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How Can You Access a United Airlines Club or United Polaris Lounge in 2024

How Can You Access a United Airlines Club or United Polaris Lounge in 2024

a room with a fireplace and couches

In this article, we take a look at the main ways you can access United’s extensive network of airport lounges – including the classic United Club, United Polaris Lounges and the new grab-and-go United Club Fly.

Whether it be with frequent flyer status, a benefit packing credit card or an annual membership, find out all the details of how to access a United Lounge in 2024 below…

United has not one, nor two, but three types of lounge, which are:

  • United Club
  • United Polaris Lounge
  • United Club Fly

United Club is the most prominent type of lounge, and it’s also the lounge that one-time passes, annual membership, and select co-branded MileagePlus credit cards will get you access to.

Depending on the size of the club, the kind of facilities you should expect are either a full-service or self-service bar, light snacks and a buffet, various seating options and Wi-Fi.

United is undergoing a big overhaul of its United Club network and eight new locations have opened over the last two years. Some of United’s biggest hubs have more than one Club, with Houston boasting five locations and Washington Dulles accounting for four United Club locations.

The largest United Club is planned for Terminal B in Houston, with around 50% more seating than older Club locations that are still to be upgraded.

a woman standing in front of a display case
United’s first Grab & Go concept lounge at Denver Airport

At 35,000 square feet, the largest United Club currently in the network is in Terminal B at Denver, which also features the airline’s first-ever grab-and-go concept – called United Club Fly. Located near Gate B60 in Denver International Airport, the lounge offers a variety of drinks, hot beverages, fresh food and snacks to be taken with you.

Finally, United Polaris Lounges are the airline’s exclusive lounge offering which are designed for premium cabin passengers on some of United’s longest international flights. United Polaris Lounges feature additional amenities, including:

  • Shower facilities with Therabody products
  • Semi-private rest areas
  • A full buffet selection and sit-down private dining spaces.

Here’s the full list of every type of United lounge throughout the carrier’s network:

United ClubLocationHours of operation
Atlanta (ATL)North Terminal, Concourse T, between Gates 11 and 124:45 a.m. – 7:45 p.m. daily
Austin (AUS)West Concourse, Mezzanine Level, across from Gate 22
4:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m daily
Boston (BOS)Terminal B, Level 3, near Gate 244:30 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. daily
Chicago (ORD)Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B185:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B65:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
Terminal 1, Concourse C, near Gate C105:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
Terminal 2, Concourse F, across from Gate F95:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
Cleveland (CLE)Main Terminal, Concourse C, between Gates C14 and C16
M, W, F, Sun: 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.,
Tues, Thurs, Sat: 5:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)Terminal E, between Gates E6 and E74:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m. daily
Denver (DEN)Concourse A West, near Gate A255:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily
Concourse B West, near Gate B32Temporarily closed
Concourse B East, near Gate B44Hours: 5:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily
Fort Lauderdale (FLL)Terminal 1, next to the escalators near Gate C15:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily
Guam (GUM)Concourse level East, between Gates 10 and 124:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. daily
Hong Kong (HKG)West Concourse, Airside, Level Temporarily closed 7, Room 7W504 (Take the escalator located just before Gate 61)Temporarily closed
Honolulu (HNL)Diamond Head Concourse, Level 3, above Gates G2 and G36:00am-11:00pm daily
Houston (IAH)Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E125:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. daily
Terminal C, South Concourse, toward Gate C335:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. daily
Terminal B, South Mezzanine, above the United Express ticket counter5:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. daily
Terminal A, North Concourse, across from Gate A97:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Terminal C, near Gate C15:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. daily
Las Vegas (LAS)Terminal 3, Concourse D, between Gates 33 and 354:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. daily
Los Angeles (LAX)Terminal 7, next to Gate 71A
4:30 a.m. – 12:15 a.m. daily
London Heathrow (LHR)Terminal 2, across from Gate B46
5:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Mexico City (MEX)Terminal 1, after duty-free, 2nd level, Hall H4:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily
Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)Concourse E, between Gates E6 and E85:00 a.m. – 07:15 p.m. daily
New Orleans (MSY)Concourse C, near Gate C74:00 a.m. – 7:15 p.m. daily
Newark (EWR)Mezzanine level, near gate C1235:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily
Terminal C, Upper Level, near Gate C745:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily
Terminal A, Upper level, near Gate A275:00 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. daily
La Guardia (LGA)Terminal B, Level 3, near the entrance of Gates 40-59Sunday to Friday: 5:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m
Orange County (SNA)Main Terminal, across from Gate 95:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. daily
Orlando (MCO)Concourse B, near Gate 435:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily
Portland (PDX)Concourse E, across from Gate E-34:30am to 7:30pm
Philadelphia (PHL)Level 2, between Concourses C and D5:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily
Phoenix (PHX)Terminal 3, close to Gate E35:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. daily
Raleigh/Durham (RDU)Terminal 2, across from Gates D1 and D35:00 a.m. – 07:30 p.m. daily
San Antonio (SAT)Terminal B, between Gates B3 and B54:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m. Sun-Frid and
4:30 a.m. -5:15 p.m. on Sat
San Diego (SAN)Terminal 2 West, Mezzanine Level above Sunset Cove, between Gates 47 and 485:15 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
San Francisco (SFO)International Terminal, Boarding Area G, between Gates G6 and G97:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. daily
Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, Rotunda, near Gate F115:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. daily
Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, near Gate E45:45 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily
Seattle (SEA)Concourse A, across from Gate A10 on the mezzanine level4:15 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Tokyo Narita (NRT)Airside, Satellite 38:45am – 8:45pm
Washington DC (DCA)Terminal B, opposite Gate 115:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. daily
Washington Dulles (IAD)Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C42:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily
Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C75:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Midfield Terminal, Concourse D, near Gate D85:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C175:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Polaris LoungeLocationHours of operation
Chicago O’HareConcourse C, near Gate C186:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
HoustonTerminal E, between the United Club location and Gate E125:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Los AngelesTerminal 7, between Gates 73 and 75A6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily
NewarkTerminal C, following security screening between Gates C102 and C1205:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily
San FranciscoInternational Terminal, across from the security checkpoint for Boarding Area G7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. daily
Washington DullesMidfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C175:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
United Club FlyLocationHours of operation
DenverConcourse B East, near Gate B607:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily

