Lufthansa Adds United Lounge Access For HON Circle Members

Filed Under: Lufthansa, United

Lufthansa’s uber-top tier status is HON Circle, which can be earned by accruing 600,000 elite qualifying miles over the course of two years.


The status comes with quite a few benefits, probably the most significant of which is access to the Lufthansa First Class Lounges and Lufthansa First Class Terminal regardless of which class of service you’re flying.

Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich

So a HON Circle member can book a cheap economy ticket from Frankfurt to Munich and spend all day in the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, if they’d like. As a matter of fact, I know several HON Circle members who spend their weekends exactly that way. šŸ˜‰

The catch is that while HON Circle status gets you access to Lufthansa’s First Class Lounges, it doesn’t get you access to the first class lounges of partner airlines.

Based on HON Circle feedback, it looks like Lufthansa HON Circle members will now receive access to United Global First Lounges when traveling on intercontinental flights on Lufthansa or United in business class. Here’s how the new benefit is described:

Exclusively for HON Circle Members: Access to United Global First Lounges with a Business Class boarding pass

Now, as a HON Circle Member traveling in Business Class on a scheduled intercontinental flight operated by Lufthansa or United Airlines you can access the United Global First Lounges. Show your boarding pass together with your HON Circle service card and you will be able to access the lounges at eight international airports on the day of departure of your Lufthansa- or United Airlines-operated flight:

  • Chicago
  • Hong Kong
  • London: Heathrow
  • New York: John F. Kennedy and Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Tokyo: Narita
  • Washington

There are, however, a few services offered by the United Global First Lounge that you will not be able to use with a Business Class boarding pass:

  • Because of limited capacity in the lounges, access is restricted solely to you as the HON Circle Member, i.e. you cannot make a companion into the lounge with you.
  • For operational reasons and because of limited capacity, you will also not be able to use the limousine service with a Business Class boarding pass.
  • In the event of an irregularity of your Lufthansa flight or if you wish to change your booking, you need to call your HON Circle Service Team to receive assistance, because the respective airlines can only access their own reservation systems.

I wouldn’t expect this to be reciprocal (in other words, I wouldn’t expect Global Services members to get Lufthansa First Class Lounge access anytime soon), but rather just Lufthansa paying United a few extra bucks for every HON Circle member they let in their lounges. It is interesting to note the exclusions here — you can’t take a guest, and you have to be flying business class on an intercontinental flight (meanwhile Lufthansa HON Circle members get access to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge with a guest regardless of where they’re flying).

It is kind of surprising to me how exclusive Lufthansa has continued to keep their first class lounges. By calling them HON Circle Lounges rather than first class lounges they don’t have to admit first class passengers on other airlines into the lounge. That means if you’re traveling in first class on a Star Alliance carrier you get access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge rather than the Lufthansa First Class Lounge. But I guess their goal is to keep them exclusive, and they’re doing a good job at that.

Bottom line

While United Global First Lounges aren’t exactly fancy, they’re certainly better than the United Clubs. Kudos to Lufthansa for negotiating this for their HON Circle members.

(Tip of the hat to Rambuster)

  1. Good luck to HON members on getting UA club agents to actually know this … I foresee lots of angry emails to Lufthansa after they’re denied access.

  2. So do you have to fly 1,200,000 miles in two years or 600,000 in two? The latter, which is what you are saying, seems more plausible, because i can’t even begin to imagine the latter, but the definition under how to qualify is a little ambiguous. Also, does the HON Circle member have to keep the balance for the current and previous years above 600,000 at the end of every calendar year in order to retain the status?


  3. @ Parker — You have to earn a total of 600K EQMs over two years. Paid first class earns 3x miles, so it’s like doing 100K miles in paid first class per year. You just have to qualify over two years, it doesn’t matter how it’s spread out.

  4. Not sure I really understand this “benefit.” If I’m not mistaken Lufthansa also has its own lounge(s) in every one of these airports. Even if those are “just” business class or Senator lounges they’re still generally better than United’s lounges, even the Global First lounges. Perhaps in some cases if you’re flying UA then it’s easier to access UA’s Global First lounge than LH’s lounges, but in any case this seems to be a benefit of limited value.

  5. @ 02nz — They don’t. For example, they don’t have a lounge in Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Chicago. And this also applies when flying purely United. In other words, if you’re flying United from Tokyo to Washington you’d get Global First Lounge access.

  6. “By calling them HON Circle Lounges rather than first class lounges they donā€™t have to admit first class passengers on other airlines into the lounge.”

    I think they don’t have to admit first class passengers of other airlines into those lounges no matter what they call them. My point being that the FCT isn’t called the HON Terminal, and they still don’t allow access to partner carriers’ first class travelers, nor does TG in BKK, etc.

  7. If you like carrots and cheese then you’ll appreciate the benefit….the showers when and where available can be useful though.

  8. My experiences with Us Global First lounges is as limited as it is disappointing.

    I’ve only been to the IAD lounge for the late bunch of flights (typically 10:00 pm or so, to LHR, FRA., Middle East and South America). The neglect of the lounges by that hour is not appalling, at least not until one recalls this is supposedly a high premium product.

    The “sushi” in the fridge is always gummy. the bowl of hummus is no more than a bunch of caked over streaks of hummus crust, etc., etc. If is as if I have been relegated to leftovers when I am flying international F.

    The furnishings are threadbare, and the decor dated and dreary. I cannot see an HON circle member being impressed.

  9. @Kevin – you mean actually Lufthansa Group (LH, LX and OS?) or Star Alliance? They don’t have to be LH Group, but mileage accrual for SA partners are a little lower.

  10. @Abdel If you want to renew/reach the HON-status, you must collect 600k Hon-Circle miles and not status miles in two years and Hon-circle miles can only be obtained on members of the LH-Group(LH,OS,LX etc) and not on other *A carriers

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