American Airlines Considers Not Reneging on Lifetime Admirals Club Commitment

Beginning November 1, both United Airlines and American Airlines will follow Delta and restrict access to their clubs to members who are flying the airline or one of its designated partners the same day.

Although all three airlines say they offer club ‘memberships’ they’ve really moved to a subscription-based upsell model for access to airport lounges.

American Airlines Admirals Club DFW Concourse A

Delta, though, will continue to honor access without an eligible same day ticket for lifetime club members. In other words, they will continue to deliver the access that those members paid for.

United has a history of reneging on lifetime commitments, including promised annual upgrades for lifetime elites and discounts for paid lifetime Silver Wings Club members. The airline added anytime access to its clubs to that list with its new policy.

American announced a similar position to United, that their access restriction applies even to lifetime Admirals Club members who paid to be able to access those clubs any time.

In an internal communication last month, the airline said they were reconsidering that position in light of Delta allowing lifetime Sky Club members access even when not flying the airline or one of its partners same day.

If American makes the change it will notably be another instance of explicitly managing by copying Delta. I’ve said many times that Jeff Bezos has a point, companies make a mistake paying too much attention to competitors and not enough attention to their customers. However if Delta cajoles American into doing the right thing for once I will certainly applaud it.

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. Monkey see, monkey do. Can’t American do anything original that isn’t detrimental to the customer or employees?

  2. @Gary / Are you saying that United Lifetime Lounge/Club access will be restricted in the future to access only on the day of flying on Star Alliance tix?

  3. Have had multiple access issues in SEA and SAN when flying AS and trying to access a DL SkyClub as a Lifetime Member. It’s always an uncomfortable interaction when I have to call out the Club Manager and explain DL’s own policy before they end up apologizing and letting me in. It’s been 10 months Delta – time to explain this policy to your agents!

  4. None of these airlines can do anything by themselves anymore. Might as well just merge and rebrand as Undeltican.

  5. American already reneged once on lifetime memberships, in the TWA Ambassadors Club, when AA took over TWA. Caused me to move a lot of my flying away from AA.

  6. What’s the point of a C-Suite if all they do is mimic other airlines? AA could get rid of their entire Board of Directors and C-Suite, and probably most of their BU Directors and save a TON of cash.

    Any policies and announcements should just be 301 redirects to whatever Delta or United’s got on their website. A simple program function can handle the coinflip of whether to choose DL or UA for any specific policy.

    Pricing can just be scraped from UA, DL or WN, and the highest price will be used for the AA flight.
    AAward availability will be 50% lower than any competitor on any particular segment.
    AAward pricing will be increased by 10%-30% every 3 years on 70% of the regions.

    This can be put in place by the end of the month.

  7. I bought a lifetime Admirals Club membership in 1979 ($250) for me and my spouse (still the same one). I expect it to last for our lifetimes, not the lifetime of the CEO who offered it!

  8. I bought a TWA Lifetime Lounge Membership in the late 70ties or early 80ties. Do I have access to American Airlines Lounges as AA bought TWA?

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