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Ah the fine print… it will getcha every time. Normally I am pretty good at reading the fine print (and even EXPLOITING the fine print – yes, I am talking about you 94 IHG Priceless Surprises envelopes). But the other day while traveling I was counting on something and it wasn’t until I got to the airport that I realized I was out of luck. This is just a short post detailing my stupidity and hoping to educate others so they don’t follow in my (mistaken) footsteps.

a white airplane in the sky

The Background

The other day, I decided to book a last-minute trip out to Utah to watch a UC NIT basketball game and see my son who is out there in college. I used 9,000 American miles to book the outbound leg, with a stop in Dallas at the excellent Capital One lounge there. Thank you Capital One Venture X!

(SEE ALSO: Capital One Venture X Review – the best premium credit card)

For my return leg, the prices were much more expensive, and I ended up deciding to (finally) use some of my Frontier miles. It was 10,000 miles for a flight back with a stop in Denver. It had an 8 hour layover in Denver which was far from ideal, but since I work remotely, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. But with the Capital One lounge in Denver not yet open, no Amex Platinum card to use the Centurion lounge and Capital One removing restaurants from Priority Pass, I didn’t have any lounge access available!

United Club One-Time Passes to the rescue!

But then I remembered that I had 2 one-time United Club passes that came with my United Business credit card. Since Denver is a United hub, I figured that could be a great option. While United Clubs are no Polaris lounge, I figured it would be better than the terminal. I did some research and it looks like United has 2 United Clubs in Denver, but one of them is closed for renovation. I had read reviews that it was getting pretty crowded and so they might not be accepting one-time passes. But I figured I’d give it a try.

I landed in Denver at about 8 a.m. and made my way to the B gates, where the United Clubs are. I didn’t see any signs that they weren’t accepting passes, so I thought I was golden.

a glass door with a sign on it

… or not

But then I scanned my pass and my boarding pass and it didn’t work. The agent asked if I was flying United and I said no, and she said that you had to be flying United to use the pass. I checked my pass in the app and sure enough, the fine print said

“A same-day boarding pass for travel on United, Star Alliance or a contracted partner operated flight is required for entry”

Though to be fair to me, the terms and conditions on United’s website do not mention that restriction at all. Of course, I didn’t actually READ the fine print anywhere, so this one is all on me.

The Bottom Line

Always read the fine print – you can save yourself some heartache.

Ever been bitten by the fine print? Share your story in the comments

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