A guide to United Club lounge access

A credit card membership can be the most cost effective way to access United Club lounges

United Club lounge access

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United Airlines is one of the largest carriers in the world, with major hubs in Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles, Denver and Houston-Intercontinental. One of the best perks for premium passengers on United is access to United’s extensive network of airport lounges in the United States and abroad. 

It can be convenient to visit a United Club when you arrive early at the gate, experience a delay or have a long layover at a United hub. Even better, United recently opened Polaris lounges at its largest hubs that offer a more premium experience that may include complimentary, made-to-order, restaurant-style dining.

United Club benefits

Here’s an overview of the features of United Airlines United Club lounges: 

  • Complimentary beverages and light snacks
  • A full complimentary food and beverage buffet featuring a selection of hot breakfast items
  • Complimentary assistance with reservations, seat assignments and electronic ticketing
  • High-speed Wi-Fi access 
  • Complimentary use of printers
  • Private phone booths with speaker phones (at select locations)
  • Information on local dining and entertainment options

Polaris Lounge benefits 

United has created a small, but growing network of premium lounges at its largest international hubs, called Polaris Lounges. The lounges have all of the features of United Clubs, plus: 

  • Premium design and furnishings
  • Multicourse meals and a-la-carte snack offerings
  • Comfortable relaxation areas and rest pods
  • Shower facilities
  • Special events, such as wine tastings and premium product samplings (at select locations)

United Club rules 

There are several rules that United Club and Polaris Lounge visitors must abide by: 

  • Your attire and conduct should be consistent with a professional environment.
  • Wear headphones when using personal devices such as MP3 players, video games and DVD players.
  • Solicitation is prohibited in all United Club locations.
  • Smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars (including electronic products) are prohibited.
  • United reserves the right to refuse to serve alcoholic beverages to any patron who appears to be intoxicated or is otherwise unruly.
  • Food may not be brought into United Club locations.
  • Food, beverages and periodicals cannot be removed from the lounge.
  • Airport luggage carts are not permitted inside United Club locations.
  • Sleeping is prohibited in all United Club locations.
  • Service animals and in-cabin pets are welcome in United Club locations, provided local ordinances permit them. Animals must be trained to behave properly in public settings and follow the direction of their owners. Animals must be clean and under the owner's control at all times.

Ways to be admitted into a United Club 

Here are all the different ways to access a United Club: 

  • Purchase an annual United Club membership – You can purchase an annual membership for yourself or for you and a spouse for a $50 initiation fee, plus an annual membership fee that varies based on your elite status with United (from $450 to $550 for individual memberships and from $1,000 to $1,100 for memberships that include a spouse). You can also purchase a membership with United MileagePlus miles. The initiation fee can be covered for 7,000 miles, and the annual prices range from 60,000 to 70,000 miles per year for an individual membership, and from 130,000 to 140,000 miles per year for a membership with a spouse.
  • Have a United Club day pass  This is available for purchase at select locations for $59. Also, if you have the United Explorer credit card from Chase, you will receive two free day passes each year. Access doesn’t include a guest.
  • Have a United MileagePlus Club – United MileagePlus Club Card users receive a complimentary United Club Membership that’s valid for the cardholder and two adult guests, or the cardholder, one adult guest and dependent children under 21 years of age. You must also have a valid boarding pass for same-day travel 
  • Have a ticket for a qualifying business or first-class flight on United  When you’re flying in a premium cabin on an international flight operated by United or one of its Star Alliance partners, you will have access to the United Club. If you are flying international first-class on United or a Star Alliance partner carrier, you can bring in one guest. However, there is no additional guest access if you are flying in business class. 
  • Have elite status on an international ticket MileagePlus members with Gold status and above are entitled to free United Club access for themselves and one guest when they are flying to an international destination on a same-day ticket. 
  • Hold Star Alliance Gold level status  If you hold elite status in the frequent flyer program of another Star Alliance airline, you may have access to the United Club any time you’re flying a Star Alliance carrier, such as United. Different airlines have different levels of elite status, and the level you have must be designated as Star Alliance Gold. Access includes one guest. 
  • Be a member of the military  Active duty U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform on a same-day flight operated by United Airlines have access to the United Club when they present their military ID and leave order or rest and recuperation papers. Guest access includes family members with gate passes or traveling on the same flight as the military member. 
  • Have Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus or Select Executive status  Elite Amtrak members can access the United Club with a valid Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus or Select Executive member card and boarding pass for same-day travel. Guest access includes one adult and dependent children under 21 years of age.
  • Have an Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership You must hold a valid Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership card and a boarding pass for a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline and departing from the same airport. Maple Leaf Club North America members can access United Club locations in the U.S. only. Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members can access all United Club locations. There are no guests allowed for Air Canada Maple Leaf Club North America members, and one guests is allowed for Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members.

Ways to get into United Airlines Polaris Lounge 

The entrance requirements for the more exclusive Polaris Lounges are similar to that of United Clubs; however, a United Club membership or a day pass by itself doesn’t grant you access to these lounges. This is true of both paid memberships and memberships offered by the United MileagePlus Club credit card. Also, members of the military, the Amtrak Guest Rewards program and the Air Canada Maple Leaf Club aren’t granted admission to Polaris Lounges. 

