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These days, if one major US airline implements a policy change, the others usually aren’t far behind. The introduction of basic economy was perhaps the most egregious, but United Club members likely won’t be fond of this adjustment, either.
Following similar moves first by Delta, announced in 2017, and then American, detailed last month, United will allow United Club members, including those with the United MileagePlus Club Card, to access the airline’s lounges only when traveling on a same-day United, Star Alliance or partner flight. This restriction applies to customers hoping to use one-time passes as well, such as those issued as a benefit of the United Explorer Card.
The change kicks in roughly one year from now, on November 1, 2019, giving members enough time to decide not to renew if this is a dealbreaker for them. In some major hubs, like Newark (EWR) or San Francisco (SFO), it may only be practical to visit a United Club if you’re flying UA anyway, given the lounge locations. At airports with a smaller United presence though — like, say, San Diego (SAN) — members can easily pop over to the United Club when flying another carrier. Come next November, they won’t be allowed in.
While United Club members who often access the lounge when flying other carriers surely won’t be thrilled to hear this news, it’ll likely to be seen as a positive change by United loyalists — especially those fed up by overcrowding during peak times. I, for one, will continue renewing my MileagePlus Club Card, but if you primarily use your membership to access the lounge when you’re flying another carrier, it might be time to move along.
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