Why do you pay for an Admirals Club Membership?

Old Aug 30, 19, 7:52 pm
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Why do you pay for an Admirals Club Membership?

Good evening Flyertalk! Iím asking for help in understanding the value of an Admirals Club membership if one must pay out of pocket (I will fly about 150 segments this year, have a Corp expense account, and am not permitted to put lounge fees on my account).

Here are my thoughts - leisure flyers donít see value due to infrequency of use and most business flyers have the often better food/drink in the terminals covered. They appear to have a limited footprint, limited food and drink, and are relatively expensive for an annual membership.

Im genuinely interested in peopleís thoughhts. For or those in similar situations (or anyone who cares to chime in), why do you choose to buy a membership?
timmy83 is offline  
Old Aug 30, 19, 8:02 pm
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Cleaner bathrooms than the airport

lounge staff to help with flight issues

place to get a drink and relax even if only for a few mins. Air travel is stressful and finding a spot to just sit and find a quiet spot in an airport isn’t easy. The lounges imo offer an opportunity to decompress
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Old Aug 30, 19, 8:12 pm
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The lounge staff can be super helpful when there's IRROPS and have much shorter lines to help than the Customer Service desks typically. I also like to have a somewhat quite spot to get some work done with power outlets, seating that is more comfortable than the terminal, snacks (such as they are) and to grab a drink.

That said no one should pay for a membership, if you find that having access to the lounge is worth it you should get the AA Citi card which includes AC membership and has an annual fee that is cheaper than what AA charges to buy a membership by itself and has no initiation fee for new members as the AC does. Even the "discounted" fee for EXPs is $100/year more than what you pay Citi for the card.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 8:26 pm
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The reason for a business traveler to have a lounge membership comes down to one thing: THE AGENTS. Just one "save" throughout the year pays for itself when it comes to IRROPS. Sure, the drinks, the quiet spaces, the work spaces, and the clean bathrooms are nice...but ultimately its the agents that make the difference for me. I am lucky in that my company uses our Business Extra rewards for our memberships, but I would have to find a way to pay for it on my own if they didn't. I was recently traveling to San Juan (AUS-DFW-MIA-SJU) and after checking my bag and getting to the lounge, the agent let me know that she had just backed me up AUS-MIA-SJU as my flight (AUS-DFW) was on a mech decision. I didn't even have the slightest idea there was anything going on, and she told me this when I checked in to the club. About 30% of my business travel requires me to be onsite at the start of business on Monday morning, or my customer is unable to conduct business. This means flying out earlier than I prefer on Sundays and proactively monitoring flights and weather patterns, but the agents have saved my bacon many times...I'm probably jinxing myself, but I have not missed a Monday morning start. Came close once, headed to MCO. Wound up flying AUS-LAX-PHX-MCO overnight, but I was there for Monday morning. If your travel is more flexible and less critical, this benefit may not mean as much.

Just for the record, if you're listening AA, bring back the danged enhanced food options!
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Old Aug 30, 19, 8:49 pm
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Let's say I used the AC approx 80 times last year, excluding visits that would be free based on international J travel. On at least 30 mornings at DCA, AC access meant popping in for avocado toast, coffee, and maybe a yogurt. At least a couple dozen evenings, it meant anywhere from one to numerous drinks, often with 1 or 2 others, even if it's just cheap beer or vodka. And more than once (though once is enough to justify the annual card fee), it meant some poor and overworked but immensely helpful AAgent in CLT or DFW or HNL or wherever pressing the keys to print me a BP to anywhere useful when IRROPS hit, so I could get home when the hold time for the EXP desk was 2 hours or longer.

Add cleanish bathrooms, reliable low-hassle plugs & wifi, and the occasional need to meet with others airside somewhere civilized, and $450 is a no brainer.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 10:00 pm
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As everyone so far as said its the AA angels
they are the best ,especially for me out of my home airport
now I gave up the membership 4 years ago because most if not all my travel is overseas in J
so no need for me to have one
now on the flip side I do have plenty of Day passes I got they my AA business account which I use if not traveling internationally
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Old Aug 30, 19, 10:12 pm
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AA Angels are amazing I had a LAX-DFW-LGA (JFK-LHR Separate ticket BA) flight LAX-DFW leg was severely delayed due to weather so the AAangel straight out put me on a LAX-JFK flight that had a huge standby list and I ended up being super early for my flight thanks to her
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Old Aug 30, 19, 11:13 pm
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Because I can
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Old Aug 31, 19, 12:05 am
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Itís good to always have a place to sit and a clean bathroom, not to mention areas I can work with my laptop and usually easy access to charging.

Snacks in the non-Flagship lounges are basic, but still decent. With the amount of flying I do, I would spend more money in a year getting (albeit) better food in the terminal, than on a Admirals Club membership.

On top of that, great quick customer service if things go awry.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 1:49 am
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If you 'need' a place to sit and work and have that as a reason for buying lounge access , then that is something that the company needs to be paying - or accept that work isn't done at an airport

Fixing disruptions as the other main one - if that is such a big benefit then AA's disruptions are far more than I would expect from an airline

It is nice to have lounge access and more pleasant than the main terminal - even AA's lounges are better than terminal public areas

Is it worth the cost - how many times a year would you get to use it out of the segment count ( not everywhere has a lounge and some times will be too short to make much use of it ) - work out the cost per visit and see whether it is worth it - I wouldn't pay for AC membership but happy to use it from status based access
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Old Aug 31, 19, 4:39 am
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Having a maintained, clean place to change in or out of work clothes is key. And AAgents are useful...not just during IRROPS but if youíre trying to do basic same day itinerary changes.
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joeyE is offline  
Old Aug 31, 19, 5:44 am
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All of the above and showers at some of the bigger clubs. During delays Iíd much rather wait it out in an AC versus a cramped crowded gate.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 6:09 am
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My thoughts:
  • Place to avoid the mass crowds
  • Gratis light food and drink
  • Admirals Club agents have saved my bacon or have done things gate agents won't/can't do at least twice a year
  • Showers (something I've come to appreciate when I've been on my feet and working for 15 hour already that day)
  • Almost 100% guarantee of available phone / laptop chargers
  • Actual seats and tables to do work at
90% of my travel is for work and the Clubs allow me to be more productive. For clients who are on a fixed fee basis and I'm really not trying to sock them with a $25.00 lunch or dinner, I will make do with the soup/chili and crudites.

Now and again, I will be departing on the same day or same time with clients. If they are not AC members, its a nice gesture to bring them into the Club with me and to have some free conversation time which is not done in the middle of the terminal, a glass of wine, and a snack.

Nobody has to have a Club membership. I find it a nice addition when I travel.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 8:42 am
Join Date: Sep 2016
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Showers, especially before or after a redeye when going from one full day to the next (no hotel that night).
Originally Posted by timmy83 View Post
leisure flyers donít see value due to infrequency of use

There is such a thing as a frequent leisure traveler.
Originally Posted by timmy83 View Post
most business flyers have the often better food/drink in the terminals covered
If you're on a fixed per diem for meals, free food is money in your pocket.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 9:06 am
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Frequent leisure traveler here. I got it because Iím planning on doing 60+ segments this year mostly because of family and other trips.

Usually got it for the clean bathrooms and long layovers at ORD, DFW and MIA. Showers are amazing after coming in from a red eye and I still have more connections to make later that day.

Comfortable seats with chargers, plus easy access to an agent when my trip goes sideways which almost always happens due to weather in/out of ORD.
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