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Old Oct 18, 11, 9:22 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott Platinum, Hyatt Platinum, UA PoS
Posts: 689
Is the "United Club" worth it for 2012?

I purchased a RCC membership last year when made it to 1P (first time) and was offered a rate of $325. I've checked online and "United Club" is coming up as $400 for another year.

My membership is up in early November and, to be honest, I haven't been on the road quite as much as I thought I'd be this year. I have make it back to 1P this year but it appears that the rate that I was offered last year isn't coming back my way at least.

After all of the discussions about the farewell to RCC and, for our CO elites, PP into the now UC, I've not been terribly impressed with any changes over the past year. I've enjoyed being able to go somewhere besides the terminal for a quick break but I don't drink and I've generally avoided having extended inhabitation of any RCC. It has been much easier to go to the CSRs in the RCCs when I've been on travel to assist with MX and WX and, of all of the features from RCC, that's probably the one I'd miss the most.

I've so far stuck with UACO but am a bit disgusted with the changes to MP. Whether I shift my "preferred" airline remains to be seen but I've not been a huge fan of either AA or DL when I did end up on their flights over the past two years.

Anyway, I'd welcome any roadwarrior inputs on if $400 is worth it for 2012.

David
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Old Oct 18, 11, 11:02 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LHR (sometimes CLE, SFO, BOS, LAX, SEA)
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If you don't spend much time at airports, there's no advantage in holding the membership.

Club access is a big deal for getting expedited help from customer service agents during irregular operations. At some stations this can be a big deal.

I was at DCA a while back when some serious weather delays murdered my connection. In the gate area, two agents were overwhelmed with dozens-deep lines of passengers, among them frequent travelers and infrequent travelers, some of them also waiting on hold in the vain hope that phone agents might fix their problems faster. Upstairs, I got speedy, thoughtful, thorough rebooking help from the Presidents Club agents.

At stations where delays are frequent and a human being's help could help you get home sooner, having a club membership is a big deal. (This might be a more common situation as United gate agents start using Continental's SHARES system - change can add inefficiency.)

A one-time pass costs $39 online. If you're not planning to visit the club more than 10 times in a year, it's not worth a $400 membership.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 1:55 am   #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Central New Jersey (EWR)
Programs: CO OnePass, UA Mileage Plus, DL SkyMiles
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If you do not want to purchase an annual United Club membership, your other option would be to get either a Mileage Plus Explorer or Presidential Plus credit card. The MPE card gives you two one-time passes a year while the PPlus card gives you a full membership, plus a host of other benefits.

Just my two cents.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 2:03 am   #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSBEWR View Post
The MPE card gives you two one-time passes a year
Only upon anniversaries.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 2:55 am   #5
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: LAX/OXR/BUR/SAN/YYZ/YKF/BUF
Programs: COdbaUA 1K, AA EXP, Starwood Gold, Hilton Gold, Omni Platinum, Hertz 5*, NEXUS and GE
Posts: 4,020
I would see if there is a renewal rate different from the posted rate.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 5:00 am   #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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I would say NO its not worth it ......... Then again in my view the Red Carpet Club was not worth hefty prices to join it.



In reality the clubs are becoming fewer and fare between. If your business will pay for the membership then go for it. Otherwise i would suggest save the money.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 7:39 am   #7
 
Join Date: May 2003
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The biggest benefits to me is the assistance during IRROPS, but a little benny that I thoroughly enjoy is the ability in many PClubs to leave my luggage (sometimes in a locker) and walk the terminal (or even leave the airport on longer layovers).

Dan
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Old Oct 19, 11, 9:28 am   #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: EWR
Programs: UA Plat, Hyatt Plat, MR Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 418
In light of reduction in amenities and overcrowding, I have decided this year that it is not worth membership. With *Gold I get the lounges on intl flights anyways and a lot of the domestic airports I am hitting this year don't have UCs (MSY, SAN term 2). I will carry those passes from Chase from my OPP card in case of a really long layover, delay or IRROPs. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 10:28 am   #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Programs: UA 1K,SPG Platinum, Marriott Platinum Premier
Posts: 993
This is such an individual decision, it is hard to say yes/no.

