Best For No Annual Fee: United Gateway Card
- 2 miles per dollar on United flights, purchases made at gas stations and on transit and commuting
- 1 miles per dollar on all other purchases
Aside from not charging an annual fee, other United Airlines credit card benefits include 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. That means this card is rather limited in terms of perks, but thats par for the course when it comes to credit cards with no annual fee.
United Club Card: Best For Heavy Spenders And Frequent Travelers
The information for this card is outdated. For more accurate information, visit the issuers website.
- Bad for balance transfers: no 0% intro period, plus a balance transfer fee of 5%
Recommended Credit Score
Good to Excellent
The United MileagePlus Club Card is a premium travel card thats best for those who travel very frequently and spend a lot of money on their cards. The card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, but its not that much more than the bonus offered for the United Explorer card which offers 40,000 bonus miles. However, you have to pay an annual fee of $450 for this card compared to $95 on the Explorer card .
The United MileagePlus Club card does provide you with things like free first and second checked bags for up to two travelers each time you fly with United, upgrades on flights, hotel deals and perks, priority boarding, no foreign transaction fees, and access to United Club and Star Alliances lounges. It also comes with trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, auto rental collision waiver, price protection, extended warranty protection, and purchase protection.
While you will get access to airport lounges and travel deals on flights and hotels, the United MileagePlus Club Card doesnt offer some perks like companion fares, or travel vouchers that other similarly priced cards offer.
Best Credit Cards For United Airlines Miles
Chase offers a hand full of different United credit cards and other travel cards that earn United miles on great bonus categories like dining and travel and come with high sign-up bonuses up to 80,000 miles.
These cards all come with different annual fees and with special perks that are designed for different types of travelers. Knowing the differences between these cards will help you choose the product that will benefit you the most and maximize your earnings to get free flights on United.
Heres a rundown of the 9 best credit cards for United Airline miles.
Ill highlight the major perks of each these cards and then give you a quick look at some redemption prices on the United award chart, so youll know how far your miles can take you.
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- Annual fees
- Redemption policies
If you can prioritize those factors based on your own travel goals and personal valuations, then picking the right United credit card will be much easier.
Now its time to take a close look at these different cards to see which option is the best United Airlines credit card.
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Whats Included In Free Airport Lounge Access
Airport lounges typically provide access to seating, power, Wi-Fi, nonalcoholic drinks and snacks for no additional charge. However, some airport lounges offer other amenities such as meals, spa services, shower rooms, meeting rooms and alcoholic drinks. And in some cases, these additional amenities are also complimentary for anyone who has access to the lounge.
How Credit Card Rewards Work
Types of rewards
Many of the best credit cards give you rewards for your spending. Rewards come in two basic flavors:
Cash back. You can use cash back to directly reduce your balance. In some cases, you can have your cash back deposited in a bank account or sent to you as a check.
Points or miles. Points and miles can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise or other things. You may also have the option of redeeming points for credit on your statement, just like cash back.
The card issuer sets the rewards rate that applies on your card. There are two basic kinds of rewards structures:
Flat rate. You get the same rewards rate on all spending done with the card, regardless of what you spend money on. You might get 2 points per dollar on all purchases, or 1.5% cash back on everything.
Bonus rewards. You earn a base rate on all spending and then higher rates in certain categories 5% cash back at gas stations, for example, or 3 points per dollar spent on travel. Bonus rewards are awarded based on where you buy something, not what you buy. Every merchant is assigned a category code if your card pays bonus rewards at grocery stores, for instance, you’ll earn those rewards any time you pay at a merchant with a category code that identifies it as a supermarket or grocery store.
Tracking your rewards
The rewards process
The rewards process works like this:
You make a purchase with your credit card.
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United Mileageplus Redemption Options
While United miles can be worth quite a bit, keep in mind that United has shifted away from its fixed awards chart in favor of a dynamic award pricing model. By and large, the lack of a fixed award chart makes it considerably harder to know how far your miles will take you.
Still, 75,000 miles can give you quite a few options, and this is particularly true if youre flexible with your travel dates and willing to avoid holidays and peak travel times.
