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The United MileagePlus® Club Card is an expensive credit card, whose chief benefit is providing users with access to United Club lounges. Access usually costs $550, if bought separately. Therefore, if lounge access is something you were previously interested in, getting the United MileagePlus® Club Card becomes extremely worth the annual fee, and ends up saving you $100. The other benefits on the card are nothing to write home about, and can actually be outperformed by cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you have no loyalty to United Airlines, or no interest in the lounge benefits, you should look to other credit card offers.
Review: Is The United MileagePlus® Club Card Worth It?
The United MileagePlus® Club Card is a luxury travel credit card made for dedicated United Airlines customers who travel domestically. The card unlocks access to United Club lounges (mostly located in the U.S.), which provide amenities to people who often call an airport their second home. Other cards of this type, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, provide access to wider networks of lounges, and benefits which aren’t tied to a specific airline. If you travel internationally, and use other airlines, then you should probably consider one of those cards instead. If you don’t care much for obtaining luxury benefits, then paying this card’s $450 annual fee is not going to be worth it. If you are still looking for United rewards, consider cards such as the United℠ Explorer Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. They provide great travel rewards for a significantly lower cost (annual fee less than $100). By giving up things like lounge access, these cards will allow you to earn more miles which, in turn, can translate to more free airline tickets in the future.
The United MileagePlus® Club Card comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect on a premium travel card like this, including no foreign transaction fees and an EMV chip. With these features, if you do find yourself having to travel outside of the United States, you will be well equipped to be able to use your credit card in case of emergencies. Having no foreign transaction fee means you’ll be able to use your United MileagePlus® Club Card anywhere in the world, free of charge (while most credit cards will charge you a 3% fee). The EMV chip is a global security standard which is practically required if you want to use your credit card in Europe and Asia.
United MileagePlus® Club Card Benefits & Features
While most credit cards’ rewards are focused around rewarding each and every purchase, the United MileagePlus® Club Card is chiefly focused on the perks you get for just being a cardmemeber. These benefits include things such as complimentary United Club Membership, free first and second checked bags, and a number of other amenities – put simply “luxury air travel”.
|Credit Needed||Excellent Credit|
Making purchases using the United MileagePlus® Club Card earns users frequent flyer miles with United Airlines. Individuals using the card receive 2 points for every $1 they spend buying tickets from United, and 1.5 miles per $1 everywhere else. With the value of a single United MileagePlus mile being approximately $0.014, this results in a rewards rate anywhere between 2.1% and 2.8%.
Luxury Travel Benefits
As noted previously, the major benefits of the United MileagePlus® Club Card come from all the extra perks it provides to individuals who are frequently up in the air. Whether it’s airport lounge access, preferential treatment, or free checked bags, these are the reasons why you should consider this credit card.
United Club Membership
One of the most valuable benefits that comes with the United MileagePlus® Club Card is the United Club Membership. Most of the United Club lounges are located in the United States, making this a benefit predominantly designed for frequent domestic travelers. Being a member of United Club also unlocks access to participating Star Alliance Lounges – though these are far more limited in number.
United Club Lounges offer perks and privileges that make life much easier for frequent travelers. These airport lounges include a number of amenities, including bars, showers, family rooms, and conference rooms. Depending on the location, the number of available amenities will differ – for instance the airport in Boston only offers access to the premium wine and spirits program.
