United Airlines Club Access Rules (Polaris, Star Alliance) [2020]

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Whether you’re getting ready to embark on a long-haul journey across the Pacific or just looking to pass a few hours by on a long layover, sometimes there’s nothing better than being able to escape the crowds and enjoy some nice lounge access prior to a flight.

Unfortunately, sometimes the rules and policies for lounge access can be quite confusing.

In this article, I will walk you through the United Club access policy for getting entry into the United Club airport lounges.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about your access privileges based on things like your ticket fare (including Polaris), elite and Star Alliance status, and credit card memberships and also discuss some of the rules.

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Table of Contents

What is the United Club access policy?

Getting access to United Club lounges is not always straightforward. Whether or not you will have access, will depend on the following factors:

  • Club membership and credit card membership
  • Class of service
  • Destination
  • Which airline you’re flying
  • Elite status

I’ll discuss each of these in detail below and provide you with some insight on when you can expect to receive United Club lounge access.

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United Club Lounge at Houston IAH.

United Club Membership and credit card membership

Three popular ways to get access to these lounges are the following:

United Club membership

With a United Club membership, you’ll get access for yourself and two adults or one adult and dependent children under 21 years of age. 

You can purchase a United Club membership on an annual basis for you or for you and a spouse. The price in cash or miles will depend on your level of elite status with United. Below are the prices that you can’t expect to pay.

MileagePlus statusAnnual membership
General member$650 or 85,000 miles
Premier Silver$650 or 85,000 miles
Premier Gold$650 or 85,000 miles
Premier Platinum$600 or 80,000 miles
Premier 1K$550 or 75,000 miles
  • A copy of the marriage certificate or an affidavit of marriage or spouse equivalency is required to obtain a membership card for a spouse or domestic partner with a different last name
  • Memberships are open to anyone 18 or older.

United Club access via credit cards

You can get access to United Clubs if you or a cardholder of the United Club Infinite Card.

This is a premium credit card that comes with a $525 annual fee which is pricey but it’s $125 cheaper than the United Club membership available to the public.

In addition to getting United Club Membership, this card also offers some other valuable perks like getting your first and second checked bags for free and United Premier Access benefits.

If you fly United a lot it’s not a bad card to go with although I still think the Amex Platinum is the better overall credit card for lounge access.

The United Explorer Card is the more popular United credit card option in my opinion. This card comes with a much lower annual fee of only $95 and it offers you two one time passes for United club access. It also provides you with some great perks like a free checked bag and priority boarding.

One-time pass

United Club one-time passes are available for purchase for $59 at club locations or through the United app. This pass will allow one person one-time access to any United Club location.

If you join within 30 days of your one-time pass purchase, United may waive the price of your initiation fee, a $50 value.

Effective November 1, 2019: United Club customers, including members and their guests, and one-time pass holders will need to provide a same-day boarding pass for travel on United, Star Alliance or a contracted partner for entry into all United Club locations.


Class of service/airlines

Your lounge access will often depend on the type of class that you are flying and on what kind of airline you’re flying.

Generally speaking, you will have broader lounge privileges when you are flying on United Airlines versus when you are flying on a Star Alliance partner.

United Polaris business class

Customers in United Polaris business class may access United Club locations at departure, connecting, and arrival airports along their eligible same-day routing.

No guests are allowed.

United business class

If you are just flying standard United business class, you get the same access at departure, connecting and arrival airports along their eligible same-day routing but you need to be traveling internationally.

So, for example, if you are flying from Houston to Chicago in United business class you will not get access to a United Club lounge on the basis of your class of service.

No guests are allowed.

Related: United Domestic First Class Review (What to Expect)

Premium transcontinental flights

The exception to this domestic rule is when flying on premium transcontinental flights. 

Customers on premium transcontinental flights may only access United Club locations at the origin and destination of their premium transcontinental flight.

Premium transcontinental flights are those between airports like San Francisco and New York or Los Angeles and New York.

United business class on the Dreamliner (787).

First class and business class on Star alliance partners

When you are flying first class or business class on a Star Alliance partner you will not get the same lounge privileges.

The biggest difference is that you will only get to lounge access from the airport that you are departing from on your long-haul flight.

So, for example, let’s say you were flying economy on United from Houston (IAH) to San Francisco (SFO) and then business class on EVA Air from SFO to Taipei (TPE). In that case you would only get lounge access at SFO based on your fare class.

However, if all of your flights were on United Airlines, then you would have gotten lounge access in Houston as well as San Francisco.

