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United’s MileagePlus Club Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus and it usually comes along with a $450 annual fee, yet it still made our list of 7 Premium Travel Cards You Should Consider in 2016. The reason? The card includes a full United Club membership, allowing unrestricted access whenever you’re flying through an airport with a United-operated lounge. The card will save you $100 off the regular membership fee, assuming you don’t have elite status with United.
In addition, you’ll also receive Premier Access benefits, free first and second checked bags, 2 miles per dollar on all United purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar on all other spend, no close-in award booking fees and improved access to United award inventory. Of course, some of these benefits are also included with the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which carries a much lower annual fee of $95 (waived for the first year) and is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. But you’ll only receive United Club access twice each year, so if you fly United a lot, the Club Card offers obvious advantages.
If that $450 annual fee is tough to swallow, you may be able to get it waived for the first year. Chase is currently offering a targeted fee waiver — all but one of the TPG staffers who checked for the offer saw it in their accounts, so it looks like United’s casting a pretty wide net here. To see if you’ve been targeted for a waived annual fee for the first year, visit mpclubcard.com/rsvp and log in with your United MileagePlus credentials. According to a mailer, this offer expires on March 15, 2016.
If you do receive the fee waiver, you’re of course under no obligation to keep the card after the first year. Depending on your travel patterns, you might be better off with a card like Citi Prestige or The Platinum Card® from American Express, instead, since you’ll have access to far more lounges (excluding United Clubs, unfortunately).
Thanks to TPG reader Wes A., who shared this news tip by emailing email@example.com. We’ll be sending out a $200 Visa gift card as a token of our appreciation.