Poll: Are you a club member?

To join or not to join?  For the past five years, I’ve gone back and forth on this issue. All airlines have clubs, and some are certainly better than others. Sure, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of the Admiral’s club, but my layovers are usually very short.  The international clubs are very nice, but I get to use those because of my status anyway. So what’s the big deal? Is it really worth $300-400 or 40k or so points to join for a year?

Then, last week happened. I was in Nashville and finished with my meetings early, around 3pm. I headed to the airport, determined to get on an earlier flight than my scheduled 6:45. When I got there, they were looking for people to take vouchers for a later flight. So I inquired about the next flight. Also oversold. The after that? Yep. So, since I was at the airport three hours early, I took advantage of a free day pass  in the Admiral’s club.

And I have to say: it was wonderful. Comfortable chairs, better wine selection, very helpful staff, free internet, and just a feeling of being away from all of the busy-ness of the airport. Now I am seriously considering joining, but I wanted to find out what others’ experience has been.

So, Readers, what has your experience been? Have you joined your airline’s club? Do you love it? Or was it a waste of money? As always, feel free to share your comments!

Have you ever been a member of an airline's club?

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  1. With the volume I travel, it pays for itself every year. I look at it as if I was paying for a one-night stay at a luxury hotel. The amount of time I spend in the clubs each year far exceeds any 24-hour stay at a hotel. Yes, there aren’t typically showers or “sleep rooms,” but the other benefits are totally worth it. Particularly the dedicated customer service desk during IRROPS. Much quicker service in the club than outside at the community CS desks.

  2. Have the Amex Platinum card so dont have to buy club membership for either US or international lounges.

  3. I, too, have the Amex Platinum card. The annual cost is about the same as an individual airline club but it is much more flexible as it does not tie me to a single airline. And it is definitely worth it. As much time as I need to allow for security nowadays, never knowing how long it will take (my last trip back from London I got to Heathrow 3 hours before my flight time on a Sunday morning and still almost missed my flight because security was moving in slow motion), if I am lucky and it moves quickly, I can still get something accomplished. The quality of the food / snacks is much higher than can be purchased in the airport, also. Just a much more serene, calm environment.

  4. I love my club membership, and buy it with my own money (or miles) because my company stopped reimbursing. The chance to get away, use a clean, uncrowded bathroom, free snacks, free internet…it is worth it.

  5. I used to have Admirals Club membership but discontinued it because my AMEX Platinum card works there, and at Delta and USAir. I was shocked when I flew from JFK to Paris last week and they wouldn’t give me free drinks passes in the Admirals Club. The woman said those were only for club members.

  6. Don’t know about Amex Platinum, but it sure seems to be the way to go. I was going to say that if you fly on one primary carrier most of the time, it probably makes sense to join. If you are like me, and live in a city that is served by all airlines but is home to none, it doesn’t pay. I fly an airline depending on where I need to go: American to Miami; Delta to Atlanta, USAir to the northeast; United to Chicago. I’ll have to look into the Amex Platinum, thanks!

  7. I’ll join the chorus singing the praises of the AmEx Platinum card. Access to Priority Pass Clubs as well as Admirals Clubs, $200 rebates on airline fees, and lots of other benefits.

  8. My spouse and I both have memberships, and being able to use the club has saved our bacon many times when flights are delayed or cancelled. It’s SO nice to have a calm, quiet place to read, do e-mail, and enjoy snacks.

  9. I joined last year and know I wonder how I did without it. I’ve started leaving for the airport early just so I can get some work done and relax a little before my flight. Also, not having to use the public restrooms at LGA makes it worth the price;-)

    New Admirals Club members can earn 3,000 AAdvantage miles by signing up before September 30. You may also be able to use a $100 discount code (it’s from a targeted offer so YMMV): http://bit.ly/qdlean

  10. Being Star Gold with a non-US Airline, I get free access to any *A lounge when flying US/UA/CO both US domestic and internationally.
    I appreciate it to get some work done in a relatively quiet environment.
    Once done working, however, I’d rather enjoy some real food in an airport restaurant. Cheap domestic club snacks (cheese bits, crackers, stale sandwiches) just don’t work with me.
    I use the lounges while I can, but I don’t see me paying money to get in.

    It’s a nice thing to have for free, but I would never pay for it.
    Bring some real fresh food to the clubs (even if I have to pay for it) and I might reconsider paying for access.

  11. I just got the amex plat card and will be taking my first trip with it in a few weeks flying AA. Has anyone else had any experiences like Alan had with them not giving drink passes? Drinks are always better when they are free.

  12. A very nice agent in an AA admiral’s club once allowed me to use a PC and have a snack. I was willing to pay for a day pass but it was less then an hour to boarding time so she was a big help. It was great taste of how the other half lives.

  13. I don’t travel all that much, but have a President’s Club membership via my CC. Half of my travel I use it as a place to relax and refresh before throwing back a number of free drinks while waiting to see if my upgrade clears on the next flight. But when I travel with my wife and daughter, it becomes a welcomed escape from the rest of the airport mess. And a place to throw back a few drinks before the next flight while waiting to see if my upgrade clears and I can wave to my wife from the back of the plane while she enjoys the extra legroom.

  14. I have one through Alaska Airlines and I will never go without it again. It’s great to be able to relax, grab a snack, use a decent bathroom, get a drink, and recharge your Kindle, iPhone, etc. Case in point…my friends and I were coming back from a long weekend in Savannah and drove back to Atlanta. There was a horrible thunderstorm to the point where no flights were coming in or going out closed for a short time. In the end, our flight was delayed 4 hours. We were all glad I had the membership. Plus, you probably get some sort of discount because of your elite status.

  15. My work pays for club membership. All my colleagues already have it automatically due to their high frequent flyer status. We are regularly on tour, often travelling to a different city every morning, after finishing work late the night before. It makes a huge difference to be able to have breakfast and a coffee in the lounge rather than having to get up really early to have something before leaving the hotel.

    It was also brilliant after a particularly long and arduous tour involving days of driving. On checking in, we collapsed into comfy armchairs, with a glass of champagne and a pile of cheese and crackers. It was suddenly worth every cent.

  16. 100% worth it. Quiet, clean, wine and snacks. My company reimburses, but I would do it even if they didn’t!

  17. What about a priority pass? Not the “select” one but the full one, it’ll get you in most united clubs and a lot of other internationally.

  18. Totally worth it for the peace and quiet alone.

    But financially, if I just have one glass of wine per week it pretty much pays for itself.

  19. Depends. My husband and I debate this every year come renewal time. He travels weekly throughout the country and says club membership is not worth it if you have to pay for it (he has DL Red Carpet thru lifetime status). I travel 25-30 times per year on AA origin BNA and have purchased Admiral Club membership several years in a row. BNA Admiral’s Club is far and away the “home-ist” club in the AA system. Fantastic staff in BNA. If I had to judge just on my experiences in MIA, DFW and ORD, I would probably not renew. Those clubs see so many people that I’ve never felt like anyone there cared to help; staff was just going thru the motions. BNA Admiral’s Club alone keeps me paying year after year.

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