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Most United flyers looking for an airline credit card will opt for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card — it’s a great option, especially for infrequent travelers who won’t have an opportunity to earn elite status. But if you frequently fly United, or often find yourself near a United Club, the United MileagePlus Club Card is hard to beat.

The card carries a significant $450 annual fee, but it comes along with an unbeatable perk: unlimited access to the United Club, regardless of the cabin or even airline you’re flying. I didn’t hesitate to sign up for the card a couple years ago, and it wasn’t even offering a sign-up bonus at the time.

Today’s offer makes the card even more appealing — currently, Chase is offering an opportunity to earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months with the United MileagePlus Club Card — if I didn’t already have an account, I’d certainly be signing up today.

Cardholders get a full United Club membership, worth at least $450 per year, depending on your elite status level.

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This card even makes sense for existing United Club members — United will prorate your membership fee, reimbursing the balance.

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As a Premier 1K, I’d pay the same $450 to get the membership directly through United, but the card let me avoid the $50 initiation fee and comes along with other perks as well, including:

  • Access to any Star Alliance member business lounge around the world when departing on a member airline, with one guest
  • Premier Access, with priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling
  • Free first and second checked bags for the cardholder and one companion when you purchase flights using your card
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • Hertz President’s Circle status
  • Access to Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection
  • No close-in booking fee for last-minute awards
  • Expanded award availability with access to the XN fare class
  • Complimentary upgrades on award tickets for United elites

In addition, you’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent with the card, and 2 miles per dollar spent with United. There are no foreign transaction fees and your miles won’t expire as long as you’re a cardholder.

Bottom Line

$450 per year is an awful lot to spend on a credit card. That said, the 50,000-mile sign-up bonus more than offsets the first year’s fee — we value United miles at 1.5 cents each, making the bonus offer worth $750.

If you’re able to take full advantage of the United Club membership, keeping the card beyond the first year makes sense, too, and if you’re already a full member, it’s helpful to know that United will prorate your dues and issue a refund if you decide to add the United MileagePlus Club Card to your wallet.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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