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United is really paying a guy to hold up a 'thank you' sign

July 28, 2021
3 min read
United is really paying a guy to hold up a 'thank you' sign
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I fly a lot. Not as much as some on our team at TPG but I’m an “above average” traveler with lots of domestic “butt in seat” miles.

Yet, as I settled into my seat Wednesday morning for my transcontinental flight home, I saw something very unique and very strange.

One of the United Airlines ramp agents was pacing back and forth outside, from the front to the back of the plane, holding a giant sign saying: “THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING UNITED.”

Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy

I’d already had two cups of coffee but couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this a high school pep rally? Maybe somebody at United knew that I have elite status on American and Delta and wanted to woo me away? Again, was I dreaming?

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Then the purser got on the public address system and told those passengers in the window seats to look outside, that United had a special message for them. Ok, this was a thing.

On Tuesday, Delta announced that it was extending elite status for another year. On Wednesday, United gave me a guy with a sign.

Apparently this is a new campaign this month by the airline to thank customers. A bit of surprise and delight.

A source, who was not authorized to speak with media, told TPG that United kicked off the campaign in July to let customers to know how much it cares and appreciates their business.

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Related: What it’s like flying United’s newest flagship transcon routes from New York-JFK

Each hub has a flight picked out for the month where ramp agents hold up the signs. In Los Angeles, it was Flight 514 to JFK.

That makes sense since United has made a splashy return to JFK and it is one of the most-profitable routes in the country. My plane was the popular “high-J” 767-300 — a TPG favorite for its ample number of Polaris seats.

Plus, we now had a sign! It was almost like how airline employees in Japan give a modest bow to departing aircraft — almost.

I would have been upset if the flight was late, but we pushed back five minutes ahead of schedule. So no complaints there.

Moments earlier, as I was looking out the window at the sign, I started to wonder if Rhapsody in Blue would play. And like somebody was reading my mind, the safety video kicked off with that Gershwin classic.

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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees