5 Reasons to Purchase a United Club One-Time Pass

United Airlines offers one-time passes to its United Club for $50, available online or at the club check-in counter ($45 if purchased on the United mobile app). Is it worth it?


With clubs in 38 airports around the world (and multiple clubs in several hub airports) there is a good chance you will come across one of these lounges in your travel with United. If you have more than a couple hours on your hands, even the United lounges become a very attractive alternative to sitting in the gate area or at an overpriced concourse eatery.

I personally like United Clubs and submit that it is shortsighted to dismiss them as lacking in value, as many seem to do. Here's where I place the highest value--

1. Help During Irr/Ops

When something goes wrong, I will generally pick up the phone first, but airport agents are often empowered to do more (like switch you to another airline if the situation warrants) and the single greatest thing about United Club access is the availability of agents to help with your same-day travel needs. It sure beats waiting in a line 100 people deep outside the club, which is not out of the ordinary at a hub when the weather is poor.

2. Internet + Power

Thankfully, more major airports are offering free wi-fi, but many still do not and since United abandoned T-Mobile I have found the internet in United Clubs to be consistently fast and reliable. That keeps me productive and power-ports allow me to re-charge after a long flight with no in-seat power.

3. Snacks + Drinks

I generally do not have to rush between flights, but I do try to squeeze in as much work between flight as possible considering most of work is internet-based and United still does not have wi-fi on the majority of its fleet. That means I do not want to take 20 minutes out of my 80 minute layover to wait in line for food. Instead, I set up shop in my favorite nook and cranny of each club (yes, I have my own "cubby" at SFO, LAX, DEN, IAH, EWR, and IAD) then grab some snacks to tide my hunger to the next flight.

United Clubs offer a pretty decent breakfast spread--bagels, pastries, cereal, yogurt, and whole fruit. When I have early morning flights--like I will tomorrow--it is nice to eat a little something while I am working.

Beer, wine, and certain lower-shelf liquor is also free, with better alcohol available for purchase. United trialed a food for purchase program in many of its lounges, but scrapped it.

4. Bathrooms + Showers

It is always nice to have a clean bathroom available without having to wait for a stall and that has always been the case for me in United Clubs. Plus, showers facilities are available at several clubs, allowing for a shower and shave before a meeting or after a redeye flight. 

>> Read More: Showers at Newark United Club

5. Quiet

You do get children in the club sometimes, but generally they are the well-behaved ones. I have always found United Clubs to be tranquil and a few of them (Chicago C, LAX 7, and SFO domestic) have quiet rooms.

*     *     *

Coming from Europe last week, I again marvelled at what a tremendous job Lufthansa does with its Senator and Business lounges and wished for something similar here in the States. But America is not Europe, the lounge concept is different, and if we evaluate the benefits of lounge access versus not having it, I simply cannot imagine forgoing lounges--it has become an ingrained part of my travel routine.

United Club one-time passes are up to $50--they were $39 for awhile if purchased online--but that is still a reasonable exchange if you have some time to actually use the lounge. You can save $5 by purchasing the pass on United's mobile application. 

Finally, keep in mind that you can apply the $50 one-time pass fee toward the purchase of an annual membership should you decide within 30 days of your visit that you wish to join the club.

The beauty of one-time passes is that you do not have to buy them advance. Say you run into an unexpectedly long layover or a flight cancellation. Use the United mobile app, united.com, or just step into a club to obtain a day pass and avoid a headache. Once you do it, you will never look back.

Here's another picture of the recently remodeled United Club in Chicago:



Phil M May 16, 2013 at 08:26 am

I believe the day passes are still $45 from the United mobile app.

Derek May 16, 2013 at 08:42 am

Anybody have any experience in buying them on ebay ?

AceK May 17, 2013 at 02:29 am

So not worth it. Only three UCs in the entire country have showers - IAH, ORD, and EWR. Many are run down and crowded. Internet is often hopessly slow (last time I was in SFO it was basically nonfunctional). Snacks are limited and generally unappealing (packaged cheese and crackers, etc.). I'll take access for free when I'm on ps or an international itinerary, but would never pay for it.

@AceK: I really disagree, though if your only concern is the showers then you are right. I'm surprised you mention internet at SFO. I was just there last week, fly through quite often, and have not had a problem with internet speeds since the lounge changed from T-Mobile to "UnitedClub" with no password.

For all the combined benefits, I maintain that day passes are worthwhile in many circumstances.