For the occasional traveler who doesn’t want or need a credit card which grants access to an airport lounge and doesn’t travel enough to warrant splashing out on an annual lounge membership, then a one-time pass could be the best option to access a United Club.

After all, spending time hanging out at the gate isn’t fun, and the outrageous pricing at many airport concessions means you could end up saving money just in food and drink costs.

Unlike Delta which scrapped single-visit passes to relieve its chronic lounge overcrowding issues, United does still offer the option for a one-time pass.

AccessCostNumber of travelers
Single United Club$59One

A United Club one-time pass costs $59 per person and grants access to a single United Club. Therefore, if there are a few people in your travel party costs could quickly mount up. Also, be aware that if you’ve got a connection, the one-time pass won’t grant you access to more than one United Club location.

You can quickly purchase a one-time pass in the United mobile app, but access is still subject to space availability. Once purchased, you have up to a year to use the pass.

Remember, you actually need to be flying with United or another Star Alliance airline on the same day to access a United Club with a one-time pass.

For the more frequent traveler who regularly flies with United, an annual United Club membership could be a cost-effective way to access an airport lounge.

MileagePlus membership levelCostNumber of travelers
General Member – Premier Gold$650 or 85,000 milesOne adult and dependent children under 21 or up to two guests
Premier Platinum$600 or 80,000 miles
Premier 1K$550 or 75,000 miles

An annual membership costs $650 or 85,000 miles for general members of the MileagePlus program, as well as Premier Silver and Premier Gold members. The very rough way of working this out is if you’re going to want to access a United Club more than 11 times per year, then an annual membership is going to start making a lot of sense.

There is a tiered discount for elite Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members.

  • Premier Platinum members get a $50 or 5,000-mile discount
  • and Premier 1K members get a $100 or 10,000-mile discount

Members and their guests will need a same-day boarding pass to access a United Club with the annual membership, but there’s no limit to how many clubs you can access in a day, and the United Club membership terms and conditions don’t stipulate a time limit on how long you can remain in a United Club.

United Airlines doesn’t even automatically bestow lounge access to some of its most loyal frequent flyers, but elite members can receive a discount on annual United Club membership.

