Analyzing my RCC membership….

My Red Carpet Club membership expired in September, and I haven’t renewed yet. Since I’ve been sitting in the terminal at IAD for two hours now, I decided to do a quick analysis and see whether or not membership was worth it. For those not familiar with RCC pricing, it’s $300/year for 1K’s. This includes free internet, soft drinks, and snacks.

Based on the basic math I did, it seems like I’ve spent about 100 hours in RCC’s throughout the country during my 12 month membership. That comes out to about $3/hour.

So, has it been worth it? I’m not so sure, but I’m leaning towards yes. As crappy as RCC’s are, there’s a huge difference between the terminal and the RCC in terms of peacefulness, at least most of the time. I can actually semi-relax in the RCC, while the concourse is loud and smells like fast food. Furthermore, I think I’ve saved quite a bit by being an RCC member through concessions I didn’t buy as a member. Instead of grabbing something to eat in the concourse, I always tried to stick to what was in the RCC. Considering that I’ve done about 150 segments in the past year, it adds up quite a bit.

So even though it’s among the worst of the airline clubs, it’s still worth it overall, in my opinion, at least for people that do at least 100 domestic segments a year with layovers.

I’m thinking I won’t join again for now, but in the new year I’ll probably status match to BMI, which gives me free RCC access (although technically not free internet, but that doesn’t matter since I have access to a T-mobile account).

Filed Under: United
  1. Since you travel so much domestically, the RCC is most certainly worth it for you, especially at a cost of $3 an hour. Just make sure to take enough snacks for the flight or trip. Although some of them may be a pit, and they have their share of dragon matrons, it does provide refuge from the terminal madness that is IAD. It is also helpful to be able to go directly to an agent during irrops. How much will your TMobile internet access cost if not complimentary from the RCC?

  2. Mine expired in March and I haven’t gotten around to renewing it. I keep thinking about it when I’m sitting around in ORD but I just haven’t had anything compel me to do it yet.

    The argument about concessions doesn’t really work anymore when you’re usually traveling on someone else’s nickel and the RCC card is your nickel. Peace and a comfortable chair is usually what I’m thinking about when I’ve got time to kill in a terminal.

  3. I’ve been without RCC membership since May and thought as I travel international most of the time as a GS wouldn’t miss it. I still have some domestic flights and I just got stuck at ORD a couple times for 4-5 hours because of weather. Will renew my membership now, don’t want to spend that time in the terminal again. They got rid of the GS room in SFO and the GS room in ORD doesn’t have much besides a sofa. Definetly worth it even though I cringe every time I compare the RCC to the senator lounges I can use for free in FRA and MUC.

  4. I realized the value of my RCC membership when I used one of the Senator lounges at FRA recently after a long TATL flight in Y.

  5. I wouldn’t wait too long into next year for a bmi status match. With Lufthansa due to have a majority holding of bmi by early January (Sir Michael Bishop has enforced his put option), I think the days of freely available status matching will soon be over. Except for those with BA Gold status, of course.

  6. chitownflyer, the Tmobile account doesn’t cost me anything. A friend has an account anyway and let’s me use it as well.

    Definitely right, Brian. Sadly I’m not on an expense account yet, in which case everything’s coming out of pocket, but you’re spot on.

    Chris, while that’s generally a good idea, most of the airports that I use lounges in are UA hubs where the WorldClubs are hard to get to. I’d say 75% of my RCC useage is in IAD, ORD, and SFO, and the NW club just isn’t practical.

    Good point, Kiwi. I’ll probably match in December.

    Sithlord, considering the frequency with which I use lounges, I don’t think it makes sense. It’s not going to be under $300 (what I pay for the RCC), and I usually use lounges about 100 times a year.

  7. I just took out a NWA WorldClub membership for the $250 discounted platinum rate and I think it beats the RCC membership hands down. Being based out of Chicago, I go to the NWA/CO lounge there and it is an extra 15 minutes of walking, however it’s a nice lounge with better food and drinks. Plus none of this tipping for a cup of Coke garbage. In IAD there is a B concourse
    WorldClub(sadly missing surly United employees), LAX has a CO PC in terminal 6 which is easily accessible for UA flights, HNL has CO and NW clubs, LAS has a PC in the same terminal United uses, and LGA has a CO club less than 2 minutes for UA security. Simply put, I am satisfied with all the club locations except for SFO, but will check into this on Friday when I am there next. Additionally, at every NWA and CO club I have been to so far, the employees are friendly. One other major factor in my decision was that I pay $4.50 for a Miller Lite at the RCC while it is free at any NWA or CO lounge.

    In the end, I save about $50 a year and for my flight patterns everything fits well with the exception of SFO, but I think there is a lounge before security in Terminal 1 which will fit my needs as needed.

    Since status matching to NWA and experiencing their staff along with CO’s, I am seriously considering letting my 1k status lapse, and moving all my flying to the new Delta. Besides, with the new Mileage Plus changes, my reason to stay is further diminished.

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