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United Increases Club Fees, Secures Their Place in the Past

January 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM | by | Comment (1)

We've already mentioned the flashy new United Club design the airline just revealed to wow passengers. We should have guessed it would have been only a matter of time that the prices to access it would increase. Somebody has to pay that $50 million bill, right?

The standard membership is now $500, up from $475. If you are a regular frequent flyer and have some status, you will pay a little less. Premier Silver members will pay $475 and Premier Gold members will see even more of a break to $450. The second highest, Premier Platinum, will have to fork out $425 and even the top-tier 1K elites need to pay $400 for the year. The option for a 3 year discounted membership will be discontinued.

The hike went into effect on the first of the year and, while it's not a super huge increase, it will still hit the bottom line for many travelers.

We don't know about you, but if we flew enough miles to make the elite of the elite, we'd seek a bit more of a discount on the lounge access. It's about time for US airlines to invite their high-tier frequent flyers into their lounges on a complimentary basis, similar to the way a good portion of full-service airlines do around the world. Now that would be a true enhancement.

[Photo: United]

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Underwhelmed by United Club

I would be very surprised if many people pay United's club membership fees out of their own pocket. I've always thought of it as a corporate perk, and they aren't going to care about the price hike. Since I'm not a member, I only get into the club when my UAL Platinum card admits me when I am traveling internationally. The Club strikes me as pretty sad, especially when compared with those of other international carriers, such as Lufthansa and Singapore. No magazines that anyone would buy on a news stand, at most one newspaper, and *very* limited food - all cold and mostly prepackaged. With so many travelers using their mobile phones in the club, it's not even a quiet place to relax. Free WiFi is useful, but many airports now offer that routinely. If individuals were paying for membership out of their own pockets, they would hold United to a higher standard. When I travel domestically with them, I'm happy to wait out by the gate, knowing that I am not missing anything inside the Club.

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