located. Most major airports around the country have an Admirals Club location — especially those in American Airlines hub cities. Here are the 32 airports around the world where you can find an Admirals Club.
Where to find it: Past security on the left, across from Gate T11.
At the Atlanta Admirals Club, you can expect the standard lounge offering. There’s a full-service bar, complimentary food and drinks and Wi-Fi, but conference rooms are not available. Don’t expect the flashiest designs at this location.
Where to find it: Inside security, across from Gate 22.
There’s one Admirals Club at Austin (AUS), and you can expect the standard offering you’ll find at other lounges in the network. However, the airline is planning to open a brand-new 15,000-square-foot Admirals Club in the airport in the next couple of years, featuring the new design seen at DCA.
Where to find it: Terminal B, upper level past security by Gate B4.
The Boston Admirals Club is known as one of the newer and better lounges in the network. Not only does it have all of the basic Admirals Club amenities such as a bar and complimentary food and beverage options, but it also has shower facilities and a dedicated room for children. Additionally, there’s one conference room that can seat up to 10 people.
Where to find it: Terminal B across from Gate 9 on the upper level.
As one of the few international Admirals Club in the network, the Buenos Aires location features the familiar feel of what you can expect from a club in the US. There’s the standard offering in addition to shower facilities, which are a nice perk ahead of a long-haul flight.
Where to find it: Through security, between Gates 3 and 5.
The Concourse B Admirals Club is the smaller of the two AA lounges in Charlotte. Inside, you can expect to find the usual Admirals Club offerings, such as a full-service bar and basic food and beverages for a refreshing snack ahead of your flight.
Where to find it: Intersection of Concourse C and D, after security.
This lounge recently reopened to travelers after it was shut for more than six months for repairs. While the airline didn’t completely overhaul the lounge, it did make some minor adjustments. The Concourse C lounge is the biggest in the airport.
Where to find it: After security, across from Gate G8.
One of the smaller Admirals Club lounges at O’Hare. You’ll get the standard fare — refreshments and a light bite — but don’t expect added amenities like shower facilities or conference rooms.
Where to find it: After security, in the crosswalk between Gates H6 and K6.
This Admirals Club, located between Concourses H and K, is the largest of the airline’s three Admirals Clubs at O’Hare. Not only are there shower facilities and a kids room, but there are also two conference rooms — each of which can fit up to eight people.
Where to find it: After security, before Gate L1.
The other of the smaller Admirals Clubs at O’Hare. Here, you can expect the standard lounge fare, including snacks and a bar.
Where to find it: After security, across from Gate A24.
This Admirals Club has plenty of space to spread out before your flight, and it was renovated before the Covid-19 pandemic. While you can expect the usual Admirals Club lounge offerings, the real highlight here is a fitness center — and yes, there are shower facilities for after your workout.
Where to find it: After security, between Gates B3 and B4.
This is one of the older clubs at DFW. There are three conference rooms as well as the typical light refreshments.
Where to find it: After security, between Gates C19 and C20.
This lounge is big, so there should be room to spread out. However, it’s on the dated side, so don’t expect the more modern finishes and amenities you’ll find in some of the newer lounges. However, there are four conference rooms and a dedicated kids room.
Where to find it: After security, near gate D24.
This space is more updated than some of the others in the airport, and it’s on the larger side. It’s located opposite the Capital One Lounge. Inside, you can expect standard Admirals Club offerings with plenty of seating options.
Where to find it: DFW E Satellite Terminal, mezzanine level.
This Admirals Club is the newest of the network at American’s home airport, DFW. While it’s new, it’s one of the smaller ones you’ll find at DFW. That being said, it serves fewer passengers, as it’s located in the satellite terminal.
Where to find it: North end of the A gates bridge from Jeppesen Terminal.
While this isn’t the oldest lounge in the Admirals Club network, there’s not much that’s new and revolutionary about it. But, you will get the standard Admirals Club experience: a full-service bar, complimentary food and drinks and Wi-Fi.
Where to find it: Third level of Terminal 2 above The Local @HNL restaurant.
