American Airlines have revealed which of their Admirals Clubs are for the chop. So far, three facilities have been earmarked for closure, due to go ahead on October 15th, 2018.
The lounges labelled to be closing their doors for the very last time are Hartford, CT (BDL), Caracas, Venezuela (CCS) and Greensboro, NC (GSO). American stated that the Admiral club closure at these locations was not a decision they took lightly, but that they wanted to ensure they were ‘striking the right balance’ between service and costs.
While the decision to wrap up services at Caracas is somewhat understandable, given the general political unrest in the area, the other closures are somewhat more puzzling. American are the largest carrier at Bradley Airport in Hartford, transporting around 1.6m passengers every year out of this hub. At Greensboro, American operates flights from Piedmont Triad International to seven destinations, which includes four of the five busiest routes for the airport.
What’s behind the American Admiral Lounge closures?
Right now, American Airlines are in the middle of a $200m project to improve their lounge facilities, and to introduce a new tier of lounges for their most elite travellers. So far, the project has seen the addition of outstanding new Flagship lounges, which are currently open in four locations: Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).
These changes have already spurred some unfortunate but necessary Admiral Lounge closures, as spaces are reclaimed for expansive (and we have to admit, beautiful) Flagship Lounges. In JFK, for instance, the Concourse B Admiral Club has been closed in favour of a more spacious Flagship lounge.
In Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW), the Terminal D Admiral Club closure has already made way for an elite Flagship lounge. This leaves only an Admiral Club in Terminal A which, despite it’s recent remodel, lacks the sweeping gate and runway views of it’s bigger brother in Terminal D.
Despite this trend, American have not mentioned closing the clubs in favour of installing Flagships in this particular situation. However, you have to wonder whether they plan to still maintain a presence at BDL and GSO, being such an important airline in these locations. We’ll just have to wait and see.
They look great…get me in!
Despite these American Admiral Lounge closures, there are still more than 50 Admirals Clubs across the world, so this isn’t a major loss. If you’ve ever passed an Admiral Club and wondered how best to get in there, you might be surprised to learn that the frugal answer is not to simply buy an annual pass.
Far cheaper than the cost of an annual pass would be to grab hold of a Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. You get a stonking bonus of 75,000 AAdvantage miles if you spend $7,500 within three months. With the card, you’ll get membership for you, which you can enjoy with up to two guests or family members at no additional cost.
On the other hand, if the wonders of the Flagship lounge have captured your imagination, perhaps you’ll want to know how to get in there. It’s understandable, what with their chef inspired meals, premium wine table and cocktail bar. Well, if you’re flying between the US and another continent in first or business class, or transcontinental on a non-stop between New York and LA, or New York and San Francisco, you’ll get access automatically.
To qualify as an AAdvantage member, you’ll need to be Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro or Platinum. If your flight with American (or a oneworld airline) qualifies for the lounge, then you’ll get access regardless of cabin. If you’re Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro or Platinum and flying within North America only, you don’t quality for the Flagship facilities.
As well as the four locations already open, Flagship lounges are scheduled for completion soon in Dallas / Fort Worth, London Heathrow and Philadelphia.