United Club Access Change Coming in 2019

Following the lead of Delta Sky Club and Admirals Club — which are the official airport lounges of Delta Air Lines and American Airlines respectively — access to United Club airport lounges will be more restrictive effective as of Friday, November 1, 2019, as same-day boarding passes on flights operated by United Airlines or partner airlines will be required for entry.

United Club Access Change Coming in 2019

The following announcement pertains to members of United Club and their guests:

Effective November 1, 2019, United Club customers, including members and their guests, and one-time pass holders will need to provide a same-day boarding pass for travel on United, Star Alliance or a contracted partner for entry into all United Club locations.

Nothing in the announcement indicates that the change in the policy of accessing United Club lounge locations will be any different for holders of any of the official affiliated credit cards of United Airlines.

Additionally, no indication has been given that the cost of membership will increase, as has been announced by American Airlines for its Admirals Clubs.


This news comes as absolutely no surprise after the changes in the policies of accessing of Delta Sky Club lounges and Admirals Club lounges were recently announced; but I have to admit that I must have been asleep while earning my Master of Business Administration degree during the class which apparently teaches that a company must exactly follow the lead of its competitors in order for it to be successful. After all, why bother taking the time to come up with anything original on your own?!?

Regardless, no longer will members be able to use a United Club lounge if they are at the airport and preparing to fly as passengers on different airlines which are not partners of United Airlines.

I offered my reasons in this article which I wrote on Monday, October 19, 2015 as to why I personally would not pay $59.00 for a one-time visit to a Delta Sky Club — the same applies to United Clubs, Admirals Clubs and other airport lounges — but that is just my opinion

Although these policies will adversely affect many people, some will welcome the aforementioned changes, as they see them euphemistically as ways of the reduction of crowds in Admirals Clubs. This comment which was written by Donald Osborne — who is a reader of The Gate — pertaining to the more restrictive change to access to Delta Sky Clubs is one example of that mindset: “I’m good with that. A dramatic reduction in the crowds in the Sky Club is much more important to me than the one or two times a year I might visit a Delta lounge when flying another airline. Delta is smart in this policy. They know that the most loyal flyers will like it and those who fly frequently fly non-Sky Team airlines but use the lounges anyway won’t. There’s no real incentive to make them happy so I get it.”

Is United Airlines similarly smart in the aforementioned forthcoming changes to its United Club policies?

Source: United Club.

7 thoughts on “United Club Access Change Coming in 2019”

  1. Arthur says:

    I assume they have figured out they can afford to lose a certain number of club and credit card members. Of the two, I am going to drop the AA card and keep the UA and Amex Plat.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Probably what they figured out more likely is that members of United Club really do not have much of a choice if they want to purchase a membership in a lounge club operated by an airline based in the United States, Arthur.

  2. Andrew Thackray says:

    A poor decision, with no positive outcome for the airline. Do they think that people will fly United more often because of club access? Maybe now and then, but I don’t see club access as a key driver of an airline decision. The downside though — people who fly multiple airlines dropping the Club card or membership — is considerable. I’m one of those, live in Denver and fly Southwest and United 50/50. I will certainly drop my Club card next year because of this, and the ill will from this is already leading me to fly United less.

    And they’ve done a terrible job of informing their club employees of this change, or maybe too good a job? I was denied entry a few weeks ago because the club desk was told it was already in effect, leading me to complain to both Chase (who wouldn’t do anything) and United, who of course hasn’t replied yet.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Some people would argue your point of view, Andrew Thackray, stating that this new policy will help thin the crowds.

      Of course, many of those people are likely ones who will not be affected negatively by the new policy…

  3. Dwight says:

    I was caught off guard by this policy change this morning. I am a 1K United customer but flew delta to get to Detroit on time for my meeting. This policy is bad business and a terrible customer experience. The communication around it was also poorly executed. Lastly, while they reserve the right to change the terms of their service, where’s the legal line on that?

  4. Chris says:

    Yeah, we just ran into this today. I’m cancelling my Chase United Explorer card as of tomorrow morning.

  5. Jennifer Green says:

    This is a terrible decision. Paying $450- $650/year for a platinum or club card because this is one of the benefits quickly decreases the allure of such a card. I switched from AA to UA club card and was very disappointed to see the sign at the door. Although it is not listed in the card benefits nor on the club access site, it can be found by searching but it not easily understood or communicated. I will keep the card for the remainder of the year I have paid for but will not renew unless I see that the other benefits appear to be worth the price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.