The United MileagePlus® Club Card is United’s premium co-branded credit card, and it recently started offering a generous sign-up bonus. Historically the card doesn’t have any sign-up bonus given how rich the benefits are, though they recently added some. In this post I wanted to look at eight reasons United flyers should consider picking up this $450 annual fee card:
A big 50K mile sign-up bonus
The United MileagePlus® Club Card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 MileagePlus miles after spending $3,000 within three months. Personally I value United miles at ~1.3 cents each, so to me that sign-up bonus is worth ~$650, which more than covers the annual fee for the first year, not even taking into account all the great benefits.
United Club & Star Alliance lounge access
The United MileagePlus® Club Card comes with a full United Club membership, meaning that the primary cardmember will automatically have a membership linked to their MileagePlus account.
If you’d otherwise pay for a United Club membership, then this card is an absolute no brainer. That’s because the lowest possible fee for a United Club membership is $450 annually (and that’s for Premier 1Ks), which is the same as the annual fee on the card.
Keep in mind that a United Club membership doesn’t just get you access to the roughly 45 United Clubs, but also gets you access to select business class Star Alliance lounges. You just have to present your United Club membership and be flying a Star Alliance airline same day. In many ways this benefit is similar to having Star Alliance Gold status.
1.5 United miles per dollar spent
The United MileagePlus® Club Card offers 1.5x United MileagePlus miles per dollar spent. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it the most lucrative airline credit card for non-bonused spend. There are other good cards to consider for everyday spend, though there are some benefits to spending on this card, as I’ll cover below.
No close-in award ticketing fees
United charges a $75 close-in ticketing fee for awards booked within 21 days of departure. That’s an annoying fee, given that often the best time to redeem miles is close to departure. United even recently introduced new 8,000 mile one-way awards that I could see myself using, though booking those within three weeks would take away some of the value due to the fee.
Those with the United MileagePlus® Club Card don’t have to pay close-in award ticketing fees. This is a benefit that doesn’t apply for United’s other co-branded credit cards.
Elite upgrades on award tickets
While United offers elite members complimentary upgrades on revenue tickets in select regions, this benefit is extended to award tickets for those with a United co-brand credit card, like the United MileagePlus® Club Card. When you’re on an award ticket you’ll be prioritized within your elite tier, behind those on revenue tickets.
So having a co-brand United card could score you an upgrade on an award ticket, assuming you have status.
An elite status revenue requirement waiver
United has a revenue requirement for earning status nowadays, though for Premier Silver, Premier Gold, and Premier Platinum members, you can get that waived by spending $25,000 per year on a United co-brand credit card, like the United MileagePlus® Club Card. So having this card could help you earn status with less of a spend requirement.
First and second checked bag free
While a lot of airline credit cards offer a first checked bag for free, the United MileagePlus® Club Card offers both the first and second checked bag free for you and up to one companion, on United operated flights. This benefit could save you up to $240 on a roundtrip ticket for two people.
Elite treatment without the status
On top of everything else, those with the United MileagePlus® Club Card receive similar airport benefits to what elite members would receive, including Premier Access check-in, security, boarding, and baggage handling. This could save you a significant amount of time.
If you’re a United flyer, the United MileagePlus® Club Card will pay for itself pretty quickly. Anyone who would otherwise buy a United Club membership is already coming out ahead, but when you add in the big sign-up bonus, elite benefits, potential revenue requirement waiver, generous return on spend, lack of close-in ticketing fees, upgrades on award tickets, etc., there’s a lot of value to be had regardless of whether you’re a MileagePlus elite member or not.
The sign-up bonus on the card is available to those who don’t currently have the card, and who haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months. Furthermore, the card is subjected to Chase’s “5/24 rule.”