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Introducing American Airlines new Flagship Lounges – what are they and where are they?

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American Airlines has been rolling out a new lounge product over the last nine months: Flagship Lounges.  We haven’t covered them on HfP yet as the London one won’t open until later this year, but as some readers have recently sent us pictures from their visits we thought it was time to take a look.

They are especially relevant to HFP readers as any British Airways Executive Club Silver or Gold member can go in if flying on a oneworld airline.  It is one of the weird quirks of being in oneworld that American does not allow its own mid-tier members lounge access if flying Economy or Premium Economy but is forced to allow mid-tier British Airways and other oneworld airline members in!

The Flagship Lounges are American Airlines’ new premium lounge with cocktail bars, wine tables and a large amount of seating.  At major US hubs like New York JFK and Los Angeles you now have an alternative to the ageing Admirals Club lounges.  London Heathrow is due to get a Flagship Lounge later this year.

Inside the lounge you can also find Flagship First Dining which is a full serviced restaurant for First Class passengers only.  Even oneworld Emerald (ie a BA Gold card) won’t get you access to this bit.

AA flagship lounges

Who can access the lounges?

The entry policy is more liberal than it was at the old First Class lounges which Flagship Lounges are replacing:

  • Passengers travelling in Business or First on oneworld flights between the US and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, New Zealand and South America
  • Passengers travelling in First or Business class on American Airlines between New York and Los Angeles or New York and San Francisco
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum members with flights between the US and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, New Zealand and South America
  • Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members (eg British Airways Executive Club Gold and Silver members) who are flying American or any other oneworld airline

If your status gets you access, you can also bring one guest. Business and First Class passengers without status cannot bring a guest.

Where can you find an AA Flagship Lounge?

So far you can find the new Flagship Lounges at:

  • Chicago O’Hare – Terminal 3 (opened in September 2017)
    Open daily 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Los Angeles – Terminal 4 (opened in January 2018)
    Open daily 4:45 a.m. – 12:45 a.m.
  • Miami – Concourse D (opened in November 2017)
    Open daily 4:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • New York JFK – Terminal 8 (opened in May 2017)
    Open daily 4:15 a.m. – 1 a.m.

As well as plans for a London Heathrow lounge, Dallas / Fort Worth and Philadelphia will also open Flagship Lounges later this year.

Here are some recent pictures of the AA Flagship Lounge in Miami (thanks to Jason):

and some pictures of the AA Flagship Lounge in Los Angeles (thanks to Susan):

The first impression is very positive. Both lounges appear to be very spacious with a large amount of seating and food which is a marked improvement on the Admirals Club.

You can find full details about Flagship Lounges on the American Airlines website here.

Once the London Heathrow lounge opens in Terminal 3 it will, arguably, make T3 the home of the best oneworld lounge complex in the world.  You will have the brand new Qantas lounge, the excellent Cathay Pacific lounge with its dedicated First Class dining room (accessible for BA Gold card holders) and the new AA Flagship Lounge.  Oh, and the substantially poorer British Airways Galleries …..

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (43)

  • Dave says:

    The Chicago one is a gem.

    Pour your own Bollinger!

    • Jonathan says:

      Unfortunately the Bollinger is on the way out. Tattinger in JFK the other day & a quick Google revealed this not to be a temporary swap. Shame but not surprising!

  • Paul Walker says:


    Wrt your AA lounge article. I’m BA Gold and I have had access to fine dining each time I have entered the lounge at DFW. I didn’t even know about it! The staff highlighted it for me. I’m going through Miami next month so I’ll see if I can enter there. I was travelling one so I’ve no idea if I can invite a guest.



    • Rob says:

      Cheers Paul

    • Adrian says:

      I had the same experience at DFW last year and it was a nice surprise. They stamp to say you have access to first dining when you enter. From reading the rules technically you aren’t allowed access and from what I’ve read on the American blogs the lounges at other locations are more rigorously enforced. This isn’t an issue at LAX as the excellent Qantas first lounge does the job. Incidentally the food at DFW was the best i have had in a lounge, the smoked salmon, followed by lobster bisque and short rib of beef was all superb.

    • Paul says:

      You had access to first dining at DFW as the Flagship Lounge hadn’t re-opened yet. Once it has, the dining option will be enhanced to Flagship First Dining, this is only for AA First Customers on international or 3 class transcon.

  • Kris says:

    Do you think the lounge at Heathrow will by open for our flight to Vegas in July?

  • Boberti says:

    I think that HKG remains the best One World lounge complex out there, by a long shot !

    • Polly says:

      Agree, both the Pier and The Wing are truly amazing…..JFK comes close second tho! Haven’t got to T 3 yet with all these posh lounges, but am sure we will one of these days.

