Can a no annual fee airline credit card be rewarding, though?
United Airlines Gateway Card Basics For August 2022
The United Gateway Card is one of the better no annual fee airline credit cards out there, both in terms of the bonus and the rewards structure. Let’s look at the card in more detail, including the welcome bonus, return on spending, perks, and more.
United Gateway Card No Annual Fee
As I’ve already mentioned, the United Gateway Card has no annual fee. This applies both to the primary cardmember and any additional cardmembers. Back in the day there weren’t many airline credit cards without annual fees, so it’s nice to see airlines increasingly offering this kind of product.
United Gateway Card Welcome Bonus Of 20K Miles
The United Gateway Card offers a bonus of 20,000 bonus MileagePlus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months. I value MileagePlus miles at 1.3 cents each, so to me the bonus alone is worth around $260, which is decent for a no annual fee card.
Eligibility for the United Gateway Card welcome bonus is unrelated to any other Chase or United credit card bonuses, so you are eligible even if you have other co-branded United cards. The standard Chase application rules apply, including the 5/24 rule.
United Gateway Card Earns Up To 2x Miles
The United Gateway Card has a solid rewards structure for a no annual fee card, as it offers:
- 2x MileagePlus miles on United purchases
- 2x MileagePlus miles on gas station purchases
- 2x MileagePlus miles on local transit and commuting, including rideshare services, taxis, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit
Best of all, the United Gateway Card has no foreign transaction fees, so this can be a great card to use abroad. There aren’t all that many no annual fee cards with solid rewards structures that also have no foreign transaction fees, so the card is pretty awesome in that sense.
United Gateway Card Benefits & Perks
Generally speaking, one of the main reasons to consider picking up an airline credit card is for the perks that it offers. As you’d expect, United Airlines’ no annual fee credit card has the fewest perks of any card in the portfolio. That being said, the United Gateway Card does offer some benefits, as follows:
- 25% savings on United inflight purchases, including purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi
- Travel and purchase coverage, including auto collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, purchase protection, and more
- A complimentary 12 month DashPass from DoorDash, offering $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders of $12 or more; you’ll be automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate after that, but can always cancel
Is The United Gateway Card Worth It?
For a no annual fee airline card, it doesn’t get much better than the United Gateway Card. The card offers a big welcome bonus, 2x miles on select purchases with no foreign transaction fees, savings on inflight purchases, and more. If you absolutely want a no annual fee United card, then this is obviously the card to go with.
That being said, I wanted to talk about why it could make sense to pick up another United Airlines credit, and also compare this to other no annual fee airline credit cards.
Why You Should Get The United Explorer Card Instead
- The United Explorer Card offers a much bigger welcome bonus of 50,000 MileagePlus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- While the United Explorer Card has a $95 annual fee, it’s waived for the first 12 months
- If you decide after a year that you don’t want the United Explorer Card, you should be able to downgrade it to the no annual fee United Gateway Card
- The United Explorer Card offers all kinds of valuable incremental perks, like two United Club passes annually, a free first checked bag, priority boarding, and much more
There’s simply no reason not to at least give the United Explorer Card a try, given the much better bonus and waived annual fee the first year.
How Do Other No Annual Fee Airline Cards Compare?
- 10,000 AAdvantage miles plus a $50 statement credit upon completing minimum spending
- 2x AAdvantage miles for American Airlines and grocery store purchases
- 25% savings on inflight American Airlines purchases
- The card does have foreign transaction fees
- 10,000 SkyMiles upon completing minimum spending
- 2x SkyMiles for Delta and restaurant purchases
- 20% savings on inflight Delta Air Lines purchases
- The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each product, though I’d say that the United Gateway Card might just be the most lucrative of the bunch. The card offers the best welcome bonus, the best spending bonuses (all with no foreign transaction fees), 25% savings on inflight purchases, and good purchase and travel protection. So for a no annual fee airline card, it doesn’t get much better than that, if you ask me.
The United Gateway Card is United Airlines’ no annual fee personal credit card. The card has no foreign transaction fees and offers 2x miles in select bonus categories. On top of that, the card offers 25% savings on inflight purchases, as well as useful purchase and travel protection. If you want a no annual fee airline credit card, this is as good as it gets.
I think the better strategy is to pick up the United Explorer Card, which offers a much better welcome bonus, an annual fee waived the first year, and valuable perks. If you decide after a year that you don’t want the card, you can always downgrade it.
What do you make of the United Gateway Card?