MileagePlus

This post is just a little side story that gave me a good chuckle.

My Dad wanted to make sure his United number is attached to the flight. (This is one of the things we talked about during our aforementioned meeting.) He didn’t have the number with him then, so the next day (Saturday I think) he drove his United card to our house so Kate could add it to the reservation. Kate tried, but United wasn’t having any of it–at which point she started to wonder if the card is still valid.

For starters, it had raised numbers–that doesn’t necessarily mean the card is old, but it is a good sign since most membership cards are printed as cheaply as possible now. Also it wasn’t very many digits. Finally, the logo looked a bit different than we’re used to. When I got home, Kate showed me the card, and we couldn’t help but start to question just how old the card actually is. Our internet hunt began…

We first tried United.com, to see if they had photos of current and previous cards. The site only had current versions, and this definitely wasn’t one of those designs. But we figured there had to be some record of the previous cards somewhere–maybe Wikipedia, maybe The Points Guy, somewhere. And indeed there was.

We discovered an aviation enthusiast who documented every MileagePlus card since 1989–giving us a great history of United’s program and aesthetic evolution. But even on his blog, the card was not to be found (though some of the earlier ones looked pretty close). I thought we had reached a dead-end. That is, until I started to actually read the blog. In one post he describe how bummed he was at loosing his 1988 card, and described it precisely, down to the smallest detail. HIs description was a perfect match. That is, as a match match for the United card my father brought over on Saturday. Let me reiterate… the United card my dad provided was from 1988. Thirty-one years old.

And the condition was pristine.

I compare his card to any card I have, for any purpose, at any age… All of mine look like I scrape ice off my windshield with them on a regular basis. And we don’t have icey windows in North Carolina, so I question what on earth I must do for them to look so pathetic. I have to hand it to my dad–hs does keep things looking nice!

When I texted him that Kate and I had a good chuckle when we discovered the card he gave us was from the Reagan era, his reply was perfect. “My goal,” he said, “is alway to bring a smile to those I love.” Perfect.

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