It all depends on your travel schedule and your airports.

For me, I travel basically every week ex-CLE to ORD, LAS, LAX, SFO so it is a no-brainer to join the club. I am typing this as I sit in the CLE UC and wouldn't trade it for anything.

But if you don't travel a lot from an airport with a UC, and if you don't do much connecting, than maybe it isn't worth it.

Just my two cents.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 6:02 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott Platinum, Hyatt Platinum, UA PoS
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Multi-part response + Question for CO Platinums

My thanks to all who've responded - my responses to your comments and suggestions below. One question for CO Platinums who've renewed UC/RCC/PC memberships recently - did you get a better rate than $400?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSBEWR View Post
If you do not want to purchase an annual United Club membership, your other option would be to get either a Mileage Plus Explorer or Presidential Plus credit card. The MPE card gives you two one-time passes a year while the PPlus card gives you a full membership, plus a host of other benefits.
My biggest concern about the Presidential Plus CC is my paranoia about what UACO could change after they offer their United version in 2012. That being said, for $395, getting the UC as well as the other benefits is very nice. If I weren't already a 1P, the card's "Premier" benefits would be a big plus. Also, if I didn't already have the Hyatt CC (as well as earning it the hard way), the Hyatt Platinum benefit would be very tempting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawgmanOH View Post
This is such an individual decision, it is hard to say yes/no.

It all depends on your travel schedule and your airports.

For me, I travel basically every week ex-CLE to ORD, LAS, LAX, SFO so it is a no-brainer to join the club. I am typing this as I sit in the CLE UC and wouldn't trade it for anything.

But if you don't travel a lot from an airport with a UC, and if you don't do much connecting, than maybe it isn't worth it.
I haven't made it to CLE as an elite but leaving out of LAX and into ORD, DEN and IAD multiple times this year has been a very positive benefit for being a member.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Say Vandelay View Post
In light of reduction in amenities and overcrowding, I have decided this year that it is not worth membership. With *Gold I get the lounges on intl flights anyways and a lot of the domestic airports I am hitting this year don't have UCs (MSY, SAN term 2). I will carry those passes from Chase from my OPP card in case of a really long layover, delay or IRROPs. Just my 2 cents.
Most of my travel has been and will be to cities in the US so no/few opportunities to take advantage of the *G benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
If you don't spend much time at airports, there's no advantage in holding the membership.

Club access is a big deal for getting expedited help from customer service agents during irregular operations. At some stations this can be a big deal.

I was at DCA a while back when some serious weather delays murdered my connection. In the gate area, two agents were overwhelmed with dozens-deep lines of passengers, among them frequent travelers and infrequent travelers, some of them also waiting on hold in the vain hope that phone agents might fix their problems faster. Upstairs, I got speedy, thoughtful, thorough rebooking help from the Presidents Club agents.

At stations where delays are frequent and a human being's help could help you get home sooner, having a club membership is a big deal. (This might be a more common situation as United gate agents start using Continental's SHARES system - change can add inefficiency.)

A one-time pass costs $39 online. If you're not planning to visit the club more than 10 times in a year, it's not worth a $400 membership.
And this is the crux of why I would keep the UC membership is a place to go when travel on UA begins to fall apart either for WX or MX or when things go wrong as they tend to do when travelling. I also know that I'm very unlikely to pony up $39 x # of UCs in advance of each trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N1120A View Post
I would see if there is a renewal rate different from the posted rate.
Hadn't thought of that. One point to make is that the rates are posted on .com so even if I were a 1K, their rate is $375.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan1431 View Post
The biggest benefits to me is the assistance during IRROPS, but a little benny that I thoroughly enjoy is the ability in many PClubs to leave my luggage (sometimes in a locker) and walk the terminal (or even leave the airport on longer layovers).
I've done that a few times, putting my stuff into the storage areas on longer layovers. However, I always feel a bit paranoid about leaving my stuff.

