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Effective October 15 American Airlines will be closing its Admirals Clubs at Hartford (BDL), Greensboro (GSO), and Caracas (CCS).
The airline says they’re doing this to control costs, offering in a statement that “These decisions are never easy, and we must always ensure we are striking the right balance of providing the level of service our customers have come to expect while keeping our costs in-check.”
And American’s position on Caracas seems to be ‘they’re the only ones left’ it’s a very difficult environment to work in, and there’s not much need to invest where customers can either fly American or not fly to the U.S.
I’m surprised to see them eliminate the Greensboro club, my understanding has been that this is a strong station for American due to their nearby hub in Charlotte and limited competition. If memory serves theirs was the only club at the airport. Perhaps they don’t see the reason to invest again due to lack of competition though if the airport makes the space available as a club rather than converting it to retail that could be an opportunity for others.
American emphasizes that they are investing “in renovating and opening premium lounges that provide our customers with the best amenities on the ground.” Of course Admirals Club members don’t have access to these Flagship lounges. In fact in some measure the Flagship lounge project — the reason to offer seaprate lounges for business class customers, elites flying internationally, and partner elites from the Admirals Club — is to avoid having to spend money on better food and beverage for dues-paying club members.
In fact American is shutting down one of its two Admirals Clubs at New York JFK to make room for their premium Flagship lounge there.
At the same time though American is improving its food and beverage program in remaining lounges. Whether it’s made to order guacamole and avocado toast, or pasta and salad bar options being tested, the food and beverage program in Admirals Clubs isn’t up to Delta’s standards but has been improving.
They’re also renovating clubs (though they’ve put off my home club in Austin, and it will be far more challenging to renovate at New York JFK since they’re eliminating one of the two clubs there). Renovations don’t always make a club better but certainly until the current run up in fuel prices they’ve been investing heavily in the product.
Moreover, American’s pricing is in some measure more favorable than Delta’s and United’s, where Delta charges extra for memberships that include guests American not only still allows guests in their base membership their Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® which is currently offering 75,000 miles after $7500 spend within the first 3 months of cardmembership not only coomes with American Airlines Club membership it offers authorized user cards at no additional annual fee each of which can access these clubs and bring in guests. For the price I’d argue American is giving more to members than competitors.