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FlyerTalkers Call Foul on American Airlines Member Benefits

FlyerTalkers Call Foul on American Airlines Member Benefits
Joe Cortez

One FlyerTalker says the benefits advertised by Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard are not what they seem and is calling foul against both the bank and the airline. In a thread, the flyer says they were refused entry to one of the over 60 “partner lounges” available to Admirals Club members, leaving them furious about the experience. 

A FlyerTalker is demanding restitution from American Airlines and Citi after they claim they were denied entry to a lounge despite holding the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard with Admirals Club membership. In a now-closed thread, FlyerTalker Goin-2-AA claims they were unduly refused entry to the Goldair Lounge at Athens International Airport (ATH) and is accusing both the airline and credit card company of selling cardholders “a blatant lie.”

According to their story, the flyer held a ticket on an American Airlines flight and wanted to visit the Goldair Lounge. On the American Airlines website, the Goldair Lounge is listed as one of 60 “partner lounges” available to travelers who have Admirals Club membership.

One of the listed benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard is enjoying “an Admirals Club membership (a value of up to $650), including access for authorized users.”

The fine print of the offer on the American Airlines website reads: “Only Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® primary credit cardmembers who are eighteen (18) years of age or older will receive full membership access privileges to Admirals Club® lounges…An Admirals Club® membership includes access to other airline lounges and clubs with which American Airlines may have reciprocal lounge or club access privileges.” It goes on to note: “Additionally, the credit card authorized user access benefit does not provide: (i) access privileges to other airline lounges or clubs with which American Airlines may have reciprocal lounge or club access privileges.”

As the primary cardholder, Goin-2-AA writes that they presented their credit card and same-day American boarding pass at the lounge entrance. However, they claim they were denied access by the lounge agent. The story continues after reporting the incident to American, a company employee allegedly said membership did not include partner lounges.

After threatening “A class action is now in the works,” FlyerTalkers were quick to offer their opinions on the situation. “A Goldair lounge at ATH was turning away some people when I was there several weeks ago and it was due to capacity,” FlyerTalker GUWonder noted. “There are two Goldair lounges at ATH. The one where I witnessed capacity limits being invoked was the Schengen-side Goldair lounge.”

“It sounds like a partner lounge incorrectly denied access, possibly because they were not familiar with the card the user was trying to use to get access, or for some other reason,” mvoight writes. “Maybe they were confused by language. I noticed the AA page info above mentions ‘authorized users’ of the card do not have access, so maybe there was [an] incorrect interpretation of ‘authorized users.’”

But many agreed that threatening a class-action lawsuit over denied access may be a bridge too far.

“It seems to me like it would be pretty hard for [American] to ignore a professional, concise complaint alerting them to an improper denial,” mcrw00 notes on the forums. “No class-action needed.”

In a statement to FlyerTalk, an American spokesperson apologized to the flyer for the misunderstanding. “Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard primary cardholders should have access to our Partner lounges including the Goldair Lounge in Athens,” their statement reads. “We apologize to anyone who has had difficulty accessing the lounge in Athens, and we are following up to reinforce our access policy.”

 

[Featured Image: Athens International Airport]

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. Flight44

    July 3, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Two sides of the same coin. Infinite expectations and exaggerated promises.

    The days of pleasant travel have ended.

  2. controller1

    July 3, 2019 at 5:29 am

    This is a problem with AA not issuing a separate Admirals Club membership card to their Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® cardholders. I also have a full membership to United Clubs through one of their credit cards. United still issues me a separate United Club membership card.

  3. mvoight

    July 15, 2019 at 8:08 am

    The Admirals Club info is on the back of the card.
    In any case, it is not worthy of a class action simply because one person employed at a lounge contracted for another carrier didn’t understand the credit card permitted benefits.
    What were the actual damages in this case? The price of admission to a lounge?

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