Does the United Club Infinite Card warrant its steep annual fee? Read on about the card’s benefits to see if it’s worth adding to your wallet.
It’s already been two years since Chase announced the launch of a new card for United flyers, called the United Club℠ Infinite Card. Along with the launch, Chase retired the United Club card, previously known for its premium travel benefits. Fortunately, for those who prefer the airline, the United Club Infinite card is a good alternative offering an even higher rewards rate – but for a higher annual fee.
The United Club Infinite Card is currently offering a generous introductory offer of 80,000 bonus miles for those who spent $5,000 in the first three months. Read on to get a better sense of all the benefits to see if it fits your spending habits and lifestyle.
United Club Infinite Card benefits
The United Club Infinite Card can be a great addition to a frequent United flyer’s wallet. Other than rewarding miles on United purchases and one everyday category, the card’s strength comes from perks, such as priority boarding and lounge access.
With its 4X miles on United purchases, 2X miles on all other travel and dining (including eligible delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash) and 1X mile on all other purchases, the card is an attractive option for travelers who often fly with the carrier. Since the card only gives rewards on one everyday category – dining – it doesn’t really serve cardholders who aren’t loyal to United Airlines or do not fly often.
The United Club Infinite Card comes with a fairly large welcome bonus of 80,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in three months. Though the previous bonus was higher (100,000 miles), don’t let that dissuade you from applying – with United miles valued at 1.52 cents per point, the current welcome offer is worth $1,216. That’s quite a sum that you can spend on airfare with United Airlines.
Of course, a rewards program as robust as the MileagePlus must offer numerous ways to redeem your miles. And since it’s an airline credit card, one of the best redemption options is for airfare, whether it’s Saver Awards or Everyday Awards. Saver Awards are especially attractive because your miles would be worth around 1.4 cents apiece for economy tickets, though this type of airfare is capacity-controlled and the flights’ times are more inconvenient. Everyday Awards would make your miles worth around 1 cent per mile, but this airfare type generally has more availability.
If your chosen flight doesn’t fall under either of those options, you could always redeem your United miles for statement credits toward your next United flight. Even though one mile would be worth 1 cent if you use this method, the added flexibility is a major plus.
Other than airfare, MileagePlus lets you redeem your points in a variety of different ways. If you’re all about travel, you can redeem miles for hotels, car rentals, cruises, in-flight Wi-Fi and more.
When staying close to home, you can redeem miles for merchandise, magazine subscriptions, Broadway shows or your credit card annual fee (but because a mile will be worth 0.8 cents, we don’t recommend this). Of course, the biggest bang for your buck is if you’re able to snag a Saver Awards business or first-class ticket, which bumps your miles up to 2.7 cents each.
Like many airline cards, the United Club Infinite Card comes with airline-specific perks that eliminate the stress or discomfort of flying. These include free first and second checked bags, priority boarding, 25% back on in-flight United purchases (good for premium Wi-Fi) and up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years to expedite your time in the security line.
Perhaps the best perk to justify the annual fee of $525, however, is the complimentary United Club membership, which is worth $650 normally. The membership gives you access to more than 45 United Club locations, where you can enjoy free snacks, beverages and high-speed Wi-Fi. This benefit is good for businesspeople who spend a lot of time in airports, or even families who fly really, really often (you can bring in two adult guests or one adult guest and dependent children under 21).
The card also offers lots of secondary travel benefits like baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and more. You should also use this card when traveling abroad since it charges no foreign transaction fee.
Maximizing the United Club Infinite Card
First and foremost, you should work on spending $5,000 in three months to earn your 80,000 bonus miles. For big-ticket ideas, we recommend using your card to pay for your auto insurance, utilities, medical bills and even rent (if that’s possible). If that $525 annual fee isn’t a problem for you, we don’t think the $5,000 spending goal will be.
You should travel often. And when you fly, always fly with United Airlines and use your United Club Infinite Card to book flights. That way, you’ll earn miles as well and be able to enjoy its extra perks like the free checked bags and the 25% off in-flight purchases. And to really make it worth your while, be sure to visit the United Club locations to relax and pamper yourself before a layover or a long transatlantic flight.
Before your next trip, make sure you apply for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and get reimbursed for the cost in a statement credit. And wherever you dine – whether it’s fancy French-American fusion place or a late-night order of French fries and McNuggets delivered by DoorDash, use your card to receive 2X miles.
The United Club Infinite Card can be an excellent choice for any frequent United flyer who seeks premium travel benefits like lounge access and expedition through airport security. The card’s perks, especially the United Club membership, and high rewards rates can help offset the steep annual fee.
If you consider yourself more of a casual traveler, however, it probably won’t make sense for you to pay $525 a year to maintain this card. Always compare other travel card offers to make sure you get the one that fits your needs and budget.