One major difference between business class and first class on Star Alliance partners is that first class passengers can bring along one guest and business class passengers are NOT allowed to bring along one guest.

Tip: You might also be interested in Priority Pass airport lounge access.

Business class on Singapore Airlines would get you United Club lounge access from the airport that you are departing from.

Star Alliance Gold status

Star Alliance Gold status is one of the best ways to get access to United Club Lounges.

If you have Star Alliance Gold status with an airline other than United and have a same-day boarding pass for travel on a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline, you can get access for you and a guest when departing from that same same airport.

(The guest must also be traveling on a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline and departing from the same airport.)

If you have Star Alliance Gold status with United and have a same-day boarding pass for travel on an international flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline, you can get access for you and a guest even when departing an airport different from that of the United Club location being entered.

So if you were flying United economy from New York (EWR) to Chicago (ORD) and then ANA economy to Tokyo (NRT), it’s my understanding that you’d still have access to United Clubs at EWR.


United Polaris lounge

United Polaris lounges are the new, nicer United lounges popping up at hubs around the country.

If you have a United Polaris business class ticket, then you may access a United Polaris lounge at departure, connecting and arrival airports along their eligible same-day routing.

No guests are allowed.

So, for example, if you were flying from Chicago to San Francisco and then on to Tokyo, and you were flying this in United Polaris, then you could access the United Polaris lounges at both ORD and SFO. 

However, if your long-haul flight is on a Star Alliance partner then the same rules come into effect where you can only access the United Polaris lounge from the airport where your long-haul flight is departing from. In the example above, you’d only get Polaris access at SFO.


United Club Rules

There are quite a few rules that United publishes for their lounges. Here are a few of the rules that I think you should be aware of.

Age limit

Guests must be at least 21 years of age to access a United Club location with a self-service bar, unless accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years of age.

Getting cut off

United reserves the right to refuse to serve alcoholic beverages to any patron who appears to be intoxicated or is otherwise unruly.

Outside food

United states that food may not be brought into United Club locations.

In practice, I’m not sure how strictly this rule is enforced. If you are setting up a full spread of fried chicken from a restaurant in the airport then that might be an issue but if you are just snacking on some items you purchased in an airport that’s probably not a big deal. 

There is also a rule that prohibits you from taking food, beverages, and the periodicals from the lounge. Taking a water bottle with you probably won’t be an issue but walking out with a handful of NatGeo magazines definitely won’t be a good look.

Sleeping

United states that sleeping is prohibited in all United Club locations. However if you have arrived at a lounge very early in the morning and there are very few other guests in the lounge you can probably get away with getting some shut eye.

It only becomes an issue in my experience when you have rearranged the furniture and you are taking up seats from other guests or if the staff at the lounge could mistake you for a dead body.

Dress code

There is no stated dress code in the rules. I would advise to try to keep it a little classy but don’t feel the need to dress up for a special occasion.

  • You can read about all of the rules here

Are pets allowed in the lounges?

Service animals are accepted into most United Club and United-operated lounge locations; all other pets must remain in a kennel while in the Club.


Where can I find United Club lounge locations?

Here is the full list of locations taken directly from the United Airlines website as of June 2020. You can go here to view an updated list of all of the United Club Lounges and see what types of amenities are offered at these lounges. 

Atlanta, GA, US (ATL)

United Club

Location

  • North Terminal, Concourse T, between Gates 11 and 12

Amenities

  • Light snacks
  • Self-service bar
  • Wi-Fi

Austin, TX, US (AUS)

United Club

Location

  • West Concourse, Mezzanine Level, across from Gate 22

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Boston, MA, US (BOS)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal B, Level 3, near Gate 24

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Chicago, IL, US (ORD)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B18

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B6

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club – Limited Amenities

Location

  • Terminal 1, Concourse C, near Gate C16

Amenities

  • Wine and beer
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 2, Concourse F, across from Gate F8

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Polaris Lounge – Eligible Customers are Welcome

Location

  • Concourse C, near Gate C18

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Cleveland, OH, US (CLE)

United Club

Location

  • Main Terminal, Concourse C, between Gates C14 and C16

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, US (DFW)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal E, between Gates E6 and E7

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Denver, Co, US (DEN)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse B West, near Gate B32

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Concourse B East, near Gate B44

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Fort Lauderdale, FL, US (FLL)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 1, next to the escalators near Gate C1

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Guam, GU, US (GUM)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse level East, between Gates 10 and 12

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Hong Kong (HKG)

