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.

At the grand opening of United’s first Polaris Lounge, at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD), the airline said that all of its domestic locations would open by the end of 2017, and that even some of its international outposts could be available by the end of last year as well. That obviously didn’t happen.

In fact, the Polaris Lounge rollout is so behind schedule that the O’Hare location remains United’s one and only, though it has since been expanded. The airline’s business-class product is lagging in other areas as well, as I discussed in An Update on United Polaris Business Class, One Year After Launch.

We do know that construction is underway at some of United’s key hubs, however, including Newark’s Liberty International Airport (EWR), where the main United Club is also undergoing a major renovation and is currently closed. And, per United’s Polaris Tracker page, the Houston (IAH), Newark and San Francisco (SFO) Polaris Lounges are now expected this summer, followed by Los Angeles (LAX) in the fall.

A document apparently provided by United’s sales team offers up a more detailed rollout schedule, however, with the Washington Dulles (IAD) Polaris Lounge expected in 2018 as well, followed by the first international location, at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), by the end of 2019.

I find United’s O’Hare Polaris Lounge to be one of the best airport lounges in North America, so it’s no surprise that customers are clearly eager for the other promised locations to open.

I’ve been using United’s exclusive Classified restaurant as a de-facto Polaris Lounge at Newark in the meantime, and while the food there is even better than anything I’d expect to find at even the world’s top airport lounges, it certainly doesn’t come cheap — despite the 20% discount available to customers with a co-branded card, such as the United MileagePlus Explorer Card.

Although even once the Newark Polaris Lounge does open, I won’t be able to get in most of the time — access is limited to customers traveling in the following cabins:

If you’re flying between the US and Canada, Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean, you won’t be able to get in. Even with limited access, I would expect some of the airline’s locations to become quite crowded during peak periods — ahead of Europe departures in the early evenings at Newark, for example, or before mid-day Asia flights departing SFO. Even if they’re a bit crowded, the new lounges will be a huge step up from the airline’s best United Clubs, however.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.