Opened in October 2022, the third Admirals Club location at Ronald Reagan-Washington National Airport stands out compared to other lounges. The first lounge to feature the “new and reimagined” design, American Airlines intends to implement the design concept in many of its Admirals Clubs across the United States.
In late October, I had the opportunity to visit the lounge, which had just opened its doors to travelers. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the lounge a few additional times.
While Admirals Clubs are typically more stylish and often have a more premium feel compared to other domestic lounges operated by the big three airlines, the Washington-National lounge is in a league of its own.
Here’s what travelers can expect from the revamped Admirals Clubs.
Details About The Admirals Club in Concourse E at Washington-DCA
As of writing this post, there is just one Admirals Club that features the new design. That lounge is located at Washington National Airport (DCA). As there are three Admirals Clubs located throughout Concourses C, D, and E, you’ll want to be sure and visit the correct club.
The Admirals Club featuring the revamped design, is located at the beginning of Concourse E near gate E46. The entrance to the lounge is somewhat hidden as it sits back from the main walkway.
The lounge is open 7 days a week from 5 AM to 10:30 PM. Compared to the other two Admirals Club locations in the terminal, the lounge is the last to open in the morning but also the last to close in the evening. So, if you arrive before 5 AM, you’ll be able to access the clubs located in Concourses C and D.
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The Revamped Admirals Club Experience
What makes the new Admirals Club stand apart from other locations is the remarkably premium atmosphere. This premium atmosphere is the result of a far more upscale and elegant design. I noticed a major difference between the new design and the existing designs before I even checked into the lounge.
The entrance to the Concourse E club features a backlit stone American Airlines flight symbol adjacent to a snaking staircase. Of course, there is also an elevator if you prefer not to lug your bags up a flight of stairs.
The entire club has a warm feeling as a result of the design. Natural wood accents and soft colors are featured throughout the lounge. The change in materials and colors used in the new lounge design is pretty significant when compared to the previous Admirals Club designs.
American Airlines last updated many of its lounges following its massive brand overhaul in 2013. From 2013 to 2018, a number of lounges were renovated, with the design focusing on bright yet cool colors and accents.
As a result, many of the clubs that feature the previous design feel more corporate and sterile. With the warmer feel offered by the new club design, the Admirals Club at Washington National had a more inviting atmosphere.
While the design and atmosphere are a major improvement over the existing Admirals Club experience, amenities are pretty much identical to what can be found at other clubs. That is, other than a few added snacks like nuts and candies, the soft product offered at the revamped Admirals Club is unchanged.
Even without added amenities, American Airlines has made an effort following the pandemic to increase the service offered in its clubs. During my first visit to the Washington National location, breakfast items were served. A scrambled egg bar was offered alongside pastries, bagels, yogurt, and fruit.
During my subsequent visits to the lounge, lunch was being served. At the time, American Airlines was offering guests a make-your-own soft taco bar alongside veggies, chips, dip, and soups.
Of course, this location also features a full bar. Guests receive a few complimentary options, including soft drinks, house wines, and a featured domestic beer on tap. All other drinks, including cocktails and spirits, are available at an additional cost.
The new Washington National Admirals Club is split into two wings. One wing features a snack buffet, bar, and seating ideal for dining or getting work done. The other side of the lounge is more conducive to unwinding and relaxation.
At the center of the more relaxed side of the lounge is a beautiful gas fireplace. Around the fireplace are various seating areas. The furniture and decor in the club are noticeably more upscale than what is found at other locations.
The club also has the best views of any lounge at Washington National, with expansive views of the north end of the airfield and Washington D.C.
What Other Admirals Clubs Will Receive The New Design?
Some Admirals Clubs still feature a relatively new and updated design. These include select clubs at Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), and Miami International Airport (MIA). Given that American Airlines invested heavily in updating these clubs only 5 years ago, it’s unlikely that newer locations will see the new design anytime soon.
However, American Airlines operates a network of almost 50 clubs across the globe. Some of these clubs, including those at Charlotte International Airport (CLT), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), are in desperate need of a facelift.
Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Denver International Airport (DEN), and Newark Liberty (EWR) will be the first clubs outside of Washington National Airport to receive the new design. Unfortuantely, it’s not clear when these newly revamped clubs will open to travelers.
How Can You Access Admirals Club Locations?
There are a number of ways for travelers to access Admirals Clubs. These include a paid annual membership, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® card, elite status, and traveling in premium cabins on qualifying itineraries.
Paid Annual Membership
American Airlines offers customers the ability to pay outright for an annual Admirals Club membership. I would imagine this is a relatively unpopular way of obtaining a membership. Nevertheless, paying for an annual membership is an option.
An annual Admirals Club membership starts at a whopping $650 for individuals and $1,250 for households. AAdvantage members with elite status do receive a discount on memberships. However, that discount isn’t much, with AAdvantage members holding Executive Platinum status only receiving $100 off annual membership.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Card
American Airlines’ premium co-branded credit card, the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, comes with access to all Admirals Clubs and even select partner lounges. The ability to access Admirals Clubs with this card does come with a $450 annual fee. However, the card also offers additional benefits beyond Admirals Club access.
Other Ways to Access Admirals Clubs
There are a few other ways to access Admirals Clubs. Some of the other ways to access American Airlines’ network of clubs include flying in premium cabins on eligible routes, holding ConciergeKey status, or purchasing a day pass. For the full list of ways to access Admirals Club locations, you can click this link to visit American Airlines’ dedicated landing page.
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The Bottom Line
The new Admirals Club design and experience is a major upgrade over many existing club locations. The new design is more inviting and far more premium than existing clubs. However, for the most part, club amenities remained unchanged though this was to be expected when the new club concept was first announced.
Currently, the only location to feature the new design is the club located in Concourse E at Washington National (DCA). However, there are at least 3 additional locations set to receive the revamped design. Unfortunately, we don’t know when these remodeled clubs will open to travelers.
What are your first impressions of the “new and reimagined” Admirals Club? Would you allow extra time during your next connection to visit the Concourse E location at Washington National Airport (DCA)?