How to Access a United Polaris Lounge

Article Summary:

United Polaris is United Airlines’ premium business class service that offers many in-flight and on-the-ground benefits. Those benefits include lounges at select airports that provide top-quality services to their customers. Only those flying certain long-haul international flights can access the United Polaris lounges. There, they can enjoy food, drinks, quiet time, and a shower.

Let’s face it — while traveling can be exciting, the process of getting from one place to another can be exhausting. This is especially true for people traveling globally. But fortunately, some of those who are traveling internationally on United Airlines will have access to a premium lounge: the United Polaris lounge.

A Polaris lounge can act as a place to refresh, relax, and re-energize yourself before, between, or after long flights. They offer high-quality services in a quiet, calming environment. If you frequently fly overseas using United, you might consider buying a Polaris business class ticket so you can enjoy these benefits. Keep reading to find out which airports have Polaris lounges and who has access to them.

What is a United Polaris lounge?

Polaris is what United Airlines calls its top-tier business class. Those who fly Polaris class have access to comfortable lie-flat seats, premium dining options, bedding, and more on their flights. But on the ground, Polaris members also have access to another unique service: the United Polaris lounge.

A United Polaris lounge is a luxury airport lounge located at a few different hubs throughout the United States. They are offered only to international premium cabin passengers. These lounges offer members access to sit-down meals, drinks, refreshing shower suites, quiet rooms, and Wi-Fi. All this, of course, is located in a spacious and beautifully decorated space where it is easy to relax.

How to access United Polaris lounges

While certain credit card companies offer access to United Clubs, this is not the case with United Polaris lounges. You can only access a United Polaris lounge if you are flying United Polaris business class or certain long-haul international flights. These flights can be paid for either with a debit card, credit card, points, or redeemed miles.

Here is a list of the class of service and eligibility requirements needed to enter a Polaris lounge:

  • If you have a United Polaris business class ticket, you must be traveling on a long-haul international flight to enter. These customers can access lounges at departure, connecting airports, or arrival.
  • If you’re flying business class on a long-haul international flight on a Star Alliance member airline, you can only access lounges at the departure airport.
  • Passengers who are flying first class on a long-haul international flight with a Star Alliance member airline can access the lounge at their departure airport and bring one guest.

What is considered a long-haul flight?

United Polaris is available on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights and on flights from the U.S. to these South American destinations: Buenos Aires, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Santiago. Long-haul international flights with Star Alliance members include those from the U.S. to Asia, Australia, Europe, and select South American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.

United Club vs. United Polaris lounges

Although both United Clubs and United Polaris lounges grant additional services and amenities to certain customers, there are a number of key differences between the two:

Location: Clubs are located at dozens of airports, while Polaris lounges are only at a select few airport hubs.

Services: Club members have access to light snacks, a bar, and Wi-Fi. Polaris lounges offer a larger selection of amenities.

Access: United Polaris lounges have much more exclusive access. You must be a passenger on certain long-haul flights in order to access a Polaris lounge. Clubs can be accessed in a few different ways, including with certain credit cards. You cannot get into a Polaris lounge this way.

Eligibility: While United Polaris members can access any United Club, United Club members cannot access United Polaris lounges.

Pro Tip

Some credit cards offer access to airport lounges as a perk. You can use our comparison tool to check out the details of different cards.

What a United Polaris lounge offers

What sets the United Polaris lounges apart from United Clubs are the amenities. While the United Club membership offers a bar, snacks, and Wi-Fi, the United Polaris lounge has a wider selection of amenities.

The Polaris lounge offers members access to a buffet area, pre-flight dining with full meals, “spa-like” showers, and quiet suites. The suites have daybeds and white noise, so you can rest before your flight.

United Polaris lounge locations

There are currently United Polaris lounges located at the following airports:

  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
  • Houston Intercontinental (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York-Newark (EWR)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington Dulles (IAD)

Although not open 24/7, these lounges do open very early and close late in the evening. Hours are subject to change, however. Here’s a chart of the locations, when they’re open, and the amenities offered:




Chicago O’Hare (ORD)

Concourse C, near gate C18

6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suits, showers, Wi-Fi

Houston Intercontinental (IAH)

Terminal E, between the United Club and gate 12

5:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suites, Wi-Fi

Los Angeles (LAX)

Terminal 7, between gates 73A and 75A

6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suites, Wi-Fi

New York/Newark (EWR)

Terminal C, between gates C102 and C120

5:15 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suites, Wi-Fi

San Francisco (SFO)

International terminal, across from boarding area G

6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suites, Wi-Fi

Washington Dulles (IAD)

Midfield Terminal, concourse C, near gate C17

5:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Buffet, bar, pre-flight dining, quiet suites, Wi-Fi

Pro Tip

Did you know that airplane tickets tend to be cheaper on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays? If you’re looking to purchase first-class tickets, be sure to do so on one of these days. It might just save you some money. Learn some more travel hacks here.

