United Club Infinite Card vs. United Club Card
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Editor's note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information you need to make educated decisions about travel and your rewards-earnings strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route network. But we are sharing these travel card offers because they could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.
When Chase introduced the United Club Infinite Card, a lot of readers did a double-take to figure out how this card was different from the United Club Card. After all, their names were very similar, their annual fees were priced in the premium credit card range and they shared similarities like United Club lounge membership. While these cards seem similar on the surface, there are actually quite a few significant differences.
For starters, the United Club Card is no longer open to new cardholders, so if you're looking for a premium United card, the United Club Infinite is your go-to. However, if you already have a United Club Card and are wondering how the United Club Infinite stacks up in comparison, we'll cover everything you need to know about the two cards:
Comparing United Club Infinite Card vs. United Club Card
|Card||United Club Infinite Card||United Club Card|
|Sign-up bonus||100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months||Closed to new applicants. Previously: 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months|
|Earning rates||4x on purchases with United
2x on all other travel purchases and dining
1x on everything else
|2x on purchases with United
1.5x on everything else
|Airline benefits||Free first and second checked bag, Premier Access travel services, 25% back on United inflight purchases, complimentary Premier upgrades on award flights for United elites||Free first and second checked bag, Premier Access travel services, 25% back on United inflight purchases, complimentary Premier upgrades on award flights for United elites|
|Club benefits||United Club membership||United Club membership|
|Other benefits||No foreign transaction fees, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle, Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee every four years, access to United Card Events and 24/7 Visa Infinite Concierge||No foreign transaction fees, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle, Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection|
The information for the United Club Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Let's dive into the individual benefits offered by these two cards and how they compare against each other.
Related reading: Cards currently offering welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more
The sign-up bonus on the United Club Infinite Card is one of the highest available right now: 100,000 miles after $5,000 spent in the first three months. While the United Club Card is no longer open to new cardholders, its worth noting its welcome bonus was substantially lower at 75,000 miles after $3,000 spent within 3 months. Granted, the United Club infinite Card has a higher spending requirement, but that's to be expected for a sign-up bonus that high.
TPG values United miles at 1.3 cents each, which mens you can expect around $1,300 worth of value out of the United Club Infinite's sign-up bonus. That's about $325 more than the previous sign-up bonus from the United Club Card would have gotten you. If you've been looking to stock up on United miles but missed out on the United Club card before the application was pulled, the good news is that the United Club Infinite Card has a higher sign-up bonus.
Here's the most jarring difference between the United Club Infinite and United Club Card: A $75 increase in annual fee. While the United Club card's annual fee was $450 per year, the United Club Infinite Card charges $525 per year. That's a significant increase, especially considering how similar the two cards are with respect to benefits.
However, there are some key differences that may make the increased annual fee on the Infinite Card worth it (aside from a bigger welcome bonus). These include differences in earning rates, travel benefits and protections, to name a few.
When it comes to earning points, the United Club Infinite Card offers higher category bonuses at the expense of non-bonus spending. Cardholders earn 4x miles on United purchases and 2x on all other travel and dining. Outside of these categories, you'll earn 1 mile per dollar spent.
Meanwhile, the United Club Card offered 2x miles on United purchases and 1.5x on everything else. This card was really ideal for those looking to maximize everyday spending that doesn't fall into a major bonus category.
While both cards cater to United flyers, the 1.5x earning rate on the United Club Card is better suited to those who do the majority of their spending outside of United, travel and dining. Earning more than one mile per dollar spent is ideal for people who want a single credit card to charge all their spending to, without worrying about which bonus category to maximize.
However, if your major spending categories include travel, dining and United purchases, then the 2x - 4x offered by the United Club Infinite Card can be way more rewarding for you.
Related reading: The best cards for flying United
Both cards offer nearly identical benefits when you're flying United: Free first and second checked bag, Premier Access, 25% back on inflight purchases, complimentary Premier upgrades on award flights. These are all valuable benefits that make flying United a much more pleasant experience.
Whether you're a frequent traveler or take one trip a year, being a United Club Infinite cardholder can significantly improve your travel experience through an impressive lineup of card benefits. A notable difference between the two cards, which takes some of the sting out of the $525 annual fee, is the up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit issued every four years. Beyond this, both cards offer Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle status, access to Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle status can take some of the hassles out of renting a car, with guaranteed upgrades, elevated point earnings (1.5 per dollar spent), a wider selection of cars to choose from and no charge for additional drivers. President's Circle members also receive four months of CLEAR membership and access to a dedicated rewards line, among other benefits.
United Club Infinite cardholders also get 25/7 access to Visa Infinite Concierge Services, which provides assistance for travel planning, restaurant reservations, sports and entertainment tickets and more. This can really help make planning easier, whether you've got your sights on a fabulous trip abroad (once that becomes possible again) or a night out.
The United Club Infinite also offers access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences via United Card Events. These include meet-and-greets with renowned athletes, tickets to film festivals and other unique experiences. You can book tickets to these events by paying with your United Club Infinite card or bidding with your miles.
Travel and purchase protections
The two cards offer most of the same travel and purchase protections, with the exception of price protection, a benefit the United Club Infinite Card does not offer. