5 Things to Know About United Airlines Lounge Access

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You don’t necessarily have to be a frequent flyer or business traveler to enjoy the perks of United Airlines lounges. Even if you’re a casual flyer looking to access one of the 45-plus United lounges around the world, here are five things you should know.

1. What to expect at United lounges

Visiting a United lounge before a flight can offer a relaxing place to enjoy free Wi-Fi along with complimentary beverages and snacks. While lounges can be a fantastic escape from airport chaos, it’s a good idea to set expectations since not all airport lounges are the same.

For example, United recently renovated lounges in Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Your experience at these locations may differ from other airports with older lounges or temporary pop-up locations that can be crowded or have limited snack and beverage options.

Also, while United Club lounges offer complimentary beverages and cocktails, keep in mind you’ll have to pay for premium liquors and fine wines.

2. What are the airports with United lounges?

You can find one or more United lounges in 33 airports around the world, including 29 domestic airports.

  • Atlanta.

  • Austin.

  • Boston.

  • Chicago-O’Hare.

  • Cleveland.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth.

  • Denver.

  • Fort Lauderdale.

  • Guam.

  • Honolulu.

  • Houston-Intercontinental.

  • Las Vegas.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul.

  • New Orleans.

  • Newark.

  • New York-LaGuardia.

  • Orange County.

  • Orlando.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Phoenix.

  • Portland.

  • Raleigh/Durham.

  • San Antonio.

  • San Diego.

  • San Francisco.

  • Seattle.

  • Washington-Dulles.

  • Washington-National.

  • Hong Kong.

  • London.

  • Mexico City.

  • Tokyo.

3. United Club vs. United Polaris lounges

The United lounge network includes more than 45 United Club locations and five Polaris lounges.

United Club lounges

You’re eligible to visit a United Club lounge if you have a same-day boarding pass and meet one of these requirements:

  • Flying United Polaris business class within the U.S., transcontinental business class or international business class.

  • Flying business or first class on a Star Alliance partner airline.

  • Star Alliance Gold membership or status.

  • United Club member.

  • Holder of a United Club one-time.

  • Active U.S. military personnel.

  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Club member.

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus or Select Executive member.

United Polaris lounges

Polaris lounges feature additional amenities like daybeds, shower suites and gourmet dining options. They’re located in Chicago-O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco.

Access to Polaris lounges is more restrictive. You can visit a Polaris lounge only if you are:

  • Flying United Polaris business class on a long-haul international flight.

  • Flying international business or first class on a Star Alliance partner airline.

Even if you have top-tier United MileagePlus status, you’ll still have to meet the above requirements to visit a Polaris lounge.

4. United Club membership cost vs. one-day pass

One-time passes to United Clubs cost $59 per person and can be bought in person or through United’s mobile app. One-time pass holders can only bring children under 2 for free; you’ll have to purchase a separate one-time pass for other traveling companions.

If you’re a frequent flyer, United also offers annual memberships to its lounges that you can pay for with cash or United miles.

MileagePlus status

Cash cost for annual club access

Miles cost for annual club access

General member

$650.

85,000.

Premier Silver

$650.

85,000.

Premier Gold

$650.

85,000.

Premier Platinum

$600.

80,000.

Premier 1K

$550.

75,000.

With a United Club membership, you can bring one adult and dependent children younger than 21, or up to two guests.

5. Using a United MileagePlus credit card for lounge access

Depending on your travel habits, it could be worth considering one of these United credit cards, which offer lounge access:

While the United Club℠ Infinite Card and the United Club℠ Business Card have steep annual fees, they could be worth considering rather than paying $650 to purchase an annual United Club membership. In addition to the United Club membership, cardholders can also earn a welcome bonus and save on checked bag fees.

Photo courtesy of United Airlines.


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