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Chase United MileagePlus Club Card Review

By Jason Steele

Every airline credit card offers frequent flyer miles for dollars spent. What makes a travel rewards credit card stand out, however, is the number of miles offered and the non-mileage perks granted to cardholders. Extra bonus miles can add up, especially if you are among the consumers who put most of your expenses on a reward card – you may find yourself taking an extra trip or two each year.

Presently, the Chase United MileagePlus Club Card offers some of the best benefits of any airline card, including generous mileage rewards.

Key Features

  • Earn a 50% Mileage Bonus. For each dollar spent, cardholders receive 1.5 miles in United’s MileagePlus program and 2 miles per dollar for charges to United Airlines.
  • Annual United Club Membership. The big perk for this card is the membership to United Club and Star Alliance airport lounges around the world. The benefit extends unlimited entry to the cardholder and one companion.
  • Premier Access Priority Airport Services. Cardholders enjoy priority check-in, security, boarding, and baggage handling every time they fly on United.
  • Two Checked Bag Fee Waivers. Cardholders are exempt from bag fees when they use their card to purchase tickets on United.
  • Waived Award Travel Fees. When cardholders redeem miles for last-minute tickets, United waives their customary “close-in booking fee.” The charge is normally $75 for non-elite members who book travel within 21 days.
  • Hyatt and Avis Benefits. Cardmembers are automatically extended invitations to join the Hyatt Gold Passport program at the “Platinum” level, and are given preferred service with Avis Rent A Car.
  • Fees. There is a $395 annual fee, but there are no foreign transaction fees for purchases processed outside of the United States.

Advantages

  1. Enjoy Most Benefits of United Elite Status. Many travelers don’t fly often enough to earn elite status in United’s frequent flyer program, but still want to receive the benefits. With the exception of first class upgrades, this card offers virtually all benefits extended to MileagePlus elite travelers.
  2. Less Expensive Than a Club Pass. Anyone who would purchase a United Club pass might as well just get this card. The annual fee of $395 is less expensive than the pass itself, which costs $475.
  3. Great Mileage Earning Rates. Most airline cards offer only one mile per dollar spent. This card’s offer of 1.5 miles per dollar allows customers to earn awards at a much faster rate.
  4. Elite Status for Hotels and Car Rentals. Extending elite status to Hyatt and Avis allows cardholders to enjoy priority service, as well as room and car upgrades at their destination.

Disadvantages

  1. No Sign-Up Bonus Miles. While the standard United MilegePlus Explorer Card offers a generous sign-up bonus of up to 40,000 frequent flyer miles, this card only offers a $95 statement credit that takes a small bite out of the first year’s annual fee.
  2. No Elite Status Miles. Competing cards from Delta and American Airlines offer special miles that help customers reach the airline’s elite status sooner. This card does not.
  3. No Promotional Financing Offer. Many credit cards come with a 0% APR for a limited time on purchases and balance transfers. This card does not.
  4. High Annual Fee. There is no escaping the fact that cardholders must pay nearly $400 a year for all these privileges. Unless you expect to see substantial value from the benefits, this card is not for you.

Final Word

It really does make a difference to be afforded every possible perk when you travel. By combining a United Club pass with most of the benefits of elite status, holders of the United MileagePlus Club credit card can enjoy nearly every advantage of being a frequent flyer without having to fly frequently.

Have you used the Chase United MileagePlus Club Card? What has your experience been like?

Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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