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United just sent a brash email about flying confidently this holiday season

Nov. 04, 2021
3 min read
United just sent a brash email about flying confidently this holiday season
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With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, holiday travel is commanding headlines nationwide.

That's especially true in light of the recent airline meltdowns that we've seen, which most recently grounded much of American Airlines' operation.

One carrier which has largely escaped unscathed, so far, is United. Aside from a nationwide meltdown at one of its regional affiliates (Skywest), the Chicago-based carrier hasn't had a days-long operational disruption like we've seen this year with American, Delta, Spirit and Southwest.

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Now, United is trying to use that to its advantage — marketing to its flyers in a recent email that you can "fly with confidence this holiday season," the subject line reads.

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

From the outset, CEO Scott Kirby's message is clear: United has spent much of the pandemic charting a stable road to recovery, one which should convince travelers to fly it instead of one of its rivals.

The email touches on the unique ways that United is gearing up for holiday travel, starting with schedule stability. Unlike most of its rivals, United has taken a piece-wise approach to rebuilding its network — it hasn't flooded capacity in any one market to capitalize on "some short-term profits", the email reads.

Many of the operational meltdowns this year have resulted from an adverse weather event causing a domino effect across an airline network, due to overscheduled flight frequencies and short staffing.

Kirby's message continues to address the second point, staffing, by pointing to the fact that the airline reached an agreement with its pilots to keep them employed and ready to fly along the road to recovery.

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Interestingly, the CEO writes about how United has had fewer inflight disturbances — a nationwide issue in recent months — than its competitors. This is something that the airline has been saying for a few weeks, including most recently as part of its decision to restore liquor sales in the coach cabin.

The message ends with a discussion of United's vaccine mandate, which went into effect on Sept. 27 and has seen over 99% of United's workforce receive the vaccine, excluding those with documented exceptions who are now on leave from the company.

(Photo courtesy of United)

Other airlines will be working to implement the Biden vaccine mandate in the coming weeks, which could further impact staffing during the peak holiday period. For United, that journey is already complete, which, according to Kirby, "allows us to focus on taking care of our customers."

All told, sending this email to its customers is a bold move on United's part. As they say, "don't kick someone when they are down." While United may not have had a major operational meltdown during the pandemic, the airline is seemingly tempting fate.

"Yes, you can book with confidence on United," according to Kirby. But what happens if there's a major blizzard this holiday season in Chicago, Newark or Denver — three of United's largest hubs?

Only time will tell how the airline fares, but for now, United is using the recent industry meltdowns as a selling point for choosing it over its rivals this holiday season.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more