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Monday, April 18, 2016

Should I get the United MileagePlus Club card

I am always looking for ways to get shortcuts to elite benefits without actually having to fly and have been considering applying for some of the co-branded airline cards for some time now. There are co-branded cards for almost every major airline offering various perks ranging from free checked bags to lounge access so it really comes down to your personal preference.

I received another interesting offer in the mail the other day from Chase for the United MileagePlus Club card with an added perk that just might be enough to convince me to apply.

As you can see, this offer includes the first year free which many cards do anyways but considering that the annual fee for this card is a hefty $450 and the first year typically isn't waived that is a considerable amount of savings. However, you are forfeiting the public offer of a $100 statement credit after your first purchase but I'll take $450 over $100 any day.

Just a recap of what this card offers:

  • United Club membership (normally $550 by itself so already worth the annual fee)
  • 2 free checked bags for primary cardholder and one companion
  • Premier Access travel services with priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling privileges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 on United purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 on other purchases
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • Any seat, anytime, with your miles (extra seats opened up at Saver level)
  • No fees on close-in award bookings on United tickets
  • Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program
  • United miles don't expire
  • Hertz President's Circle elite status
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Concierge services


So the question always boils down to is this card worth getting? In this case it probably depends. If you value lounge access then this card is a no-brainer as it offers a full United Club membership for a fee that is lower than what you would normally pay for a stand-alone membership (unless you are a Premier 1K member in which case the cost drops to $450). However, if you aren't near a United hub or don't frequent airports that have United clubs then this benefit does you no good which is mostly the case for me. Also, if you already have status with United then the Premier Access travel services don't really benefit you either which are the 2 main reasons for getting this card. There are many other cards that offer better bonus categories and earning power that come with much lower annual fees and the rest of the benefits can be obtained with the cheaper United MileagePlus Explorer card that only has an annual fee of $95 which is waived the first year.

Bottom Line

So while this card does offer some pretty decent benefits and can make sense in the right situation, it doesn't quite fit my particular needs so I am likely going to pass. The offer for the first year free does make it tempting to try it out for a year risk-free but long-term the $450 annual fee is just too much for what I am receiving in return. If you are interested in this deal and didn't receive a similar offer in the mail there are reports that you can go into a Chase branch and request this offer so it never hurts to ask.

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