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Lifetime Lounge Members

Lifetime Lounge Members

Old Jun 17, 19, 7:05 pm
  #1  
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Lifetime Lounge Members

Historically, American Airlines, Continental Airlines (acquired by United), and Northwest Airlines (acquired by Delta) offered lifetime lounge memberships.

While I happen to hold all three, many FlyerTalkers hold one or two. All offer both similar and different products (AA=no partners unless on AA, not much F&B, but amazing showers, DL=no partners, better F&B, occasional showers, and UA=amazing partners + middle F&B and essentially no showers).

As of June 2019 Delta has announced that only LT Club members will have access when not on Delta+Partners; UA and AA followed the same but currently intend to exclude all customers, including lifetime, traveling on other airlines effective 11/1/19.

While I personally feel that ethical lounge operators should not charge for memberships unless accessible when flying regardless of airline, changing this benefit for lifetime members seems particularly egregious. I'm fine with airlines choosing not to sell lounge memberships, or adding conditions to people who have not yet joined (or for members past their current term), or just providing free/paid access to elite members while flying...but feel that changing terms post-sale is unethical.

Mods: while individual threads exist on airline pages, I feel this is a broader topic which should be discussed on this forum. For me this is an ethical question...after all if they'll take x away without compensation why no z? How would you feel about paying to fly F and getting NRSA privileges?
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Old Jun 17, 19, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
I'm fine with airlines choosing not to sell lounge memberships, or adding conditions to people who have not yet joined (or for members past their current term), or just providing free/paid access to elite members while flying...but feel that changing terms post-sale is unethical.
No more unethical than increasing the cost of a membership while restricting the circumstances under which you can use the lounge in the same year.

UA/AA/DL argue that improvements/upgrades to lounges cost money and limiting crowds is part of the cost benefit. The new premium international lounges have in many cases taken away from existing space for their membership lounges.

That said, if I had a lifetime membership, I'd be red-faced too.
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Old Jun 18, 19, 11:40 am
  #3  
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worldwidedreamer, did you happen to save any of the documents from when you got these lifetime passes? I wonder if these recent access changes are consistent with the airlines' obligations under your contracts.
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Old Jun 18, 19, 5:59 pm
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
No more unethical than increasing the cost of a membership while restricting the circumstances under which you can use the lounge in the same year.
I've never heard of an airline retroactively increasing the cost of a lounge membership. And while we might not like changes, most are announced at least a year in advance.

And to your other comment...I am red faced.
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Old Jun 18, 19, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
worldwidedreamer, did you happen to save any of the documents from when you got these lifetime passes? I wonder if these recent access changes are consistent with the airlines' obligations under your contracts.
This is a legal question, and I'm not a lawyer. If in court I feel comfortable that a judge would look favorably upon my evidence, and don't see why the airlines would not be able to provide additional documentation with a subpoena, but of course every plaintiff feels that way. For what it is worth I hope not to end up in court.

If AA wanted to kill the lifetime program, their opportunity was during Ch 11 when it could be argued we were unsecured creditors.

For what it is worth, I'm still using my c. 2005 Admirals Club card as they have yet to send a replacement. Staff often comment that I'm one of the few with working cards bearing the old five star logo.
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Old Jun 18, 19, 6:28 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
This is a legal question, and I'm not a lawyer. If in court I feel comfortable that a judge would look favorably upon my evidence, and don't see why the airlines would not be able to provide additional documentation with a subpoena, but of course every plaintiff feels that way. For what it is worth I hope not to end up in court.

If AA wanted to kill the lifetime program, their opportunity was during Ch 11 when it could be argued we were unsecured creditors.

