American And Delta Will Honor Lifetime Club Memberships Without New Restrictions, United Still Plans On Taking The Low Road

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The airline club is a small oasis in hectic airports. In some airports they have gotten overcrowded, but they’re still better than waiting at the gate. Club agents can also be invaluable when it comes to rebooking flights in the case of irregular operations.

When we flew to Israel in June, the United club agent rebooked us onto Air Canada, Delta, and El Al flights as protection in case we missed our connection in Newark.

The kids room in the Cleveland club is always a lifesaver. Here are my kids waiting out a delay from Cleveland to Newark, bound for Tel Aviv, this past June:

 

Thanks to United employee Feiga Tova we even made our Newark connection:

 

In the past, airline club members had access to lounges even if they weren’t flying. I purchased a lifetime club membership from Continental Airlines just over 12 years ago. It was a big investment, but I figured I had a lifetime of travel ahead of me. Back in those days I was able to use the membership to get a gate pass whenever I wanted. I could study for my MBA in the club and there was a plethora of packaged kosher snacks, free drinks, and free newspapers. Since then packaged snacks have gone the way of the dodo (though the United popup club in Newark still has a great selection) as have most of the free drinks and the newspapers.

It was also a great way to get a gate pass and surprise people, such as my wife before we got married, by waiting for them at the gate.

Having a lifetime membership also allowed me to have the Presidential Plus card and then the United Club card for a $100 annual fee instead of $450.

The airlines stopped selling lifetime club memberships earlier this decade.

In 2016 United eliminated the ability to get a gate pass and access a club when you weren’t flying.

Earlier this year Delta started requiring that you had to fly Delta to access their clubs. American and United were quick to copy that restriction.

After lifetime members complained to all 3 airlines about the terms of their purchase being significantly altered, American and Delta relented and will allow lifetime club members to access their clubs, even if they’re flying another airline.

I’ve been communicating with United about this over the past year. They agreed to allow me to use their club in Cleveland even when I’m not flying United, but they haven’t agreed to any systemwide exception for lifetime members.

I did write in again today to United CEO Oscar Munoz (oscar.munoz@united.com), United Global Services, United customer care (CustomerCare@united.com), and the United Club (unitedclub@united.com) asking United if they will be matching the exemptions that American and Delta have added for their lifetime members.

Just 2 hours later I got a call back from United. They have heard from some lifetime members, but for now they have no plans to make a lifetime exemption as AA and Delta have.

They are looking into their competitors decisions and they didn’t rule out changing their policy down the line.

If you’re a lifetime member be sure to send in your own thoughts today as well!

Over the past year I also helped fight for lifetime Fairmont Platinum members to keep their promised benefits for life.

It’s disheartening to have to work so hard to get big corporations to do the right thing for lifetime members. Just ask the people who purchased lifetime first class flights from American.

It’s a good reminder that when you do purchase a lifetime membership you don’t just assume the risks of your own or the company’s demise, but also the risk of bad faith from the company down the road.

What are your favorite airport clubs? Do you have any lifetime memberships?

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7 Comments On "American And Delta Will Honor Lifetime Club Memberships Without New Restrictions, United Still Plans On Taking The Low Road"

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chaim

would you be willing to share how much the lifetime passes were going for?

zow

I remember I had the opportunity to buy a lifetime Red Carpet Club membership about 25 years ago. I think it was going for about $500 or $1000 then. It was more than I could afford/justify at the time, but now I’m kicking myself. Or maybe not.

Avi

What’s Red Carpet Club?

yelped

Old name for United Club, before they merged with Continental.

Ljderm

Quote from Dan: “It’s a good reminder that when you do purchase a lifetime membership you don’t just assume the risks of your own or the company’s demise, but also the risk of bad faith from the company down the road.”

For the few remaining Delta Flying Colonels out there, those are good words to live by!!! (We did not purchase, but were given “Lifetime” Club privileges that were removed when some corporate bean counter decided on a different definition of that word.)

jdh49

I’ve been a United lifetime member since 1980. I don’t remember the exact cost but it was around $500 or so. One great benefit in the “good old days” (before they remodeled all the clubs) was lifetime members got to use a conference room for up to 4 hours, great when the clubs were crowded or you just wanted to have a private soace.

I also became Northwest lifetime member in 1980. When it emerged with Delta I became a lifetime member with them.

I was also a lifetime member of the Eastern Ionosphere Club. Unfortunately went they went under that went poof. Of course I still have my shiny lifetime member plaque signed by Eastern CEO Frank Borman.

ROBERT MORRIS

DEAREST FINE FOLKS OF UNITED….( AND GOOD OL’ CONTINENTAL too)…

FIRST…Congratulations on starting to reach Gordon Bethune’s ‘goal,; “From Worst to First!.” Every one who I talk to is very impressed with all that United is doing to make Air Travel better for all….(Oh…Sir Gordon,” now that I am old and icky, I still keep up my ATP and just renewed my CFI/II for Ten Years in a Row now…Thinking good thoughts of you too.)..Anyway..I know being retired and really meaning nothing to nobody, I thought I would voice just one small “tooth on the cog,” thought, since I am already lifetime 1kr, lifetime United Club member, and soon to hit the million mile, on one of my last solo “bucket list ” trips on February 18th from SFO to FRA… which will make my wife 1kr too..Thank you very much for honoring that too…Yes…I do love and travel with my stowaway on every flight….”Polaris Ursa Bear.”

SECOND…NOT that it matters to me as I only fly United and Partners, but to many fellow folks that I know from the ol’ Continental age, they have asked me to voice that you should allow Life Time Members of the now “United Club,” to come and visit if even on another airline for any particular day.. Something about Delta and others who allow it…blah, blah, blah…Thank you.

I realize Gone are the days of having and writing fine Orchid Letters on the spot with comment cards right in the plane, but I still think excellent Orchid Thoughts on the few flight we take, and I know the many flights that my fellow physicians take. Again, from my wild calculations, I will be 24 miles from landing in FRA on February 18th when I hit the ol’ million miler.

Take care;

Respectfully; Dr. Robert “RJ” Morris GH-096880… 1kr.

Retired; Doctor, AME, DPE, Coroner, ATP w/ 9 jet ratings, but not retired…”Flight Instructor.”…so…Never Say Never Again…”…LOL

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