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What Are The Benefits Of Getting The United MileagePlus Club Card?

by on March 23, 2014 · 20 comments

in Chase, Sunday Reader Questions, United, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Paul emailed me with a question about the United MileagePlus Club Card:

“In your list of recommended cards, you rarely mention the United MileagePlus Club Card. It gives you Club access and 1.5 miles per $1, but even if you don’t use the Club privileges, and charge more than $75,000 per year, the 37,500 extra points are well worth it. As far as I can tell, if you’re a United Club member the card is a no-brainer. Am I missing something?”

Paul, you’re not missing anything. If you want United Club access, the United MileagePlus Club card is a great option and there are certainly a lot of perks beyond just club access as well and if you walk into a Chase branch, there are reports that they are giving customers offers where the $395 annual fee is waived the first year.

Benefits

Cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases. Like United Explorer cardholders, United opens up extra seats for awards at the Saver level. Club cardholders also receive a waiver from the airline’s close-in award booking fees that can cost up to $75, depending on your status level (note, this is only on United-operated flights, not codeshare partners).

United Club cardholders receive primary rental car coverage, as well as trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage, and baggage delay coverage. Other benefits include extended warranty protection, purchase protection, return protection, and price protection coverage. It also waives foreign transaction fees.

Cardholders who have not yet earned Premier status immediately receive Premier Access travel services, which include priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding, and baggage handling. Cardholders and one companion receive their first and second pieces of checked baggage for free.

In addition to the benefits with United, cardholders can join Avis First and receive Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program. Finally, existing United Club members can have a pro-rated remainder of their United Club membership reimbursed when they receive this card based on their membership year dates.

Spending Assessment

All this said, I have to disagree with you that spending the $75,000 per year gets you a lot of extra points; it really depends on what you’re spending that money on. If none of the money you spend is in a bonus category like gas or travel, I could agree with you that getting 1.5 miles per dollar spent is better than getting just one mile per dollar spent.

However, there are other cards you can use to rack up more points and United miles. For example, the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus both earn 5x points per dollar spent at office supply stores (and you can buy gift cards to other retailers there) and 2x on gas and groceries. Those Chase Ultimate Reward points can then be transferred to United, therefore giving you more United miles for every dollar you spend at those merchants.

I do think the United MileagePlus Club card is good to have, especially if you value airport lounge access, but you should also carry some other card options as a great way to rack up as many points as possible, using distinct cards at different retailers.

If you value lounge access, this is the card for you.

If you value lounge access, this is the card for you.

Always go into a Chase bank branch to see if you can get the card’s annual fee waived, and check United.com for targeted promotions and offers related to your card.

In addition, please check out these related posts:

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on Facebook, tweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Austin

    Is there an incremental increase is Saver availability with a United Card compared to just having Premier status? I bounce between Silver and Gold if that makes a difference.

  • Arlington Traveler

    TPG, thanks for writing on this subject. I got the United Club card for free through an invite in the United Club back in 2012. When my renewal came up last year, I kept the card because they offered me 15K MP miles (pre devaluation) which made it worth it. The thing about this card, is that is like the Amex Plat card more than meet the eye.
    1) You get a full United Club membership (you even get the separate card) which gets you into * Alliance business class clubs even flying coach on a * Alliance carrier
    2) The fee waiver for last minute bookings is valuable and it’s something even Silver and Gold members don’t get waived (they get reduced fees)
    As I look at it this is the card for those who travel United enough to make it suck to have no benefits, but no enough to make MP Silver. Not just the Club benefit, but the Premier Access benefit. The 1.5 miles is like gravy.. true you can do better with other Chase cards category spending bonuses, but none of them will get you into the United Club or give your Premier Access.

  • john

    Another perk is that you also get to use the Acela Club at Amtrak. In NY its pretty useless because the club is a dump. But, in DC, it allows you early boarding onto the trains (you board the train directly from the Acela Club) so you don’t have to stand on that long line to board and get the better seats. Not sure about other cities.

  • DonDover

    An essential feature that the United card has and I have it in the lesser annual fee, Explorer card, is the primary insurance coverage. There are few options out there: Diners Club, purchase the annual car coverage option from American Express, but United is the better choice for all the other benefits the card offers. It is key for me.

  • tivoboy

    The only real negative is I don’t believe you can get a spouse access?

  • MSK

    One of the best perks of club access is getting great/fast help re-booking/rerouting at the club help desk if a flight is delayed/cancelled. The Club card shows its worth after 1-2 these flight rerouting episodes due to weather, etc.

  • Ian

    Worked here in Colorado–first year fee waived when I went into my local branch….Points Guy pays off again. Also, spouses can come into the club as long as they are with you.

  • Lin

    Its the same.

  • TM

    Does anyone know if you can access the Club with this card if you are flying on a different airline? I fly SWA and UA and the Club in SNA is accessible from either at SNA.

  • GT

    As a United Premier Sliver (and higher) member you’re eligible for free upgrades to business/economy plus. Do you get that with the United Club Card, too?

  • Deschutes

    I was able to sign up for this card online, with no fee for year one yesterday, with a little messing around. Go to: http://www.united.com/2014clubfree. Log in with your mileage plus credentials, click “back to my offer” in the top right, then click back and forth between the personal and business United Club Card offers. For me, it eventually comes up with a $0 first year offer, event though it starts with a $395 with $100 statement credit offer. At one point it may have even come up with the $0 offer on the first try. Not sure of the logic behind all of this, but it shows that sometimes just clicking around can be beneficial.

  • TutuB

    You can still get the Club Card for free (first year) by going into any Chase branch. Just did it today. Also saw they had the 50,000 mile promo for the Mileage Plus Explorer card in the branch as well. SO glad I found this!

  • TutuB

    I did try the online trick suggested by Deschutes below, and it did not work in my account! However, it did work in my husband’s acct., who flies less and charges less than me. Go figure…

  • DJD

    What is the best card to use if I am a United Chase Club card member and put $1m to $1.5m per year

  • Adnan Kashogi

    Must one fly United to use the United Lounge is one has this card? What I am asking is… if I have the card and I am flying say Delta… am I allowed access to the United Lounge?

  • calittlemac

    I looked at the Chase Business Ink card and noticed that its primary rental car coverage is only if driving for business purposes. Also, the UMP Club card includes evacuation insurance, which the Ink card doesn’t.

  • Abh

    Right. My husband opened a card, $400, and as his wife/with a second card as an authorized user, I don’t have club access. Kind of a bummer since we thought it’d be helpful when I travel with the kids. There’s always a catch…

  • Christoph

    I read that for United lounges it doesn’t matter which airline you are flying that day. For Start Alliance lounges you need to be on a Star Alliance flight that day.

  • Christoph

    Spouse and children only when traveling with the primary cardholder.

  • tk

    I can confirm. Having recently flown Delta, and used the United Club on a layover.

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