The information related to the United MileagePlus® Club Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The United MileagePlus® Club Card is one of Chase’s most generous credit cards. In exchange for a hefty $450 annual fee, it offers complimentary membership in United Airlines’ coveted United Club airport lounge program.
As long as you remain a cardholder in good standing, you enjoy access to hundreds of United Club and Star Alliance partner airport lounges worldwide. According to United, United Club membership is worth $550 per year – $100 more than this card’s annual fee. With such a juicy benefit for frequent travelers, this card is a perennial contender for our best travel credit cards list.
But the benefits don’t stop there. The United MileagePlus Club Card earns 2 MileagePlus miles per $1 spent on United Airlines airfare and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on everything else, with no caps or restrictions. The sign-up bonus is worth a cool 50,000 miles – a value of $1,000 or more, depending on the underlying cost of your award flights. Starting at 12,500 miles, you can redeem for award travel with no blackout dates or other restrictions. As a loyal cardmember, you’ll enjoy a slew of great (and potentially lucrative) benefits at airports, hotels, and resorts around the world.
Interested in upping your game with United MileagePlus Club? Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of this exclusive spending aid for United Airlines loyalists.
When you open your account and make at least $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months, you get 50,000 bonus MileagePlus points. That’s good for up to 2 round-trip flights within the continental U.S.
United Club Membership
As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you’re entitled to full United Club membership privileges. This valuable benefit includes unfettered access (with ticketed travel) to “all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance™ affiliated lounges worldwide.”
Each lounge is different, but typical lounge perks include free WiFi, snacks or meals, beverages, business service centers, and more. Some lounges have shower and spa facilities as well. Authorized users are entitled to complimentary United Club access only when traveling with the primary cardholder.
If you already have a United Club membership, you’re reimbursed for any unused portion (on a prorated basis) when your card application is approved. According to United, this benefit is worth up to $550 annually – more than making up for the card’s annual fee.
Earning and Redeeming MileagePlus Miles
The United MileagePlus Club Card earns unlimited 2 MileagePlus miles per $1 spent on United Airlines airfare purchases. All other purchases earn unlimited 1.5 miles per $1 spent. There are no caps or restrictions on mileage earnings, and miles never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
The most cost-effective means of redemption is for United Airlines award airfare. You generally need at least 12,500 MileagePlus miles to redeem for one-ways within the continental U.S. and Canada. Round-trip fares start at 25,000 miles for most longer-haul trips. Business- and first-class one-ways start at 25,000 miles as well. There are no blackout dates or other restrictions.
This card comes with impressive everyday travel benefits, including:
- Priority Boarding: You’re entitled to priority boarding on all ticketed United flights. This allows you to board before the general boarding process begins.
- Free First and Second Checked Bag Free: You and one traveling companion get a free first and second checked bag on all ticketed United flights. According to United, this benefit is worth up to $240 on round-trip flights with two ticketed travelers checking two bags each.
- Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits: United MileagePlus Club Card offers special discounts and perks at more than 900 high-end hotels and resorts worldwide. These benefits include complimentary room upgrades where available, free breakfast at hotels that don’t already offer it, special welcome gifts, extended check-in/check-out hours, and more.
- Premier Access: You and all traveling companions enjoy Premier Access on all United and United Express (no codeshare) flights. This is a white-glove service with benefits including designated check-in lines, security fast-track, and special baggage handling protocols that cut down on wait times.
- World of Hyatt Discoverist Status: You’re entitled to complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status. Benefits include a 10% points bonus on Hyatt stays, complimentary premium Internet access, complimentary room upgrades where available, and late check-out upon request.
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® President’s Circle® Elite Status: You’re entitled to complimentary elite status with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle for as long as you remain a cardholder in good standing here. This benefit includes a 25% boost to your Hertz Gold Plus point earnings, eligibility for complimentary upgrades, and more.
This card’s additional Visa- and Chase-backed travel and purchase benefits include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, 24/7 concierge service for travelers, exclusive access to special events (Inside Access from Chase), complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars paid in full with the card, insurance for delayed and lost bags, purchase protection on select purchases paid in full with the card, and much more.
The annual fee is $450. There is no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%. Cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost up to $39.
The United MileagePlus Club Card requires excellent credit.
- Complimentary United Club Membership in Perpetuity. United MileagePlus Club’s headline benefit is right in its name: complimentary United Club airport lounge membership for as long as you remain a cardholder in good standing. This benefit is worth up to $550 per year, or $100 more than the $450 annual fee. If you fly United regularly and frequent airports with United Club or participating partner lounges, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
- Excellent Airport and In-Flight Benefits. Beyond the complimentary United Club membership deal, United MileagePlus Club Card has some great benefits for ticketed United travelers. The most valuable is probably the free checked bag allowance, which United claims is worth up to $240 when utilized by two ticketed travelers on round-trip flights. Premier Access is convenient as well. If you can take advantage of these two benefits on every United flight, you’ll more than make up for the $450 annual fee.
