United Club vs. Priority Pass

Old Mar 14, 15, 4:58 pm
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United Club vs. Priority Pass

Did some searching and found a variety of older threads, but nothing that specifically helped.

I am MP Plat (*G) and a United Club member (paid, not through the Chase card). I have had my UC membership for many years. I fly domestically for work often (few times a month) and internationally (a few times a year). Work trips are always booked in coach.

For fun, I fly domestically and internationally. Lots of small weekend trips and a couple big international trips each year. I try to fly at least business (paid) for fun (assuming its not insanely expensive).

My United Club renewal is coming up and I am debating if Priority Pass would be better. Domestically, I fly on UA 90% of the time. I believe the Priority Pass Prestige Membership would give me access to most United Clubs (including my home airport DEN). I would have the added flexibility to access other Priority Pass clubs when traveling on other airlines or when they are convenient.

I find the convenience (and customer service desks) of the UCs good, but lacking in drinks, food, atmosphere, maintenance, etc. Some additional club choice would be nice. The UC membership is more expensive than the PP, but PP has a guest fee. However, most of my work travel, I am alone. So, I am not sure this would be that big of an issue. I guess I am willing to pay for guests for the few times I am with others.

Are there other comparison points I'm missing? I don't know that much about Priority Pass, but really considering giving it a try. Any thoughts would be appreciated from those with experience with UC membership and paid Priority Pass Prestige Membership (not the amex PP version).

Thanks!
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Old Mar 14, 15, 5:54 pm
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At the very least, you should get the Chase United Club card rather than paying more to UA directly. Plus you can get a year free.
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Old Mar 14, 15, 6:42 pm
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Originally Posted by RockyMntFlyer View Post
... For fun, I fly domestically and internationally. ....
PP can be spotty internationally -- best to check in detail.

Originally Posted by RockyMntFlyer View Post
.... The UC membership is more expensive than the PP, but PP has a guest fee. ....
$425 (for a Plat) vs $400 (and guest fee of $27 -- so a single guest puts you at > $425) -- and the Chase MP Club Card appraoch is $400, no initiation fee and free for first year). I think it is the PP that is more expensive.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 14, 15 at 6:50 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Mar 14, 15, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
PP can be spotty internationally -- best to check in detail.
I haven't run into that yet necessarily. Places like KWI I was covered. The biggest drawback internationally is that they seem to be more contract lounge oriented than airline specific lounge oriented like the US.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
PP can be spotty internationally -- best to check in detail.
True. But OP's *G should be able to make up the difference.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by Cargojon View Post
I haven't run into that yet necessarily. Places like KWI I was covered. The biggest drawback internationally is that they seem to be more contract lounge oriented than airline specific lounge oriented like the US.
Drawback? US airlines lounges are the worst worldwide, period. Even the KWI contract lounge blows away any UA club....
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Old Mar 17, 15, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by RockyMntFlyer View Post
Did some searching and found a variety of older threads, but nothing that specifically helped.

I am MP Plat (*G) and a United Club member (paid, not through the Chase card). I have had my UC membership for many years. I fly domestically for work often (few times a month) and internationally (a few times a year). Work trips are always booked in coach.

For fun, I fly domestically and internationally. Lots of small weekend trips and a couple big international trips each year. I try to fly at least business (paid) for fun (assuming its not insanely expensive).

My United Club renewal is coming up and I am debating if Priority Pass would be better. Domestically, I fly on UA 90% of the time. I believe the Priority Pass Prestige Membership would give me access to most United Clubs (including my home airport DEN). I would have the added flexibility to access other Priority Pass clubs when traveling on other airlines or when they are convenient.

I find the convenience (and customer service desks) of the UCs good, but lacking in drinks, food, atmosphere, maintenance, etc. Some additional club choice would be nice. The UC membership is more expensive than the PP, but PP has a guest fee. However, most of my work travel, I am alone. So, I am not sure this would be that big of an issue. I guess I am willing to pay for guests for the few times I am with others.

Are there other comparison points I'm missing? I don't know that much about Priority Pass, but really considering giving it a try. Any thoughts would be appreciated from those with experience with UC membership and paid Priority Pass Prestige Membership (not the amex PP version).

Thanks!
I have both, I get the UC card free with my United Presidential Plus card, frankly I find I can get into most SA affiliated clubs around the world with it, although I think that is more the *G status of my Global Service level than the UC card itself. Of course, I get into United Clubs too.

I get the PP card free with my Platinum Amex card, which I believe has all of the same access to PP clubs as a regular PP card except you cannot take a guest in without paying. On saying that, I have only had need to use it once and that was in India at a PP club where they let me take a guest in for free as well. The nice thing with the PP card was that I did not need to be flying a specific airline, being a PP club itself, I just showed my card and walked in.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 8:29 am
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Many PP clubs have nap or relaxation rooms. Correct me if I am wrong this not something you'll find at a UC.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
At the very least, you should get the Chase United Club card rather than paying more to UA directly. Plus you can get a year free.
Second this suggestion. I got the card mainly for the extra miles, and would suggest it also for that reason. The fact that the card comes with UC access is a small bonus.

