United Airlines has, without any announcement, instituted a significant devaluation for its and Star Alliance elite members traveling in economy.
United won’t, effective January 1, 2020, provide lounge access invites to third party lounges in cities such as Barcelona, Papeete, and Porto to economy class passengers. United business class passengers continue to have access to these.
You can access United’s page for partner lounges here.
Star Alliance Gold members continue to have access to lounges operated by any Star Alliance airline when flying in United economy. You only need boarding pass for access purposes that shows your *G status.
Here are some examples:
Here Star Alliance Gold members have access to the SATS lounge (+ Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer lounge).
This is a regrettable development that was first noted on a FlyerTalk post (access here). There are airlines such as TAP and SAS that already have this in place, including for their business class and/or premium economy passengers (SAS doesn’t offer business intra-Europe). Delta instituted a similar policy the other year.
It is deplorable that airlines are now showing their frequent fliers in economy a middle finger, but who would willingly fly in United economy if they had a choice?