|United Lounge Locations|
Boston, MA (BOS)
|Las Vegas, NV (LAS)||Philadelphia, PA (PHL)|
Chicago, IL (ORD)
|London (LHR)||Phoenix, AZ (PHX)|
Cleveland, OH (CLE)
|Los Angeles, CA (LAX)||Portland, OR (PDX)|
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW)
|Mexico City (MEX)||San Antonio, TX (SAT)|
Denver, CO (DEN)
|Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)||San Diego, CA (SAN)|
Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
|New York, NY (JFK)||San Francisco, CA (SFO)|
Guam, GU (GUM)
|New York, NY (LGA)||Seattle, WA (SEA)|
Hong Kong, HK (HKG)
|New York/Newark, NJ (EWR)||Tokyo (NRT)|
Honolulu, HI (HNL)
|Orange County, CA (SNA)||Washington, DC (DCA)|
Houston, TX (IAH)
|Orlando, FL (MCO)||Washington, DC (IAD)|
Consumers who travel with United Airlines, or United Express-operated flights, will receive Premier Access®. This gives them dedicated check-in lines at airports, priority boarding, priority security lanes, and priority baggage handling. It’s important to note that these benefits will not be available with every single airport. If this benefit is your make-or-break feature for this card, it may be worthwhile contacting United to see if it is available through the airports you travel with most frequently.
Free Checked Bags
As long as you are a United MileagePlus® Club cardholder in good standing, every time you fly with United Airlines you and one travelling companion will receive 2 free checked bags each. Chase estimates the value of this reward to be up to $240. This is assuming the first checked bag fee with United is $25, followed by $35 for the second, which totals $60 per person, on one leg of the flight. The return trip would cost another $60, bringing the total to $120 – if you’re travelling with a companion who has the same amount of bags as you, that fee doubles to $240.
A couple of restrictions: In order to qualify for this benefit, you must have paid for the tickets using the United MileagePlus® Club Card. Additionally, the primary cardholder must be part of the reservation. If you are an authorized user, you cannot receive a free checked bag if travelling alone. You cannot stack ‘free checked bag’ benefits on top of each other. This means if you are already receiving a free checked bag or bags through some other promotion, you may not use this benefit in conjunction with the other deal.
Close-In Fee Waiver
Whenever you use UnitedMileage miles to book a flight, 21 days or less from the date of departure, you will be charged a $75, called the ‘close-in fee’. If you are a United MileagePlus® Club cardmember, however, this fee is waived. This can mean major savings for consumers who often end up making last minute reservations.
How Does the United MileagePlus® Club Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Before you commit to paying the $450 annual fee, it’s worthwhile to consider alternatives to the United MileagePlus® Club Card. Below we compare the card to some of its competitors.
United MileagePlus® Club Card vs The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most well-known luxury travel credit cards – and for good reason. It grants cardholders access to over 850 different airport lounges, a $200 annual airline fee credit, credit to pay off Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ and has an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees). By comparison, the scope of rewards on the United MileagePlus® Club Card is far more limited. Unless you travel predominantly with United Airlines, The Platinum Card® from American Express is probably a better choice. Where you travel will also make a difference. Because a majority of the lounges accessed with the United MileagePlus® Club Card are domestic, international travelers will find Amex's partnerships with the Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs®, and Airspace Lounges more convenient to them.
For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
United MileagePlus® Club Card vs United℠ Explorer Card
The United℠ Explorer Card is meant for frequent United Airlines customers with no interest in lounge access. This card comes with a far lower annual fee - $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. This card is far more focused on earning users United MileagePlus miles than the United MileagePlus Club Card counterpart. Right off the bat, United℠ Explorer Card cardmembers have the ability to earn 40,000 bonus miles when they spend $2,000 or more on purchases, within the first 3 months their account is open. If you’re more concerned with racking up these miles, we recommend this credit card over the United MileagePlus® Club Card.
United MileagePlus® Club Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
A slightly less obvious option for frequent United customers is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This is one of the best credit cards available to consumers, and has a fairly straightforward rewards structure. It earns users 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on dining or travel, and 1 point per $1 elsewhere. Those points can be transferred to a number of different partner programs, including United MileagePlus®! Through this card, you will not only have the option to earn United miles, but also to earn rewards towards a number of different programs, which adds freedom and flexibility. The only reason to prefer the United MileagePlus® Club Card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is for its luxury lounge benefits.
Using the tool below, you can automatically see what the rewards rates you can expect from each of the cards listed below – including the United MileagePlus® Club Card. These rewards will differ based on how your spending divides into the various shopping categories.