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United improves the rebooking experience during delays, cancellations

Nov. 04, 2020
3 min read
United improves the rebooking experience during delays, cancellations
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In January, I flew on Air Canada's Airbus A220 inaugural flight from Montreal to Calgary and back.

On the way back home, we were delayed due to deicing, and I missed my connecting flight. When I deplaned in Montreal, an agent was waiting for me with a hotel confirmation, a meal voucher and a new boarding pass for the following day. A pretty seamless experience for a misconnection, or so I thought.

Well, United is upping the ante for handling irregular operations.

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Effective immediately, United Airlines has rolled out a digital — and touchless — solution to handle re-accommodations during extended delays and cancellations.

Dubbed Hotel Hub, this technology will automatically reach out to eligible customers when a controllable delay or cancellation triggers a forced overnight stay lasting six hours or longer.

The notification will be sent via text message and/or email, depending on the contact preferences you selected during booking. After clicking the link, you'll be able to browse, select and book a hotel room at United's expense. (UA partners with Travelliance for real-time hotel inventory that varies based on the airport.)

Additionally, you'll have the option of obtaining digital meal vouchers during the hotel booking process. The amount and value will differ based on the severity of the delay. If your flight is delayed — but doesn't require an overnight stay — you'll still need to visit an agent to receive a paper meal voucher.

This touchless innovation will allow affected customers to completely avoid queuing for an agent — saving both the customer and agent time. Plus, the new United mobile app makes self-service flight rebooking simpler than ever, another reason to avoid approaching the counter.

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Do note that if you're looking to get rebooked on another carrier, like American or Delta, you'll still need to physically speak to an agent, and possibly a supervisor, too. (Rebooking across carriers is possible due to an interline agreement between United and its two largest competitors.)

For now, Hotel Hub is available at all seven United hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington, D.C. (IAD). Following this pilot phase, UA plans to expand the program to 46 more airports beginning in January 2021, with the full list at the bottom of this post.

American Airlines debuted a similar program back in 2018. AA's Hotel, Meal and Transportation system (HMT) replaced paper vouchers, allowing customer service agents to distribute vouchers via passenger email address. AA customers can search hotel databases to find real-time availability during overnight delays.

As a Premier 1K, I'm particularly excited about United's new offering. In addition to the time savings, selecting my preferred hotel is a welcome improvement. Previously, I've relied on customer service agents to suggest nearby offerings. Now, I'll be searching for the best — and most convenient — airport hotel offered.

The full list of airports that will offer Hotel Hub in 2021 is: ATL, AUS, BDL, BIL, BNA, BOS, BWI, CMH, CLE, CLT, CVG, DCA, DFW, DTW, FLL, HNL, IND, ITO, KOA, LAS, LGA, LIH, MCI, MCO, MIA, MSP, MSY, OGG, OMA, PDX, PHL, PHX, PIT, RDU, RNO, RSW, SAN, SAT, SEA, SJC, SLC, SMF, SNA, STL, TPA and TUL.

See below for screenshots of the Hotel Hub in action

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TPG featured card

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

1 - 10X points
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

80,000 bonus points
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®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

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
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