Get FREE Airline Lounge Memberships Through Business Programs

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I love going to the Admirals Clubs. And I also love not paying for them.

I’ve written about this before. But now my membership has expired, and I’m about to redeem for another free year of Admirals Club membership.

I don’t have the Citi AAdvantage Executive card or the Citi Prestige card. They’re fine in their own right, and I’ve had my eye on the Citi Prestige for a sec, but I won’t need it for its lounge perk.

The Admirals Club @ CLT can be a nice place to hang and get some work done

I’ve been doing this since the Amex Platinum Card nixed the benefit at AA Admirals Clubs a couple of years ago.

If you book travel for other people (who don’t care about the points), you can easily build up enough to get a free membership yourself.

All the award opportunities

You can redeem for flights, upgrades, status, or lounge access via Business Extra.

You’ll need to sign up and earn enough points before you can redeem awards.

Not only can you redeem for Admirals Club memberships, but also for any flight that’s available as a normal AAdvantage award. So that’s good to know if you ever need to do it that way (though you’ll have to call to book it).

Redeem for

Redeem for flights, upgrades, status, or lounge access

For what it’s worth, Gold status is 2,400 Business Extra points. 

Might be nice to be Gold until you can fly enough to earn a higher level

Might be nice to be Gold until you can fly enough to earn a higher level

But I like the Admirals Club memberships.

The value of Admirals Club

These are real memberships that are ordinarily $500 if you don’t have any status.

Admirals Club membership rates

Admirals Club membership rates

You can bring in 2 guests each time you visit.

You can bring 2 guests

You can bring 2 guests

I’ve used the lounge access many times to bring in friends and family. Having a drink and using the free wifi is a nice perk before you head to the gate.

All you have to do is give the desk agents your AAdvantage number when you go in, and that’s it.

  • You don’t need a boarding pass
  • You don’t need to be flying AA or have any type of status
  • And you don’t need to be flying in a certain cabin

It’s a really nice benefit that I’ve gotten a lot of use out of. (Ended that sentence with a preposition, sorry.)

How to redeem

After logging in to Business Extra, hover “Earn & Redeem Points” until the drop-drown menu appears, and then click “View Awards/Redeem Points.”

When you have enough points, click "View Award/Redeem Points"

When you have enough points, click “View Award/Redeem Points”

Select the award you want from the menu at the top.  The Admirals Club membership is under the “Admirals Club” tab.

Enter in your AAdvantage number and click “Confirm.”

You'll assign the award to an existing AAdvantage member

You’ll assign the award to an existing AAdvantage member

To make this step easier, you can add the person as a traveler in your account so their info will already be saved.

Obviously, make sure they have an AAdvantage number before you do this. Or make sure you have it so you can assign it correctly.

Once you click “Confirm,” that’s it.

It’s literally 1 step. 

After that, you’ll get a confirmation number.

It is done

It is done

The membership starts on the day the award is redeemed in AA’s system.

But you do NOT have to wait for a membership card. You can start using the membership on the day they process it.

It usually only takes 2 or 3 business days for the membership to become attached to your AA number.

Here’s what AA has to say about it:

They say up to a week, but it's usually faster

They say up to a week, but it’s usually faster

After that, it’s good for a whole year.

Other airlines that offer this

Delta

Update 6/24/15: Reader, Brian, commented:

SkyBonus from Delta Air Lines is only available to those small businesses which have a minimum spend of $5,000.00 — otherwise, the account is suspended or closed.

Good to know. Thank you, Brian!


 

Delta also offers SkyClub memberships through their SkyBonus program.

I never needed to redeem for it because I’ve always have the Amex Platinum Card. But this could be useful if you need a supplementary membership for a partner or spouse since they’ll charge you $27 per guest when you enter with the Amex Platinum Card.

SkyClub membership is 100,000 SkyBonus points

SkyClub membership is 100,000 SkyBonus points

United

United also offers United Club memberships through their PerksPlus program.

United's PerksPlus program can get you lounge membership, too

United’s PerksPlus program can get you lounge membership, too

So if you book travel for others on American, Delta, or United, be sure to rack up extra points… especially if the travelers are not interested in using the points.

Bottom line

I’ve gotten a few years of free lounge membership at Admirals Clubs without having to pay annual fees on a credit card or pay for the membership outright.

It’s a nice little shortcut that you should take AAdvantage of (see what I did there?) if you can.

Have you used the airline business programs for any other redemptions? Would love to hear about them!

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Where do you find the options shown on the first screenshot in this post? (Flights, Upgrades, Addvantage, Admiral’s Club)
    I’m curious to learn how I could redeem 300 points (MR?) for a day pass! thanks.

  2. Harlan, when I go to AA’s website, I only see that I can use miles for annual memberships. 30 and 1 day passes must be cash. Am I missing something?

    • Sorry for the confusion!

      You’ll have to set up a Business Extra account. And when you have enough points, you can redeem for awards there.

      So before you can get a free lounge membership, you’ll need to earn 3,000 Business Extra points. The other option is 300 points for a day pass.

      Maybe I’ll make a post about that to avoid confusion. Let me know if you need any other help – I’m here!

  3. SkyBonus from Delta Air Lines is only available to those small businesses which have a minimum spend of $5,000.00 — otherwise, the account is suspended or closed.

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