United MileagePlus has four published tiers of elite status:

  • Premier Silver
  • Premier Gold
  • Premier Platinum
  • Premier 1K

An annual discount for United Club membership, however, is only afforded to Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members.

Premier StatusDiscountAnnual membership cost
Premier Platinum$50$600
Premier 1K$100$550

To achieve Premier Platinum status, you’ll need to complete at least 36 ‘Premier Qualifying Flights’ and earn a minimum of 12,000 ‘Premier Qualifying Points’ within a year or complete four flights on United / United Express metal and earn 15,000 PQP.

Premier 1K status requires at least 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP or four flights on United / United Express metal and at least 24,000 PQP.

In other words, for the average traveler, earning Premier Platinum or Premier 1K status for what is only a modest discount isn’t probably the most realistic way to achieve United Club membership.

For an annual fee of $595, the United Club Infinite Card comes with United Club annual membership – yes, that’s right, a credit card which comes with additional benefits built-in also includes United Club membership for a smaller annual fee than a United Club membership.

In addition to United Club membership, the card also offers:

  • Two free checked bags per trip
  • 4x miles on United purchases
  • 2x miles on dining and other travel purchases
  • Premier Access travel services
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS
  • Up to 25% back on inflight food and drink purchases

You’ll also earn 8,000 Premier qualifying points on every $12,000 spent on the card, and you save 10% on United Economy Saver Awards.

This is the only personal co-branded United credit card which also offers United Club access, although small business owners also have the option of the United Club Business Card which has an even smaller annual fee of just $450.

Of course, like other U.S. airlines, United doesn’t routinely offer lounge access for passengers traveling in a premium cabin on a domestic flight but there is one important exception. When travelling in United Business on a transcontinental flight (i.e., in Business Class on a widebody aircraft), then, you get access to a United Club at both the departure and arrival airport.

Otherwise, access to the Club Club is restricted to premium cabin passengers traveling on international flights only:

  • United First on flights to and from Canada
  • United Polaris business class for any long-haul international flight
  • United Business for international flights (and transcontinental flights)

Passengers are granted access to the United Club at both the departure and arrival airport, as well as any connecting airport.

As a member airline of the Star Alliance, United also extends lounge access benefits to premium cabin passengers traveling with other Star Alliance carriers:

  • First Class on an international flight
  • Business Class on an international flight

Passengers traveling with a Star Alliance partner airline are only granted access at the departure airport.

Finally, United Premium Plus passengers don’t get complimentary access to the United Club, but you can buy a discounted United Club trip pass before the trip or a normal one-time pass on the day of the flight.

CabinRouteAccess permitted
United Polaris Business ClassLong-haul international flightDeparture, connecting and arrival airports
United Business Class International or transcontinental flight.Departure, connecting and arrival airports
United FirstFlights to and from CanadaDeparture, connecting and arrival airport
First Class on Star Alliance partner airlineAny international flightDeparture airport only
Business Class on Star Alliance partner airlineAny international flightDeparture airport only

Frequent flyers with other Star Alliance airlines who have acquired the equivalent of Star Alliance Gold Status are also permitted to enter a United Club when traveling on an international flight, regardless of cabin.

Examples of the equivalent of Star Alliance Gold Status include:

  • Air Canada – Aeroplan 50K and above
  • Lufthansa – Senator status and above
  • Turkish Airlines – Elite status and above
  • Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer Elite Gold and above

Star Alliance Gold Status passengers are permitted to guest one person into the lounge with them, so long as they are on the same flight.

As United’s most exclusive network of lounges, access to United’s Polaris Lounge is strictly controlled, and there’s no credit card or membership which will get you in.

That being said, you don’t just have to be traveling in United Polaris Business Class to get through the door.

Access is reserved for the following passengers:

Cabin classLounges permitted intoGuests allowed
United Polaris business classDeparture, connecting and arrival airportsNo guests permitted
First class on a Star Alliance airlineDeparture airport onlyOne guest
Business class on a Star Alliance airlineDeparture airport onlyNo guests permitted

United Polaris is sold as Business Class on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights, as well as international flights to Buenos Aires, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Santiago.

Finally, United allows access to its United Club network for Active-duty military members under the following three circumstances:

  • When dressed in uniform
  • Or in possession of leave papers
  • Or with rest and recuperation papers

Active military members don’t have to be in possession of a same-day boarding pass but instead a boarding pass for a United or United Express flight within 24 hours.

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