This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Airlines aren’t known for being especially generous when it comes to honoring expired perks, but I recently discovered one major exception to this rule: One-time passes for the United Club. These paper certificates are issued each year as a benefit of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card — as of 2015, Hyatt Diamond members (of which there are now many) are also entitled to two passes each year. Typically, passes expire at least a year after they’re issued, but if you aren’t able to use them before that date, they’re not entirely worthless.
Currently, you can use an expired pass to enter a United Club with a $25 co-pay. Regular single-use passes run $50, so that’s a pretty decent savings. Of course, a visit to the United Club may not be worth $25 to you, but with renovated lounges and improved food offerings, you can certainly get your money’s worth with a longer layover or flight delay. Note that expired passes (plus the co-pay) must be redeemed within one year of the expiration date.
It’s sometimes also possible to get a year (or more) of free access by taking advantage of a status match, and you can get access with the MileagePlus Club card (which recently raised its annual fee to $450). You can also get access by purchasing a full United Club membership, but unless you have elite status, that’ll run you a whopping $550 each year (plus a $50 initiation fee).
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95||0%||Excellent Credit|