United Top Tier Elites Flying First Class Now Get Lufthansa First Class Lounge Access!

Last month One Mile at a Time reported that Lufthansa’s top tier HON Circle members now get access to United’s first class lounges when traveling on intercontinental flights in business class on either Lufthansa or United.

HON Circle members get access to Lufthansa’s first class lounges, including the First Class Terminal, regardless of class of service flown.

But flying United, or flying business class on Lufthansa from one of the seven United airports with a ‘Global First’ lounge, these members wouldn’t otherwise have gotten access to that first class lounge. (Not that, in my experience, these lounges are all that special — but they are incrementally better than the alternative United Club offerings.)

When sharing this news, Lucky wrote,

I wouldn’t expect this to be reciprocal (in other words, I wouldn’t expect Global Services members to get Lufthansa First Class Lounge access anytime soon)

It turns out, though, that this is reciprocal.

Lufthansa’s top tier HON Circle members only have to be flying business class to access United’s first class lounges.

United’s top tier Global Services members have to be flying first class to access Lufthansa’s first class lounges.

This benefit won’t include Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal, I don’t think, because using the separate terminal requires a car ride across the tarmac to the plane — something Lufthansa does for passengers departing on their own aircraft, but not for passengers flying outside the Lufthansa Group. (United wouldn’t be expecting passengers to come up this way, and wouldn’t even be prepared to ‘board’ them.)

But Lufthansa’s First Class Lounges are nearly identical — the seating, dining options, shower rooms and furnishings are very much the same. (Here’s Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge on the A Concourse in Frankfurt.) The Terminal is, overall, the more refined experience and worth doing. But the lounges are very nice — orders of magnitude better than anything that United offers.

That’s also, no doubt, why the benefit is so limited. Global Services members can’t be flying United Global First same-day, even, they have to be departing Munich or Frankfurt in United Global First.

Presumably this benefit will last until United finally makes the investment in its fleet that coincides with eliminating international first class…

(HT: Cynthia L.)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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  1. Hi Gary– do you really think United is going to eliminate international first class? I guess it wouldn’t be all that surprising, given they seem to appreciate the Delta model. That said, I think they’re currently flying 1022 international first class seats, assuming my math and this website– https://sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/fleet-total-upgrades — are reliable. By the end of next year, American will operate 160 (16 current 777-300’s in operation with 4 more on order), right? That’s almost an absolute abandonment of international F.

  2. @Ethan they already don’t really distinguish the soft product. They’re run by Continental folks, and Continental had already eliminated first class. United First has long been known as ’employee class’. They can fill it with business class upgrades on some routes, to be sure. But I do not think first class is a long-term play for United unless they make big changes, and the comments from their management to date suggest they will kill it rather than revive it.

  3. The headline on Boardingarea.com is still wrong – says GS members flying business class get access.

  4. Might not be a bad idea for high value HONs to switch to UA GS, unless they care about the FCT that much.

  5. I agree that UA is not invested in having F, but do you think they keep it as long as they have GS, which they seem to be all-in?

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