American Airlines Doesn’t Understand What “Complimentary” Means

by joeheg

American Airlines sent Sharon an email with an offer for its AAdvantage Executive Mastercard. This was the title of the email:

Sharon, get a complimentary Admirals Club® membership with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

To explain further, they showed the two ways you can get an Admirals Club membership.

a close-up of a card

Finally, they showed the fine print:

Complimentary after $450 annual credit card fee.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of complementary is something that is “given free as a courtesy or favor.” For instance, complimentary tickets.

Since Admirals Club membership with admission for yourself and your guests is the primary benefit after paying the $450 annual fee of the AAdvantage Executive card, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the membership is complimentary.

That’s like saying the sheets in a hotel room are provided complimentary to guests.

In comparison, I’d be OK with United saying that 2 complimentary United Club passes are provided to United Explorer Visa cardholders because the passes are not the main reason to get that card.

I honestly don’t know anyone who keeps the AAdvantage Executive card except for the lounge membership, which would cost $650 per year.

American Airlines, time to be honest and say that the membership is included with your $450 annual fee instead of saying it’s provided complimentary to cardholders. People who want the card will get it anyway, and you’re not fooling anyone with the deceptive marketing.

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