|Rewards Rating:||3.9 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||3.4|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.6|
In a Nutshell:
Frequent flyers looking to earn United miles and enjoy premium perks can get a lot of value out of this card thanks to its impressive rewards rate. That said, the annual fee will be hard to justify if you’re not a die-hard United fan.
Average Yearly Rewards Value (over 3 years, $1,325 monthly spend)
Chase Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: First and second checked bag free for you and a companion, priority boarding for you and companions on same reservation, United Club membership, United Premier Access, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle elite status, room upgrades and free Wi-Fi at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, Visa Infinite Concierge Services, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance services, purchase protection, return protection, no foreign transaction fee, 25% back on in-flight United purchases
Ideal for United loyalists who place a high priority on perks like airport lounge access, the United Club℠ Infinite Card comes with an impressive sign-up bonus and a respectable rewards rate on both United purchases and general travel spending. Indeed, the card’s earning rate for flights booked with competing airlines stands out among airline credit cards.
That said, the Club Infinite card’s enormous annual fee may be tough to swallow for the average traveler. Unless you place a high priority on United-specific perks and do nearly all of your traveling on United or with one of its Star Alliance partners, you may better off with a luxury travel card that offers more flexible redemption.
Terrific sign-up bonus
The United Club Infinite Card was recently updated with a new sign-up bonus, and it’s a massive improvement: You can earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. This a very generous bonus – indeed, it’s currently the highest United card bonus available – and is worth over $1,100 in airfare if you redeem all your miles for budget-friendly Saver Awards (assuming an average United mile value of 1.52 cents apiece).
While this is a great bonus, especially considering the card previously offered no sign-up bonus whatsoever, it falls short of the card’s highest-ever offer. At launch, the Club Infinite card offered an eye-popping 100,000-mile sign-up bonus, worth approximately $1,520 when redeemed for airfare with United. Still, given the card has completely removed its sign-up bonus in the past, now is likely a great time to apply if you want to maximize your rewards earnings.
See related: Best ways to redeem United miles
Impressive rewards rate on travel purchases
The United Club Infinite Card gives you more ways to earn bonus miles on your spending than the average airline credit card.
You’ll earn 4 miles per dollar on United purchases (including tickets and inflight purchases like food, beverages and Wi-Fi), which is double the rate offered by most airline cards on direct bookings. The lower-cost United Explorer Card, for example, only offers 2 miles per dollar spent on United flights.
What’s more, the card also earns 2 miles per dollar on all other travel, including flights booked with other airlines. This is impressive given that many co-branded airline cards, including the American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards, only offer bonus rewards on airfare purchases that are made with directly with the airline.
In addition to its bonus on United flights and general travel, the Club Infinite card offers 2 miles per dollar on dining and food delivery and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
Redeeming United miles
The Club Infinite card’s rewards rate on general travel and dining helps boost the card’s overall earning rate and should be very appealing to frequent travelers who want to earn United miles while still having the flexibility to book with other airlines.
According to our estimates, the average cardholder will earn a little over $300 worth of United miles per year via card spend with the Club Infinite card. This assumes an average rewards rate of 1.34 miles per dollar, a mile value of 1.52 cents per mile and an annual spend of $15,900 (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
United miles are pretty flexible and can also be used for booking with one of the airline’s 28 Star Alliance partners. Other United redemption options like hotel bookings, car rentals and cruises will usually force you to sacrifice mile value.
That said, a travel card that offers transferrable points or miles could give you even more booking flexibility and help you rack up miles more quickly.
For example, take The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gets you 5 points per dollar on all flights booked directly with an airline or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). If you were to spend $5,000 per year on such travel, you’d earn 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. Even if you only booked with United, the Club Infinite card would earn just 20,000 United miles on a $5,000 spend.
Though United itself is not an Amex transfer partner, you could transfer your Amex points to one of United’s eligible Star Alliance partners (Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air Canada Aeroplan and ANA Mileage Club) at a 1:1 ratio and use them to book flights with United.
See related: United Airlines partners
High annual fee
The United Club Infinite Card charges an annual fee of $525 per year, over five times that of the United Explorer Card. Budget-conscious cardholders may balk at such a high fee, but the card’s impressive ongoing rewards rate, sign-up bonus and lounge access perks can make the annual fee worth it for United loyalists who value luxury travel. Just be sure you’ll make use of the card’s benefits and don’t mind limiting your rewards to flights on United and its partner airlines; otherwise, the fee will be hard to justify.
Despite its annual fee, the Club Infinite card offers great first-year value, ultimately beating out the United Explorer due to that card’s lower sign-up bonus. Based on our estimates of the average person’s spending and subtracting the annual fee, the Club Infinite Card earns around $939 worth of United miles in the first year, compared to the United Explorer card’s $817. This assumes a mile value of 1.52 cents per mile and an annual card spend of $15,900.
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Average rewards earned||Annual fee||Total earned|
|United Explorer Card||40,000 miles * 1.52 cents / mile = $608||$15,900 * 1.2 miles / dollar * 1.52 cents / mile = $290||$95 ($0 first year)||$898|
|United Club Infinite Card||75,000 miles * 1.52 cents / mile = $1,140||$15,900 * 1.34 miles / dollar * 1.52 cents / mile = $324||$525||$939|
Things change in year two, however. Based on our model of the average cardholder, we estimate around $195 in earnings with the United Explorer card while the Club Infinite card will end up costing the average cardholder about $200 per year (if you ignore the value of the card’s perks). As a result, the card’s luxury perks – especially the included United Club membership – will be make-or-break for prospective applicants
Enjoy a complimentary United Club membership
As its name implies, the United Club Infinite Card’s included United Club membership is one of the card’s biggest selling points. United Club lounges feature complimentary beverages and snacks, free Wi-Fi and more. Without the Club Infinite card, a membership would cost you $650 per year or 85,000 miles per year.
