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You can still access United Clubs when flying any airline

by on Sun August 16, 2015 • 13 Comments
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United Clubs recently started posting a sign saying starting in August 2016, a ‘same day boarding pass’ will be required to enter the clubs.

It’s vague and could have two meanings:

  1. You could need a United Airlines same day boarding pass, which would end your ability to access the clubs while flying other airlines like American or Delta, which would be a big downgrade in benefits.
  2. You won’t be able to request a ‘gate pass’ to enter the club without a flight on any airline, which is a benefit some people take advantage of to meet people at the airport when not flying.

The good news is United Club customer service phone agents are saying you will be able to use the clubs with *any* same day airline boarding pass.

So you can breathe easy that United won’t require members to fly United to enter a club.

You can fly Delta, American, or any other airline and still access the club. As a United Club Card or Presidential Plus credit card holder you’re a full member and will get the same benefit.

The sign is poorly worded and really should say ‘same day boarding pass on any airline’ to avoid confusing members.

What is changing is that you won’t be able to request a ‘gate pass’ to get into the club if you have no flight at all.

That shouldn’t impact the vast majority of members.

But there is a small group of heavy users who will lose out on this change, and are upset.

They are able to show up at an airport any time and ask an agent for a gate pass, which lets them use the United Club freely at any airport, even without a flight. Some meet business colleagues, others meet family, while others have less clear intentions.

Comparing it to Delta and American, the new policy is not draconian.

  • Delta has long required you need a same day ticket on any airline to enter its clubs. So the United policy matches that. Yet Delta won’t let base SkyClub members bring in guests for free. United lets you bring two or your spouse and kids.

skyclubrules

  • American will issue a gate pass to get into Admirals Clubs, but officially you need to call the Admirals Club hotline at least 24 hours in advance to request one and state a ‘valid business reason’ for entering the club. So it’s more restrictive than the old United policy.
  • The American Express Centurion Lounges require you to present a same day boarding pass.
  • And when you enter most Priority Pass lounges you’re asked for a boarding pass.

So if you’re a United Club member and see the sign, breathe easy.

Very little is changing.

You’ll still be able to get into the clubs while flying any airline.

But if you were enjoying gate passes, unfortunately a perk that was more generous than other airlines is going away.

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13 thoughts on You can still access United Clubs when flying any airline

  1. Raymond

    Hello, I am flying Delta Airline out of LAX tomorrow morning, but would like to use the United Club Lounge or any Priority Pass Lounge. It seems like it would be a nightmare going in and out of United Terminal before boarding Delta flight. Any experience and advice ? Thank you !

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Raymond – There’s an Alaska lounge in Terminal 6, just through the tunnel from Delta T5. You can use it with your Priority Pass card.

      Reply
  2. Sue

    If I give my United Club passes to my son and his wife will they be able to use them? They are not members and I will not be with them.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Sue – Yes they will. Just be aware several clubs are not accepting one time passes right now because of construction projects.

      Reply
  3. Maray

    I am flying in DFW terminal E on jetblue — they do not have a club can I buy a one day pass to enter the united club in terminal E with my 2 teenagers

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Maray – Yes you can if there is space in the club. But you’d need to buy a pass for each of you. One pass only lets one person into the club at a time.

      Reply
  4. Steve Young

    If flying another airline that airline and united must be in the same terminal. You are not allowed to go through security a second time to access united club in another terminal. Am i correct with these questions.

    Thanks,
    Steve Young

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Steve – Some airports like SFO and LAX let you enter security for different terminals, even if your flight isn’t in that terminal. So if you can do that you can access the club in the other terminal.

      Reply
      1. Raymond

        Hi, Great ! I’ll be flying Delta out of LAX, and would like to use the United Club. Can you pls show me how. Thanks !

        Reply
  5. John B

    if i am a united club access member, and flying a non star alliance airline overseas, can i still get into a star alliance club using my united club access card?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @John B – No, you can only access United’s own clubs when you aren’t flying a Star Alliance carrier.

      Reply
  6. AnnaLyn

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the great info. I am flying Norwegian Air to Prague and I have United one time passes from my United Explorer Credit Card, and I think what you are saying is that as long as I have my boarding pass for flying that day, I can use my free United Club passes. If I have this wrong, please write me back. Thanks again! You’re info is AWESOME!!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @AnnaLyn – Yes as long as you’re able to reach the United Club from the terminal Norwegian serves, you’re good to go.

      Reply

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