United Club

Location

  • West Concourse, Airside, Level Temporarily closed 7, Room 7W504 (Take the escalator located just before Gate 61)

Amenities

  • Light snacks
  • Self-service bar
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Honolulu, HI, US (HNL)

United Club

Location

  • Diamond Head Concourse, Level 3, above Gates G2 and G3

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Houston, TX, US (IAH)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E12

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal C, South Concourse, toward Gate C33

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

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

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal A, North Concourse, across from Gate A9

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal C, near Gate C1

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Polaris Lounge – Eligible Customers are Welcome

Location

  • Terminal E, between the United Club location and Gate E12

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Las Vegas, NV, US (LAS)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 3, Concourse D, between Gates 33 and 35 *Use the elevator to access the third floor

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

London, GB (LHR)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 2, across from Gate B46

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Los Angeles, CA, US (LAX)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 7, next to Gate 71A

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Polaris Lounge – Eligible Customers are Welcome

Location

  • Terminal 7, between Gates 73 and 75A

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Mexico City, MX (MEX)

United Club

Location

  • Airside, Mezzanine Level, Terminal 1 near Gate H

Amenities

  • Light snacks
  • Self-service bar
  • Wi-Fi

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, US (MSP)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse E, between Gates E6 and E8

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

New Orleans, LA, US (MSY)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse C, near Gate C7

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

New York, NY, US (LGA)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal B, Level 3, near the entrance of Gates 40-59

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

New York/Newark, NY, US (EWR)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal C, Upper Level, near Gate C74

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal A, Concourse A2

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Pop-up United Club Location

Location

  • Terminal C, near Gate C93

Amenities

  • N/A

United Polaris Lounge – Eligible Customers are Welcome

Location

  • Terminal C, following security screening between Gates C102 and C120

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Orange County, CA, US (SNA)

United Club

Location

  • Main Terminal, across from Gate 9

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Orlando, Fl, US (MCO)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse B, near Gate 43

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Philadelphia, PA, US (PHL)

United Club

Location

  • Level 2, between Concourses C and D

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Phoenix, AZ, US (PHX)

United Club

Location

  • Coming soon to Terminal 3

Amenities

  • N/A

Portland, OR, US (PDX)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse E, across from Gate E1 (elevator out of service)

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Raleigh/Durham, NC, US (RDU)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 2, across from Gates D1 and D3

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

San Antonio, TX, US (SAT)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal B, between Gates B3 and B5

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

San Diego, CA, US (SAN)

United Club

Location

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

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

San Francisco, CA, US (SFO)

United Club

Location

  • International Terminal, Boarding Area G, between Gates G6 and G9

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, Rotunda, near Gate F11

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, near Gate E4

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Terminal 3, Mezzanine Level, across from Gate E2

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Polaris Lounge – Eligible Customers are Welcome

Location

  • International Terminal, across from the security checkpoint for Boarding Area G

Amenities

  • Extensive buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Seattle, WA, US (SEA)

United Club

Location

  • Concourse A, across from Gate A10 on the mezzanine level

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Tokyo, JP (NRT)

United Club

Location

  • Airside, Satellite 3

Amenities

  • Light snacks
  • Self-service bar
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Washington, DC, US (DCA)

United Club

Location

  • Terminal B, opposite Gate 11

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

Washington, DC, US (IAD)

United Club

Location

  • Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C4

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C7

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Midfield Terminal, Concourse D, near Gate D8

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi

United Club

Location

  • Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C17

Amenities

  • Full-service bar
  • Light snacks
  • Wi-Fi


Final word

United Club lounges hard nice places to relax and unwind before a flight or while waiting for a connecting flight. The access rules do get a little bit confusing when talking about partners and the different types of guest policies, but generally you can expect to get more lounge access when you are flying on United’s own metal.

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5 comments

  1. Whoever came up with the United Club membership prices needs to take some remedial math. For starters, charging double the member price for a member plus spouse is an active disincentive. It’s just as simple to have two individual memberships if the couple really wants that. Then there’s the more than double the price for top elites. So United thinks that thanking the very best customers for extreme loyalty by charging them more for the same thing than normal customers pay is a good idea? Wow.

  2. Question: If I fly economy from EWR to LAX and then connect to Polaris Class from LAX to SYD, can I use the EWR Polaris Lounge before getting on my Economy flight? Or am I only entitled to use the LAX Polaris Lounge during my layover?

  3. I Polaris flight from Amsterdam To SFO final destination. Can I access the Polaris lounge on arrival to SFO my final destination?

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