US Airways Introduces Complimentary Beer & Wine in Lounges: Will United and American Follow?

One Mile at a Time notes the news that US Airways will be offering complimentary beer and wine in their lounges beginning October 30.

They’re also dropping the inance ‘partner lounge fee’ where you had to pay extra for your club membership to be valid in partner lounges, the only program to offer such a fee (and truly silly because you could buy a lounge membership for less from their partners and access their lounges — so it was a higher price to be paid only by people who didn’t know better).

It’s not amazing that a lounge offers complimentary drinks. That’s pretty much world standard. But it’s amazing that US Airways is offering something extra, a cost that they aren’t already incurring. That simply hasn’t been their model. They’ve dubbed their stock ticker LCC for a reason.

Although it should also be noted that what’s free is only the house beer and wine. No cocktails, and ‘premium’ beer and wine will still be available for purchase. But it’s an improvement.

The interesting argument that Lucky makes in his post though is that leaves United and American as the only major carriers not offering free drinks to domestic lounge guests. He posits that United will be forced to change, since both of their domestic partners — US Airways and Continental — offer alcoholic beverages complimentary.

And if United changes, American will stand alone and that isn’t likely sustainable.

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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  1. I’m not sure USAirways changed their tiered membership policy.Following the links you still end up with a form that notes additional costs for RCC and Start Alliance/RCC options.

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