I recently had a co-worker ask me about how they should buy a United 1 time pass for a long layover in Newark while flying United. Here is my response:
"I’d be happy to help.
It’s important to note that while I love getting lounge access at airports, I never actually pay for it directly. Instead, I get it via credit card perks. Whether or not it makes sense to pay directly or get it from a perk of a credit card depends on the person. In some cases, flyers might get a card one year, get the sign-up bonus, use the sign-up bonus & lounge access, then downgrade to a no-annual-fee card in year 2 if they’re not getting positive expected value after the first year. If you did end up wanting to apply for a card, sometimes, but not always (i.e. not on the Ritz option, AA option, or United options), I have a referral link available, where if you used that instead of the public offer, I, my wife, or my dad could get some points ourselves. In some cases with referral links, the one who applies could get significantly more points in the sign-up bonus available than that which is available with the public offer. I’m not including any referral links below, but feel free to let me know if there’s a card you want to apply for below if you want to use a referral link. Even if there isn’t any elevated bonus from a referral link, it’s a free way for you to say thank you for my time.
For lounge access in Newark there are a number of things I’d recommend that you consider, in addition to a United club 1 time pass direct purchase, including the direct answer to your question (in bold):
Lounge Options in Newark
United lounge options
i. Standard United lounges. If wanting to do a United lounge in Newark, I would recommend the new lounge located near C123. I’ve been there, it’s relatively new, it’s well rated (4/4 on Lounge Buddy, better than any other lounge at Newark airport), and it has fantastic offerings. Here are some pictures I took there recently. Here’s an article (& here’s another, with more pics) from a few travel hackers I follow with reviews of it.
ii. United Polaris lounges are significantly pricier and I wouldn’t recommend exploring those options. While the offerings are going to likely be superior to the example I just mentioned, they’re not rated 4/4 by Lounge Buddy.
2. Other lounge options that are available cross carriers (i.e. via Priority Pass that come with credit cards like the Venture X & Ritz Carlton credit card) are present via certain credit cards, but the hours are limited & may not work or be optimal for you, depending on the scenario.
i. Virgin Atlantic ClubHouse is open to Priority Pass members + 2 guests from 7 AM-10:30 AM & 3:30 PM-11:30 PM. It’s rated ¾. ii. British Airways Galleries Club is rated ¾, & available to Priority Pass members from 8 AM-2 PM to those with cards like the Venture X for the cardholder (& authorized users) plus 2 guests, but supposedly there’s no food in your scenario likely (though if considering further I would recommend contacting the lounge directly to see due to the age of the review that states that of 2018).
To directly purchase a United Club 1 time pass, it’s best done in the United app, not the United website.
Credit cards that provide access to lounge networks no matter what carrier you fly with. Typically access is available for you plus 2 other people at these lounges unless airline-specific cards. Also typically once acquiring the card you need to sign up for Priority Pass through the card for free.
United Credit cards are another option for lounge access, & how I have gotten access to United lounges, including for my recent pics at the United Club I mentioned in Newark.