FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Michael Covey Managing Director, MileagePlus, United Airlines

Feb 1, 2023
January/February 2023


Name: Michael Covey
Title: Managing director, MileagePlus
Company, city: United Airlines; Chicago, Illinois
First job: Re-shelving library books at age 13 for $4.15 an hour
Where to next: Singapore! I have never been there and I’m grateful Crazy Rich Asians is playing on our planes so I can know the top sites.

What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Adam Scott. He seems down-to-earth with incredibly versatile acting skills. I have a connection to Parks and Recreation, and his acting in Severance was second to none.

What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
I would be teaching French. In college I spent many hours studying 19th-century French literature, my major. I still read in French to keep up the skills, and now my daughter takes French in middle school, so I get to live that dream at home.

What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
I just reread Of Mice and Men, one of my favorites; a few of us in MileagePlus had a small book club to dig into the book’s themes. But my favorite book is The Power of One, historical fiction weaving the upbringing of a South African boy with the history of the nation. Reading it inspired an incredible trip to Africa.

What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
I would have dinner with Darwin and discuss what it was like when he traveled the world and landed in the Galápagos.

What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
We recently launched and continue to expand Money+Miles, a new form of payment allowing MileagePlus members to combine a custom amount of miles with cash to pay for flights. The team created this to increase flexibility for redeeming miles and make booking with miles more accessible.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
I have an incredibly diverse team. Some started careers on the tarmac, in medical software, in international research. Some have been at United for 10 years, some just starting. We include individuals from different countries, first-generation Americans and people with family in Chicago for generations. We have globetrotters and homebodies. Introverts and extroverts. I most enjoy coming together with our different perspectives to develop new concepts and ideas.

What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
The biggest risk was adjusting how members qualify for Premier status in 2019, moving toward a revenue-based program, away from distance-based. I was hesitant at first, as no other major U.S. carrier made this big shift; however, it made sense because some members spent high amounts at United but didn’t fly far enough to earn status.

Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
I leave out United employees because I admire so many, especially those who shattered glass ceilings. I’ll keep this to a group: I really admire all the individuals working to make travel more sustainable.

Tell us about a travel nightmare: My first trip as a parent, I was unprepared to travel with a 2-month-old. I now pack an emergency outfit for every member of the family. I will let your imagination fill in the gaps.

Share a comical travel experience: As an airline employee, almost all travel is a bit comical, as you show up to the airport, bags in hand, ready for an adventure with no idea if you’ll make it onto a plane. My family of four was attempting to travel to Europe. After the first three flights didn’t work out, we crossed our fingers for the last flight to London. We were the last four to get seats, and the gate agents joked to “run and find any open seat.” It was my son’s first trip with a portable DVD player, and he watched it for all eight hours. When we approached London, he said it was the best plane ride ever. This was before screen time was a thing!

What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? Planes, especially on award flights: a confirmed seat, cruising in the safest mode of travel at 550 mph to visit another country. Nothing beats saying, “Have a good weekend” on Friday afternoon and then Monday morning comes with a new stamp.

What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? When I took my family to South America, a teddy bear was waiting for my son on the bed in our room. I’m impressed when companies take information they have about customers and use it to put a smile on a traveler’s face. Recognition goes a long way for me in terms of customer service.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions


Insta Feed
Sep 27, 2023

On This Cruise, You’re Guaranteed to See the Northern Lights or Your Second One’s Free

There’s no doubt the northern lights are awe-inspiring and spectacular. Unfortunately, they’re also fickle and fleeting, and despite your best-laid plans of checking this item off your bucket list, sometimes Mother Nature’s luminescent show just doesn’t cooperate. But one cruise line has a new fail-safe in place.

The Ultimate Itinerary in The Islands of Tahiti

The Islands of Tahiti are among the most beautiful and sought-after vacation destinations in the world. The endless images of overwater bungalows with Bora Bora’s majestic peak towering over waters of every shade of blue have an intrinsic pull. But with 118 islands and atolls to explore, there is so much more to this spectacular region of the Pacific.

Sep 27, 2023

Sail Away on Dream Yacht Worldwide’s Easy Crewed Expeditions

Think you need a degree in sailing to enjoy a yachting holiday? Dream Yacht Worldwide, a leader in yacht charters, wants you to relax and enjoy the journey. Newly expanded to include the British Virgin Islands, Martinique, Tahiti and the Seychelles, the "Easy Crewed” offered by Dream Yacht Worldwide also include charter options in Greece and Croatia.

Sep 27, 2023

The Netherlands, Denmark Receive New UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2023

Two Scandinavian countries now boast a longer list of UNESCO World Heritage sites with the addition of five historic Viking-age ring fortresses in Denmark and a planetarium in Friesland, the Netherlands.

Join the Global Movement: GBTA Drives Business Travel Through Community, Learning and Advocacy

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) believes business travel is a fundamental force for good and brings the industry together to connect, innovate and set new standards. With members from across the globe, GBTA engages the many voices of business travel to build a collective future, providing a platform for buyers and suppliers to come together, connect with peers, grow their network and shape the future of the industry.

Sep 26, 2023

Perelman Performing Arts Center Opens in New York

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC), the cultural cornerstone and final public element of the World Trade Center site, opened this September.  The new performing arts center in Lower Manhattan provides a dynamic home for the arts, serving audiences and creators through flexible venues enabling the facility to embrace wide-ranging artistic programs.

eFlyer Deals
Sep 26, 2023

Plan for a Christmas at Scotland’s Gleneagles

As September comes to an end, it’s never too early to plan your Christmas or winter trip. This winter, Gleneagles and its Edinburgh outpost, Gleneagles Townhouse, are proud to announce a full line-up of Christmas and New Year’s programming, as well as a special Christmas at Gleneagles offer.

Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win

Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!

eFlyer Deals
Sep 26, 2023

Romance in Nanuku Resort Fiji

Indulge in a romantic getaway at Nanuku Resort Fiji thanks to the resort’s not one but four new romance offers. For that special proposal, choose from three proposal offers as part of the resort’s Marry Me Menu. The Island Paradise Proposal, In-Suite Escape Proposal and Giving Back the Love Proposal all see the resort help coordinate the perfect moment with special gifts.