Scott posted earlier about the terrible changes going on with the United Club, particularly with beverage options. I’ve been mileage running on United lately to finish my Premier Platinum challenge, and each trip I had passed through Houston. I have Star Alliance Gold Status with Aegean Airlines. Since my Star Gold status is with an airline that’s outside of the United States, I can access any Star Gold lounge on domestic U.S. itineraries. Many people have this through Turkish Airlines, when they practically gave away elite status. I’ve visited United Clubs at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Newark, and have yet to be impressed by the food and drink options. The recent changes make it even worse.
Fortunately, if you travel out of or through Houston-Intercontinental, United’s largest hub, there is another option – the KLM Crown Lounge in Terminal D.
You can access the KLM Crown Lounge with a Priority Pass Membership, which comes standard with an American Express Platinum Card (the American Express Platinum Card itself gets you access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta,
American AAdmirals Clubs when flying American, and US Airways Clubs when flying anybody). Update: American Express will be ending its partnership with American Airlines on March 22, 2014. While you can access the lounge with the included Priority Pass Membership, you will have to pay for any guests that accompany you. However, you can add up to 3 authorized users on a personal Platinum Card for a flat $175 fee, and each of those authorized users can get their own Priority Pass membership. Most lounges allow children under 2 years old in for free if they are with a parent.
The lounge is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm daily, so the hours aren’t as great as the United Clubs, but they are useful for mid-day connections and departures. It is located near Gate D8 and is easily accessible via the Inter-Terminal Train, just a few steps into Terminal D. I had a flight depart from Gate C30 (pretty far away) but was able to make it there within 10 minutes from the lounge thanks to the train.
Not to mention that the lounge looks eerily similar to the KLM Crown Lounges in Amsterdam.
All in all, if you are a United flyer who travels out of or through Houston, the KLM Crown Lounge is worth a visit. I highly prefer it to the United Clubs located throughout the rest of the airport, at least whenever the KLM lounge is open. Lounges like this are why I keep my Priority Pass card handy whenever I’m traveling, even domestically. They even get me into Alaska Airlines Boardrooms, which I consider to be much better than most Delta Sky Clubs. I use the Priority Pass iOS app to look up lounges whenever I’m at a new airport.
There are several ways to get a Priority Pass Membership, but most people get one through the American Express Platinum Card. You can learn more about the card by clicking on the Best Travel Credit Cards page.
This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the American Express Affiliate Program.