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New guest restrictions coming to United Club, all Star Alliance lounges

Feb. 25, 2021
3 min read
New guest restrictions coming to United Club, all Star Alliance lounges
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Take note if you're planning to bring a plus-one to any lounge operated by a Star Alliance carrier.

Starting on May 3, 2021, the Star Alliance is tightening the entry rules for select elite members looking to bring a guest into the lounge.

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Star Alliance Gold flyers can access any member lounge, like the United Club or Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, when traveling on any member airline, regardless of class of service or destination. (United's Premier Golds and higher can only use this perk when traveling internationally.)

Previously, the Star Alliance Gold member could also bring in one guest, as long as the plus-one was flying on a Star Alliance carrier from the same departure airport.

Going forward, that's no longer the case.

Effective May 3, the Star Alliance will require guests to be traveling on the same flight as the elite member. A United spokesperson confirmed this change will apply at every lounge operated by all 26 Star Alliance member airlines, like United, Lufthansa, All Nippon Airways, Turkish and more.

Related: What are airline alliances, and who's in them?

This tightened lounge-access policy is sure to be a big blow to colleagues or friends meeting up at the airport, but perhaps flying to different destinations. Of course, it could help reduce lounge overcrowding, but with travel demand down significantly due to the pandemic, most lounges are emptier than ever.

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Some guests will soon be barred from using lounges operated by a Star Alliance member airline (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Fortunately, there are still many ways to bring a guest into the lounge, even if they're not flying with you.

The best way to get your squad into the United Club is by holding the United Club Infinite Card. This cobranded credit card includes a United Club membership, which allows the member to bring two adult guests or one adult and all dependent children under 21 into the lounge.

Flyers confirmed on long-haul first-class flights in cabins such as ANA's The Suite are also entitled to bring one guest into the United Club.

United is the only U.S.-based Star Alliance carrier, but other alliance members also offer lounge memberships with flexible guesting privileges.

Of the three major airline alliances, the Star Alliance will soon have the strictest lounge-access policy. Both Skyteam and Oneworld continue to allow elite members to bring one guest into the lounge, so long as they're flying on any flight operated by a member airline.

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

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more