Originally Posted by busyroadwarrior View Post
I get the PP card free with my Platinum Amex card, which I believe has all of the same access to PP clubs as a regular PP card except you cannot take a guest in without paying. On saying that, I have only had need to use it once and that was in India at a PP club where they let me take a guest in for free as well. The nice thing with the PP card was that I did not need to be flying a specific airline, being a PP club itself, I just showed my card and walked in.
When I was debating which card to get, Amex or UA Club, I looked closely at the Plat Amex, but found that the Amex Plat card got you access to all airline lounges, except United.

Just now, I went to the PP website to review if something had changed, and at first it appeared to now allow access, because all of the UA clubs are listed. Wow! Search for one, like UA club in ORD, and the fine print reads thusly:
Note: Members holding a Priority Pass Select membership card and Priority Pass cardholders in the U.S. that receive their membership through a U.S. financial institution will not be allowed access to this Lounge.
So it seems the PP thru Amex is not an option. Also, the UA card also does not require you to be flying UA or any *A partner. The membership you get, unlike the DL membership with its card, comes with a full-fledged membership card, and showing it without a boarding pass is acceptable. You can even get a gate pass to visit the lounge even if not flying.

Last edited by USHPNWDLUA; Mar 17, 15 at 8:51 am Reason: Add details
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:03 am
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You could also get the Ritz Carlton card which gives you Lounge Club membership. And even if you don't like Lounge Club, the RC card will reimburse you up to $300 to use for any airport club membership you choose. That would take the $395 annual fee down to $95. And on top of that, you get Gold status immediately for Marriott and Ritz Carlton for the 1st year.. and only have to spend $10000 on the card each year to keep that. And on sign up, you get 2 free nights for $3000 spent on the card. OP, I noticed that you have HHonors and SPG status but not Marriott. Adding Marriott will open up a lot of extra choices for your vacations.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:32 am
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There's got to be a more appropriate forum for this discussion.
I have both *A lounge access & Priority Pass access.
I can offer you lots and lots of comparisons from around the world.

As I'm drifting away from UA, the Priority Pass is becoming more and more handy. A lot of the lounges just don't look sustainable. UA simply does not have a lounge at SJC. The lounge there is a nice oasis. It gets better just before the NH flight. We'll see if it picks up speed once Hainan Airlines service at SJC gets going. The KLM lounge at IAH has much nicer food than the UA Clubs there, but the UA Clubs there have handy showers between long flights. Yes, around the world, it really becomes hit or miss. The KAL lounge at NRT is almost useless. Other places like Queenstown (ZQN) just don't have an alternative to the *A lounge. At Colombo (CMB) Sri Lanka, my wife would not touch the PP lounge option's food. I thought that food was okay, but my standards are easily questionable. In my book, the best lounges in the world are SYD's QF lounges, but neither *A or PP get you access to that.

Presently, if you get the Citibank Prestige credit card, you get a Priority Pass Select card that's good for three years. $50 for an additional card gets your spouse a Pass too. We'll see how long that deal goes.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Many PP clubs have nap or relaxation rooms. Correct me if I am wrong this not something you'll find at a UC.
Tell that to the various customers laying around all over the couches snoring lol
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by USHPNWDLUA View Post
Also, the UA card also does not require you to be flying UA or any *A partner. The membership you get, unlike the DL membership with its card, comes with a full-fledged membership card, and showing it without a boarding pass is acceptable. You can even get a gate pass to visit the lounge even if not flying.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't get into a non-UA *A lounge with that card unless you have a same-day boarding pass on a *A flight. The UA card gets you access to any UA lounge at anytime and any place like the UA Club at the SF 49'ers Levi Stadium, where there are no flights.

Some *A partners like BR get even more strict. They don't care what membership you have unless you have a BR boarding pass to go with it.

PP has different levels of membership. Most of them will not yield UA Club access. I don't think you'll be missing anything though.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by USHPNWDLUA View Post
So it seems the PP thru Amex is not an option. Also, the UA card also does not require you to be flying UA or any *A partner. The membership you get, unlike the DL membership with its card, comes with a full-fledged membership card, and showing it without a boarding pass is acceptable. You can even get a gate pass to visit the lounge even if not flying.
Through Amex, that would be the PP Select card.
With Amex, you also get access to the Centurion lounges too? How are those? Skyteam lounges seem hit or miss, mostly miss in my experience.
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Old Mar 17, 15, 9:53 am
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Through Amex, that would be the PP Select card.
With Amex, you also get access to the Centurion lounges too? How are those? Skyteam lounges seem hit or miss, mostly miss in my experience.
the Amex PP membership is useless for UA clubs.

the centurion lounges are accessible with an amex plat, and they're awesome. its not even a comparison, I would say aside from a few int'l carriers with made-to-order food in their F lounges, they're the best in N.A.
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