Review: American Airlines Admirals Club Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU)

Crowded main seating area at GRU Admirals Club
Crowded main seating area at GRU Admirals Club

Read more from this trip – Christmas in Argentina:

Introduction

Lounge Visit Details:

  • Date visited: December 31, 2019
  • Where: GRU, Guarulhos International Airport – Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Class: Business Class Lounge

Some giraffes like to attend New Years Eve parties in Sydney or New York, but this giraffe likes to spend New Years Eve lounge hopping at Sao Paulo International Airport. My first stop was the American Airlines Admirals Club.

The lounge is located in Terminal 3 on the mezzanine level (3rd floor) above Duty Free shopping area. It’s open daily from 12 p.m. – 11p.m.

A lot of the big bloggers arrive right at opening to take pictures of the lounge when it’s empty. While I appreciate their effort I don’t think it paints an accurate picture. The review below will give you an idea of what the GRU Admirals Club looks like during peak hours. I’ve blurred out peoples face to preserve their privacy.

Entrance to GRU Admirals Club
Entrance to GRU Admirals Club

Access

American Airlines Admirals Club lounges have some of the most complicated access rules. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

CategoryPrimary passengerGuests
Admirals Club MembersIncludes annual and lifetime members, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard® primary cardholders, ConciergeKeySM members and AirPassSM members with Admirals Club privilegesImmediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to 2 guests. Guests must be accompanied by the eligible member and present boarding pass for same-day travel on American or a partner airline.
First or Business Class passengersPassengers on a qualifying international¹ or transcontinental² flight (JFK-LAX, JFK-SFO) marketed and operated by American or a Oneworld airlineFirst Class passengers: 1 guest (children over 2 count as a guest), Business Class passengers: none
AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum membersMembers regardless of cabin on a qualifying international¹ itinerary1 guest (children over 2 count as a guest)
Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire membersMembers departing on or connecting to any flight marketed and operated by American or Oneworld airline regardless of cabin1 guest (children over 2 count as a guest)
Admirals Club® One-Day Pass customersAvailable at select locations for $59. Excludes airports with clubs currently under construction: Philadelphia (PHL)Up to 3 children under 18. Children must be accompanied by adult day-pass holder and present boarding pass for same-day travel on American or a partner airline
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Card authorized usersValid Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive credit card requiredImmediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to 2 guests. Guests must be accompanied by the eligible authorized user and present boarding pass for same-day travel on American or a partner airline
MilitaryIncludes U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform traveling on a same-day flight operated by AmericanImmediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to 2 guests

1Qualifying international flights include flights from the U.S. to Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City (MEX), New Zealand or South America
²Qualifying transcontinental flights include 3-class nonstop flights between: New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), JFK and San Francisco (SFO), LAX and Boston (BOS) – traveling on A321T aircraft only, LAX and Miami (MIA) – traveling on Boeing 777-300 aircraft only

Seating

The GRU Admirals Club is fairly large coming in at over 9,000 square feet. During my visit it was packed! Apparently I wasn’t the only one spending my New Years Eve in the airport.

My favorite seating area is immediately past check-in. There’s two pairs of comfortable chairs separated by side tables with reading lamps. The side tabes are useful to set your drink on and they have power ports to charge your devices. In the middle there’s a contemporary sculpture and an extra tall floor mirror.

First Class Giraffe's favorite seating area
First Class Giraffe’s favorite seating area

While these prime seats were occupied on arrival I kept a close eye on availability and jumped on them as soon as I saw people get up. This area is a reprieve from the large communal spaces that make up the rest of the lounge.

First Class Giraffe enjoying the comfortable seating
First Class Giraffe enjoying the comfortable seating

If the first seating area is occupied then head to the next communal seating area, which has seating capacity for 14. Most of the seats have access to power ports in the side tables. There’s no exterior views from the lounge, but I think American did a nice job creating the illusion of natural light with the use of light colors and floor to ceiling interior windows.

Side seating area
Side seating area

To the left of the television lounge is a long bench seat. This seating area seemed to be very popular with young children during my visit who didn’t like to cover their coughs and sneezes.

Bench seating
Bench seating

The television lounge is the largest communal seating area in the lounge. I counted 24 seats in this area. This seating configuration maximizes seating capacity, but it feels a bit claustrophobic.

Television lounge
Television lounge

One of my favorite new years traditions is grabbing a nice glass of champagne while watching the clock strike midnight in different timezones. The TV lounge and bottomless champagne allowed me to continue this great tradition.

Champagne and fireworks
Champagne and fireworks

In the back of the lounge you’ll find the dining area. There are three high top tables and six regular dining tables.

Dining area
Dining area

If you need desk space head to the work area. There’s a long desk with swivel chairs and numerous power ports here to keep your laptop charged.

Work area
Work area

The lounge has two shower suites, which you can reserve at the front desk. Not surprisingly there was a wait for a shower suite so I was given a restaurant style pager. 15-minutes later it buzzed indicating my shower suite was ready.

Entrance to shower area
Entrance to shower suites

If you’ve used shower suites in American Airline’s Flagship Lounges you’ll be familiar with this layout. The shower suite features a rain shower, single basin sink and toilet.

Shower suite
Shower suite

Food and Beverage

The food offering is more substantial than what you’ll find in a typical Admirals Club, but not quite at the level of American’s Flagship Lounges. There were tomato and mozzarella, and ham and cheese sandwiches. They didn’t look particularly appetizing.

Sandwiches
Sandwiches

They also had deli meats and cheeses.

Deli meats and cheeses
Deli meats and cheeses

The sweet treats looked better than the sandwiches. They had bread pudding, fruit bowls and mousse de maracujá.

Dessert table
Dessert table

The sweet options continued with brigadeiro, which is a Brazilian specialty dessert made with unsalted butter, cocoa powder, and condensed milk. They’re delicious! They also had cookies and nut mix.

Brigadeiro! Nom nom nom
Brigadeiro! Nom nom nom

Hot food options were limited to codfish brandade, cheese bread and endives with bacon quiche. The cheese bread was the only option that looked appetizing and I must admit that they were quite good.

Hot food items
Hot food items

The non-alcoholic beverage options included flavored water and orange juice.

Flavored water and orange juice
Flavored water and orange juice

The club has a Nescafe Milano machine. It serves up espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate and more. There was also an assortment of Twinings tea available.  

Nescafe Milano machine
Nescafe Milano machine

If you’re looking to imbibe, and a lot of people in the lounge were on New Years Eve, there’s a limited selection of free pour liquor, sparkling wine and wine. The Don Guerino sparkling wine wasn’t that good, but the sparkling rosé was passable.

Other beverage options are located in a glass doored refrigerator. Soda options include Coke Classic, Coke Zero, Fanta and Sprite. Beer options include Budweiser, Heineken, Itaipava and Stella. They also have still and sparkling water.

Beverage refrigerator
Beverage refrigerator

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

The GRU Admirals Club is without a doubt the nicest Admirals Club I’ve been to, but it’s not without its faults. The food and beverage selection leaves a lot to be desired and the lounge gets very crowded during peak hours. With that said there are some great nooks to hide away and get some work done. The staff does a fantastic job at keeping the lounge clean and tidy especially given the considerable traffic that goes through the lounge. If you’re looking to kill some time before your Oneworld flight departing from Terminal 3, head to the Admirals Club. You wont be disappointed.

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