If you are a United/Continental flyer, these days there are few ways to get lounge access without paying for it directly. You used to be able to get access with the Amex Platinum card, but that benefit ended on September 30, 2011.
However, one of the easiest ways to get US Airways, United and Star Alliance lounge access is by purchasing US Airways club membership. Ben at One Mile at a Time reports that they are currently running a promotion until November 18 that brings the cost of membership down to $325 and waives the $50 initiation fee when you use promo code CLB30. I tried to price this out, but it makes you purchase the membership before the promo code shows the discount, so you will have to take a risk and hope that this works. It could be targeted, so if this doesn’t work out, please feel free to send your hate mail to Ben :-). This is a huge discount from purchasing membership from United, who charges $375- $475 plus a $50 initiation fee.
Club lounge access is eligible to be rebated as part of the Amex Platinum’s new $200 a year rebate, so if you designate US Airways as your rebate airline, then lounge access could only cost you as low as $125 out of pocket. Remember, that $200 a year is based on the calendar year, so if you haven’t used it yet in 2011 you will lose it come January 1, 2012 when you’ll get a brand new $200 credit. If you don’t have an American Express Platinum card, now could be a good time to get one since the two $200 credits will basically cover the $450 annual fee (plus if you ever cancel before a year you get a prorated refund).
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