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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: United Explorer Card
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.
This card even makes sense for existing United Club members — United will prorate your membership fee, reimbursing the balance.
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
- 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.
$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.