Delivered: Airline Rewards

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What's in our mailbox this month: Airline rewards mailers

United Airlines flies high with its rewards offer—the beauty is in its simplicity. The bi-fold, single-page mailer has the company name, a photo of an alluring tropical location, and the enticement “Your miles can take you places.” on the front; the member's name, total miles, the miles' expiration date, and ways to spend and earn miles are on the inside. The airy yet detailed layout is easy on the eyes, and United's eschewing of an envelope is easy on Mother Nature.

Although more about a partner offer than miles earned through travel, Continental Airlines' mailer is still a win. One page answers frequently asked questions about earning and using miles, and the other details the reward: the potential to earn up to 12,500 OnePass bonus miles after switching to Energy Plus. Its minimal fine print and blue-on-white color scheme provides an air of professionalism that gives the reader peace of mind. However, the yellowy-orange print detracts a bit from the message.


American Airlines' tri-fold mailer is a great example of what could have been. The lack of an envelope and the snowflake background make it easy and enticing to look further, but what readers see next could ground their future flights. The nearly two pages of fine print gives the reader reason to pause—so much so that the even the generous bonus offer of receiving 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 over three months might not restart their engines.



Southwest's mailer is simply too much. If the two-page, tri-fold program information and sign-up sheet wasn't enough to dissuade the recipient from responding, then the separate tri-fold pricing information and return envelope certainly did the trick. Although the offer is great—the potential to secure two roundtrip flights—the excessive fine print amid the pages of information sends the reader more of a red flag than a welcome.

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