For what it is worth, I'm still using my c. 2005 Admirals Club card as they have yet to send a replacement. Staff often comment that I'm one of the few with working cards bearing the old five star logo.
As it happens, I am a lawyer, but I do not mean to suggest that I will give you lawyer-client legal advice on FT. I only suggest that you consider asserting yourself, legally, with these airlines as they make substantial changes to their access policies regarding lifetime club members. If you don't have the original contracts for your lifetime memberships, you could ask the airlines for the terms. They surely have the contracts.
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Old Jun 21, 19, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
As it happens, I am a lawyer, but I do not mean to suggest that I will give you lawyer-client legal advice on FT. I only suggest that you consider asserting yourself, legally, with these airlines as they make substantial changes to their access policies regarding lifetime club members. If you don't have the original contracts for your lifetime memberships, you could ask the airlines for the terms. They surely have the contracts.
Of course no lawyer can reasonably provide advice on a forum because there are just too many externalities. Next time I talk with my lawyer, I'll broach the topic. As an outsider, it was my understanding that enterprises rarely shared contracts with outsiders unless something like a subpoena was issued.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 4:11 am
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
I've never heard of an airline retroactively increasing the cost of a lounge membership. And while we might not like changes, most are announced at least a year in advance.
Not quite what I said.

Airlines grant a grace period at their discretion. Increasing the cost of a membership while restricting the circumstances under which you can use the lounge in the same year is as "unethical" as not grandfathering lifetime members. Potato, potahto. It's good business to stage an effective date a year ahead, but apparently optional.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 4:22 am
  #9  
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I had a lifetime TWA Ambassador Club (lounge) membership which wasn't honored (beyond IIRC seventeen months, which is obviously much less than my lifetime) by AA when AA bought TWA's "assets." As a result, I don't fly AA.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 9:50 am
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They did give 2 years "grace," but I take your point.

To require same-day host airline BP to enter a lounge is a poles apart grievance. Carl Icahn's moved on.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 10:52 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
Of course no lawyer can reasonably provide advice on a forum because there are just too many externalities. Next time I talk with my lawyer, I'll broach the topic. As an outsider, it was my understanding that enterprises rarely shared contracts with outsiders unless something like a subpoena was issued.
If you have these lifetime memberships, youíre not an outsider ó youíre party to the contracts. If you tell the airline that you believe their changes breach the contract, they might say no, theyíre within their rights under the contract. Thatís when you might ask for their copy of the contract.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 10:04 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I had a lifetime TWA Ambassador Club (lounge) membership which wasn't honored....
I purchased a lifetime Ionosphere Club membership from Eastern Airlines. When EA filed bankruptcy their sister company Continental Airlines sent a letter stating that my EA membership would not be converted to Presidents Club because of the date of my purchase. I replied, submitting evidence that their records were inaccurate. I received no reply, and I did not really care because CO's presence in Miami evaporated.

A decade later I discovered that I have a lifetime Presidents Club membership, which I used for awhile to enter Delta Crown Rooms. Now it is a United Club membership, which I have used twice because UA's presence here is still small. No club at MIA or TPA, though I see there are now clubs at FLL and MCO.

Last edited by mia; Jun 26, 19 at 10:15 am
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Old Jan 6, 20, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
Not quite what I said.

Airlines grant a grace period at their discretion. Increasing the cost of a membership while restricting the circumstances under which you can use the lounge in the same year is as "unethical" as not grandfathering lifetime members. Potato, potahto. It's good business to stage an effective date a year ahead, but apparently optional.
I'd beg to differ. They offered to sell a product, I gave them money, now they don't want to deliver. Simple as that.

Not delivering what people paid is not, "Potato, potahto" but fraud.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
They offered to sell a product, I gave them money, now they don't want to deliver. Simple as that.

Not delivering what people paid is not, "Potato, potahto" but fraud.
Risk-reward analytics are cold blooded. Chase and Amex sunset perks in the middle of a year. Cell companies continually re-define "unlimited data."

UA doesn't care about losing face. Years ago they needed the business now they donít. At some point they think you got your fee back. Original "lifetime" membership cost $250.

I personally hope they cave. But they seem pretty dug-in.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 5:37 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
Risk-reward analytics are cold blooded. Chase and Amex sunset perks in the middle of a year. Cell companies continually re-define "unlimited data."

UA doesn't care about losing face. Years ago they needed the business now they donít. At some point they think you got your fee back. Original "lifetime" membership cost $250.

I personally hope they cave. But they seem pretty dug-in.
My wife and I together paid about ten grand for our spousal lifetime memberships. If an individual stole pretty much any other asset this valuable from us, it would easily be a felony.

United took away what we paid for with a fountain pen.

As Woody Guthrie said:

"Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home."
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