Additional Cardholders of Citibank Premium American Co-Brand Credit Card Now Get Lounge Access!

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Rumors have been swirling about this for days. Citibank just confirmed it for me.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® cardmembers have long enjoyed Admirals Club® access and now for the first time, authorized users on the account will too, even when traveling alone.

I carry the $450 annual fee card because it’s a cost-effective way to buy American Airlines Admirals Club access, and because it lets me spend $40,000 and earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles. I always think I’m going to need those miles to re-qualify for elite status (even though I don’t wind up needing them) and it’s cheaper and easier than mileage running.

Additional cardholders on an account come at no fee. So get your spouse, significant other, whomever a card and they can access American’s lounges even when traveling alone.

The primary cardholder gets their card membership linked to their AAdvantage account, so club agents can look up membership with an AAdvantage number. (Primary cards also have “Admirals Club” stamped on the back.) Additional cardholders have to show their card and government ID for access.

As someone who flies American Airlines regularly, I place a high value on lounge access. It’s the people who keep me going especially during irregular operations, going above and beyond to get me where I’m going. As a result I’m very interested in the best way to get American Airlines club access.

For instance, agents have regularly double booked me giving me ‘backup’ flights just in case I misconnect. And I’ve even gotten a proactive call from a lounge about a delay, they had booked me as a backup on a new flight (that had looked sold out to me, and it was the last one of the night). And I’m not a Concierge Key member.

best way to get American Airlines club access
Entrance to American Airlines Admirals Club Austin

Admirals Club membership normally runs $400 – $500. For most people the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard just makes sense. And that was before the new authorized cardmember access benefit!

Even an Executive Platinum member renewing a membership for themselves and a spouse or domestic partner would pay American $525. That same member can get this card for less (and have more than one authorized user gain access to the club).

Buenos Aires Admirals Club

best way to get American Airlines club access
Putting Green, American Airlines Admirals Club Austin

US airlines only charge for club access via historical accident but since they do this will be a great way for many to access the lounge.

Of course the Citi Prestige Card offers Admirals Club access when flying American same-day as well.

Citi Prestige also gets you lounge access via the Priority Pass Select card, but is even better because it includes free guest access as well. And the card’s annual fee credit can be used directly for airfare, no need to mess around with gift cards. You even get free rounds of golf. Many will get $3000 in value for the $450 fee in year one with the card.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Does the authorized user of an Executive MasterCard have access to Admirals clubs or a membership like the cardholder that allows acess even when not flying AA?

  2. @Mark – yes to guests. American spokesperson Laura Nedbal tells me, “authorized users will still be allowed to bring in with them either immediate family members (spouse or domestic partner and children under eighteen (18) years of age), or up to two guests traveling with them.”

  3. @John what Citi told me was that the authorized user had to show their Executive AAdvantage card and a government issued ID [and thus not a boarding pass].

  4. no special limit as a result of this benefit that i’m aware of, i’m in meetings all day and can’t get out to citi for the theoretical limit.

  5. Do you have to have a ticket for day of us or can you visit when flying other airlines the day of use?

  6. Crossing fingers Citi has an increased sign-up bonus promotion soon! Looking to dump Delta for American and this may be my in…

  7. @John You can fly any airline and use the lounge. If you can get to the lounge (past security), you have access. I use my membership, via this card, on non-AA flights frequently.

  8. If it’s a full-blown membership for AUs, then it’s a very cost-attractive alternative for access to AS Board Rooms for AS flyers (since my Delta Sky Club lifetime membership won’t give me access after December 31).

  9. I’m skeptical.

    Why the generosity?

    This is significantly better than any other lounge card, co named or otherwise. Are they feeling pressured from cancellations 1yr after the 100k promotion? Are they still feeling issue from Barclay’s? If this to temper the cancellations from the AAdvantage devaluation?

  10. I take full credit for this. I have griped and moaned at least twenty times at the desk, made lines form, complained and generally been very difficult for this benefit. We have multiple accounts and I have no idea which one is mine and which is my wife’s. Good thing when I sent my son to Europe i gave him my actual card on my account. He ended up being rerouted and needed access for a long layover. Wouldn’t let him in with his card. called me and went back with mine 10 minutes later and got in. Thank goodness they finally got this right. I spend over 100,00 a year, and they were about to lose me and my company.

  11. Any idea when or where there’ll be official confirmation? The “card benefits” link under my account still says primary cardholders only.

  12. Gary, just to confirm what you said in your comment above, authorized users are allowed club access even when not flying AA, just like the primary cardholder?

  13. So stoked about this! I’m sure this is old information that I’m just unaware of, but do other card perks apply to authorized users? Does each user get the $100 Global Entry credit, free checked bag, priority check in, etc?

  14. Gary, can you please reconfirm (and ideally point to the link where it states) that authorized users will have access to the Admirals Club when traveling without the primary member. This appears nowhere in the Ts&Cs on the application page. I called Citibank and they told me this wasn’t true and that authorized users must be with the primary member in order to access the club — although I would believe you any day vs. them. That said, I’m hesitant to pull the trigger without confirmation. Please help if you can!

    Current Ts&Cs (accessed Feb 8):
    To access an Admirals Club® lounge, the primary cardmember or Authorized User must present: (i) his or her (a) AAdvantage® number or (b) active and valid Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™MasterCard®; (ii) his or her current government-issued I.D.; and (iii) any additional required documentation. Either immediate family members (spouse or domestic partner and children under eighteen (18) years of age) or up to two (2) guests traveling with the primary cardmember or Authorized User may be admitted for free when accompanied by the primary cardmember or Authorized User. All persons must be of valid drinking age, based on applicable law, to consume alcohol.

  15. @Travelsensei – you just quoted the terms that say what you are looking for. OR AUTHORIZED USER.

    The information I wrote about came directly from Citi. The benefit has been used successfully. And it’s right there in the terms 🙂

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