united airlines

United Codeshare Email | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 5, 2018

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I wanted to share a short post today about a recent email experience. I know that I just wrote about United Airlines and being irritated with their website, but I’m back with another issue. This time with an email that my husband Will received from United regarding a flight he booked with United but that was being run through a codeshare partner.

Let’s take a look:

OK. Let’s get into it.

  1. This email is plain text. Really?
  2. There is NO clarification on what “RS and/or its partners” is.
  3. There are no convenient links. The words “(whatever) website” should NEVER appear anywhere without being a link. This is internet 101.

I can’t with this. It is 2018 and this is a MAJOR corporation, in charge of hurling people through the air across great distances. How can this be acceptable?! United, get it together.

Tweet me and tell me your biggest email pet peeve.

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While I do not fly as much as I used to, I have managed to largely stay loyal to United Airlines for many years. I figured that at some point I would attempt to purchase flights with those miles so I wanted to gather them up. After having been largely unsuccessful at planning trips using miles, I started using the miles to buy meals at Newark airport. I have a good amount of miles though, so I would really like to purchase flights.

It all goes downhill from here.

My issue is essentially this – United.com will not allow you to create one reservation with one segment paid with miles and one segment a regular flight purchase. This is what happened when I entered my preferred travel dates and told United.com to “search award travel” and then chose flights that worked for me.

Why. I know from other shopping that the return flight for 2 people doesn’t cost anything near $1,264, so why would I pay for that many miles?

One step earlier in the process, here’s the screen presentation after I’ve chosen one segment.

I have already chosen flights that will cost 25,000 miles. There are NO options available on all of United.com for me to spend less than an additional 25,000 miles for 2 tickets, so why am I not getting a message here, telling me that and allowing me to proceed to search for the return flights as I would normally, while not shopping for award travel? This should not be so complicated.

Let’s fix it!

Here it is. I have greyed out the page and created a pop-up so the situation is incredibly clear.

I could be redirected to the same version of the page I see when I’m looking to purchase flights with actual dollars and not miles.

Is United banking on the fact that this is frustrating and so most people will give up and just buy the flights they want? Come to think of it, I have not heard anyone tell me that any one airline is amazing at this.

If you know of one, let me know! I would genuinely like to hear about it.

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A bit of a random post today, but something that made me so happy for a few reasons.

A few weeks ago, we went to Florida for a long weekend. It has actually been a while since we had flown out of Terminal C at Newark Liberty, so we were surprised to see all of the renovations and how you can eat something at almost every area of the terminal. There are raw bars right next to the gates! Anyway, the best addition was something I was not aware of and did not expect to find, but I’m so glad that an evolution with airline miles is happening.

We went to Vesper in Terminal C because it was close to our gate, and we didn’t want oysters. We saw a pretty basic menu, a bit overpriced, but we have come to expect that in the airport. We sat down, and like many other swanky upgraded terminals, there were iPads on the table for us to order food, play games, read the news, etc.

Please note that these are pictures of the screen from my iPhone 6. (The previous link is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.)

Home screen – I am immediately captured by the feature banner telling me how much a glass of wine costs, in miles. What is this new development?

I moved on to look at burgers, and there you have it. You can pay with money, or you can pay with miles. I was so excited for this, and I will tell you why.

I have been a loyal customer of United Airlines since it was Continental Airlines. It certainly helps that I live in New Jersey and that Newark Liberty is a United hub, so there are lots of flights for me, but no matter. This is the airline I have used for ages. Will and I have amassed nearly 90,000 miles in our frequent flyer miles accounts, and it is intensely frustrating how I can never find reward travel that works for us. I don’t need to receive 5 magazine subscriptions, which for years seems like the only offer I was receiving in the mail for “how to spend your miles.” If you don’t use them or fly again within a certain time period, you lose them. Without better options to spend them or use them, I’m sure there are a lot of miles that are lost.

Mild frustration here, if you are adding to your order, it doesn’t tell you the mileage cost on the item detail page.


A look at the checkout process. Again, I find it unfortunate that they cannot preview the prices of the add-ons, but I loved that I could add gratuity and pay for the entire meal with my miles.

I clicked “pay with award miles,” and it was done. 6,100 miles paid for a lunch that would have cost something like $40 – $50. I am not against paying for lunch, but the thrill of a way to use miles that didn’t feel like a total waste and something I didn’t actually NEED (hello, magazines) was really satisfying.

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