The US airlines have been making many improvements across the board to things like new planes with improved seats, more connectivity onboard, and even upgrading airline lounges. However, all of that comes at a price to the customer and now United has revealed what that new price will be for customers to have a United Club membership.
United Just Made the United Club Credit Card More Valuable – Without Touching It
Link: Chase United Club Card (this is NOT an affiliate link)
The New United Club Price Hike and Admittance Limits
With this new price hike (going from $550 now to $650 as of August 13), United is really testing what customers are willing to pay for a lounge experience. A hike of $100 puts it in more inline with Delta (which charges $550 but only allows member to enter at that price) and American Airlines (which charges $650 but less if you are an elite member).
Also, don’t forget that as of November 1 of this year, you will have to have a same-day ticket on United or a Star Alliance partner to even gain access to the United Clubs with your membership.
I will say that I enjoy the free snacks and drinks inside the United Clubs but what I really enjoy the most is the high-speed internet I have had at some of their lounges! It is FAST! But, is it worth that much money?
Those that will pay the increased rate will likely applaud the increase as it will cut down on the overcrowding that has been happening at some lounges. For an extra $100, those who frequent the clubs weekly will definitely see that value if it means definitely getting a chair and not waiting in lines for snacks.
The Annual Fee of the Chase United Club Card Just Became a Better Deal in Light of This Hike
But, the real point of this post is to point out how United’s price hike on the United Club membership just made the co-branded credit card with Chase, the Chase United Club card, an even better value than before.
I have aired my complaints about this card before as it really doesn’t present a ton of value with cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited having the same earning as a high-fee card (and some other things) but I didn’t think that it would take a membership price hike to make it look better!
See, the Chase United Club card includes an actual United Club membership (not just access, like some other airlines give). Not only do you get that membership (which lets you bring in one guest and children under 21 or up to 2 guests) but you get it for the annual fee of “just” $450. With the new price hike coming to United Club membership, that means this credit card’s annual fee is going to be $200 cheaper than the Club membership it comes with!
Along with United Club membership, you also have things like close-in booking fee waivers ($75 per ticket), though that will be going away in November. You also get the first and second bags on your reservation for free as well, if you are traveler that checks a lot of bags.
Plus, you will get 50,000 United miles as a welcome bonus. That would be worth at least $750 so that isn’t that shabby either.
Is the Chase United Club Card a Good Deal?
At the end of the day it comes down to this – if you are a frequent traveler with United, having a United Club membership can be a great way to get away from some of the hectic environments of airports. But, at $650 per year, that will be a steep price to deal with!
If you are able to get the Chase United Club card (if you are under Chase 5/24 and don’t mind using one of those applications for this), you could save $200 on that membership fee with that card. Or, if you are not able to apply for a new Chase card right now, you could always upgrade an existing Chase United card and pay the difference in the annual fee at the retroactive rate.
Another way to gain entry to United Club lounges is through having Star Alliance Gold status with a foreign airline. When flying United domestically with that partner number on your reservation, you can gain access to United Clubs for free (and on international flights as well but United Gold and above members can also do that).
If lounge membership is that important to you, you may want to see what foreign airline programs have to offer for you. I have been an Aegean Gold member for 6 years now and they have an incredibly easy path to retaining Gold status. Having this status lets me access any United Club when I am flying United domestically so it is a great deal for me!
Let me close with this – I do not know if the United Club card will stay at that annual fee rate in light of this fee hike. It could go up but, right now, it is still at $450 per year.