One other benefit that this thread has reminded me of is the ability to bring one's spouse and children in. We only had one family trip this year but it was a nice benefit. Potential is for one or two family trips next year so that would definitely save $39's. However, I know that we wouldn't buy one-time passes so bringing the family in is, at best, a side benefit.

David
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Old Oct 19, 11, 11:37 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Hartville, OH (CAK) + Columbus (CMH)
Programs: US PlAAtinum, UA 1K + MP Club Visa, Hertz Five Star, National Executive Elite
Posts: 1,411
I would wait for US Airways to do another one of their club membership for $259 specials. They seem to happen every spring.

The only difference between a USC membership and a "real" United Club (RCC/PC) membership is that you won't be able to get in if you lose/forget your card.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 12:52 am   #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SFO, HKG
Programs: UA Premier 1K, SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, AMEX Platinum, TSA PreCheck
Posts: 4,538
My suggestion?

Check your domestic travel pattern.

As a 1P, you are entitled to UC anyway when travel international.

So FWIW, only domestic counts.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 5:29 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
If you don't spend much time at airports, there's no advantage in holding the membership.

Club access is a big deal for getting expedited help from customer service agents during irregular operations. At some stations this can be a big deal.

I was at DCA a while back when some serious weather delays murdered my connection. In the gate area, two agents were overwhelmed with dozens-deep lines of passengers, among them frequent travelers and infrequent travelers, some of them also waiting on hold in the vain hope that phone agents might fix their problems faster. Upstairs, I got speedy, thoughtful, thorough rebooking help from the Presidents Club agents.

At stations where delays are frequent and a human being's help could help you get home sooner, having a club membership is a big deal. (This might be a more common situation as United gate agents start using Continental's SHARES system - change can add inefficiency.)

A one-time pass costs $39 online. If you're not planning to visit the club more than 10 times in a year, it's not worth a $400 membership.
I'm at 37 flights this year so far, which means the club membership is a good deal. And as noted above, for IRROPS. That said, the value of a United Club membership is going down. Ms. Halls120 is not a frequent flyer, and when we visited the UCs in DEN and IAD a few weeks ago, she remarked at how meager and poor quality the food had become from a few years ago. Right now, the average AA Admirals Club is nicer than the average UC, and at the AC, the free snacks don't come packaged in wasteful plastic, they actually offer real food for purchase, and the clubs are in better material condition.

I'll stay with UC while I still fly frequently for business, but I won't stay with it once I retire.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 11:02 am   #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Programs: UA 1k, Marriott P
Posts: 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
meager and poor quality the food had become from a few years ago.

food? I have not seen anything but crackers and cheese, and occasional fruits - am I going to wrong clubs (during international trips)?
Of course anything in Europe is a different story - nice hot food...mmmmm.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 11:11 am   #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: DL-PM | UA-1K | HH-Gold
Posts: 938
There are three things that keep me a UC member (as much as I am chagrined by recent "enhancements"). In order of importance:

1) As a 1K I can add my SO on at a pretty reasonable additional cost. Hearing her happy while traveling is worth the cost of admission to me alone. As an example, she was heading LHR-ORD and I had SWU'd her into C. She made the mistake of going to the Y checkin and the agent flatly refused to apply the upgrade (which had cleared) because our last names didn't match. I had her go through to the *A lounge and they processed it for her noting that the "woman you checked in with" was a "known quantity" to them. She wouldn't have had access to the lounge without her RCC membership.

2) The IRROPS support is just flat-out superior (unless perhaps you're a GS with your magic phone number). Even if it is only once a year that a UC agent saves me from having to over-night somewhere or miss a meeting it is worth it.

3) Inevitably there are 2-3 times a year where I am stuck at an airport for half a day due to wx/mx/whatever. Having a quiet place to sit for 6+ hours is nice.

I shouldn't say this (because SMI/J will probably take it under advisement) but #1/2 will keep me a UC member pretty much indefinitely. Though, in fairness, my firm is picking up the cost next year (wasn't the case for the last 9 years, however).
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