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United Premier Access: Premium services for frequent flyers

United enthusiasts can enjoy luxe perks with this program, but it might not be worth it for everyone

Summary

When you are assessing the value of the United Premier Access travel benefits package, it really depends on how much value you will get out of the perks and how much you have to spend in order to get it.

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If you want to fly anywhere in the world, chances are high that United Airlines can get you there.

United, along with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, is known as the one of the “big three” commercial carriers in the U.S. and beyond. Thanks to its robust partnerships with airlines within the Star Alliance network, United Airlines and its global partners can get you to thousands of destinations.

If you often find yourself flying with United, you might find the airline’s Premier Access travel services of interest. The program offers a package of benefits that can make your next trip a bit more luxury – though it comes at a cost.

What are the benefits of United Premier Access?

United’s Premier Access package of benefits is perfect for customers who want to experience premium service while traveling. Perks of Premier Access include the following:

  • Access to designated airport check-in lanes
  • Access to exclusive security lanes
  • Priority boarding privileges
  • Priority baggage handling

Here’s what each of those perks offers, and where you can take full advantage of them.

Access to designated airport check-in lanes

If you’re in a hurry to get through the airport, Premier Access will make a big difference for you. Instead of waiting in line to check your bags with everyone else, you can step into a dedicated check-in lane instead.

Exclusive security lanes

The expedited service doesn’t end with the check-in lane. Skip the long line for security and whiz through the exclusive lanes designated for United Premier Access travelers.

Premier Access priority check-in and boarding privileges are available at all airports where United flies. However, priority security lines are only offered at select airports. You can view a list of participating locations on the United site.

Priority boarding privileges

The last preflight benefit of Premier Access comes at boarding time. With this travel package, you’ll be able to board the plane in one of the earliest boarding groups and claim your overhead bin space before anyone else takes it.

Priority baggage handling

Your final benefit will come after you deplane. At check-in, a gate agent will label your bags with a special tag for priority baggage handling. You can expect your checked luggage to be among the first bags off the plane at the baggage carousel.

How to qualify for complimentary United Premier Access

Complimentary United Premier Access is available to the following customers:

  • Members of the airline’s MileagePlus Premier loyalty program who hold Silver status or above
  • Customers traveling in premium cabins including United Polaris business class, United First and United Business
  • Star Alliance Gold members
  • MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus credit card holders

If you do not fall under any of the categories above, you still have the option to purchase Premier Access for an upcoming flight. For customers who purchase Premier Access, the perks include priority check-in, security lane access where available as well as priority boarding privileges; however, it will not include priority baggage handling.

As a bonus, any customer who is eligible for Premier Access benefits will automatically share the same privileges with any companions who are traveling on the same reservation, up to a maximum of eight additional travelers. This is perfect for families and groups who are traveling together.

If the benefits listed above sound appealing to you, but you do not want to pay for them, here are a number of ways you can earn complimentary Premier Access:

United MileagePlus Premier elite status

One of the easiest ways to get United Premier Access benefits is by joining the airline’s loyalty program. United Airlines offers a free membership tracking program called MileagePlus Premier, which allows travelers to earn rewards on every United flight.

Anyone can sign up for the free program, which tracks how often you purchase flights or earn qualifying miles toward future free award flights through the airline. The United MileagePlus Premier program offers four public tiers of elite status:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • United 1K

Reaching any one of these levels of elite status will grant you complimentary Premier Access benefits. Check out our guide to United elite status benefits for more information on how to reach each tier of membership.

United MileagePlus credit card holder

You can also get United Premier Access travel benefits by signing up for a United Airlines MileagePlus credit card. The airline partners with Chase to offer three credit cards for personal use:

CardAnnual fee
United TravelBank Card$0
United Explorer Card $95 (waived first year)
United Club Infinite Card$525

Of these three, only the new United Club Infinite credit card comes with complimentary Premier Access travel benefits. In fact, this card also includes United Club membership, which grants access to the many United Club locations around the world, as well as access to the global Star Alliance lounge network as a whole.

See related: Which United Airlines credit card should you choose?

Is United Premier Access worth it?

When you are assessing the value of the United Premier Access travel benefits package, it really depends on how much value you will get out of the perks and how much you have to spend in order to get it.

For instance, if you sign up for the United Club Infinite credit card but don’t fly with United all that often, you won’t get much value out of the program because the United Premier Access benefits only apply to United flights. In that situation, you would do better to consider a generic travel credit card instead, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Similarly, you won’t find a lot of value in Premier Access if you already have expedited security privileges such as TSA Precheck, CLEAR or Global Entry. Many times, the security lines for expedited screening move much faster than the lines for designated check-in.

See related: How to use your card’s Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit

And if you prefer to check in online or via the United Airlines app – and travel light enough to skip checking a bag – you won’t benefit from designated check-in lines or priority baggage handling services.

Finally, purchasing the Premier Access package is redundant if you already have status with United Airlines, because all of the benefits are included with elite status.

So, if you are a United Club Infinite card holder, a United elite traveler or already have expedited security, hang on to your money. The United Premier Access package won’t be of much value to you.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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