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When it comes to earning bonus miles for spend, credit cards are usually the way to go — for example, you can get 5x points for airfare with the Platinum Card from American Express. But United is trying to change that notion a bit by offering a new debit-like option, the United MileagePlus GO Prepaid Card.
Since it’s not a credit card, there is no hard credit pull, and you won’t incur any interest payments or late fees. It’s a prepaid card in the truest sense, but you’ll be allowed to earn United MileagePlus miles. Here’s how the earning structure is set up:
- Earn 1x miles for every dollar spent — capped at 2,500 miles each month (30,000 miles for the year)
That’s it — it’s fairly simple. Plus, the card offers a 5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) savings account on balances up to $1,000. The card is reloadable so you can continue to use it purchase after purchase and add more cash when needed. In order to get the card, you must be at least 18 years old, and the use of the card is subject to activation and an identity verification.
There are some negatives about the card, such as its foreign transaction fee of 3.5%, so this card is not one you’ll want to use on your international purchases. In addition, there’s a $85 annual fee, which is deducted from the amount when you first load your card with money. It’s a pretty steep annual fee for a non-credit card, especially for the earning being capped at just 2,500 miles each month. So, those downfalls are something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about getting the card.
Overall, by no means is this a great option for everyone. In fact, if you have the credit needed to get a MileagePlus credit card, such as the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, this is a downright bad option. However, if you don’t have the credit needed to get a credit card for earning more points and miles for your purchases or if you’re worried about making payments on time and the fees associated with that, this could be a good option for you. Unfortunately, the mileage accrual is capped, so you won’t be able to get too many miles, and there is that $85 annual fee. But if a no-strings-attached card that’s refillable is something that interests you, the MileagePlus GO card could very well be a solid option — and the only airline prepaid card in the sphere.
Know before you go.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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