According to a press release I received yesterday, Citi is creating yet another incentive for people to apply for its premium Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard by handing out free day passes to those who previously had access with another card, such as the Amex Platinum Card. This and many other credit cards are no longer eligible for complimentary access to the Admirals Club after March 22, and some people have been shocked to be turned away at the door. Now Citi will be staffing some clubs with ambassadors to make a soft pitch for new applications.
…[D]uring the month of April, Citi will offer complimentary One-Day Passes to any domestic U.S. based Admirals Club lounge or US Airways Club to travelers whose credit cards no longer provide complimentary access.
…To receive complimentary One-Day Passes, travelers must meet with the Citi ambassador and show their credit card that previously enabled access to the Lounge. For details about this limited time complimentary access promotion, visit citi.com/opendoors.
Only two cards continue to provide access to the Admirals Club: the Executive / AAdvantage card includes membership to the Admirals Club, and the Citi Prestige card provides complimentary access to the Admirals Club when flying on American Airlines. Both have $450 annual fees. (The distinction of the Executive / AAdvantage card is that you don’t need to be flying on American to use the Admirals Club.)
I thought the Admirals Club agents were doing a pretty good job at the soft sell when I visited in the months leading up to the rule change. They reminded me of the new policy and sometimes — not always — handed me an offer inviting me to apply for the new card. You can still apply for this offer without an invitation. There is a public link to apply and earn 100,000 miles and a $200 statement credit after spending $10,000 in 3 months. The “open doors” link above redirects to this offer, as well.
I don’t need day passes because I have this card. So does my wife. But Gary at View from the Wing points out that these passes appear to have few restrictions. They could, in theory, be saved up for later use and even handed out to friends or family (no word on whether there is identifying information on the passes).
And you don’t actually have to use the pass on the spot, passes will be valid for a year, so even if you have a very short layover you may want to stop in at a club and pick up a pass to use later.
All-in-all a smart move on Citi’s part to keep up the pressure to apply for this card. I think it’s been done very tastefully so far. My only criticism is that this outreach should have started earlier on the first day people were getting turned away. It would have been a great way to say, “We’re sorry, you’re no longer eligible, but we’ll let you in anyway.” There are probably a lot of people who have already been turned away and may not return for a second chance with Citi’s ambassadors.