Travel credit

United Airlines

Updating how loyalty members transfer flexible premier credit

Travel credit


  • Project scope: 5 months
  • Role: Product manager/business analyst, UX designer
  • Product type: Responsive web (desktop, tablet, mobile)
  • Tools: Pen, paper, Axure, JIRA, Zeplin, Confluence, Slack

There are a select group of United Airlines loyalty members that receive the benefit of Flexible Premier Credit based on the credit card they hold. This flexible credit can be used to help achieve Premier status for the next year, or for a select few months at the beginning of the year members can choose to have their credit apply for current year status. Members like that this special program allows them the flexibility to choose.

The loyalty stakeholders redesigned the Premier program starting in 2020 to have different qualifiers for member status, resulting in a need to redesign the flexible credit transfer experience. This flow was housed on an old codebase, so a replatform and redesign were both needed. This project was broken into two phases for flexible credit:

  • Phase 1: Account for both 2019 and 2020 premier qualifiers depending if the user was transferring to past or current year. This had a 3 month scope.
  • Phase 2: Sunset 2019 premier qualifiers and only account for 2020 qualifiers in the flexible credit flow. This had a 2 month scope.

The challenge

Replatform and redesign the flexible credit transfer experience to account for two years of different premier qualifiers.

  • Design needs to be flexible to account for both phases being released.
  • Provide visibility on current flex balance and their current Premier progress.
  • Incorporate informative text throughout the flow.
  • Stop users from transferring more than they need.
  • Have account activity synchronized to display the transfer line item when transfer is confirmed.

What I did

  • 1:1 discussions with stakeholders to understand current flex credit experience
  • Pen/paper sketching
  • Mid-fidelity wireframing in Axure
  • Requirements gathering
  • Analyzed backend service with JSON file examples
  • Story mapping
  • User story writing
  • Listed acceptance criteria for features
  • Lead grooming/kick-offs/desk-checks
  • Continuous communication between DEV and QA teams during development
  • Facilitated discussions between product DEV team and backend services team
  • Performed Product Owner review, quality and usability assurance testing, and sign-off on stories
  • Cross-communication between digital teams
  • Release planning coordination

Pen and paper sketches:

Before beginning initial sketches, I held preliminary meetings with our main business and technology stakeholders to understand the needs of the product. I translated this feedback into initial pen and paper sketches to better visualize the credit transfer flow prior to starting mid-fidelity sketching.

Flex sketches

Mid-fidelity wireframes:

After reviewing my initial sketches with our Principal Product Designer for feedback, I translated my sketches over into mid-fidelity wireframes using Axure. This flow involved a lot of math conversions, so it was important to make sure we were never making the user do any math. I provided a balance container on the right throughout the flow as a visual reminder of the current balances.

After the user inputs the amount to transfer on the “Transfer Flexible Premier qualifying points” page, the next step of the flow allows the user to review their transfer before the service call is made to transfer their fexible credits. On the review page, we provide the math for the user to know their new balances after the transfer.

The UI follows United’s style guide primary and secondary calls-to-action, links, and the summary container.

I reviewed my mid-fidelity wireframes with our Principal Product Designer. She then provided feedback and used these wireframes as a guide for her high-fidelity designs.

Flex wireframe transfer year
Flex wireframe transfer year
Flex wireframe transfer year
Flex wireframe transfer year

The result

We released phase 1 in January 2020 which allowed for users to transfer using old and new premier qualifiers depending on the year they were transferring to. The UX experience allowed for an easy transition in May 2020 for our phase 2 release where we sunset the old premier qualifier flex transfer experience. Loyalty stakeholders were excited to see the updates to the look and feel of the flex flow for customers, and digital stakeholders were happy to have the flow moved to the new React platform.

In the second release, we also made the flow dynamic to account for future years automatically without needing to go into the codebase.

Final flexible credit UX design by May Cheng:

Flex wireframe transfer year