Saturday, June 2, 2012

American Airlines offers membership by the month

American Airlines recently began offering Admiral’s Club membership by the month. This will definitely provide many travelers with a more economical option for club access but, as a previous Admirals Club member, I have one concern.

AA’s pitch is this: if you don’t travel all year round but do travel in certain seasons, a monthly membership in American’s Admirals Club may make more sense than an annual membership.

For $99, AAdvantage members can buy 30-day memberships that grant access to 40 Admirals Clubs worldwide for the member and up to two guests, or immediate family (spouse or domestic partner and children under age 18 when traveling with the member). The monthly pass also includes access to over 30 international lounges operated by oneworld® partner Qantas if traveling on Qantas.

A pretty good deal, really.

Even if a traveler was to purchase a 30-day membership to use only on their annual vacation and it covered four club visits (two outbound, assuming a change of planes, and two on the return legs), that’s $25 per visit for a solo traveler, a couple, or an entire family. That’s certainly a better deal than buying day passes, which don’t cover spouses or allow guests to accompany pass holders.

In addition, Admirals Clubs provide the traveler with far better surroundings – and often more amenities – than hanging out in the terminal. Dallas-Fort Worth airport (DFW), for example, does not offer free Wi-Fi, as do many airports like Sea-Tac (SEA). All Admirals Club offer complimentary Wi-Fi.

My sole concern is that the very reasonable price of a monthly membership might attract truly infrequent travelers who don’t understand that the conduct expected in an airline club is different than that of the T.G.I. Friday’s out in the terminal.

That may only mean that American’s personnel will have to work a bit harder to ensure that decorum is maintained at Admirals Clubs.

If they do, great.  If they don’t, American will risk eroding the quality of the Admirals Club experience and risk alienating and losing valued annual members as a result.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
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