United Airlines Offering Free Travel To Vaccinated Passengers

United Airlines MileagePlus members can win free flights by uploading their proof of vaccination to its mobile app by June 22. They call it “Your Shot To Fly.” Ha ha ha.

The airline will give away a prize each day in June,

  • roundtrip flight for two
  • valid for premium class of service
  • to any United destination

On July 1 they will award 5 sweepstakes winners a grand prize of a year of travel, valid for premium cabin to any United destination.

The truth is that you don’t need to be vaccinated to enter. You can complete an entry form online and upload your CDC vaccination card, or just enter by mail without proof of vaccination,

To enter online, visit united.com & complete entry form with valid COVID-19 vax card. For mail entry (if you are vaccinated and concerned about privacy or aren’t vaccinated due to health or religious reasons), send your email address, name, full address, phone number & MileagePlus number to MileagePlus Vax Sweepstakes, PO Box 158, Freeburg, IL 62243-0158. Your info must match MileagePlus account info. Limit 1 entry per person & per MileagePlus member.

Buried in the details is that the prizes are better than the headline even suggests because they include cash, which helps with the taxes.

5 Grand Prizes: 1-year free flights for 2 (traveling together and limited to 26 roundtrip flights) & $275,000. ARV: $784,600 each.

30 1st Prizes: roundtrip flight for 2 worldwide & $7,700. ARV: $27,300 each.

Ohio of course is running a cash lottery for vaccinated residents. This was followed by efforts in Maryland, New York and Oregon. The Ohio lottery appears to have driven a bump up in vaccination.

It’s going to be a lot of different efforts to get incremental vaccination in the United States. Some of it is incentives, some is driving excitement along the lines of this lottery, Ohio’s lottery, or holding vaccine clinics in strip clubs,

“I was going to wait, I tell you that,” said Las Vegas resident Michael Myers as he stood between a full-length picture of a naked woman and a sign promoting social distancing and other behaviors to mitigate the virus spread.

Myers’ wife, Lisa Harper, said he changed his mind when she told him they could both get it at the Hustler club.

…“Nothing says vaccinations like a stripper pole,” said the couple’s friend George Stoecklin, who joined them to get his shot.

…Myers said he was disappointed there were no dancers on the stage while he got his shot but said, “at least I got the scope of it.”

…The club offered its own incentives to those who show proof of vaccination: a membership card giving them and five friends free admission, a complimentary bottle of alcohol, dances from “a vaccinated entertainer” and other perks.

United, in its news release about the vaccine travel lottery, frames this as being “in support of the Biden administration’s national effort to encourage people to get vaccinated.” That’s gratuitous, though we can debate whether it is in furtherance of the airline’s increasingly left-leaning politics or because U.S. airlines are now creatures of the state after $79 billion in Covid-era bailouts and the prospect of increasing funds as part of infrastructure and green fuels efforts (and whether those two things are related).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I really gotta agree with @JohnB. You just HAVE TO throw in a political comment to up the comments/vitriol/conflict.

    You used to provide insightful conflict on airline operations and frequent flyer programs. The blog has turned into a Mad Libs of “mask conflict,” “vaccine information” and “politics”.

  2. Brilliant! Whatever it takes to get the skeptical masses off their asses.

  3. Some winners of United Airlines, “Your Shot to Fly Sweepstakes,” may travel on a packed United Airlines aircraft, catch COVID-19, and die. As United Airlines serves states with low vaccination rates, renaming this promotion to “Your Shot to *Die* Sweepstakes” could be more appropriate.

  4. @Ken A

    Perhaps if UA threw in a “Date Night with Marjorie Taylor Greene” it would motivate ya? I’m sure she’s your type.

  5. I don’t want to enter because the tax liability is too high. For the one trip prize with $7000, they value it at $27K. That will result in a state and federal income tax of between $7000 and $14000. I suppose I could not use the voucher and try to get a revised 1099 form but what a hassle.

  6. @JetAway: As a health care professional, we received our immunizations beginning in December. I was trying to convince some college student freshmen to take a chance on winning free travel on United Airlines as an incentive for receiving their COVID-19 immunization. Credit for naming the sweepstakes should go to potential traveling Gen Y and Gen Z millennials. I think they might be too young to take advantage of “Date Night with Marjorie Taylor Greene,” but you never know.

  7. Shots with strippers… Makes it sound like a holiday charity like Shop with a Cop

    Sheesh

  8. It seems to me they could quite easily require proof for any winner who enters via mail. I think we need a combination of carrots and sticks in order to end the pandemic.

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