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Clear, Marriott and United reunite families separated by COVID-19

May 06, 2021
4 min read
Clear, Marriott and United reunite families separated by COVID-19
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It was hard to hold back the tears.

After 14 months — or more — of separation, family after family was reunited on Thursday afternoon. There were hugs, kisses and even grandparents who met their 8-month-old grandchild for the first time.

Many of us may look back at the coronavirus pandemic as the time we were forced to stay at least 6 feet away from each other. But often, that distance was much farther.

Clear, the expedited security program that helps passengers speed through airports, teamed up with Marriott and United Airlines to help bring together a few dozen South Florida families who hadn't seen their relatives in the New York area for more than a year.

One by one they entered the field of MetLife Stadium as actor Neil Patrick Harris announced their entrance. "We Are Family" was blasting in the background, and confetti canons went off as each new family made their way onto the field, looking for their relatives.

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(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

The event wasn't just about these families, of course. Dozens of reporters — almost more than the number of reunited family members — were present, and each of the organizers had the same message: It's time for all of us to reconnect and start traveling again.

“I love watching people hug in airport reunions,” said Caryn Seidman-Becker, CEO of Clear. And since the beginning of the pandemic, she's wanted to do something to help replicate that feeling.

So she reached out to United, which is a Clear partner, and then Marriott, which is developing a partnership with Clear. (More on that in a moment.)

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(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Clear found the families and on Wednesday United flew up the 50 people on a special flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Newark (EWR) on a Boeing 737-800. The group stayed at the Renaissance New York Chelsea before being bused out to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium for their first in-person reunions.

“At United, we talk all the time about ‘connecting people,’ and that’s what today is all about,” said BJ Youngerman, the airline's managing director for market strategy development and strategic initiatives.

After the hugging and the crying, the families were then directed to spaced-out tables on the football stadium's field, where they had the first meal together in what seemed like ages.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

As for that potential partnership between Clear and Marriott, well, neither company would say much except that they'd been talking throughout the pandemic.

But it wasn't until this event that Clear's Seidman-Becker and Peggy Fang Roe, Marriott's global officer for customer experience, loyalty and new ventures, met in person. (Roe is the top executive in charge of the Bonvoy program.)

Currently, Marriott offers Clear’s Heath Pass to meeting organizers at its hotels and is now “looking at what else we might do together,” Roe said.

Marriott polls some of its members each week to see their feelings about travel and Roe notes that they are in “very different places and probably will be for some time.”

“The inertia is sort of keeping people at home," she added.

So, in many ways, Thursday's event was about showing folks that travel is possible — and it could help people get ready to take those first steps.

Featured image by (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023