Here are the different ways you can access a Polaris Lounge: 

  • Have a qualifying Polaris international first- or business-class ticket on United United Polaris service is available on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights and on flights from the U.S. to the southernmost South American destinations, including Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The premium service on all other international routes is considered United Business and includes just the use of the United Club, not the Polaris Lounge. This includes destinations in Guam, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Lima. United Polaris First customers can bring one guest. Passengers traveling in Polaris Business class have no guest access. 
  • Have a qualifying long-haul international first- or business-class ticket on a Star Alliance partner  International first-class customers traveling on a Star Alliance flight are entitled to access for themselves and one guest. Those traveling in business class have no guest access.

United Arrivals lounges 

United also operates an arrivals lounge at San Francisco International (SFO) and offers access to a shared arrivals lounge at London-Heathrow (LHR). Access is only available to United Polaris first-class and United Polaris business-class customers arriving by noon on a same-day ticket. The arrivals facility at London Heathrow is a shared space and provides access to certain customers traveling on a same-day ticket and arriving before noon. Guests are not permitted at either location.

United Club locations 

There are currently 48 clubs in the United States, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. United Airlines hubs have multiple locations, including Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington-Dulles (IAH).

City

Airport

Lounges

Atlanta, GA

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

United Club, North Terminal, Concourse T

Austin, TX

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

United Club, West Concourse, mezzanine level, across from Gate 22

Boston, MA

Logan International Airport, Boston (BOS)

United Club, Terminal B, Gate B4

Chicago, IL

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B18

Chicago, IL

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B6

Chicago, IL

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Terminal 1, Concourse C, near Gate C16.

Chicago, IL

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Terminal 2, Concourse F, across from Gate F8

Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)

Between Gates C14 and C16

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

Terminal E, between Gates E6 and E7

Denver, CO

Denver International Airport (DEN)

West - Near Gate B32

Denver, CO

Denver International Airport (DEN)

East - Near Gate B44

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Temporary Location – Terminal 1, between Gates C1 and C3

Guam, GU, US

Guam Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM)

Concourse level, between Gates 10 and 11

Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

West Concourse-Airside, Level 7, Room 7W504 (Take escalator located just before gate 61)

Honolulu, HI

Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

Diamond Head Concourse, third level, above Gates G2 and G3

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E12

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Terminal C, South Concourse, toward Gate C33

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Terminal B, South Mezzanine, above the United Express ticket counter

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Terminal A, across from Gate A9

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Terminal C, near Gate C1

Las Vegas, NV

McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Concourse D Location: between Gates 33 and 35. Use elevator to access third floor.

London, Great Britain

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Terminal 2 opposite Gate B46

London, Great Britain

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Arrivals lounge, Terminal 2

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Terminal 7, adjacent to gate 71A

Mexico City, MX

Mexico City Benito Juarez Airport (MEX)

Airside, Mezzanine Level, Terminal 1 near Gate H

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)

Concourse E, between Gates E6 and E8

New York, NY, US

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Concourse C, outside corridor behind Ticket Counter

New York/Newark, NJ

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Terminal C, upper level near Gate 74

New York/Newark, NJ

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Terminal A, Concourse A2

New York/Newark, NJ

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Pop-up location - Terminal C, near Gate C93

New York/Newark, NJ

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Pop-up location - Terminal C, near Gate C124

Orange County, CA

John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA)

Next to elevator across from Gate 9

Orlando, FL

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Concourse B, near Gate 43

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Second level, between Concourses C and D

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport (PHX)

Terminal 2, Past Gate 7

Portland, OR

Portland International Airport (PDX)

Concourse E, across from Gate E1

San Antonio, TX

San Antonio International Airport (SAT)

Terminal B

San Diego, CA

San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Terminal 2 West, Mezzanine Level above Sunset Cove between Gates 47 and 48

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

International terminal between gates G98 and G100

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Terminal 3, Concourse F, Rotunda

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Terminal 3, Boarding Area E near Gate 70

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Terminal 3, Mezzanine Level across from Gate 71A

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Arrivals lounge - Terminal 3, baggage level

Seattle, WA

Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Concourse A, across from Gate 10

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)

Airside, Satellite 3

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Terminal B, opposite Gate 11

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Midfield Terminal, near Gate C4

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C7

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Midfield Terminal, Concourse D, near Gate D8

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C17

United Polaris Lounge locations 

United currently operates four Polaris lounges based in the Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco airports, with additional locations coming soon.

City

Airport

Lounge

Chicago

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Terminal 1, C concourse, near Gate C18

Houston, TX

George Bush Intercontinental Airport(IAH)

Terminal E, between the United Club location and Gate E12

New York/Newark, NJ

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Following security screening, between Gates C102 and C120

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Near Gate G93

Coming Soon

 

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

To be announced

London, Great Britain

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

To be announced

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)

To be announced

Washington, DC

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

To be announced

Is a United Club membership worth it? 

If you are a frequent United Airlines customers, purchasing a United Club membership can relieve many of the inconveniences of spending so much time at the airport. Having access to these lounges can save you money on beverages and snacks, while also giving you a space to be productive during your travels. 

You should consider if you will be using the lounge often enough to justify its costs, though, based on the day pass price of $59. Also, before you purchase a membership, you might want to consider if it will be more cost effective to apply for the United MileagePlus Club card. Although the card has a $450 annual fee, the fee is less than the price of a separate membership for most travelers. 

By understanding all of the costs and benefits of a United Club membership, you can decide if the purchase is right for your needs.

See Related: How much are United miles worth?, Best United Airlines credit cards, 12 ways to earn United miles, Best ways to redeem United miles, United Airlines partners, United Airlines elite status benefits, How to book a United flight with miles


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Updated: 11-16-2018