      • roberto says:

        Went through the Wing a couple of weeks back and it was a little meh for me. Some of the leather chairs were split and it feels like a big corridor. I was looking forward to lounge hopping around HGK but was left a little under whelmed buy my vist. Now the Pier was really special I have to agree however a little too cold and a far trek from the BA gate.

        I just wish the London flights were not all around midnight. We had just “enjoyed” our hotel lounge for a couple of hours then both the Peir and the Wing and was feeling a little “tired” when I got on the plane. I did however rally for the first 4 hours and managed to cram in most of my First meal and enough booze to drown a pony. One of the best flights/sleeps ever.

        • David says:

          I love the Qantas lounge at HKG – and the bathrooms are lovely (much like the new LHR T3 lounge)

    • Ben says:

      Agree HKG remains the best.

  • Scott says:

    Anyone passing through the JFK lounge check out the ‘The Bridge’. It is not obvious and is roped off but it is a private almost outdoor area with a small a la carte section and waiter service. It is great when the lounge is packed as no body seems to know about it.

  • Dave says:

    OT. I applied for BA Amex last week Thursday and received email saying they need to do few extra checks before letting me know final decision. I have been churning for a while now and usually get an instant approval. A couple of times in the past I have received this email but after calling the New Accounts Team they are able to approve the application.

    On this occasion I have spoke to the new accounts team (seem to be now based in overseas call centre) and they have been less than helpful, giving me generic responses and advising to wait for 10 days. Do I have anything to be worried about?

    • Jason K says:

      This has happened with my last 2 applications this year for a platinum upgrade and the SPG card. Iv always been immediately approved. The SPG took longer than their 10 day lead time. But i was approved in both circumstances. Not sure what the cause is, but I wouldn’t worry too much, notbyt anyways. Perhaps it’s due to the rumoured change in churning rules.

      • Rob says:

        Does the upgrade to Platinum count as a new credit application?

        • Rob says:

          Yes, but no credit is involved of course so not clear what level of check is done.

        • Genghis says:

          Erm – of course credit is involved. You just have to pay that credit off every month.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        No level of credit over and above what you already had with the Gold card, though.

        • Nick says:

          As a data point, every application with Amex – whether upgrade or original – triggers a full credit search, even if I already have other cards with them. YMMV

    • Jimbob says:

      I’ve had this every time I’ve applied for an Amex card.
      The card always arrives about 7 days later, then a few days following this, I get an email saying I’ve been accepted!
      Wouldn’t be unduly worried

      • Dave says:

        Ok perfect thanks guys. I’ll hold tight and see what happens.

      • Scott says:

        Similar here, my partner and I have had maybe a couple of instant acceptances against a few dozen “we’ll be in touch…” messages. Usually get the referral points first, then the card arrives, then get the acceptance email!
        No change in our financial circumstances across applications, so no idea why we occasionally get accepted instantly.

    • Leo says:

      Two Bits articles today and yet you post here?

  • Alan says:

    Anyone know which business lounge is better at LAX?, Oneworld / Qantas Lounge or the new AA flagship?

  • Jamesay says:

    I dropped in to the Flagship Lounge on recommendation of AA Flagship Lounge staff at ORD.
    To be clear: they told me I was only allowed to visit as I was travelling BA Club World and not solely because I had a BAEC SILVER card!!
    I have to say the lounge and staff were both excellent.
    Food selection left any BA or other airline I’ve travelled on in last 10 years in the shade. And that includes BA Concorde Lounge.
    Fresh scallops, lobster bisque, various hot meals of cuisines around the globe.
    Seating was varied, spacious and comfortable with windows to airside all attractive.
    Wine, including, champagne selections, other beers, soft drinks were all high calibre.
    This made a huge difference to my long complex journey that weekend (both directions) and it’s perhaps time BA and other European airlines including the generally excellent Air France took a leaf out of thisbwell named Flagship product.

    • Alanr says:

      I visited the ORD Flagship lounge last November when travelling economy (international) on AA and with BAEC Silver – was let in no questions asked.

      Your assessment of the lounge matches my experience, including food & drink. One of the best I’ve been in and at least up there with Qantas & Cathay in LHR T3.

      • Joe says:

        Any aa domestic flight in any class gets you in as Rob says above. Reguarly at ohare and miami is nice too (nicer than amex centurion for anyone who has choice).

    • HAM76 says:

      Then they must really have improved the product. The old Flagship lounge in ORD was a truly great lounge. However, the wines they offered where still in the $10 category. It was on par with GF in LHR, but not close to the CR.