Chase and United have released a new credit card with excellent travel benefits. The United Club℠ Infinite Card is the premium product of the United credit card portfolio, designed for regular United customers looking for a luxurious travel experience. This card rivals premium credit cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® in benefits, but proves to be a terrific choice for United flyers.
United Club℠ Infinite Card: an excellent option for regular United Airlines customers
With benefits such as United Club access, comprehensive travel insurance and lucrative spending categories, the United Club℠ Infinite Card is a great card for those looking to earn United miles and enjoy luxurious benefits.
Generous sign-up bonus
New cardholders can earn a generous number of miles with the card's sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Since we value United miles at 1.6 cents per mile, we estimate this bonus to be worth around $1,200 in United airfare — more than twice the card's annual fee.
Great spending categories
While sign-up bonuses are a great way to boost your rewards balance, credit card spending is essential to keep it growing. Many airline credit card cards have limited spending categories that only give bonus miles for spending with the airline. The United Club℠ Infinite Card differentiates itself from the pack with expanded spending categories that let you stack up miles on travel and dining, on top of United purchases:
- Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
These categories are excellent for someone who travels regularly for work or pleasure, and prefers to fly with United Airlines. With consistent spending, you can earn plenty of United miles.
Good options for redeeming United miles
You can redeem United miles for a wide variety of options, including:
- Award travel
- Seat upgrades
- Rental cars
- Online shopping
- Apple products
- Gift cards
- Unique experiences
- Tickets to live sports, concerts and theater events
However, miles are best used for award travel. It’s fairly easy to earn enough miles for an award flight, with fares starting at 5,000 MileagePlus miles for a domestic one-way ticket.
Plus, when flying specifically with United, you have a wide array of destination options. The United Airlines hubs are currently:
- Chicago - O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Denver - Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Guam - Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM)
- Houston - Houston/George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Los Angeles - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Newark, N.J. - Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- San Francisco - San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Washington, D.C. - Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
From each of these airports, except Guam, you can fly to over 50 destinations, both domestic and international. And, since United is part of Star Alliance, you have even more travel options through its alliance partners.
On the downside, United uses dynamic pricing rather than an award chart to determine the number of miles for a particular flight. This means that ticket prices are based on demand, which makes it difficult to anticipate how many miles you’ll need for an upcoming trip.
United Club and Star Alliance lounge access
Sitting at an airport gate can be an inconvenient part of traveling, especially if you would like a quiet space to relax or be productive before your flight. With the United Club℠ Infinite Card, you will have access to more than 45 United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance lounges.
Airport lounges vary in their amenities, but many of them have complimentary food, drinks, showers, Wi-Fi, play areas for children and more. It’s a great way to escape the stressful environment of an airport terminal.
Extensive travel benefits
A large advantage of travel credit cards are their various benefits that can enhance your traveling experience. The United Club℠ Infinite Card comes with many more benefits on top of lounge access:
- $100 statement credit to enroll in Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
- Free first and second checked bags for you and one traveling companion on the same itinerary
- Comprehensive travel insurance policies including: trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement and rental car insurance
- Complimentary breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout and other amenities at more than 900 luxury hotels
- $0 foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the United States
How does the United Club℠ Infinite Card compare to other credit cards?
Rewards and luxury at a reasonable cost
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is known as one of the best travel credit cards because of its great rewards for a modest $95 annual fee. The card lets you earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows the flexibility of transferring points to United and nine other airlines at a 1:1 ratio.
On the other hand, the United Club℠ Infinite Card offers a leg up over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with 4 miles per $1 on United purchases — but you will have to pay a $525 annual fee to get the card.
If you book United flights regularly and utilize the features of the United Club℠ Infinite Card, it could be the better option. If you don’t fly United regularly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will allow you to earn miles that you can still transfer to United and other loyalty programs for a much smaller fee.
Superior options for regular United flyers
The United℠ Explorer Card is the simpler version of the United Club℠ Infinite Card that caters to a different type of traveler.
The United℠ Explorer Card comes with the following benefits:
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry enrollment.
- One free checked bag for the primary cardholder and eligible traveling companion when you fly United.
- 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary
- Travel insurance coverage, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Primary rental car insurance
You get all of these benefits for a much lower annual fee: $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
The United℠ Explorer Card is best for semi-frequent travelers, while the United Club℠ Infinite Card is great for regular United flyers that enjoy visiting airport lounges regularly.
Better features and rewards, but not with United
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent card for someone interested in premium benefits and service. The card rewards you with American Express Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to 22 travel partners, including Delta Air Lines. While United is not in this list of partners, a few of the airlines on the list belong to Star Alliance. You can transfer your points to any of these programs to book United flights.
In addition to the transfer partners, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers superior benefits across the board, including:
- More points: 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.
- A larger lounge network, including access to Amex Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges (enrollment required) and Delta Sky Clubs
- Travel credits: Up to a $200 airline fee credit (enrollment required), up to $200 Uber Cash when you add the card to the Uber app
- Up to a $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue (enrollment required)
These benefits compensate for the card’s $695 annual fee. However, the sign-up bonus of the United Club℠ Infinite Card is lucrative, and the benefits for consistent United flyers can be difficult to look past.
If you are stuck between the two options, take a look at each card’s benefits to see which is more beneficial to you.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.