Yes, the Admirals Club benefit for American Express Platinum cardholders will go away next year after March 22nd. A lot of people have been speculating that the lounges will not be as crowded after March 22nd. If you think that fewer Amex Platinums will use the lounge, think again. Most people who have the Amex Platinum card are affluent cardholders with annual incomes sailing well over 50k. Some of them will pony up $500 for the annual membership pass. Here are some ways people can access the lounge without the American Express Platinum card:
$50 for a Day Pass – People will pay for the day pass and American Express is crediting up to $500 worth of Admirals Club access to some Platinum cardholders.
Annual Membership Pass – $500 for General Members, $475 for AAdvantage Gold, $450 for AAdvantage Platinums, and $400 for AAdvantage Executive Platinums.
Use miles for access – 80,000 AAdvantage miles for general members, 70,000 AAdvantage miles for Gold elites, 65,000 AAdvantage miles for Platinum elites, and 55,000 AAdvantage miles for Executive Platinum elites. It’s generally not a good proposition to use miles for access since the value would be less than 1cpm, but it’s an option and people will spend miles on absolutely anything.
Credit Card – Free access to the Admirals Club if you have the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard. They could also run promotions where they would give 2 free Admirals Club passes to Citi AAdvantage card holders, just like how United does it with their MileagePlus cardholders.
Elite Status – American Airlines Platinum and Executive Platinums flying on an international itinerary have complimentary access to the Admiral’s Clubs. Executive Platinums get free access to the Flagship Lounge where available.
oneworld Sapphires and oneworld Emeralds have access to the Admiral’s Clubs. oneworld Emeralds get free access to the Flagship Lounge where available.
Beg for access – Some people will stand outside and ask a random stranger if they could be guested in.
Flyertalk/Forum access – More people will utilize FlyerTalk and other forums as means to get together and meet up at the Admiral’s Club. Chances are you’ll be able to get in free as a guest of a FlyerTalk member.
Twitter – More people will utilize Twitter and other forums of social media to get free access as a companion. I can see it already with a hashtag being formed “I can guest one person at the LAX Admiral’s Club on 12/18 from 1p-4pm #AALounge”.
Free Day Pass promotions – Earlier this year, Klout ran a promotion and gave away free Admiral’s Club day passes for people who had a high Klout score. I suspect that American Airlines will run more promotions in conjunctions with companies to give out free day passes.
I suspect the lounge could be even more crowded with more companions. The Admirals Club is far from the oasis it used to be. There is good news that more American Express Centurion Lounges are popping up. So far, there is a presence in Las Vegas and American’s main hub, Dallas/Fort Worth. The Amex Centurion Lounge at DFW is not meant to be a substitute for the Admiral’s Club in DFW since you can’t get IRROPS assistance in the Centurion Lounge. Maybe they should station an American Airlines agent inside the DFW Centurion Club….