United Club members affected by American/US Air merger

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways will not only combine the two carriers’ in-flight operations; it will also change the dynamics of the airlines' clubs and include a dramatic reduction in the number of locations available to members of the United Clubs.

As I detailed in a previous post, members of United Clubs, who now have access to US Airways club locations, will lose that access as of March 30, 2014. That will mean a reduction from 54 club locations in the U.S. to only the 35 United Clubs.

I sent the following e-mail to the United Clubs on Dec. 10, asking about their plans for the transition.

As a member of the United Clubs, I am concerned about the reduction in the value of my United Club membership that will result from the merger of American and US Airways.

As you know, the reciprocity that allows United Club members to access US Airways Clubs will end March 30, 2014, resulting in a 40% reduction in the number of domestic clubs members can access. Today, United Club members have access to 35 United Clubs in the U.S., as well as 19 US Airways locations, for a total of 54 locations. As of next March, that number will be reduced as members will only have access to the 35 United Clubs.

What is United planning to do in response? Are negotiations underway with another group of clubs to provide your members with broader access? If not, is United planning to reduce our annual membership fee by 40% to account for the reduction in locations? Or are some other plans afoot – perhaps to grant an additional year of access without membership charge or at a discounted rate?

I look forward to your response.

UPDATE, Feb. 19, 2014

United Airlines has responded to my above questions as follows:

“The United Club membership is primarily for access to the United Club lounges,” Tanya Terry, MileagePlus Service Director, told me in an e-mail Feb. 18. “There are no refunds or rebates that will be processed regarding the US Air withdrawal from the Star Alliance lounge system.”

 Because there are no other domestic airlines that are part of the Star Alliance, there will be no other airline lounges that United Club members can access while traveling domestically, Terry added, noting that is the way it will remain for the foreseeable future. “At this time there are no negotiations with other lounges in progress,” she concluded.

Read the full post and reader comments here.

United Airlines is owned by United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL). American Airlines is owned by AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR), while US Airways is owned by US Airways Group (NYSE:LCC).

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