5 Reasons to Buy a United Club Pass (and where to find it cheap)

Our air travels usually include layovers in Houston. Sometimes they are only 45 minutes, with just enough time to change terminals before the next flight leaves. And sometimes, like today, we have close to 3 hours to kill. That's when I like to bust out the United Club Pass. But there are other great reasons, too.

5 Reasons to Buy a One-Day United Club Pass

United Club Houston, terminal C

1. Quiet. As I mentioned, today we have three hours between flights, and the United Clubs are much more civilized than the gate areas. The crowd is mostly business people who just want a quiet place to work. Depending on the particular United Club you visit, you may find large open spaces like the C terminal United Club in Houston, or smaller more quiet rooms like those in the A terminal Houston United Club. 

2. Customer service. Before I became savvy about the United Club, I once waited in a 100+ person rebooking line after my connecting flight was cancelled. The wait was over an hour and everyone was irritable and stressed. Now I know better. For the cost of a club pass, the agents at the United Club are available without long lines and are incredibly helpful with any flight changes or customer service needs you have.

United Club clean restroom

3. Bathrooms. Clean and large, well-stocked with no wait. It doesn't get better than this at the airport. Some United Clubs even offer showers.

4. Workspace. The clubs offer complimentary wi-fi (at decent speeds), and if you need to print last minute notes or papers, United Clubs offer business centers or, at the very least, large laser printers. Couple this with comfortable seats plus ubiquitous power outlets, and you can get lots of work done while you wait for your flight. Or just charge your phone and eat the free snacks. No judgment here.

5. Drinks and snacks. The United Club has complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, wine, and spirits, as well as complementary breakfast and afternoon snacks. Selections for breakfast are typically yogurt, granola and toppings, steel cut oatmeal and toppings, fruit, breads, and pastries. For snacks later in the day you'll usually find fresh soups (the Italian wedding soup is delicious!), salads (hello Caprese salad, I'm looking at you), breads, and salty/savory snacks. While I wouldn't come to the United Club just for the food, the cost savings of forgoing the food in the terminal makes the cost of a one day United Club Pass a little more reasonable.

United Club complimentary drinks and snacks


Where to Buy a cheap One-day United Club Pass

 1. The United App. Here you’ll pay full price for the day pass, currently $59. I’ve thankfully never had to do this, but remember that situation I mentioned above with the 100+ person customer service line and hours-long wait? I’d totally pull the trigger and buy a pass if I were in that situation again. Learn more about the app and download it here.

2. eBay. I’ve had great luck purchasing these United Club Day Passes on eBay.  Usually Chase United credit card passes (more on those below), these have an expiration date so read the item description carefully before you bid. Usually the closer to the expiration date, the cheaper the passes. Although consider stocking up in the fall - historically I’ve noticed the highest bids over the summer and best deals in September and October.   

3. Chase United Explorer credit card. This isn’t technically buying a United Club Pass, but you get two free club passes a year with this card. It’s a great perk for an excellent credit card if you enjoy traveling and banking United miles on your credit card purchases. The full details are on the Chase site here.

Things to Keep in Mind

1. Every person needs their own pass. Kids too, if they are 2 years old or older.

2. Sometimes the United Clubs get crowded. When that happens, they only let full members in so you'll have to save your One Day Pass for another time.

3. The One-Day United Club Passes only work for United Clubs, not Star Alliance lounges.

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