April 30, 2017

Saving on United Flights with United.com Club

United has some seriously confusing branding.  This post is about the "united.com Club" vs. the "United Club" which is the name for United's lounge system.  First, let's get a few things straight:
  • The United Club used to be called the Red Carpet Club which was a pretty awesome name.
  • The united.com Club used to be called the Travel Club @ continental.com which was a really dumb name.
United bought Continental so they obviously had to rebrand.  I'm not sure any club should have the name ".com" in it but that's a different conversation.  

I've been a member of this "club" for five year nows.  It costs $25 a year and provides a $5 rebate for each United ticket booked through United.  That is seriously the only benefit.  I almost always book directly through United (vs. an OTA - Online Travel Agency) so this is a great deal for me.  The only reason (now) to book away from United directly is the 5x MR points on airfare through Amex travel on the Platinum card.

If I'm booking a roundtrip and I can break it into two one-ways for the same price, I will do that as I'll earn $10 back vs. $5.  I've also found that I still get the $5 even if I'm booking for other people.     I was looking at my activity this morning - in 5 years, I've received $500 in credits for $125 in fees.  Pretty solid return!

It is very easy to redeem from the "Travel Bank"

The credits end up in a "travel bank" which makes it very easy to use.  When on the checkout screen, just click the radio button to redeem and your credit is automatically applied to the price of the ticket.  I have typically waited until that amount gets to $100 or so and then used them. But you could totally redeem $10 here, $5 there if you'd like.

It's interesting that United doesn't do a lot of marketing around this club.  Perhaps they're just keeping it around because there are loyal members from the Continental days.  Doesn't really matter to me as long as I continue to get the opportunity to save $100 or so a year on $25 in spend.

1 comment:

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