Chase Credit Card Application Rules
Chase has some very specific credit card restrictions when applying for some of their most coveted credit cards.
Every United Airlines credit card is affected by the Chase 5/24 Rule which prevents you from being approved if youve opened up five or more accounts within the past 24 months .
There are also a number of other rules to be aware of like the 2/30 rule and 24 month rule.
- You can check out this article to find out everything you need to know about these rules.
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Best Credit Cards For Fair & Average Credit Of 2022
No annual fee credit cards are great for light-spenders, and there are plenty of options to choose from, including credit cards with no annual fee and rewards or 0% intro APRs. No annual fee credit card offers are also available to people of all credit levels from bad credit to excellent credit . Below, you can compare WalletHubs favorite $0 annual fee credit card offers, which were selected from 1,500+ cards because they stand out in popular categories, from the most rewarding to the easiest to get.
The fact that so many credit cards with no annual fee are available helps to explain why the average annual fee among all credit cards is just $18, despite many cards charging $100+ per year. Even more importantly, the best $0 annual fee credit cards are capable of saving the average credit card user hundreds of dollars per year.
In addition to $0 annual fees, the best no annual fee credit cards for 2022 have stand-out rewards, low APR promotions and more. In other words, there are many reasons to get a credit card with no annual fee. Paying an annual fee just might not be worth it if you dont plan to use your card often or cant qualify for good enough rewards. Similarly, if youre trying to avoid interest on a balance, you probably dont want to waste money on fees.
United Club Business Card
The airlines business premium card, the United Club Business Card, offers excellent value but also at a steep price.
Youll earn 75,000 United miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening.
The card has the simplest rewards program of all the United cards. As the primary cardmember, youll earn 2X miles per dollar on United purchases and 1.5X miles per dollar on everything else.
The card charges a $450 annual fee, which isnt as high as the personal Club card, but still not worth paying unless you regularly fly United for your business. The card doesnt charge a foreign transaction fee.
Like the United Club Infinite Card, the United Club Business Card offers a long list of perks you can enjoy, including:
- United Club membership, including unlimited access for you and your traveling companions to United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance affiliate lounges worth up to $650 per year.
- The first and second checked bags free for you and one companion on every United flight thats worth up to $320 per round-trip itinerary.
- Priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling.
- 25% back as a statement credit on United inflight purchases.
- Complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Presidential Circle membership.
- Premier upgrades on award tickets
- Access to United Card events
Additionally, youll get the following travel and shopping protections:
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United Club Infinite Card: Best For United Lounge Access
If youre a frequent United flyer, the United Club Infinite Card offers a better travel experience. One of the best benefits of the card is its included United Club lounge membership. For those who find themselves in airports often, lounge access gives you a place to relax, eat and drink before your flight.
Even better, the United Club Infinite Card currently comes with an impressive 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account. However, the card has a pricey $525 annual fee that isnt waived for the first year, so youll need to make sure the benefits of the card are worth the cost.
But the United Club lounge membership is a pretty great perk, and you can bring another adult and dependent children under 21 into the lounge with you, or up to two guests, for no additional fee. That means you can bring your co-workers into the United Club with you during business travel, or your family during personal travel.
Just remember that with this membership, youll only be able to enter a United Club if youre holding a same-day boarding pass on United or a partner airline you cant be flying a different airline. If youd prefer lounge access privileges with more flexibility, then you might find the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express offers better options.
Enjoy These United Travel Benefits
The United Business Card offers these air travel benefits:
- Priority boarding for you and all companions on the same reservation on United-operated flights
- Free first checked bag for you and one travel companion
- 2 one-time United Club passes each year
- No blackout dates when booking award flights
Cardholders can also enjoy a $100 United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year.
As a MileagePlus Premier member, you can enjoy complimentary space-available upgrades on United-operated flights. There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
Plus, all United credit cardmembers can access exclusive MileagePlus and Inside Access events. Additionally, you can also enjoy elite hotel stays at the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection.
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United Announces Changes For Mileageplus Premier Status Members
Editors Note: This change took effect in 2019.
United has announced changes for those with MileagePlus Premier® status. Some changes are already in effect, while we will see others in the coming months. The changes already in effect now are positive.
