Back in December I wrote how to get American Admirals Club access free for one year. That strategy still works.
Here’s how to get American club access for a net cost of $100, plus get a whole lot of additional benefits as well. (Admirals Club membership normally costs $400 – $500.)
Citibank and American Airlines promote that the Citi Executive / AAdvantage Card is the only credit card offering American Airlines lounge access, but that’s not accurate.
The Citi Prestige card does as well. The card normally comes with a $450 annual fee but Efficient Asian Man writes that he had no problem getting the $350 annual fee offer meant for Citi Gold accountholders (Citibank customers with significant financial relationships) that also comes with a signup bonus of:
- 30,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months
- 30,000 points after $15,000 within 12 months
(The normal offer is for a $450 annual fee and 30,000 points after $2000 spend within 3 months.)
That $350 annual fee is offset by a $250 annual airline fee credit. Here’s Efficient Asian Man,
There’s a $250 airline credit each calendar year, and it’s automatically redeemed (so no need to choose an airline) and is valid for all airline purchases (so no need to buy gift cards in certain denominations). This means that the ongoing annual fee is effectively only $100, and if I wanted to, I could cancel within a year and get $500 in airline credits for only $350.
The card also gets you:
- Priority Pass Select membership with free admittance for 2 guests. This gets you Alaska Airlines lounge access and access to many international lounges. (The American Express Platinum card offers Priority Pass Select but doesn’t give you any free guests.)
- Global Entry Fee Reimbursement. If you don’t already have Global Entry this $100 fee credit would make your first year net cost zero.
After the airline fee credit the $100 net cost gives you Admirals Club access.
It’s not a true membership, you have to be flying American for access, but that’s mostly when you’d want the access. Here are the Admirals Club access terms for the card:
Only primary Citi Prestige® World EliteTM MasterCard® cardmembers who are 18 years of age or older and are traveling on American, American Eagle Airlines, Inc. or an American Connection carrier flight number may receive access privileges to the American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges. Authorized users of the Citi Prestige World Elite MasterCard credit card are not entitled to Admirals Club access privileges. This benefit does not provide access privileges to US Airways clubs®, Arrivals Lounge, or Flagship® Lounge facilities, or other airline lounges or clubs with which American Airlines may have reciprocal lounge or club access privileges, including lounges operated by oneworld Alliance. To access the Admirals Club lounge, the primary cardmember must present (i) his or her open and valid Citi Prestige World Elite MasterCard, (ii) his or her current government-issued I.D., (iii) a boarding pass or stand-by ticket, showing an American, American Eagle Airlines, Inc., or an American Connection carrier flight number, valid for travel on such flight and departing within 12 hours of the Admirals Club visit (or, in the case of a visit at an arrival airport, with respect to such a flight that arrived no more than 12 hours prior to the visit) and (iv) any additional required documentation. The primary cardmember may bring as guest(s) either immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) or up to two traveling guests. All guests must remain with the cardmember during the club visit. All persons must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Cardmembers and guests must adhere to all house rules of participating clubs. Should the Citi Prestige World Elite MasterCard account be closed for any reason, all Admirals Club benefits will be immediately cancelled, including access to all branded Admirals Club lounges.
As noted, the best offer for the card (lower fee, bigger bonus) is in-branch.