American Airlines Selling Flagship Lounge Access To Anyone

Starting Tuesday, September 14 American Airlines will sell access to its business class Flagship Lounges to any passengers flying an American Airlines or oneworld flight for $150 per person. This will even be available to domestic passengers. This fee is per visit not per day, so a passenger connecting through multiple cities with Flagship lounges on the same day can’t visit them all for this price.

Flagship Lounges Start Re-Opening This Week

American’s New York JFK lounge is first to re-open on Tuesday with Flagship First Dining there following on Thursday. Miami’s Flagship lounge opens September 28 with Flagship First Dining following two days later.

Flagship lounges at LAX, Dallas – Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare will still open “later this fall.” The good news is that American now says LAX Flagship Dining is expected to re-open, though “not until 2022.”

American Airlines Flagship Lounge LAX

American Airlines Flagship Lounge Pre-Pandemic Buffet New York JFK

Premium Lounge Upsales Were Tested Pre-Pandemic

Selling access to these lounges is not new. American began to offer paid access as part of a premium bundle with their Five Star airport concierge service. What’s new is offering unbundled access to Flagship lounge walk-ins.

Just before the pandemic American ran a test selling access to Flagship First Dining to Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members for $150, and then even dropped the price to $100. That’s all within the realm of being worth it since the Dining element (including premium drinks and champagne) is a very upscale product and in some sense was being offered too cheaply for those willing to drink their weight in Krug. This new pay-in option is for Flagship lounge only, however, and not for Flagship first class dining.

How Flagship Lounge And Dining Access Normally Works For Premium Passengers And Elites

It’ll be interesting to see how this leads to crowding – or not, for awhile, since international business class travel remains so limited. Currently access to Flagship lounges is available to:

  • Business and first class passengers flying on a oneworld airline to Asia; Australia or New Zealand; Europe; South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela) as well as business and first class passengers flying premium transcon routes (New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco and certain Miami and Boston – Los Angeles flights as well as New York JFK – Orange County).

  • Business class passengers on long haul Hawaii flights

  • American Platinum members and above and Alaska MVP Gold members and above who are flying to one of these eligible destinations on a oneworld airline.

  • oneworld sapphire and emerald members in programs other than American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan who are flying on any oneworld flight (including American and Alaska domestic flights)

  • ConciergeKey members flying on a oneworld airline, including American and Alaska domestic

Flagship First Dining access is limited to:

  • Three-cabin first class passengers flying American Airlines to Asia; Australia; Europe; or South America or flying between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco

  • Historically, to oneworld partners who have paid for access (such as British Airways for their first class passengers in some locations) and to Concierge Key members who have been given a limited number of passes, as well as to those offered a buy-in option or who purchased access through American’s Five Star premium ground service

Now broader pay-in passengers will supplement those with access via paid travel.

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. Kidding right? $150.00 a pop for that place ? Maybe I am missing something here but two things grab me one of course is the “big” to get into a marginally acceptable “international” style lounge and two is it’s “American Airlines” . The bad news with AA is no liquor on flights how is one to kill the taste of the “food” they serve. My ex wife cooks better than that

  2. Food is disgusting in that lounge like it is on their aircraft nothing premium about it
    The homeless will love it if they can afford it

  3. Doubt it will lead to crowding. As others have noted $150 is not worth it to go in. I do stop in (if airport doesn’t have a Centurion Lounge) when flying AA international business class but sure as hell wouldn’t pay for access!

  4. So they take away access from EPs for most routes to South America, but are willing to charge anyone and provide them access? Ridiculous.

  5. I have seen elsewhere, and in the tweet quoted above, that this is $150 per visit, not per-day. So you get one visit, not the whole network. Still don’t think it’s worth a $150, but as a freebie as a Platinum member on an international flight, yeah, I’ll take it. Even the regular Admirals Club is better than hanging out in the regular airport, even if I have to constantly nurse a drink to unmask.

  6. Been to this lounge. Absolutely not worth this kinda money. Maybe if you had an airline credit that you could not find a single thing to spend it on, but even for the airline credits there are better options.

  7. It is fabulous to know American Airlines welcomes all passengers and even Spirit Airlines passengers to enjoy the return of Flagship First Dining when they travel from Atlanta to Key West through Miami. Economically priced at only $150.00, want to be Miami departure gate brawlers know that proper nutrition is vital to winning their weekly drunken brawl. In addition, passengers with stimulus funds can now rub shoulders with Concierge Key members before requesting their expert guidance on which Flagship First spirit is best to chug or slip slowly.

    Due to COVID-19 precautions and for the convenience of out-of-state customers, these bum fights are live-streamed directly from the American Airlines and Spirit Airlines Miami departure gates on Facebook, Instagram, popular national broadcast news channels, and reported by View From the Wing.

  8. Been to Dallas Business on the return trip from Japan. Did not see a difference in Tokyo AA Club and Dallas Flagship Business Class Lounge. Both were serving breakfast and the SAME items were on the table to eat basically. I mean it was morning in both places so who can drink at that time $150 worth of anything? I can spend $150 for two at a 5 star place and get a better blue plate special then at the airport before I have to get on a 6 hr flight .

  9. Just to clarify, Flagship First Dining is available to Flagship First passengers on the following domestic routes:
    – From JFK to SFO, LAX, and SNA
    – From LAX to JFK, MIA, and BOS
    – From MIA to LAX

    CKs have access to Flagship First Dining (with up to two guests) when traveling in any cabin class on a qualifying international flight. (This is not published on the FF web page but it is a CK benefit.)
    Whether the previous CK / EP paid FF Dining access on domestic flights will be continued has not yet been determined.

    The newly introduced paid Flagship Lounge access is just for the lounge and not for FF Dining. To answer the question, it is for a single visit / single location and NOT network-wide.

    Have a nice day.

  10. PS — Left out the following. Sorry.

    CKs have access to the (regular) Flagship Lounge irrespective of cabin class on all flights.

    CKs have access to BA’s Concorde Room at LHR irrespective of cabin class on all flights.


    I think everyone is missing the real purpose of paid access program. It is not about ongoing access and it is incorrect to value it that way.

    The Flagship Lounge is intended for international and transcontinental business-class passengers and access is built into their ticket prices — there is no additional fee. They are targeting the “swing” flyer — someone who is on the cusp of premium economy and business. $X needs to be low enough to entice these “swing” flyers for a one-time paid experience and high enough to dissuade the Spirit-type flyers from doing it all of the time. If the “swing” flyer likes it, that person will buy a business-class ticket on one’s next international flight and access will be included. Such paid access is not intended for ongoing use. Such paid access is a one and done experience.

    Don’t think that such paid access will dilute the experience of who are already there. I have routine access to the Flagship Lounge and would be the one to complain if I thought it would. But, I don’t. And, for what is it, I am grateful that I am removed from the din of the terminal.

    Tip the guacamole lady.

    Have a nice day.

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