IflyfromABE May 17, 2013 at 06:02 pm

I regularly purchase the chase card one visit coupons on ebay at $12-15 a piece as irrops insurance. $50 I would not give :)

Fred May 23, 2013 at 04:05 pm

I have a quick question can someone else can use my two passes you get for using united explorer credit card from chase? can you give it to someone else??

@Fred: Yes, they are transferable and your name is not on them.

mabs June 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Do i have to be flying on an united flight? Or star alliance is fine? Becuz i got a few from a frd.

@mabs: No, you don't have to be flying on United or Star Alliance--they shouldn't even check your Boarding Pass if you just present the pass.

Val July 13, 2013 at 01:02 pm

Do I need a United Boarding pass to use the lounge? I have a one day pass, but am traveling on another airline.

@Val: No United boarding pass necessary.

Kara July 30, 2013 at 08:11 pm

My husband and I both have one-time passes but will be traveling with our 7 & 9 year old children. Will they need a pass as well?

@Kara--they will need passes as well. Some clients have told me that UA will refuse entrance when using the pass because of the so-called (and rarely enforced) age restriction. Just put your foot down if they give you a problem.

Harry August 4, 2013 at 12:05 am

Our family will be travelling via Europe, and we have a few free United club one-time passes owing to our credit cards. Can we use them at the Swiss business lounge at Zurich airport ? It does say that they accept United club paid members.

Hi Harry, the passes are not good at the Swiss lounge in Zurich. Though the club accepts paid United members, the one-time passes are valid only at physical United Club location. Outside the USA, that includes only Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

Anne Strauss August 23, 2013 at 07:43 pm

I booked thru United and they booked my return with US Air. Will a 1 day United pass work in the US Air Club in Charlotte? Thanks Anne

Hi Anne, Unfortuantely the club pass will not work in Charlotte--it may only be used in United Clubs--


Robert August 29, 2013 at 03:13 am

will the passes work at the Copa Club lounge in Panama City?


@Robert, Likely not, but it would not hurt to try to use them in Panama City.

Brittany Brown October 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Hi there, I have two one-time United Club passes that expire on Nov. 30th this year and I will not be able to use them. Send me an email if you are interested, and I will mail them to you for free. :)

Christine Longe October 24, 2013 at 01:53 pm

Brittany - I am interested in your passes if you still have them!! Please let me know :)

Joel Terhune December 1, 2013 at 04:10 pm

Can I buy two passes at two separate occasions? Or is it just a one time thing.

Joel Terhune December 1, 2013 at 04:18 pm

Can a 17 year old enter by himself? I have a 9 hour layover in SFO

@Joel: How old do you look? The rule is 18, but they don't card you if you just present your boarding pass and card (unless you look real young, I would imagine).

You can buy passes for separate occasions. I recommend you check out eBay for passes, especially if you have 9hrs to spare. They are going for as little as $10.

tzviki February 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

I am flying through MSP with southwest, the united club lounge is in a different terminal, can I use the one time pass to get in??

@tzviki: Yes, if the TSA will let you past.

Brad February 27, 2014 at 09:51 pm

@tzviki- You have to take the train to the Lindbergh terminal, then clear security to get to the United CLub, then reverse the process for your onward Southwest flight. Unless you have a really long layover, it is likely not worthwhile. As Matthew said, that is if TSA would let you through without a ticket for that terminal, only to visit the club.

Sam March 9, 2014 at 02:00 pm

Hi there. I just want to mention that you can use the UA Club Passes at the Copa Clubs located in Guatemala City, Panama City and Santo Domingo in Republica Dominicana since they are partnered with UA Clubs.

Kristen March 19, 2014 at 04:44 pm

@ Kara and Matthew we tried to use our 2 one time passes in Newark airport while traveling with our 8 yr old twins and they denied them access. Putting our foot down did nothing. In fact, I called United the night before and we were told the children could accompany us, and then were flat out denied at Newark airport. I don't know why they would issue passes to parents and not allow them to bring children. To us, the one time passes are useless.

Betty March 30, 2014 at 12:43 am

What is the documents I need to show al checking in the airport with a united club pass that I got from ebay

richard March 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

what is the age restriction? I am flying with 4 kids and my wife. are they allowed in the lounge?

Joseph April 7, 2014 at 05:57 pm

How firm are they on the expiration date? They are bar coded on the back, so I assume the date is non negotiable, but I wonder, if someone shows up with passes that just expired a few days before, would the United Club let them in?

With some companies, I'd assume some goodwill, but at United everyone seems to be just a cog in the wheel these days.

