United takes a stab at more personal marketing


I rarely read the emails I get from United Airlines any more. They simply aren’t all that relevant most of the time. Sure, I’ll look at what the weekend specials are but really just to see what I won’t be buying. For some reason – maybe because I’m up way too early this morning – I happened to open my October MileagePlus Statement email and scan through it. And I found this:

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The first two "Fun Facts" are actually pretty decent marketing blurbs worked in to the message. The second two were most definitely personal, but I’m not so sure they are actually doing what United wants. I suppose a reminder that I went to Singapore is useful. And maybe in some of my more ridiculous mileage run months I could have a much larger collection of airports listed. But I have to wonder if this sort of information is relevant or useful to the broader customer base. Maybe they’re only using that for people who fly a lot. After all, a reminder that "You didn’t go anywhere last month" probably isn’t so effective.

Either way, slightly interesting to see them trying to incorporate a bit of personal data into their marketing efforts. This isn’t a particularly new thing really; last year it was JetBlue showing the value of similar targeting. And the numbers seem to work. Expect more going forward.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

5 Comments

  1. Very interesting. I just looked at my statement. I received the same two marketing messages about the Marriott Marquis and E+, but no personalized messages about the airports. Granted, most of the flights I took we’re on *A partners, but most of the airports visited were still UA airports, too. Their targeting might still be limited to the UA-only ecosystem and/or you’re in the Beta group.

  2. I also got the two marketing messages only. In September, I flew 3 UA segments and made reservations on a further 5 – but clearly very uninteresting as none of it was worthy of comment by UA.

    I do slightly worry about personalized marketing. I fly a particular route regularly and UA must know it. If there is a promotion on that route, then it would be great to receive an email about the promotion. However, my concern is that they may choose instead to offer slightly higher prices to me on that route as they know I’m going to use it anyway.

  3. I only got the first two as well. Maybe next month I’ll see something as I have two trips to Europe and a couple transcons…all on UA

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