Skift Take

It's getting even harder to not be loyal to United Airlines if you are a frequent traveler in Denver.

Series: Business of Loyalty

Travel Loyalty News

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.

In the hub-and-spoke game of legacy airlines, frequent flyers living in a hub city are often forced into loyalty to the carrier that calls the airport home. In Detroit, for example, most passengers who don’t want to connect through Chicago or Atlanta fly on Delta. In Charlotte, it’s American. And among other airports that United calls home, Denver is one of its biggest hubs.

Now the prominence of Denver as a hub city for United is really starting to come into focus. At last Thursday’s Morgan Stanley 7th Annual Laguna Conference in Dana Point, California, United President Scott Kirby shared that the carrier was doubling down in Denver as a hub city. As Skift Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers reported, just recently the carrier was operating 360 flights daily out of the Mile High City. Now it’s up to 500.

For frequent flyers loyal to United, this news should be a boon. More direct flights means more opportunities for earning miles and fewer connections — or forced flights on other more convenient carriers, for that matter. And for those who still don’t have a MileagePlus frequent flyer card, there’s now further incentive to join the club.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor 

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

United Airlines Plays Up Its Denver Advantage as Global Routes Suffer: For United Airlines, China is weak, Hong Kong is “terrible,” Argentina is “pretty bad,” the rest of the world is “between OK and good,” and Denver is emerging as the airline’s “highest-margin hub,” the carrier’s president told investment analysts Thursday afternoon.

Datalex to Lose Lufthansa Tech Contract After Management Fiasco: Datalex, a software maker for airlines, continues to spiral after an accounting disaster last year. The company, based in Dublin, risks losing its largest customer, Lufthansa Group, while the tech vendor’s new bosses may choose to prosecute its former top bosses.

IATA CEO Wants Help, Not New Taxes, in Bid to Cut Airline Emissions: If governments are serious about reducing the environmental impact of aviation, they may have to make biofuels a more attractive alternative. However, this might come at the cost of taxing ordinary jet fuel, something that will likely upset a lot of airlines.

What Will Be Done to Stop ‘Occupy Airports’ in Asia? Just as Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport sit-in in 2008 has become a distant memory, the use of Hong Kong International Airport as protest grounds underscores how easily “occupy airports” can happen, leaving a trail of destruction for an unwitting victim: the travel and tourism industry.

Skift Global Forum Preview: CEO Wants to Build a Rival to Expedia: Setting up a site for selling plane tickets is fairly easy. Building a startup into a globally recognized travel agency is much harder.’s CEO Oliver Dlouhý believes his company can defy the odds. But what comes next may be the toughest part of the journey.

JetBlue Founder David Neeleman Considers Used Jets to Get Early Start at New U.S. Airline: Airline entrepreneur David Neeleman said his new U.S. airline would begin flights next year and may employ used Embraer SA planes cast off by his Brazilian carrier, Azul SA.

Anbang Sells Its U.S. Luxury Hotels to South Korea’s Mirae for $5.8 Billion: Anbang Insurance Group agreed to sell a luxury hotel portfolio for a little more than $5.8 billion to South Korea’s Mirae Asset Management, marking the end of the Chinese insurer’s short-lived investment in the properties.

British Airways Forced to Cancel Most Flights After Pilot Walkout: British Airways said it has had to cancel almost all flights as a result of pilots’ 48-hour strike over pay.

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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: frequent flyer programs, loyalty, united airlines

Photo credit: The prominence of Denver as a hub city for United is really starting to come into focus. United Airlines

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