United MileagePlus Club Card review

United MileagePlus Club Card review

Updated: October 8, 2021
Updated: October 8, 2021

As of March 16, 2020, the United MileagePlus Club Card has been replaced with the United Club℠ Infinite Card. The newer United luxury card comes with a revamped rewards earning scheme and additional perks. Check out our full United Club Infinite Card review for details.

If your biggest goal is gaining entry to the airline’s United Club locations — as well as Star Alliance-affiliated lounges worldwide — then the United MileagePlus Club Card might be worthy of consideration. But if you prefer hunting for great deals on airfare or booking travel through aggregator websites, you probably want to pass on the United MileagePlus Club Card and proceed directly to a general travel credit card that offers better rewards and greater flexibility when it comes to redemption.

For example, the Discover it® Miles comes with 1.5 miles per dollar spent and then matches those miles at the end of your first year; plus, you won’t be limited to flying with certain airlines or booking travel through the card issuer’s portal.

Average rewards

With double points on directly purchased United airfare and 1.5 points per $1 spent everywhere else, United MileagePlus Club Card rewards are slightly better than average for a travel credit card. But when you factor in the annual fee and an approximate value of 1.5 cents per point, you’d have to charge quite a bit each year to make the card worth your while: With a $1,325 monthly spend, we calculated the card’s average yearly rewards value at a negative $31.97. That’s right — typical spenders are likely to end up in the red with this one. 

Hefty annual fee

The United MileagePlus Club Card’s annual fee isn’t for the faint of heart. At $450, it’s lower than that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but without the $300 annual travel credit and generous reward rates on all travel and restaurant spending.

There is one easy way to offset the annual fee, but it depends on one thing: your United Club membership status. With United Club rates starting at $450 annually — though most flyers will pay $550 — it makes sense to sign up for the credit card instead and enjoy the enhanced perks that come with it (more on that later). So, if access to United’s airport lounges and participating Star Alliance-affiliated clubs is what you’re after, the card might suit you better than a standalone United Club membership.

75,000-point sign-up bonus

The United MileagePlus Club Card offers 75,000 miles off the bat to cardholders who spend $3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. This is a very generous offer on level with some of the largest credit card sign-up bonuses. While the bonus can help offset the MileagePlus Club Card’s annual fee for cardholders on a budget who want to cash in on the card’s airline perks, cardholders merely seeking to score a large sign-up bonus may be better off with a card with a lower annual fee.

Good availability

Thanks to United’s 28 Star Alliance partners, global route network and flexible booking policies, you’ll enjoy decent flight availability with the United MileagePlus Club Card, especially in the economy seating section. However, there are some downsides: Not all tickets with Star Alliance partners can be booked online, which means you’ll have to pay a $25 fee to book over the phone. Plus, United Saver Awards, which require fewer miles to redeem, are more difficult to find when you’re not flexible on travel dates.

No automatic elite status

One big drawback to the United MileagePlus Club Card is that it does not offer automatic elite status in the United MileagePlus program. However, it can still help you achieve status more quickly – as long as you spend heavily.

In order to achieve elite status with United, you must reach a certain number of PQPs (Premier qualifying points) and PQFs (Premier qualifying flights). Depending on how many you earn, you can qualify for elite status by combining PQPs and PQFs or based on PQPs alone. United Club cardholders earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 spent, up to a maximum of 1,000 PQP in a calendar year.

Other luxury benefits

In addition to United Club membership, the MileagePlus Club Card comes with plenty of posh perks that are sure to entice frequent United flyers to open an account. Some examples: free first and second checked bags for you and one companion, priority check-in, priority security screening, Visa concierge, Chase luxury hotel & resort collection, no foreign transaction fees, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement and much more.

Why get the United MileagePlus Club Card?

  • You frequently fly with United Airlines (or one of its 28 Star Alliance partners).
  • You can spend enough on the card every year to outweigh its $450 annual fee.
  • You want to avoid typical airport congestion with priority security screening, boarding and baggage handling privileges.
  • You’re interested in the amenities and other benefits associated with a United Club membership.
  • You stand to save considerable money with free checked bags for you and one companion (valued at up to $240 per round-trip flight).

How to use the United MileagePlus Club Card:

  • Use the card to pay for all United ticket purchases to help maximize your earnings.
  • Try to redeem rewards seats with a United Saver Award to use fewer miles (subject to capacity and demand).
  • Wherever possible, book travel on United.com to avoid paying a $25 phone booking fee.
  • Use the card when traveling overseas to take advantage of no foreign transaction fees.

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