United MileagePlus Explorer Card Commercial Undersells Itself

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card commercial gives us a Goofus and Gallant type situation regarding two travelers–coworkers, I assume.  One traveler clumsily navigates the airport process whereas the other knows a few shortcuts.  I cannot find the commercial online, so I’ll briefly lay out the commercial:

Goofus avoids checking bags to save the baggage fee and lugs around heavy bags.
Gallant is able to check his bag for free and wander the airport unencumbered.

Goofus searches for hidden power outlets and stays awkwardly perched against the wall.
Gallant hangs out in the United lounge, enjoying a beverage while he chooses from a cornucopia of outlets.

Goofus boards in a late boarding groups, risking having to gate check his luggage.
Gallant boards in an early boarding group, easily finding room for his minimal luggage (remember, he was able to check his bag for free).

Gallant’s “secret” is that he has the United MileagePlus Explorer Card.  (Tada!)

I’ve been seeing this commercial since around December.  So why bring it up now?  I recently had an epiphany.

Although Gallant did have the “secret weapon,” he missed one of its secrets.  Poor Goofus had to board late and potentially gate check his luggage, while Gallant sat on the plane, grinning and shrugging.  But they were traveling companions!  When people are “traveling companions” on a United Flight, they board at the soonest boarding group together, not separately.  Gallant needed only walk with Goofus to get him on the plane.

(I’m at least assuming he didn’t know about this and didn’t intentionally leave his coworker behind.  Otherwise, my whole narrative is thrown off and he is less gallant and more of a jerk! 😉 )

The benefits the commercial was trying to outline:

  • First checked bag is free
  • Two free club passes a year
  • Priority Boarding

My guess is that someone from Chase made the commercial and perhaps was not as familiar with the ways these benefits interact with United’s rules.  But if you do get a Chase MileagePlus Explorer Card, be a good travel companion, please!  Let them board with you rather than teaching them about the card through boarding without them.  Trust me, your friendship will survive the first better!

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. This commercial has caught my eye too, but mostly because the Club Passes part is a bit misleading. It implies, to me, that club access is a privilege of the card which of course it is not. Also I was bothered by how the self-proclaimed savvy dufus was so puzzled by the secret of having a high-end co-branded card.

    All of that said, great point. When I fly with my fiancée on American, my Plat status doesn’t show up on her ticket but I’ve never had any trouble asserting that my status should apply to her as well.

  2. I don’t think Gallant wants to be friends with Goofus!

  3. The free lounge access wont be given until the 1st anniversary anyways, right?

  4. @chummy: It looks like you get it at account opening and on the anniversary each year.

    “TWO UNITED CLUB PASSES: You will receive two (2) Club passes after account opening and every account anniversary thereafter. Please allow 8 – 10 weeks after account opening for delivery of Club passes. “

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