Today in Quartz membership: United’s secret, ultra-elite status

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Hi there, Quartz members! And a happy new year to you all!

The mystery behind United Global Services

The Quartz membership is charged with making you smarter. Our field guides do that by taking us down a (fascinating! eye-opening!) rabbit hole on a given topic that’s driving the new global economy.

Today, we’re going to try another way to be smarter. Our reporter Hilary Sargent is at the start of an expedition to discover the ins and outs of traveling efficiently, intelligently, and enjoyably. This is her first dispatch, on the super-secret, ultra-elite, frequent-flier tier United won’t even acknowledge exists, called Global Services. Its members are treated as if they’re CEOs of the airline, and heaven and Earth is moved to make sure they are satisfied.

We have lots of other travel-related ideas to pursue in 2019, all of which are designed to help you get the most out of what can be a bureaucratic, confusing, Kafkaesque nightmare if you don’t know the tricks of the trade. We aim to arm you with those tricks in the coming year, and I’m eager to know what you think are most useful to know—drop me a line at the email address below.

Next week: A journey to the moon

Starting Monday, we’ll have a new field guide providing an in-depth look at efforts to return to the moon. What used to be a competition between nations has expanded to include private industry. And with the tantalizing possibility of water on the moon, Earth’s satellite could prove to be a critical piece in the puzzle of getting to places like Mars and beyond.

Let’s keep learning. Send ideas, questions, comments, and a welcome champagne to

Hope you have a rewarding day (and year),

Sam Grobart

Quartz membership editor