Save Money on United Airlines With a United.com Club Membership
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Did you know United Airlines has a club that you can join to save money on flights — and membership costs just $25 per year? I’ve personally been a member for many years and my family has saved hundreds of dollars on airfare as a result.
In exchange for the annual membership fee, members of the United.com Club get a $5 flight credit deposited to their United TravelBank for every ticket purchased while logged in to their United MileagePlus accounts. This is especially great for families: A family of four that purchases four tickets while logged in to a United account with the United.com Club membership should earn $20 toward the purchase of a future United or United Express-operated flight.
Update: In a stroke of unfortunate timing, United announced that the United.com Club was ending shortly after this story was published. Those with an active membership will continue to earn credits through the end of their membership period, but new memberships are no longer available.
Earning United.com Club Travel Credit
I say “should” because for reasons I don’t understand, that doesn’t always happen. For example, I flew on a paid reservation with my two girls on a flight from Houston to Salt Lake City in January, and we only earned one $5 credit in my TravelBank. However, most of the time, we earn credit for each person on the reservation — and even though the membership is in my name, I don’t have to be flying in order for the credit to be awarded. I’ve booked tickets just for my husband from my United.com account and still received the $5 credit.
If you book your trip as two one-ways instead of one round-trip, theoretically you may be able to earn two credits, but be sure and weigh the pros and cons of doing that just to get an extra $5.
Despite a slight lapse in my membership, we still earned $130 in credits in the last year in exchange for my $25 membership fee.
Do note the system does not award $5 per ticket if you aren’t logged in and booking your flights via United.com. In my experience, award tickets are also no longer eligible for the $5 credit. However, if you purchase more than five paid tickets per year from United.com, then you can come out ahead by being a United.com Club member.
While you can’t earn the travel credit when booking MileagePlus award tickets, you can stack earning the $5 credit with using points by booking tickets via United.com but paying with a card such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. You then credit yourself back some of the charge by using the miles from those cards at a fixed value and you’ve stacked using points, earning miles and getting $5 credit per ticket.
Redeeming United.com Club Credits
The $5 credits you earn are deposited in your account within three to five business days after you fly the reservation and can be used toward purchased tickets on United or United Express on the final booking screen as noted below. You can only combine TravelBank credit with payment with a credit/debit card and not with any other sort of voucher or additional payment type. Sadly, you also cannot use TravelBank credits to pay the taxes and fees on award tickets. Your TravelBank credits will expire after 18 months of no activity, so you can’t sit on a balance forever.
I like to use my credits once they get up to around $40 to $50 as then it feels like a real savings on a ticket, rather than just using $5 here and there. You can pay a portion of a ticket with TravelBank credit and a portion with a credit card, which is probably smart to get some built-in travel protections.
A United.com Club membership probably isn’t going to revolutionize the way you travel, but it may save you a little money on your United flights as long as you book your flights directly on United.com.
Featured image by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy
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