- Very Good Sign-Up Bonus. This card’s 50,000-mile sign-up bonus is worth up to 2 round-trip domestic flights anywhere in the U.S. Depending on the routes for which you redeem, that could equate to a value of $1,000 or more. You need to spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to claim this benefit, which should be doable if you use this as your primary credit card.
- 1.5x Miles on All Non-United Spending. This card earns 1.5 MileagePlus miles per $1 spent on all spending, with no caps or restrictions on your ability to earn. That’s much better than the typical travel card’s rate of return on everyday purchases, which usually sits at 1 mile or point per $1 spent. If you spend heavily on non-airfare items, you’ll certainly appreciate this deal. And, since you probably fly United quite a bit, you’ll be pleased to know that eligible United Airlines airfare purchases earn points at an even better rate: 2 miles per $1 spent.
- Tangible Benefits at Partner Hotels. United MileagePlus Club offers potentially valuable benefits for cardholders who stay at any of the more than 900 hotels and resorts in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, a loosely affiliated network of upscale properties around the world. Key Luxury Hotel & Resort benefits include extended check-in and check-out hours, discounted spa services, complimentary room upgrades (pending availability), free breakfast, and more.
- Complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist Status. Separately from the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection benefit, United MileagePlus Club Card customers earn complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status. This opens up a world of benefits for Hyatt guests, including 10% faster points earning, complimentary room upgrades, complimentary inclusions (such as free WiFi), and more. If you like what you get out of your Discoverist status, you might want to check out The World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase too – its Hyatt benefits are even more generous.
- Generous Redemption Terms. Redeeming your miles for award travel is a straightforward, unrestrictive affair. Your miles never expire, nor are they subject to blackout dates, close-in penalties, or other confusing and potentially inconvenient restrictions. Basically, if there’s room available on the flight, you can use your miles to claim your spot.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. The United MileagePlus Club Card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s great news for cardholders who regularly venture outside the United States, as the 2% to 3% foreign transaction fees charged by some other credit cards are more than enough to negate their earned rewards.
- $450 Annual Fee. This card can’t hide its exclusivity. From the first year, United MileagePlus Club Card carries a $450 annual fee. While this isn’t the end of the world for those who fly United often and take full advantage of the airport lounge benefit, it’s an absolute deal-breaker for those who aren’t as keen on United Airlines or United Club. If airport lounge access isn’t important to you, or you want to keep your airline options open, look to a general purpose travel card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- 2x Miles Only Applies to United Airfare. This card’s headline 2x miles rate applies only to United Airlines airfare. All other purchases earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent – better than the 1-mile-per-$1-spent standard, but nowhere near the generosity of travel cards that offer 2x miles across the board. For a better earning rate on a wider range of spending, check out Capital One Venture Rewards or Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. And, if you’re seeking a card with valuable loyalty currency, check out the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.
- Limited Redemption Options for Non-United Flyers. If you’re not a regular United Airlines flyer, this card isn’t for you. One of the principal reasons for this is the limited usefulness of MileagePlus miles outside the United and Star Alliance ecosystems. If you travel infrequently or crave the flexibility associated with cash or gift card redemptions at favorable rates, look to general purpose travel cards like Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Platinum Card from American Express – the latter of which has its own valuable airport lounge benefit.
- No Companion Certificates or Anniversary Awards. For all its generous benefits, United MileagePlus Club Card has one glaring omission: It doesn’t offer companion certificates or anniversary mileage bonuses for loyal cardmembers or heavy spenders. Most competing cards offer one or the other. For instance, the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express, another exclusive product for frequent flyers who like to travel in style, gives heavy spenders up to 30,000 SkyMiles and 30,000 Medallion Qualification Miles at every cardmember anniversary.
- No Security Fast-Track Credit. This card doesn’t offer any credits or reimbursements for security fast-track applications, such as TSA Precheck and Global Entry. These applications typically cost $85 to $100 and rarely, if ever, need to be repeated. Still, most other exclusive credit cards – including Amex Platinum – throw in this benefit without thinking twice.
The United MileagePlus® Club Card is a powerful credit card. Its signature benefit – complimentary United Club membership for the primary cardholder and complimentary access for authorized cardholders traveling with the primary – is worth up to $550 per year. Throw in the sign-up bonus, the 1.5x baseline earning rate, and the generous travel benefits and you’ve got yourself a truly valuable credit card that more than makes up for its $450 annual fee.
More than makes up for its $450 annual fee if you take full advantage of all those benefits, that is. If you poke your head into a United Club once a year and check a bag only once in a great while, you’re not likely to get your money’s worth out of this card. Before you commit, run the numbers and confirm that you’re making the best decision for your finances, your lifestyle, and your credit rating.