If I Cancel My United Credit Card, What Happens To My Lounge Passes?

Apr 14, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

TPG reader Ryan is considering dropping his United MileagePlus Explorer Card, but he wants to know if he loses every single perk of the card if he does…

I am looking to cancel my United MileagePlus Explorer Card. Will this affect my access to the United Club via the two lounge passes I received with the card, which I have yet to use?

TPG Reader Ryan

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card have several benefits that are useful when you fly on United Airlines, including a free first checked bag, priority boarding and two United Club day passes every year on your cardmember anniversary. You’ll also get a pair of one-time Club passes when you first open the card as well.

Obviously if you cancel your United card, you’ll no longer get the free checked bag or the priority boarding. But what if you received the Club passes but haven’t used them yet? Do the passes still work after you cancel the credit card?

united club pass featured

The answer is yes… to a point. Each United Club one-time pass has a “Valid through” date printed at the bottom. Regardless of whether your co-branded United credit card is still active, the passes will work to gain entry into a United Club right up until that printed expiration date, so long as you also present a boarding pass for same-day travel along with the Club pass. Remember that the passes are only accepted at United Clubs — partner clubs won’t take them — and are good for one entry for one person, meaning you get no guest privileges with them (though a guest can use your second pass).

One other note: In the past it was possible to present an expired United Club pass and get in for only a $25 co-pay. As the passes currently cost $59 each, that was a significant discount. However, as of this writing that is officially no longer the case, and presenting expired United Club passes to the desk agent will now get you nothing more than a wave of the hand toward the lounge’s exit.

But so long as your Club passes haven’t expired, Ryan, you can safely cancel your card and still use them. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader with a question you’d like answered, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send an email to info@thepointsguy.com.

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