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Pfizer books United charter flights to position its COVID-19 vaccine

Nov. 28, 2020
3 min read
Pfizer books United charter flights to position its COVID-19 vaccine
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One of the most interesting things about the travel industry is that it's not just about bringing people from here to there and creating a transportation network that allows us to visit places that are very different from where we live. At its very core, the travel sector -- and its aviation industry, in particular -- also plays a large role in distributing goods around the globe. The airlines are masters of logistics so it's no wonder that the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that pharmaceutical company Pfizer has tapped United to help position the COVID-19 vaccine it developed in concert with BioNTech around the world.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved Pfizer's vaccine, the company is already tackling the immense challenge of distribution in a bid to be at the ready when approval is imminent.

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For its part on Friday, United Airlines began flying charter flights between Brussels International Airport and Chicago O'Hare to move doses of the vaccine so it's where it has to be when Pfizer is given the OK to begin vaccinating people.

While Pfizer hasn't released details about its plan, the WSJ obtained a Nov. 24 letter from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with information on vaccine distribution.

One of the interesting points included is United's request to carry more dry ice on its flights than is normally allowed. According to the reporting done by the Wall Street Journal, the FAA approved the airline to carry five times the normal amount of dry ice per flight. The 15,000 pounds of dry ice will be packed in Pfizer-developed boxes -- about the size of a suitcase -- that will keep the vaccine doses cold.

United won't be the only airline or transportation company involved in vaccine distribution (be it from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson). The Wall Street Journal article also talked about American Airlines' trial flights from Miami to South America, which is part of a test of the efficacy of its vaccine thermal packaging and procedures.

As we head into December, we'll likely hear more about how the airlines and companies like FedEx and UPS will assist with vaccine distribution. On Dec. 10, the FDA will meet to discuss Pfizer's request to authorize the emergency use of its vaccine in the United States. Moderna is expected to make a similar request to the federal agency in early December as well. Depending on the outcome of those meetings, approval to roll out one or more vaccines could happen as early as mid-December.

Featured image by (Photo by Ryan Patterson for The Points Guy)

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases