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You can still access United Clubs when flying any airline

by on Sun August 16, 2015 • 32 Comments


The information related to the United MileagePlus® Club card has been collected by and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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 MileagePlus® 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.


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

  1. Meg

    I have two United Club one time passes, but we are flying Frontier because United messed up our booking. Can we still access the club when flying Frontier? I am a United Explorer card holder. We’ll be flying out of O’Hare

  2. Mary Sheils

    I am flying into San Diego Airport. I am meeting up with people coming in on a later flight. My flight was changed to an earlier flight by the airlines so not only do I have TWO hours to wait for my friends, my rental car agreement is not for three hours after I arrive. I have an United Mileage Plus Credit Card and a guest pass. Can I wait in the lounge for my friends?
    I will be checking a bag, so I will have to go get it…which may prevent me from going back into the area where the lounge is.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  3. caleb

    I got mileagePlus Club offer from United. I mostly travel in Europe and don’t use united airline or star alliance airlines. If I am in Milan airport (MXP) or Cairo, can i use any star alliance lounge without using their airlines flight?

  4. AJ

    Hi, maybe a little off topic but can i use my amex gold airline credit to purchase this one day United pass? I have unused credit to use before year end and i dont have flight plans till then so i will use this pass on a future flight.

  5. Doug Adderley

    Can I use the one time pass (united club) at the Istanbul Turkish airlines business lounge when I am flying Turkish airlines a star alliance member.

  6. Jack


    I’m going to flight LAS to ORD on next week. I have bought a United Club Pass.
    I have a friend who will flight the same day to MIA with Frontier.
    I have one pass for her too, but I was wondering if she could join me in the lounge or not, flying with a different airline.

    Thank you

  7. Lorraine Wilson

    I want to give a friend my one-time pass. Will he be allowed access even if he is not flying United?

    Thanks in advance.


      @Lorraine – Yes but be aware that the clubs sometimes don’t allow pass holders in when they’re getting full.

  8. Cece

    I am picking up my parents from the airport this weekend. They will have a boarding pass, I will not in my name. I am the one with United club access – will I be able to use their boarding passes to get in and invite them in as my guests?

  9. chas

    last time i tried at LAX when flying another airline, it took me going to 2 United stations and then getting a nasty United supervisor at LAX in order to get into a different terminal to use the United Club.
    Anyone have any pointers


      @chas – TBIT and Terminal 4 – 8 are all connected airside, so you can reach United from those terminals without having to go through security. You can also enter any LAX terminal with any boarding pass that day, even if it’s for a different terminal. So no need to ask a United agent to get you into the terminal.

  10. ShelleyK

    I’m flying into LAX terminal 6 with a connecting flight out of terminal 1. Am I able to access united club in terminal 7. I have 4.5 hours between flights and a united club one time pass.


    I am flying on delta airline in terminal A of Logan airport in boston. Can I use my one time united pass at the united lounge in terminal B before my flight.

  12. karen johnson

    Sydney does not have a United Lounge, can I access the Air New Zealand lounge AirNZ Kora using my club pass? Trip from LA to Auckland is United to Sydney and then must change to Air New Zealand for 2nd half of flight to Auckland. Same Day travel.

  13. 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 !


      @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.

  14. 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.


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

  15. 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


      @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.

  16. 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.

    Steve Young


      @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.

      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 !

  17. 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?


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

  18. 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!!


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


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