This lounge is also called the Sakura Lounge and also serves Japan Airlines, which is a partner of American. Reviewers say that the lounge is updated and offers a decent amount of seating.
Where to find it: After security, near Gates A25 and A26.
The Houston Admirals Club is on the smaller side, so overcrowding can be an issue. That said, there’s lots of natural light and all of the standard amenities you would expect in an Admirals Club lounge.
Where to find it: Departure level, beyond passport control in lounge area H.
The Admirals Club at London Heathrow is one of a handful of international lounges in the network. It has all the standard Admirals Club offerings in addition to shower facilities. Some reviewers say that you might be better off going to other Oneworld lounges in the terminal if you have access.
Where to find it: Concourse level across from Gate 40.
This is a huge lounge — and you’ll find plenty of seating spread around the space and natural light for viewing planes from your seat. As far as food goes, expect the same complimentary offerings, though the paid items are said to be tasty.
Where to find it: Near Duty Free.
This lounge also has plenty of seating for travelers, though it fits more of the classic Admirals Club design than the Terminal 4 lounge. Inside, expect all the standard amenities like Wi-Fi, a full-service bar and complimentary snacks.
Where to find it: Across from Gates 52D and 52E in the Regional Terminal.
By far the smallest and least attractive of the Admirals Club lounge options at LAX, the Regional Terminal isn’t meant for long stays. But, it’s a solid option for a quick stop and light bite.
Where to find it: International Departures area, second floor above Gate 19.
For those who believe that any lounge is better than no lounge at all, the Mexico City Admirals Club offers a very basic experience. The lounge is on the smaller side and doesn’t have any additional perks, but there are the standard amenities like a bar and complimentary food options.
Where to find it: After security, across from Gate D30.
This is the larger of the two Admirals Clubs at Miami. The lounge is large, light and airy with nice finishes throughout and plenty of seating options. Additionally, there are shower facilities on-site as well as a conference room.
Where to find it: After security, on the third floor above Gate D15.
While this lounge has some of the same amenities as the D-30 Admirals Club, it’s on the smaller side. Otherwise, expect the standard Admirals Club offering of light bites and a full-service bar.
Where to find it: After security on Concourse C, Mezzaine level, across from Gate C 10.
This is a pretty standard Admirals Club location — don’t expect the flashiest furnishings, but you’ll get the usual experience that come with the Admirals Club name.
Where to find it: On the mezzanine level after Concourse B security checkpoint.
In this lounge, you’ll find a kids room as well as a conference room that can seat up to 22 people. Other than that, expect the standard Admirals Club offerings with Wi-Fi, drinks and snacks.
Where to find it: Third floor after security checkpoint across from Gate 42.
Located in the C Concourse, this Admirals Club also features a kids room, though there is no conference room available.
Where to find it: Concourse A, near Gates 30 and 31.
This is one of the newer and more modern Admirals Clubs in the network. As such, you should expect updated amenities and seating areas, as well as a lighter and more aesthetically pleasing lounge. The lounge offers more than 22,000 square feet of space, offering travelers plenty of room to spread out.
Where to find it: Terminal A, after security, toward Gates 30 through 39.
This is a standard Admirals Club lounge, though some travelers have noted that it’s starting to show its age — especially the seating. If you can find a place to sit, expect all the usual amenities you’ll find at others Admirals Club locations. American plans to refresh the Newark lounge with the new, flashy DCA design in the near future.
Where to find it: Mezzanine level, after security, adjacent to Gate 8.
This is far from the largest Admirals Club in the network — and that’s generally OK, as it’s one of the smaller airports. However, don’t expect to find much seating or space to stretch out ahead of your flight. Even though it’s tighter on space, you’ll still find all the typical lounge amenities.
Where to find it: Near Gate 55.
This lounge spans the course of two levels. While there are seating options available on both levels, the bar is located downstairs. It’s modern and fresh, though it’s not the newest of the Admirals Clubs in the network.
Where to find it: Connector building between 2A and 2C.