Rules and regulations of United Polaris lounges

If you qualify to enter the United Polaris lounge, you must adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

  • Guests are not allowed in the lounges unless you are flying long-haul international flights on a Star Alliance member airline. One guest is allowed in that case.
  • Non-service animals must remain in a kennel while in the lounges.
  • Names on membership cards must match the name on boarding passes to enter.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter the lounge unless there is a self-service bar, in which case you must be 21 years old. This applies to non-U.S. citizens as well.
  • Visitors cannot lay on the floor or put their feet up on furniture.
  • You cannot use a United Club membership to enter a United Polaris lounge.
  • Those who have access to United Polaris lounges can also access United Clubs.
  • Solicitation, use of tobacco products, and outdoor food and drinks are not allowed in lounges.

Breaking these rules could lead to you getting kicked out of the lounge or even banned from entering any of United’s Polaris lounges or clubs.

What else does United Polaris offer?

United Polaris offers much more than luxury lounges. While the lounges are arguably the best part of being on the ground, Polaris gives you a luxury experience in the air, too. United Polaris is designed to make business class on long-haul international flights comfortable. With Polaris, you get luxury, custom bedding, and mattress cushions for onboard beds. You also get slippers, skincare items, an eye mask, ear plugs, and pajamas to help you sleep more comfortably.

Polaris also gives you a salad, entree, bread, and ice cream for their in-flight dining experience. All drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are complimentary to Polaris members. Mid-flight snacks and dining on arrival are also available.

As for entertainment, Polaris grants you access to United private screening and noise-reducing headphones.

Other ways to earn rewards for travel

If you’re a big traveler, you might want to look into getting a travel credit card. Travel credit cards help you earn more points and miles than you otherwise would. These points and miles can go toward covering future travel expenses.

There’s a good handful of travel credit cards available, so where do you start? Check out SuperMoney’s list of best travel credit cards. Here, we list the good, the bad, and everything else you need to know about each card. This comprehensive list will help you narrow down your options and know which card best fits your needs.


Who is allowed in United Polaris lounges?

United Polaris lounges are only available to people who bought a ticket on certain long-haul international flights. You cannot access a United Polaris lounge with a credit card or club membership.

What is the difference between United Club and United Polaris lounge?

The biggest differences between a United Club and a United Polaris lounge are the accessibility and amenities offered. A Polaris lounge is much more exclusive and offers more services than the clubs. However, there are fewer lounge locations compared to club locations.

Is food free in a United Polaris lounge?

A Polaris lounge offers a pre-flight meal, as well as an exclusive buffet. There is no extra charge, but you have to have access to the lounge.

Does United Club pass work for Polaris lounge?

No. You cannot access a Polaris lounge with a United Club pass.

Can I bring a guest into a Polaris lounge?

Only those flying a long-haul international flight on a Star Alliance airline are allowed to bring one guest. Otherwise, guests are not allowed in the Polaris lounges.

Can you pay to get into the United Polaris lounge?

You currently cannot pay to access United Polaris lounges. You can only get into these lounges if you are flying certain United flights.

Key takeaways

  • United Polaris lounges are available to Polaris business class ticket holders and passengers on certain long-haul international first class or business class flights.
  • Polaris lounges offer guests Wi-Fi, quiet rooms, meals, showers, and more.
  • While United Clubs are at dozens of airports, only six airports have United Polaris lounges.
  • All Polaris members can access United Clubs, but United Club members cannot access Polaris lounges.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter the lounge unless there is a self-service bar, in which case you must be 21 years old.
View Article Sources
  1. United Club terms and conditions — United Airlines
  2. Club and lounge access — United Airlines
  3. United Polaris – Business class reimagined — United Airlines
  4. United Club and lounges — United Airlines
  5. United Club and lounge locations — United Airlines