Why Did United Airlines Club Passes Go Digital?

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For years, I enjoyed receiving my two complimentary United Club passes (hard copy) on my United Explorer card anniversary. The cards would go on the refrigerator until I chose to use them or gift them to some of my friends.  Either way, I enjoyed having the cards in my possession. Some time earlier this year, United decided to go to digital passes for cardmembers. On the surface, it seemed like a decent enough plan, even if it meant saving a few bucks by not having to mail anything.

Here is how United decided to inform customers of the digital passes.  I first received a trifold, four weeks prior to my card anniversary (the same trifold that the passes were delivered in the past). The trifold congratulated me on another year of loyalty.

United Airlines Club PassesUnited Airlines Club Passes

The trifold then went on to tell me how to access the United Club passes. The first set of instructions were for United’s mobile app:

  1. Open the United app (or download the app)
  2. Sign into your MileagePlus account
  3. Locate the navigation bar on the home screen right below the United logo
  4. Scroll to the “United Clubs” tab
  5. Select the one-time pass you would like to use
  6. Show it to the United Club agent along with your same-day boarding pass

The next line literally said this, “Prefer to Print Them“? What????? The company goes through all of the hassle to introduce digital cards, but still emails them to the customers in case they want to print. This process instantly became more complicated than it needed to. I will say that the emailed passes did arrive a few days before the digital passes.

United Airlines Club Passes

Final Word

Like I said earlier, I liked the passes that were mailed to cardholders in the past.  The passes were straightforward.  At least with the new process, customers should not have to worry about forgetting to grab their passes off of the refrigerator prior to leaving for the airport. I feel that United, while trying to be innovative, cost themselves more time and money with this new process.

Am I off base here?

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