This lounge is a solid space to spend some time before your flight. Not only are there plenty of seating options and the standard food and beverage offerings, but there are also shower facilities.
Where to find it: In A East terminal, between Gates A4 and A6A.
This lounge is temporarily closed. We will update this guide when it’s reopened. There was a second Admirals Club in Terminal A (West terminal, mezzanine level between Gates A15 and A16), which has been temporarily closed to prepare for a new Flagship Lounge.
Where to find it: On the third floor between Terminals B and C.
While this isn’t the most modern lounge in the Admirals Club network, it is large. You’ll find plenty of seating as well as a standard food and beverage offering.
Where to find it: On level 2 above the food court.
Located in the smaller terminal, this Admirals Club is on the smaller side. As such, don’t expect to find much space to spread out, but you’ll have access to all of the other amenities that come with Admirals Club access.
Where to find it: Above gates A7-A9.
This lounge got a refresh a couple of years ago, so while it’s not the newest and freshest Admirals Club in the network, it’s a nice spot for resting before your flight.
Where to find it: Between Gates A19-A21.
Don’t expect to find much space to spread out here — it’s the smaller of the two Admirals Clubs in the A Concourse. While it’s small, there are still light refreshments and a full bar on offer.
Where to find it: Above Gates B5 and B7.
The B Concourse is a medium-sized lounge with plenty of seating on offer. Additionally, you’ll find the standard Wi-Fi, refreshment and full bar offerings that are typical among the rest of the network.
Where to find it: Main lobby past security, mezzanine level.
While it’s not the biggest lounge in the network, it has all the amenities you would need for a quick stop ahead of your flight. Reviewers love the natural light and variety of seating on offer.
Where to find it: After security, across from Gates C1 and C3.
There’s one conference room in this lounge, which can seat up to eight people. Around the rest of the lounge, expect a smaller space, which some reviewers say can get crowded at peak travel times.
Where to find it: South Pier (third floor), follow signs to the VIP lounges.
As one of two Admirals Club lounges in Brazil, this space offers travelers a TV room, shower facilities and a children’s room for relaxing ahead of your flight. The lounge offers plenty of seating and lots of natural light.
Where to find it: After security, Terminal 1, near Gate B13.
Spanning more than 11,000 square feet, this lounge first opened to passengers in 2020. It’s open and airy featuring amenities such as shower facilities and a kids room.
Where to find it: Terminal 3, mezzanine level (third floor) above the Duty Free shopping area.
As the second Admirals Club lounge in Brazil, this location is medium-sized, offering more than 9,000 square feet of space. With plenty of seating options, showers, a kids room and more, this is a great spot to relax ahead of your flight.
Where to find it: Beyond the security checkpoint, to your left at the entrance of Concourse C.
This space features all the Admirals Club amenities such as a food station and full-service bar in a space that offers a variety of seating. While it’s not one of the biggest spaces in the network, reviewers don’t tend to complain about the lounge getting overcrowded.
Where to find it: Airside F, adjacent to Gate 85.
This lounge is on the smaller side, and some reviewers have complained about overcrowding and a lack of seating options. The food and beverage choices are similar to other locations in the Admirals Club network.
Where to find it: Terminal 3 Transfer Level near the Duty Free.
Reviewers like this lounge’s cleanliness and overall feel. There are plenty of seating options both in the dining area and in the relaxation areas of the lounge. Plus, the lounge is located after the US Preclearance immigration checkpoint, meaning you can spend more time in the lounge before heading to your gate.
Where to find it: Mezzanine level, near Gate C24.
One of the smaller, older Admirals Clubs at DCA. Expect the standard, older Admirals Club finishes and offerings.
Where to find it: Mezzanine level, near Gate D36.
The other of the classic Admirals Club lounges at DCA. This location is on the smaller side and features a darker, more standard Admirals Club take on the lounge experience.
Where to find it: At the start of Concourse E, above Capitol File News.
This is the newest and best lounge in the Admirals Club network. It features more than 14,000 square feet of cozy space that truly feels like you’re stepping into a high-end home rather than an airport lounge.
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