Skift Take

This partnership is good news for United's most frequent customers. But will the deal between Clear and United enable the tech company to get a leg up on TSA PreCheck's dominance?

Series: Business of Loyalty

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The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.

Clear, the company that offers expedited biometric screening in two dozen airports across the country, has a new cohort of customers coming its way. The security company announced last week a new partnership with Chicago-based United Airlines to offer MileagePlus elite frequent flyers free or discounted access to the program. Top-tier Global Services and 1K members now get a free annual Clear membership while other elites get tiered discounts.

As part of the transaction, United also made an investment in the company, though as Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill reported, the terms of that deal were undisclosed. What was disclosed, however, was that United is committed to bringing the security technology to all of its hubs.

Whether passengers take advantage of the new access is still unclear. Since its foundation, Clear has always walked the fine line of offering expedited identity authentication against the backdrop of the TSA’s Precheck program, which offers expedited screening. And though 70% of Clear’s members are also members of Precheck, some may find it difficult to select between the two when faced with one product over another. Clear went bankrupt in 2009, and since then its partnerships — like a similar setup with Delta — have been key to expanding the company’s user base.

Bringing United’s new cohort of elites into the program should help raise Clear’s visibility as well as provide some operating capital to the fledgling company.  And for United’s frequent flyers, the access is hard to argue with.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor 

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

united o'hare airport screening lanes source unitedUnited Invests in Clear to Offer Frequent Flyers Easier Screening: United Airlines and Clear said the carrier plans to bring the tech company’s biometric screening to hubs in Chicago, Houston, and Newark. United, which has made an undisclosed strategic equity investment in the New York-based startup, will offer special rates for this service to its frequent flyers.

Red Roof Inn Launches Aggressive Price-Match Guarantee to Boost Direct Bookings: Red Roof’s new best-rate guarantee program provides a strong incentive to anyone who finds a cheaper room rate through a third-party site. With hotel distribution channels tightening up though, consumers may have a hard time finding those deals.

United Airlines Confronts Ticketing Ploy That Nets Travelers Cheaper Fares: United Airlines wants airport agents to monitor what it calls “a growing trend” of so-called hidden-city ticketing, or passengers who book cheap fares to cities they do not intend to visit to save money. United is asking agents to cite possible scofflaws to its corporate security department, according to a new internal memo.

Hilton Seeks More Partnerships to Entice Low-Tier Loyalty Members: More than ever before hotel brands are determined to maximize revenue from their loyalty offerings. Hilton is looking to do this at both ends of the spectrum.

Air Canada Pays 737 Max Pilots to Not Fly as Grounding Drags On: Think U.S. airlines have it tough with the Boeing 737 Max grounding? At least they can keep pilots busy during the lengthy grounding, since they can fly older versions of the same airplane. Air Canada has no such opportunity, as executives made clear on their second-quarter earnings call, and it’s hampering the airline’s ability to operate efficiently.

Hyatt Feels Pinch From Lower Group Business in Its Hometown of Chicago: Hyatt’s second-quarter earnings performance had its share of ups and downs. The company reported total revenue-per-available-room (RevPAR) growth of 1.3 percent, along with revenue of $1.2 billion. Profits also jumped 10 percent to $86 million. Yet a slowdown in the chain’s U.S. group business and select-service hotel segment undermined results, Hyatt said on its earnings call.

IHG CEO: Guests Are Pressuring Hotels to Reduce Plastics, Not Governments: InterContinental Hotels Group announced plans to replace its single-use plastic toiletry bottles with “bulk-size amenities” by 2021 globally, in an effort to curb plastic waste.

Lufthansa Ready at Home in Germany for Long Battle With Low-Cost Rivals: Lufthansa Group is preparing for a sustained battle with low-cost competitors Ryanair and EasyJet in its home market of Germany.

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Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Tags: clear, loyalty, united airlines

Photo credit: Will the new deal between Clear and United enable the tech company to get a leg up on TSA PreCheck's dominance? Skift

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