United MileagePlus Club Card Credit Card Review

United MileagePlus Club Card Credit Card Review

Who Is the United MileagePlus Club Card Good For?

As far as airline co-branded credit cards go, the United MileagePlus Club Card is something that people talk about surprisingly infrequently. Is that because it is a poorly constructed product? No, it’s just a premium product that is not a good fit for many United travelers because of its cost.

However, that high annual fee ($450) affords a variety of high-end benefits that frequent travelers crave. It’s been voted best credit card in both 2012 and 2013 by readers of Global Traveler Magazine, and when you peruse the long lists of benefits the card comes with, it’s easy to see why.

Though its best-known selling point is the United Club access mentioned in the cards name, it also bestows many of the other benefits of Premier Silver status and status with several other travel partners. So if you’re a frequent traveler who could make use of instant elite status, the cards high fee could be worth it.

AIRLINE TRANSFER PARTNER
ANNUAL FEE

$450

APR

16.24%-23.24% based on credit

RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE

800+

TYPE OF CARD

Visa

ISSUER

Chase

Sign-Up Bonuses:

While many co-branded airline cards lure potential customers in with high-mileage sign-up bonuses, the Club card relies on its perks to charm customers who are looking more for quality than quantity. As a result, the best sign-up bonus you’ll find with this card is a $100 statement credit after first purchase or a waived annual fee.

Points Earned:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on United products
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on everything else

What Do Your Points/Miles Get You?

Even if you’re just looking to rack up United miles as quickly as possible, this card is a good way to go, as you get 50 percent more miles on everyday purchases than you get with your average co-branded airline credit card, including the United MileagePlus Explorer card.

United miles are extremely valuable, and not just because the airline has 26 airline partners, including the 18 other members of Star Alliance:

Though United has majorly devalued its award chart, the fact that it doesn’t charge or pass on fuel surcharges makes MileagePlus miles one of the best ways to book many highly desirable airlines and premium cabins that would otherwise require at least $500 in fees.

Usage Perks:

  • Miles do not expire as long as you are a cardholder
  • Free first and second checked bags for the cardholder and a companion on the same reservation on United-operated flights
  • No fees on international purchases
  • Priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling
  • No fees on awards booked within 21 days of departure
  • Complimentary privileges at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Hotels, including daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out and an additional amenity such as lunch or dinner, a spa treatment, welcome gift or airport transfers, when the hotel is booked with the card
  • Ability to upgrade award flights

Usage Quirks:

  • Itinerary holds aren’t free
  • $75 change fee
  • $200 cancellation fee, lower for elite status holders

How Far Do Your Points Dollars Go?

When you use your United miles for domestic flights, you run into the same value as most of their domestic competitors, though your miles go farther on United’s p.s . (premium service) flights, where the BusinessFirst option is priced as business but offers service more like a first class flight.

United Airlines online booking
United Airlines online booking

Out of pocket, you’re looking at more than $1,500 one-way, booking far in advance:

MileagePlus award booking
MileagePlus award booking

But the same flight only costs 25,000 miles one-way and a few dollars in fees through MileagePlus:That’s a 6.3-cent-per-mile value.
Using your miles on a partner airline such as Lufthansa, you can get great value and save money over booking those same flights directly through the partner airline. On United, this business class flight ran 70,000 miles at the Saver level and only $26.40 in fees:

Partner airline booking
Partner airline booking

Booking this same flight on Lufthansa, you’d spend fewer miles (55,000), but pay $470 in fees.

Additional Cardholder Benefits:

  • United Club membership offering access for the cardholder and companions to United and Star Alliance lounges
  • Avis First status
  • Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status
  • Book any seat on any United-operated flight as an award seat, even when there are no award seats left or blackout dates are in effect, by signing in with your MileagePlus number before searching.

MileagePlus Club Card credit card
MileagePlus Club Card credit card

  • Eligible for Chase Inside Access events, such as celebrity chef tastings and exclusive sports and fashion events
  • Purchase protection
  • Concierge service
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Auto rental collision and damage waiver
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Return protection
  • Price protection