New No-Fee United Card Lets You Earn Cash Back Toward Award Flights

Sep 6, 2017

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United flyers already have a few credit card options to choose from if they’re looking to earn miles toward award flights, but now they’ll have a no-fee, cash-back card to consider as well. In partnership with Chase, the airline’s just launched the United TravelBank Card.

Unlike the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card and the personal and business versions of the United MileagePlus Club Card, the United TravelBank Card earns you cash back rather than United miles. You’ll earn 2% back on United purchases and 1.5% back on all other purchases. If you’re approved for the card, you can earn $150 in cash back after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

It’s important to note that this card earns you TravelBank cash, which you can redeem toward the cost of a United flight. You’ll be able to redeem TravelBank cash as long as you’ve accumulated as least $1 in cash back (so, after you spend $50 with United or $67 on anything else), and if you don’t have enough cash back to cover the cost of a flight, you can pay the difference with your card. TravelBank is integrated in the checkout process on, so you can easily see your cash-back balance and redeem it for a flight.

Other benefits of the United TravelBank Card include 25% back as a statement credit on food and beverage purchases on board United flights, auto rental coverage and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. There are also no foreign transaction fees, which is especially great considering this is a no-annual-fee card. Finally, through the card you can get in on Chase’s Inside Access program, which offers VIP experiences such as private dinners with celebrity chefs.

Bottom Line

United’s long been one of the biggest co-brand partners of Chase, and with the new United TravelBank Card that relationship’s growing even stronger. This looks to be a pretty solid no-fee option, as it waives foreign transaction fees, offers some basic travel protections and gets you 2% back on United purchases with the ability to redeem cash back toward United flights.

Based on TPG’s latest valuations, United miles are worth 1.5 cents apiece, so you’ll technically get a greater return on spending with the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and its business version than with the TravelBank Card. The latter card offers a maximum return of 2% (on United purchases), while the Explorer Cards’ 2x miles on United purchases equals a 3% return. Still, if you want to avoid paying an annual fee, this new card could be a great pick.

What are your thoughts on this new card?

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