United MileagePlus® Club Card Review
Frequent travelers expect their credit cards to make their lives easier, more comfortable and less expensive. Unfortunately, not every airline credit card offers equal value, especially when you consider the annual fees. For example, the United MileagePlus<sup>®</sup> Club Card delivers massive mileage benefits and travel perks, but the $450 annual cost subtracts from the value. Still, for the right person, the United MileagePlus® Club Card makes a ton of sense. Here’s what you need to know about the United MileagePlus® Club Card before sticking it in your wallet.
What You Get with the United MileagePlus® Club Card
It goes without saying that the United MileagePlus® Club Card delivers the most value to people who fly United regularly. You can only take advantage of many of the card perks when you fly United.
For example, the cardholders receive MileagePlus® Premier membership benefits. This means you’ll get priority check-in and priority boarding on all United flights. Plus, you (and one companion) can check two bags free on United flights. You also become a member of the United Club. When you fly United, you (and up to 2 guests) can enjoy United lounges (with complimentary food and beverages). This benefit drives the high annual fee. If you don’t value the club access, choose a less expensive card (for example the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card).
Of course, many of the benefits of the card accrue even when you’re not flying. The United Mileage Plus® Club Card currently awards 50,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 on the card in the first three months. In addition to the bonus, you’ll earn 1.5 United Miles for every dollar you spend. You can redeem United Miles for United flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and selected flights with Star Alliance partners.
You’ll also always get excellent travel insurance from this card. The most important insurance this card offers is the primary auto rental collision coverage. Frequent travelers will also appreciate trip interruption and cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance of up to $500 per ticket, and baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per person per day.
How to Maximize the Value of United Miles
United Mile are about as valuable as miles from other major international airlines, but savvy travelers can stretch the value of United Miles.
The first way to stretch the value of a mile is to use “Saver-level” pricing. This lowers the number of miles need to earn select United Flights. Having the United MileagePlus® Club Card actually makes it easier for you to find Saver-level pricing. As a Premier member (and a credit card holder), you actually get access to more reward fare options (including the Saver-level). You can search for the expanded options by logging into your United Account.
You can also stretch your United miles by taking advantage of the “Excursionist Perk.” When you book three or more one-way flights using reward points in international zones, you can book one free one-way reward flight. To book the reward, your travel must begin and end in the same zone (for example, mainland United States). Plus, your excursion flight must originate and land in a different destination (for example, Japan).
By far the biggest advantage of the United MileagePlus® Club Card is the 1.5 miles earned on every dollar you spend. Depending on how you use your rewards, this could translate to about a 2% back rate. Most airline reward cards offer just 1 mile for every dollar you spend except when you travel on the airline. Tack the 50,000 bonus miles to the massive earning power, and the card becomes one of the best sign-up bonuses on the market.
The comprehensive travel coverage, United Club membership, and free checked bags also make this card exemplary for frequent travelers who often fly United.
Unfortunately, the United MileagePlus® Club Card has its share of drawbacks. The chief concern with this card is the $450 annual fee (which isn’t waived the first year). If you don’t take advantage of the travel benefits, to out-earn the fee you need to spend at least $22,500 annually. With such high spending required, only the heaviest credit card users can make the card make sense.
The United MileagePlus® Club Card isn’t the “everyman’s” card. It’s best suited for people who spend at least $2000 per month on their credit cards, pay off the balance each month, and fly United frequently. Even then, the $450 might be off-putting. If you value the United Club membership perk, then use the United MileagePlus® Club Card. Otherwise, consider the less expensive United MileagePlus® Explorer Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® which both offer hefty sign-up bonuses with lower annual fees.
Editorial Note: The information related to United MileagePlus® Club Card has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.