Milburn Drysdale April 10, 2014 at 04:32 pm

Some of the questions here are unreal. 'Can I use it at the US Air Club?' And people, did you ever think to keep the whole 'buying them from other sources' thing on the QT? To keep the prices down? Shaking my head

Jared April 22, 2014 at 07:15 pm

Can I use my one day pass at the star alliance lounge at LAX the international terminal does not have a United Club Lounge. I will be flying on Thai Airways. On the star alliance lounge site it says that paid club memberships such as United's are eligible.


@Jared: the pass is not available for use at the LAX Star Alliance lounge. However, as you note a paid UC membership would allow access.

AGA May 28, 2014 at 09:59 pm

Can I use my United Pass in star alliance lounge like Asiana in Incheon, South Korea?

@AGA: No, only United and COPA lounges.

John June 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

Hi, What are the food and beverages that are available for free in the EWR United club if I enter using a one time pass? What are other benefits apart from shower, power/internet and help with change in reservations that are mentioned above in the thread?

@John: In the mornings there are bagels, cold cereal, yogurt, and donuts. From late morning onwards there are crackers and cheese, celery and carrots, cookies, and snack mix. There is also a full-service bar.

Rob June 23, 2014 at 07:37 pm

Matthew, quick question - do you know if there are in and out privileges at the EWR United Club location? We have a 10hr layover and while snacks might cut it for a bit, we'll be needing some real nosh by midday.

Thanks mate!

Courtney June 25, 2014 at 02:04 pm

I also have a one time pass courtesy of my United Credit Card. It appears that they have a United Lounge at Heathrow Airport in London. Will my one time pass work there?

@Rob: There are in/out privs and you just have to let the lounge matrons know on your way out that you will be back. It should be in the system as well if they scan your BP, but I don't have a lot of confidence in SHARES.

@Courtney: Yes indeed, and that is a great use of the lounge pass as the London Heathrow United Club is UA's best in the world.

TGR July 25, 2014 at 04:14 pm

We are traveling United from Newark next week, 4 adults and 4 kids. Kids ages are 15, 10, 6 and 2. I have 6 of one time passes from our business partners. Do you think they will get us in?

@TGR: Unfortunately, no. I think you'll get six in only. But it never hurts to try.

Note, it is not worth paying the rate at the door. Check eBay for two more as a back-up.

Jean August 24, 2014 at 03:53 am

Flying into Osaka on Asiana Airline -- can we used our Chase One-time United Club pass in the Osaka, Japan (KIX) Asuka Lounge in partnership with United?

@Jean: Unfortunately, the pass will not be valid in Osaka. Only at United Airlines' own "United Clubs" or at COPA Clubs in Central America.

Sandi Yukman August 25, 2014 at 05:57 pm

Can we use our United Club one-time pass at the Star Alliance Club in the Lima airport? Also, if so, is it open 24 hours?

@Sandi: While the lounge is 24-hours in Lima, the United Club one-time-pass is not accepted.

Lan October 7, 2014 at 08:36 am

Hi, if I have a connection in Chicago from Boston to Shanghai, do I have to use two passes just for one way trip? Thanks.

Elaine McDonald October 27, 2014 at 04:40 pm

Leaving Ft. Lauderdale in April 2015 on JetBlue - can I buy and use a one day pass from United?

Mary Hof November 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Flying TAP 11/7 out of Terminal B EWR; booked using UA miles (CODESHARE is TAP flying TAP metal) 1) where can I use United Club passes at Terminal B in EWR?

As there are no United Clubs in Terminal B, you are unable to use your United Club pass before the flight unless you first go to Terminal A or C, which is not worthwhile unless you have several hours because then you must clear security twice.

Spats & Fanny Goossens November 9, 2014 at 08:28 am

Do we understand it right: You pay $50 for This United Club One Time Pass for some snacks and beverages (& showers) and you can only Use it ONE TIME ? Meaning, we fly few times a year, there's these passes on ebay that are good til june 2016... But once you used it it will not work anymore ? Are they keeping it when you enter ? Or do they Scan it ? Sorry for being so ignorant...

Yes, you only use it once and it is collected when you enter the club.

patty December 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

I don't fly United but bought my daughter a first class ticket and she could not go into the lounge before her flight. Unfortunate that even top paying flyers can't enter the lounge for a cup of coffee! I'll put my money at Delta or any other airline the next time. Sad but reading about the lounge it sounds generic...Any Priority Pass Lounge will be fine.

beth sharkazy January 2, 2015 at 07:12 pm

does anyone have any united club passes they would like to either donate or sell to me? I want to take my nieces (21 and 23 years of age) on a trip and thought it would be super special to have these passes on hand in case we have an unexpected layover or long wait at the airport. I would be so grateful.

