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

Feb 25, 2021

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

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.

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.

Featured photo by Ravi Ghelani/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.