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Priority Pass is the most extensive independent lounge membership program in the world, and has over 700 partner lounges. Rather than buying access to lounges individually (either in the form of a day pass or a yearly membership for a specific club), you can buy a whole year of access to all their partner lounges for a set amount.
United Clubs are leaving the Priority Pass network
Of the “three” remaining legacy US airlines, United is the only one which still participates in Priority Pass. Unfortunately we’ve just found out that United Clubs will be leaving the Priority Pass network as of May 15, 2015.
So as of May 15, 2015, a Priority Pass membership will no longer get you into United Clubs. This includes all 49 United Clubs in 34 airports.
That’s quite a loss, as I know some people who purchased Priority Pass memberships in place of United Club memberships. In many cases they were similar prices, and a Priority Pass membership would also get you access to all kinds of other lounges as well.
A Priority Pass membership also gets you access to Alaska’s Board Rooms
No impact on credit card Priority Pass membership
There are a few cards which come with a Priority Pass membership, including the Citi Prestige® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. This change doesn’t impact the membership offered by these cards.
Why? Because the Priority Pass memberships offered by those cards are called Priority Pass Select memberships. The major distinction is that Priority Pass Select memberships don’t come with United Club access:
Priority Pass Select cardholders receive all of the benefits that Priority Pass membership brings, with the exception that Priority Pass Select cardholders will not be able to use United Club lounges (the new brand for Continental President Club and United Red Carpet Club lounges) after September 30, 2011. For more detail, see our FAQs on Priority Pass Select.
That’s a function of Chase having the exclusive rights to issuing credit cards which allow United lounge access, meaning that they specifically added that exclusion so you couldn’t get United Club access with an American Express or Citi card.
That means nothing is actually changing regarding the lounge access benefit being offered with a Priority Pass Select membership, which is probably what most of us have.
I’m not surprised to see this change. Ultimately the airlines would rather sell memberships directly or through their co-branded credit card, rather than giving people more “efficient” ways to gain access. So this change isn’t surprising, in my opinion.