Well, not entirely, but I found it an amusing irony that just as United is decreasing benefits at its United Clubs, where a $395+ annual fee gets you no-name liquor that just might double as jet fuel, it’s also rolling out the
red carpet blue carpet at shopping malls in San Francisco (San Francisco Centre) and New Jersey (The Mall at Short Hills). (HT to Dans Deals)
Show any United-branded Chase credit card between November 23 and December 24 to get access to the lounge for you and three guests. There are coat and bag checks, fresh-baked goods, and complimentary soda and water. Oh, and free gift-wrap, too — but there’s something fun about doing that yourself.
Compare these amenities to the United Club. You only get one guest (or your spouse and the little ones). I can’t remember ever seeing fresh-baked goods — or any fresh food beyond an underripe apple. There’s liquor, sure, but I already pointed out that you probably don’t want to drink the free stuff.
These mall lounges were a benefit previously provided to individuals with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Now, either United is willing to pay more for the branding, or Chase has decided that the market for the Sapphire Preferred card is reaching saturation and would rather promote the MileagePlus Explorer card. I think it would be far easier to just up the sign-up bonus on the Explorer card, which has long been lower than the Ultimate Rewards points offered for the Sapphire Preferred.
…But I digress. You will have a hard time getting me into any shopping mall over the holidays.