Dave January 3, 2015 at 03:57 pm

Is the one day pass good for 24 hrs or just one time use. I have 2 united club opportunities available in the same day during my trip.

Sasha January 14, 2015 at 05:39 pm

When purchasing a one time pass does that give you access for connecting flights? Or is it really just a pass to use for one leg of your flight? I.e. Ottawa to Chicago, then Chicago to LAX,LAX to Hawaii... want to know if we can use the pass for the whole leg of the trip. Thanks!

Hi Sasha, it is valid only for one leg, so in your case you could use it in ORD or LAX or HNL, but not more than one per pass. Depends on how long your layover is--I consider the Chicago and LA lounges to be equally (mediocre) so I would use it at the point in which you have the longest layover. If you layover is less than 90 minutes in both places, I would not bother to use it unless you can cheaply obtain them on eBay or from friends.

Hi Matthew - nice website here and very timely for me. I'll be using ANA from LAX to Tokyo in May and wanted to spend time in an airline lounge. Since it is not business class I needed an alternative. How is the lounge in Tokyo (Narita) ? THANKS.

Hi - Since I don't have any status on ANA for my coach class ticket from LAX - NRT on ANA, can I buy a day pass for UA and use at the Star Alliance lounge at Tom Bradley Terminal ? This is what I read on their site: Eligible Paid Lounge Membership Customers have access to any Star Alliance member carriers' owned Business Class lounges2. Eligible Paid Lounge Membership Customers include: United Club, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club - Worldwide Customer must present a valid eligible paid lounge membership card which displays the Star Alliance Lounge Logo Customer must also present a boarding pass for travel on a Star Alliance flight departing from the local airport

Thanks for your help/ Bryan

@Bryan: United's Tokyo lounge is one of their better ones. I would definitely invest in a one-time pass if you will be there more than a couple hours.

Rocky February 5, 2015 at 02:02 pm

Just remember there are no buy in lounges airside in TBIT

Maui February 8, 2015 at 02:50 am

I have 2 One time passes and I'm not familiar with... I'm thinking of taking vacation in Guam and if I'm going to use my 2 passes there, do I need to make reservations at the United Guam's lounge...? And is there any charge fee...

Penelope February 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

We are flying Air New Zealand out of LAX and have 8 hours to kill before our ANZ flight departs. Since ANZ is a Star Alliance partner are we able to use our 2 United Club one-time use passes to enter the lounge in the international terminal? The passes are from the Chase United Mileage Plus card.

Does anyone know how early we can enter the int'l terminal before our flight?

@Maui: You can use your passes at the United Club in Guam. No need to make any reservation -- just show up with your coupons.

@Penelope: ANZ departs out of Terminal 2 at LAX and United uses Terminals 7 and 8. You can access Terminal 7 with your Air New Zealand Boarding pass then use your club passes for the United club, but just allow yourself time to get back to T2 (either by bus or crossing through parking structures).

Brent February 12, 2015 at 11:19 am

I have a few united One-Time passes. Are these good outside the U.S. (e.g. Japan) or are they only good within the U.S.? I'm pretty sure they can be used at any club as long as it's a United Lounge but thought I would ask to be certain. Thank you in advance.

Brent, they can be used at any United Club worldwide, including Tokyo NRT!

Brent February 16, 2015 at 06:00 pm

Matthew, thanks for your response. Do you happen to know if I could gain access into either the ANA lounge or the United lounge at Narita without the use of a one-time pass? I would be flying Business Class on ANA Nippon Airlines for my arrival into Narita and will fly United Airlines in Business Class for my departure. From previous experience flying in Business, I've learned that some lounges allow free access with this type of boarding pass, but uncertain in a case like this. Thanks again in advance!

@Brent: If you are traveling in business class, you will have access to both the United Club and ANA lounge. No pass needed. Enjoy!

Ben February 27, 2015 at 04:17 am

I'll be traveling through the U.S. to Canada and flying with United. I have a 12 hr overnight lay over in Newark and was wondering if the lounge would be accessible overnight, or does it close its doors at 10:30pm. Also, would someone I'm traveling with be able to purchase a one time lounge pass even though they are not a mileageplus member? If so, is it still $50 USD?

@Ben: The lounge does close and boot everyone out at 10:30p. Anyone can buy a one-time pass. Check eBay -- they go for as little as $6 each.

Spats & Fanny Goossens March 17, 2015 at 05:45 pm

Hey Matthew, thanks afor your earlier reply.

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