The New United TravelBank Credit Card

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Earlier I wrote about how American Express is introducing the new Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, which is a no annual fee airline credit card. It looks like that’s not the only new card being introduced today.

As of today you can apply for The UnitedSM TravelBank Card from Chase. It’s not necessarily the most compelling card for the savvy traveler, but for a more casual traveler who is looking for a no annual fee card, this could be interesting.

The card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and there’s no limit to how much TravelBank credit you can earn.

Furthermore, the United TravelBank Card is offering a sign-up bonus of $150 in TravelBank credit after spending $1,000 within three months, which is pretty good for a no annual fee card.

In terms of the card’s return on spend, the United TravelBank Card offers:

  • 2% in TravelBank cash on airfare purchases with United
  • 1.5% in TravelBank cash on all other purchases
  • 25% back as a statement credit for eligible inflight purchases

If nothing else this is an intriguing direction for an airline credit card to go. This is basically a cashback credit card, except the cashback you earn comes in the form of airline credit.

Since the card has no annual fee, it doesn’t come with many of the same benefits as the $95 annual fee United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, like a free first checked bag, priority boarding, two United Club passes every account anniversary, etc. You’ll still want to get the premium card if you’re looking for those perks.

If you’re looking for the best cashback credit card, you’re still best off with something like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. I’d generally rather get a return of two cents after paying for a purchase than 1.5 cents, but many people like having a co-brand card for a brand they’re fond of.

Bottom line

The United TravelBank Card isn’t for everyone, but is an interesting alternative for someone who is loyal to United, but doesn’t like the complication of dealing with miles. There are also a few things that are potentially interesting:

  • The sign-up bonus of $150 in TravelBank credit upon completing minimum spend
  • No foreign transaction fees, which is a rare benefit for a no annual fee card
  • The ability to possibly downgrade another United product to this, should you want a no annual fee alternative

One thing I’m not sure of is if the 5/24 rule applies to this card. It does apply to United’s other cards, so it may apply to this one as well.

What do you make of United’s new TravelBank Card?

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Comments

  1. Is the TravelBank credit only good for spending on United products? If so, very limited compared to cards like Arrival.

  2. I don’t know how to get it, but I’d like to have this card just to keep my United TravelBank funds from expiring after 18 months. I have $300 from the AMEX Platinum/PRG reimbursement credit sitting around in my TravelBank that I have no plans for. I’m not aware of any other way to keep the funds active other than putting another $25 into the gift registry.

  3. If I downgraded cards from the United MileagePlus to this, would this card allow me to retain my United miles?

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