When you factor in the value of this membership, the Club Infinite card more than pays for itself, even without a sign-up bonus. Indeed, if you look at the United Club membership’s value as the card’s annual bonus, the Club Infinite card outshines the United Explorer card.
Valuable perks for frequent travelers
Along with its generous ongoing rewards and lounge access, the Club Infinite card gets you a number of compelling travel perks, including:
- Credit for up to $100 toward cost of a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application – Use your United Club Infinite Card to pay the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee and you’ll be reimbursed in the form of a statement credit (one credit per account, every four years in connection with a program application fee).
- First and second checked bag free – You and a companion traveling on the same reservation can each check your first bag for free, a savings of as much as $320 per roundtrip.
- Priority boarding – You and any companions on the same reservation will be able to board United flights prior to general boarding.
- United Premier Access – Among other benefits, United Premier Access gets you access to designated airport check-in lines, exclusive security lanes and priority baggage handling, with your checked bags among the first to be delivered.
- Hertz Plus Rewards President’s Circle elite status – When you use your card to book a rental with Hertz and include your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member number in your reservation, you can enjoy perks like guaranteed rental car upgrades, the widest rental car selection and a boosted Hertz rewards rate (up 50% from that of the average Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member). You’ll also get a 4-month free trial of the CLEAR security screening program.
- 25% back on in-flight United purchases – Enjoy discounts when you buy Wi-Fi, food, beverages and more on United flights.
These perks are respectable, but the lack of annual travel credits in particular keeps the Club Infinite card out of the upper echelon of luxury travel cards. Several cards with a comparable or even lower annual fee offer travel credits of $200 or more. Even the United Business Card offers a $100 travel credit each year you make seven United travel purchases of $100 or more.
No automatic elite status
Like its predecessor, the United Club Card, the United Club Infinite Card does not offer automatic elite status in the United MileagePlus program.
The United Club Infinite Card also offers a number of other benefits and consumer protections in addition to its United-specific travel perks, including:
- Auto rental collision damage waiver – You’ll be reimbursed up to the actual cash value of a rental vehicle for theft and collision damage both in the U.S. and abroad.
- Baggage delay insurance – If your bag is delayed more than six hours, you can be reimbursed up to $100 a day for three days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing.
- Lost luggage reimbursement – You get coverage up to $3,000 per passenger if you or an immediate family member check or carry-on luggage that is lost or damaged by the carrier.
- Purchase and return protection – Your new purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year). You can also get reimbursed for eligible items bought with your card that the store won’t take back within 90 days (up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year).
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance – If your trip is cancelled or cut short due to sickness or severe weather, this card’s travel insurance benefits will cover you up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses, including fares, tours and hotels.
- Trip delay reimbursement – If your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you’re covered for unreimbursed expenses like meals and lodging (up to $500 per ticket).
- Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection perks – Make a reservation with your card at one of over 900 hotels, resorts, lodges and spas and you can enjoy room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two people, free Wi-Fi and other benefits.
- Visa Infinite Concierge Services – You can get personalized assistance for travel planning, dinner reservations, sports, entertainment tickets and more.
- No foreign transaction fee – You won’t be charged any additional fees for purchases made abroad, which is good news if you often travel overseas.
How does the United Club Infinite Card compare to other rewards cards?
The United Club Infinite Card lets you earn bonus miles at a great rate on United purchases, general travel and dining, but redemption is limited to United and its partner network. If you’re looking for a bit more flexibility but don’t want to sacrifice ongoing rewards and luxury perks, there are a few alternatives worth consideration:
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Citi Prestige® Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in first 6 months
50,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a credit of up to $100 toward the cost of a TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, complimentary Priority Pass lounge access and a flexible $300 travel credit you can use for airfare, ride-shares, parking garages, bus tickets and much more.
The Platinum Card from American Express is packed with travel credits and protections that make it a valuable option for frequent travelers, including an up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck and up to $200 per year in Uber Cash ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December for U.S. rides and eats). You’ll also enjoy Priority Pass lounge access and an impressive 5 point-per-dollar rewards rate on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. The major downside is that its rewards rate makes it hard to earn points on non-travel purchases.
The Citi Prestige card offers a whopping 5 points per dollar spent on both restaurants and air travel, as well as a fourth night free at any hotel up to twice a year. The card also comes with a generous sign-up bonus, Priority Pass lounge access and an annual $250 travel credit, all of which should be more than enough to offset the card’s annual fee (which is still lower than that of the United Club Infinite Card). You can book flights with United through the Citi travel portal or transfer to one of 15 Citi ThankYou transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Why get the United Club Infinite Card?
- You frequently fly United.
- You also fly with other airlines but want to earn United miles instead of general travel rewards.
- You’re interested in a United Club membership or are already a member.
- You want to save money on checked bags and expedited security screening.
- You want to earn miles on more than airline purchases.
- You want a card that carries no foreign transaction fee.
How to use the United Club Infinite Card
- Use the card for all United purchases, including in-flight purchases.
- Be sure to use the card for dining not only at restaurants but also on eligible food delivery services.
- Use the card for all of your travel spending so you can earn miles even if you’re not flying with United.
- Be sure to take advantage of the included United Club membership when traveling.
- Pay for your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application with the card to get a statement credit of up to $100.
Is the United Club Infinite Card worth it?
Only if you value luxury perks long-term. Though it offers an impressive sign-up bonus, the Club Infinite card’s extremely high annual fee will be hard for most cardholders to justify. Unless United Club access and other United benefits are a top priority, you’ll likely be better off sticking with the more affordable United Explorer card, especially given its comparable sign-up offer and waived first-year annual fee.
About the author
*Information about the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
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