Little Known Perk: United Will Pay for a Hotel Room on Arrival from International Flights

by Enoch

Here’s a perk that isn’t reported on all that often but is a pretty solid amenity…

Not every airline operates aircrafts that feature a shower onboard (well, the vast majority don’t), though some airlines, like Cathay Pacific, offer arrival lounges at their hubs or focus cities. However, in most cases, if you arrive at a destination without an arrival lounge, you don’t really have many options if you want to grab a shower and freshen up. Well, here’s a little known perk that United provides to its GlobalFirst or BusinessFirst (their international First or Business Class) passengers.


At certain airports, like London-Heathrow and Frankfurt, United has arrival lounges available (sometimes via a partner) and GlobalFirst/BusinessFirst passengers are entitled to access the lounge. However, at other airports, like Brussels, there are no arrival lounge facilities. In these instances, United will get you a room (or access to a gym) at a nearby hotel, so that you can freshen up. For example, in Brussels, United will provide a room at the Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel.

Here are two caveats. First, you have to ask for it before you depart on your international flight. This means that if you are flying BusinessFirst from Newark to Brussels, you have to ask for this amenity when you check-in for your flight at Newark. Second, it is not available at all airports. All of the available hotels and lounges are in Europe, see the full list below, or via this link.

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I think it’s a great perk that United should publicize more, though I can understand that if it becomes too well known, it may not be a sustainable benefit. Of course, the perk not being highly advertised also means that when you check in for your flight, you might have to talk to a few agents before you find someone who knows what the heck you are talking about.

Have you taken advantage of this benefit before?

UPDATE on United’s “Free Hotel Room” Perk for International Flights


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Dinktravel March 23, 2015 - 3:46 pm

Trying to get United to provide this is like pulling teeth. Often they will give you the run around and make it as hard as possible until you give up. Last time I was told by GA when checking in to ask the FA, FA told me to ask when we landed. When we landed was told to just go to hotel. Hotel told me I needed to get voucher from United. When I went back United had closed its counter and no one would help.

Some version of that has happened to me more than once.

Girl March 23, 2015 - 4:14 pm

How long do they give you access to the room?

Enoch March 23, 2015 - 5:13 pm

United didn’t publish an official limit, and anecdotally, hotels don’t seem to mention a limit either. Most passengers don’t dawdle though.

Justin March 23, 2015 - 5:06 pm

Great write up! For once, something I didn’t know about!

Kate March 23, 2015 - 5:26 pm

Is this for when you are waiting to connect to another flight?

ptahcha March 25, 2015 - 7:39 am

No – this is for arriving into the destination city, not connections. However, if your connecting time is long enough, and if you can enter the destination visa free, you can take advantage of it in lieu of the lounge on the secured side.

Dan @ Points With a Crew March 23, 2015 - 6:24 pm

So if I am flying United into Paris, I can’t use the Star Alliance lounge (and United doesn’t have one), but, if I can find anyone at United to agree, I can use a room at the Sheraton hotel (and maybe breakfast too?)

Enoch March 23, 2015 - 6:42 pm

As long as you’re flying F/J, it sure sounds like it!

Beck March 23, 2015 - 6:36 pm

I’m curious about time limit, too. Could one feasibly spend the night in the hotel?

Levy Flight March 23, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Thanks! I had no idea. This benefit could have been useful to me many time.I’ll give it a try.

Christian March 23, 2015 - 7:07 pm

Is this valid award tickets?

Brian March 23, 2015 - 10:21 pm

In order to access this benefit your flight needs to arrive prior to noon. Then the hotel will give you “extended checkout” timing. My experiences are that arrival at the hotel (Paris) before 10am means checkout by 12. Arrive between 10 and 12:30, you can normally negotiate 2-3pm for leaving.
There is no chance for overnight. This is a morning only benefit. If you plan to arrive in the afternoon, connecting through FRA is the best option as you can access the Lufthansa lounge at any time.

askmrlee March 24, 2015 - 12:45 pm

The headline is horribly deceiving. This is nothing more than an arrivals lounge with shower rooms that happens to be at an airport hotel. It’s not a free hotel night as this headline would suggest.

When US Airways still flew to LGW, they used day rooms at a connected hotel and called it their arrivals lounge. That’s all that this is. Notice that this benefit is limited to Europe when it’s your final destination and not a connecting point with the exception of Rome where there’s access to an Alitalia arrivals lounge. Is a lingering part of CO’s old alliance with SkyTeam?

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mark March 25, 2015 - 7:26 am

It’s a great post…but, yes, pretty misleading title.

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Jennifer March 25, 2015 - 8:12 am

Arrived a few hours ago in Amsterdam. United in Houston told me to ask a blue coat on arrival in AMS, but there weren’t any. Asked at the service desk and they called the Sheraton, who said to just come ahead with our boarding passes. Sheraton staff were friendly and offered use of their fitness center showers. I decided to ask them to call ahead to the Pulitzer for us, and our room was almost ready, so we decided not to use the shower, but it was available with a smile.

Jamie March 25, 2015 - 8:15 am

This would have beat the troubling coin operated showers at Geneva.

dwonderment March 25, 2015 - 8:42 am

Back in the 90s it was standard procedure to get a voucher for a hotel if traveling in business or first class on United
I think it ended around or before 9-11
The reason I don’t fly United is they are evil when it comes time to fix problems with tickets, service or amenities. There is no email or phone for most elites to get through to them to assist if there are problems. I avoid them like the plague

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stvr March 25, 2015 - 12:44 pm

Second everyone else on this thread who said this benefit is impossible to actually obtain. True.

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al613 March 26, 2015 - 4:13 pm

Is it only for Europe? How about arriving from Europe to US?

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