But those coming in 2019 are more of a mixed bag that mainly affects United Premier 1K members. Heres what you need to know about these changes.
Earn 2 Miles Per $1 On Hotels And Restaurants
You will begin earning unlimited 2 miles per $1 on the following purchases:
- United Airlines purchases
- Hotel stays
- Dining, including eligible delivery services
All remaining bonus categories will earn 1 mile per $1 spent. With these bonus category editions, you now have more incentive to make the United Explorer Card your primary travel rewards credit card.
However, if youre not married to flying United, the Chase Sapphire Preferred already earns points per $1 on restaurants and Ultimate Rewards points are transferable. Plus, if you have to rent a car or book any other travel purchases, you can still earn points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus and transfer your points on a 1:1 to your United MileagePlus account.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
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Can I Use My United Airlines $250 Statement Credit To Buy United Miles
One of the most common uses of airline credit cards is to purchase miles towards a future vacation. When flyers are just a few miles away from getting their next big reward, using a credit card can be a great way to pick up bonus miles on top of the purchase.
Under the present terms and conditions, it does not appear that using the United Explorer Card to buy United miles is prohibited. In practice, you could use the $250 statement credit to add miles to your balance.
However, buying miles is usually a losing proposition, depending on how many you purchase and for what purpose. Miles can be purchased for anywhere between 2 and 3.5 cents per mile, which doesnt always represent the best value for redeemable award currency. None-the-less, if you want to use your United Airlines $250 statement credit for miles, you can do so at the MileagePlus website.
United Explorer Card Vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and United Explorer Card are very similar in terms of rewards and points earnings, however, the former has a few advantages in these three categories:
Points And Rewards
For example, the United Explorer lets you earn 2x points per dollar on United purchases, restaurants, and direct hotel purchases, then 1 point on everything else. Meanwhile, the Saphire Preferred lets your earn 2x points per dollar on travel and dining then 1x point on other purchases.
The Sapphire Preferred has a broader category for travel and dining which means that you can earn points on camping and cruise trips.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an extensive list of transfer partners where you can move your points at a 1:1 ratio. For example, you can even convert 10,000 from your Sapphire Preferred to 10,000 United Miles.
For travel hackers, Chase points are very valuable which is usually at 1.25 cents per point and they outweigh the value of any average rewards credit card. This means that you can move your points around to different loyalty programs and get more value for it.
Chase points are typically valued at 1.25-1.26 cents apiece when redeemed optimally for award travel purchases. Meanwhile, United miles are typically valued at .8 cents each.
These slight differences in cents will be more evident when its applied to the welcome offers that you receive for each card.
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United Explorer Card: Best For Occasional United Flyers
If youre looking for a United credit card with a low annual fee but rich benefits, the United Explorer Card is one to consider. As an occasional United flyer, youll save money by receiving your first checked bag for free for you and one traveling companion on United flights, priority boarding, two United Club day passes per year and 25% back on in-flight United purchases. Although this card comes with a $95 annual fee , the perks alone can be well worth the cost and ultimately save you money.
With the United Explorer Card, youll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on all United purchases as well as dining and hotel stays. The card also comes with a statement credit worth up to $100 on the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Although this is becoming a more common benefit on many credit cards these days, its still typically found on cards that come with high annual fees, not one that costs less than $100 per year.
The United Explorer Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account. Based on the point valuations of frequent flyer website The Points Guy, United miles are worth 1.13 cents apiece, which makes 60,000 miles worth $678 in travel.
This is also the only United credit card that currently waives its annual fee for the first year, which means you can make sure a United credit card is right for you without paying for it right away.
Top Travel Credit Cards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: A study in simplicity: Earn 2X miles on purchases . Read our review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: A big sign-up bonus, travel credits, high rewards and airport lounge access could make this card worth the hefty annual fee. Read our review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Citi Premier® Card: Earn bonus points on spending with airlines and hotels, and at gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets. Read our review of the Citi Premier® Card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Get bonus rewards on travel and dining and a ton of flexibility when redeeming. Great sign-up bonus, too. Annual fee: $95. Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: You’ll get 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, and points are redeemable for any travel purchase. Read our review of the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.
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