Another sign points toward the end for USAirways

USAirways is going to charge its lounge members a premium to access partner lounges.

    On April 1, US Airways will begin charging three different fees for use of airport lounges by new frequent-flier members. The carrier says it will lower the rate for use of just US Airways lounges across the country and in London’s Gatwick Airport. The current cost is between $260 and $450 a year, depending on the number of frequent-flier points a traveler has accumulated. An additional fee will be required of those who want access to United lounges, and a still-higher fee will be charged for use of the rest of the Star Alliance members’ lounges. Current US Airways frequent fliers won’t face the increases until Sept. 1.

    US Airways spokeswoman Amy Kudwa declined to disclose the amounts of the price increases.

The move is coming under criticism:

    United distanced itself from US Airways’ move. Spokeswoman Chris Nardella said United had no role in the increases and plans no rate hikes of its own. “This is a US Airways initiative and will have no impact on United frequent fliers,” she said.

    Airlines in the code-sharing alliance do not charge extra for their frequent fliers’ use of partner lounges. “No other code-share or frequent-flier arrangements ever included anything less than 100 percent reciprocal of its lounge programs,” said Randy Petersen, publisher of Inside Flyer magazine and frequent-flier guru. “This is a low blow.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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