Chase and United unveil a new airline rewards card with no annual fee

United TravelBank card

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With the rise in popularity of premium travel rewards cards and cash back rewards cards, Chase and United have attempted to combine the two with the launch of the United TravelBank card.

The United TravelBank card offers a variety of travel perks without charging an annual fee, along with the opportunity to earn TravelBank cash at the following rate:

  • $150 TravelBank cash after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • 2 percent TravelBank cash per dollar on airline tickets purchased from United
  • 1.5 percent TravelBank cash per dollar on all other purchases

Unlike typical cash back offers, TravelBank cash can only be redeemed toward United flights.

Using TravelBank cash

If you are a frequent United Airlines flier, TravelBank cash can help trim your travel costs. Vice president of loyalty at United, Praveen Sharma, explains, “The United TravelBank card introduces a new way for customers to save on United flights by putting the TravelBank cash they’ve earned toward the cost of a ticket.”

One TravelBank dollar is worth one dollar in cash when redeemed toward United flights. So, for example, if you want to purchase a United flight for $250, but only have $50 in TravelBank cash, you can pay the remaining $200 in cash.

To redeem your TravelBank cash, first sign into your MileagePlus account. Next, choose your flight and select “United payment types” on the “Payment information” page. From there, you can view your TravelBank cash balance and apply the amount to your ticket purchase.

More travel benefits

Along with earning rewards to use toward flights, the TravelBank card offers a variety of travel benefits, including:

  • 25 percent food and beverage discount – Receive 25 percent back as a statement credit for food and beverage purchases on United-operated flights
  • No foreign transaction fees – Pay no additional fees for purchases made outside of the U.S.
  • Trip cancellation / interruption insurance – Get reimbursed up to $1,500 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable airfare if your trip is canceled or shortened due to events such as sickness or injury.
  • Auto rental collision damage – Theft and collision damage is covered for most cars in the U.S. and abroad when you charge your entire rental cost to your TravelBank card.
  • Chase card member benefits – Enjoy complimentary guest privileges at more than 900 premium hotels, resorts and spas, including daily breakfast for two, free WiFi, room upgrades, early check-ins and late checkouts.

Unfortunately, the United TravelBank card doesn’t include perks normally offered by airline rewards cards, including free checked bags, priority boarding and access to United clubs.

Comparing travel rewards cards               

The United TravelBank card joins the JetBlue card and the Blue Delta SkyMiles card as airline cards that do not charge annual fees. See how these cards compare in the chart below.

AIRLINE CARDS WITH NO ANNUAL FEES
  United TravelBank card JetBlue card Blue Delta SkyMiles
Rewards rate
  • 2% TravelBank cash per dollar on airfare purchased from United
  • 1.5% TravelBank cash per dollar on all other purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on JetBlue purchases
  • 2 points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants and purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
Sign-up bonus
$150 TravelBank cash after $1,000 spend in first 3 months 10,000 TrueBlue points after $1,000 spend in first 90 days 10,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months
Annual fee
$0 $0 $0
Foreign transaction fees None None 2.7% of each transaction
Intro APR None 0% on balance transfers for 12 months None
Airline perks 25% back as a statement credit for food and beverage purchases on United-operated flights 50% inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases 20% back as statement credit for eligible Delta in-flight food, beverage and audio headset purchases
Pros
  • No minimum rewards redemption
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • Rewards can be redeemed at any time in combination with other forms of payment
  • Redeem points for any seat on a JetBlue flight, JetBlue vacations, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, charity and unique experiences
  • Points don't expire as long as your account is active every 12 months
  • No blackout dates
  • Miles are redeemable toward travel on Delta and more than 15 airline partners
  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates on Delta flights
Cons
  • TravelBank cash can only be used toward United flights
  • TravelBank cash cannot be used toward qualifying for MileagePlus Premier status
  • No stopovers permitted on rewards flights
  • Number of required points varies based on current fares (no flat rewards rates)
  • $25 fee for booking travel by phone
  • Blackout dates may apply on partner flights

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of the offer.

Earning cash back rewards

If you want to earn cash back on all purchases with more redemption options than the United TravelBank card has to offer, you may want to choose a cash back card such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel or Amazon.com purchases. Cash back can also be transferred as Ultimate Rewards points to other Chase cards.

The Citi Double Cash card offers even more cash back. Cardholders earn up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases, which can be redeemed for a statement credit, check, gift card or credit to your checking and savings account.

See related: Chase Freedom vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which is best for you?, New Santander Bank card offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy


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Updated: 11-24-2017