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The United MileagePlus® Club Card is United’s premium travel credit card, which comes with access to United Clubs. At the moment it has a very generous increased sign-up bonus, which is worth considering if you’re a United flyer. Here’s what you need to know about this offer:
United Club Card sign-up bonus
The United MileagePlus® Club Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 MileagePlus miles after spending $3,000 within three months, which is a much bigger sign-up bonus than usual — previously the card didn’t offer any sort of mileage bonus when signing up, but rather just a $100 statement credit after the first purchase. I guess they felt they didn’t need to offer much of an incentive to sign-up, given the ongoing perks this card offers.
That bonus isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or who have received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that this card is generally subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning you won’t be eligible for the bonus if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months.
United Club Card annual fee
The United MileagePlus® Club Card has a $450 annual fee. That’s definitely on the higher end as far as credit card annual fees go, but the card also comes with lots of perks.
United Club Card return on spend
Most co-branded airline credit cards don’t offer an especially lucrative return on spend, but the United MileagePlus® Club Card does. I’d argue it’s the most compelling return on non-bonused spend offered by any airline credit card. Specifically it offers 2 MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on United purchases, and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases, which is an excellent return.
Earning 1.5 United miles per dollar spent is a really solid return on non-bonused spend.
How the United Club membership works
The single biggest perk of the United MileagePlus® Club Card is that it offers a United Club membership for as long as you have the card. Ordinarily if you were to purchase a United Club membership, you’d pay the following amounts:
As you can see, the lowest possible cost for a United Club membership is $450, which is also the annual fee on this card. So almost everyone would come out ahead by having this card rather than buying a membership outright.
The primary cardmember gets a full United Club membership, which works just like any United Club membership. However, authorized users on the card don’t get the same benefit.
United Club Card perks
While the United Club membership is the most significant perk of the United MileagePlus® Club Card, the card has plenty of other perks as well. Specifically, the primary cardmember:
- Can book award tickets without paying close-in ticketing fees, which can be up to $75 per person per ticket
- Can receive complimentary Premier upgrades on United operated award flights when available, assuming they have status with United
- Receives Premier Access check-in, security, boarding, and baggage handling
- The first and second checked bag free, including for up to one companion, on United operated flights when the cardmember includes their MileagePlus number in the reservation
- Receives Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as they have the card
- Received Hertz President’s Circle status
- Pays no foreign transaction fees
- Receive primary collision damage waiver coverage on rental cars
- Receive a Premier Qualifying Dollar waiver for Premier Silver, Premier Gold, or Premier Platinum, when spending at least $25,000 on the card in a calendar year
Elite members can receive complimentary upgrades on award tickets if they have the United Club Card
How does this compare to other credit cards offering lounge access?
There are a few credit cards out there offering lounge access, and the best one for you is entirely dependent on which airline you fly with most:
- If you’re a United flyer, the United MileagePlus® Club Card is the only one that comes with United Club access
- If you’re an American flyer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is the only one that comes with Admirals Club access; this card has the benefit of offering Admirals Club access even for authorized users, which you can add to the card at no extra cost
- If you’re a Delta flyer, I tend to think the The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN are the best bet for lounge access, as they get you Delta SkyClub access whenever you’re flying Delta, along with access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and lots more perks
So while the perks by card differ, really your decision should be driven by which lounges you’d use most, rather than anything else.
Historically the United MileagePlus® Club Card hasn’t offered a big sign-up bonus, so the new 50,000 mile bonus is a very nice new perk. However, the real reason to get this card is if you value a United Club membership. This card is also great in terms of the other priority services it offers, including free checked bags, priority check-in, security, boarding, baggage, etc.
If you’ve been considering getting this card, this is as good as it gets, and is definitely better than buying a United Club membership directly.