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United Airlines

United Announces Club Access Restrictions

United Announces Club Access Restrictions
Anya Kartashova

United Airlines has changes its United Club access policy, and it doesn’t look great for members.

Right now, passengers can access United Clubs by presenting a boarding pass from any airline in conjunction with a valid membership or a day pass. However, it’s changing next year.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2019, only passengers holding a same-day boarding pass issued by either United, a Star Alliance carrier or a non-alliance partner can enter United Clubs. The new policy will apply to United Club members, one-day pass holders and their guests. It appears that annual membership rates are staying the same…for now.

  •  $550 or 70,000 MileagePlus miles for general members, Premier Silver and Premier Gold members
  • $500 or 65,000 MileagePlus miles for Premier Platinum members
  • $450 or 60,000 MileagePlus miles for Premier 1K members

A one-time United Club day pass will set you back $59, or you can use one of the free day passes that come as a benefit with the United MileagePlus Explorer Card to access the lounge.

Although the change seems unfriendly, United simply is keeping pace with the other two of the Big Three domestic airlines that implemented similar policies for their flagship lounges. Delta Air Lines is to limit Sky Club access to SkyTeam passengers on Jan. 1, and American Airlines will implement its restrictions Nov. 1.

Although they’re available in several international locations, such as London and Hong Kong, most of the about 50 United Club lounges are located in U.S. airports. All offer snacks and alcoholic beverages; some offer family rooms.

Overcrowded airport lounges have been an issue for both flyers and lounge hosts, and the problem has caused a wave of limiting access as of late. We’ve seen this with Alaska Airlines leaving Priority Pass, The Centurion Lounge limiting guest access and airlines limiting access to their own passengers. Will these policies help? Time will tell.

 

Do you think the new United Club access policy will help alleviate the crowds?

View Comments (17)

17 Comments

  1. AlastairGordon

    November 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I fully support and applaud these policies. Lounges have become much too crowded. Now, if only there was a way to shut up self-important idiots who love to conduct loud cellphone conversations….

  2. AlastairGordon

    November 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Oh and another thought…. how about excluding Basic Economy tickets from lounge access?

  3. FullFare

    November 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Well, I’m simply going to drop my United Club membership, after 20+ yrs.. I’m a 2mm lifetime flyer and my status is holding up ok for that. Declined 2 yrs ago to go for 3mm, which I could have done, because of too many United service meltdowns. Am lifetime Admirals club with AA, but still think AA shouldn’t have jumped in on this. As for DL, what would one expect? Bastian was the leader on restraining entry. I’be been making AA EXP and DL DM last several years, but will ease up on flying DL (have lifetime AAirpass for AA). Am flying AS a lot more anyway. Am adjusting lifestyle to learn to travel without clubs, although they’re a big help during IRROPS. Look for club memberships to decline at all 3 legacies, IMHO.

  4. JackE

    November 6, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Day passes to Hyatt top-tiers has also ended.

    As for the question posed, clearly more restrictions = less crowding.

  5. brobin

    November 7, 2018 at 7:48 am

    I have no problem with the new policy but I doubt it will make a noticeable difference in relieving overcrowding in the clubs. Unless you’re at a small airport with multiple carriers on the concourse I don’t see a lot of people hoofing it to another concourse just to use a club.

  6. chavala

    November 7, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Great news

  7. dcrooks

    November 7, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I think the solution to overcrowding is simple. Stop selling so many memberships until you can expand the lounges!!

  8. MysteryTour

    November 7, 2018 at 8:36 am

    I let my United Club membership expire at the end of August due to overcrowding, crap food, and dirty clubs. I haven’t missed it yet.

  9. jjmoore

    November 7, 2018 at 8:57 am

    This is a change I will appreciate very much. I hate walking into the SFO UC and there is not a single spot to set up my computer, and this happens a lot.

  10. jrpallante

    November 7, 2018 at 9:20 am

    I am surprised that people actually pay so much to enter the lounges. Most years, I do not even use the 2 free passes that come with my credit card. I used to just give them away, but I’m not even sure if I can do that now that they have gone digital. On the few occasions when I have used the United lounges, they were mediocre at best. If I had paid $59 for a day pass, I would have been very disappointed. For international travel, a nice arrival lounge with showers is much appreciated, but I could not care less about the domestic lounges.

  11. Croupier

    November 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

    What’s the big deal? So United is coming into line with pretty much ever other major airlines lounge access rules?

  12. Mike Jacoubowsky

    November 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

    So this is all about people flying on another alliance (or unaligned airline) and using the UC? Or are there airports where you can still access a UC even if not flying that day?

  13. htb

    November 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

    @Croupier: most other airlines don’t make you pay a membership fee on top of achieving status in order to enter the lounges. Asking for a fee and still requiring a certain boarding pass seems a bit like double dipping. Let’s see how many customers will accept this.

  14. knadai

    November 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Perhaps you should address why United Club members aren’t flying your airline first.

  15. AADC10

    November 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    UA is just late to the party. I doubt it will have much impact on hub UC crowding, which is where the problems lie. The only time I use a UC when on another airline is at a non-hub station and UA does not have a non-stop on my route but another does. It will not help crowds or even the bottom line. It is just another cutback made because the rest of the tri-opoly cut it first. A benefit of airline consolidation.

  16. Artpen100

    November 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t often visit a UA lounge when not flying UA. In fact, I sort of doubt this will impact crowding, since UA has the about the worst domestic lounges. I would not have walked to another terminal to use one.

  17. t5campbell

    November 8, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Did not renew my membership after 8 years of having one. In Houston, my home airport the food is crap, and asked management of the clubs to put the toasters back in the clubs for over a year. His excuse was the caterer we use doesn’t offer bread to toast, but toasters are offered in the new Polaris Club in Terminal E. The clubs are run down, dirty, and over crowded minus the new club in Terminal C. If in Houston head over to terminal D and use the Centurion Club it is well worth the walk if you have a long layover.

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