Is the United Club Infinite Card worth the annual fee?

Mar 23, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: United Club℠ Infinite Card

Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information necessary to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earnings strategies. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, but we are sharing this card launch because it is a great offer that could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns subside.

The United Club Infinite Card, offers a suite of incredible travel benefits and a big welcome bonus for those looking to stock up on United miles. The card is currently offering 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Beyond this incentive, it offers lots of valuable perks related to travel on United. It comes with an annual fee of $525, however, so is worth it? Let’s take an in-depth look at what the card offers:

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(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

In This Post

Related reading: Credit card review: United Club Card

Overview of benefits

First, let’s take a quick look at the United Club Infinite Card’s current benefits:

  • 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • United Club membership (up to a $650 value per year)
  • 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and all other travel
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • First and second checked bag free for cardholder and one travel companion
  • Premier Access travel services for cardholder and one travel companion
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle membership
  • No foreign transaction fees

This is a solid lineup of benefits for anyone who travels on United – frequently or otherwise. The sign-up bonus alone goes a long way in helping you save on future flights, while perks like the 25% inflight discount and the fee credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck help offset the $525 annual fee.

Current sign-up bonus

The United Club Infinite Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. TPG values United MileagePlus Miles at 1.3 cents each. This makes the sign-up bonus worth about $1,300. However, depending on how you redeem your miles, they could be worth a lot more. For example, booking a premium international award would get you maximum value, considering those tickets normally cost thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars. Even domestic awards can be a great value, with flights priced as low as 5,500 miles each way.

Of course, travel is severely restricted at the moment and we don’t advise making immediate plans. However, when things go back to normal, you’ll be glad to have a big stash of United miles for a much-needed getaway. On the basis of the sign-up bonus alone, the United Club Infinite Card’s $525 annual fee is well worth it for at least the first year.

United Club membership

The United Club Infinite Card’s $525 annual fee sounds high until you factor in the United Club membership included with the card. Membership normally costs $650 for non-elite members and $550 for United 1K members.

Because United Club lounges are temporarily closed, this card benefit won’t be useful until after the crisis has passed. That goes for most other card benefits and even airline miles in general. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared for future travels.

Related reading: Credit cards offering welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more

earn rate

Beyond the first year, the accelerated earn rate also helps justify the United Club Infinite Card’s annual fee. The card earns a whopping 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, which is more than what the other cobranded United cards offer. In addition to United purchases, you also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all other travel, as well as dining at restaurants.

Even if you’re not using the other benefits on this card but still earning at least 40,385 miles, your earnings at 1.3 cents per mile will cover the annual fee.

United Club Infinite travel benefits

The United Club Infinite Card is packed with benefits. The card offers 25% off inflight purchases and Premier Access when flying United. Cardholders get the first and second checked bag free for themselves and a traveling companion, creating savings of up to $240 per round-trip flight. Taking advantage of this perk at least twice a year offsets a large chunk out of the card’s annual fee.

Other valuable travel perks include, President’s Circle status with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and a $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck application-fee credit. Once international travel resumes, you can use the card abroad without paying a foreign transaction fee. These fees are normally around 3% and can add up quickly. For every $1,000 spent abroad, that’s a potential savings of $30.

Related reading: 7 best limited-time credit card offers

Bottom line

The United Club Infinite Card is a solid option for frequent United travelers and those looking to make occasional travel more comfortable. Although the $525 annual fee is steep, the 100,000-mile welcome bonus will boost the miles in your United account in anticipation of the day when travel becomes possible again. I’m already creating a vision board of everywhere I want to travel after the crisis is over. With 100,000 United miles, you’ll have a head start on saving for your dream vacation.

Whether the $525 annual fee is worth paying beyond the first year really depends on whether you make use of the card’s benefits. You can’t get much use out of them now but once the crisis passes, those miles can help you book vacations to amazing new places that were previously out of reach.

(Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.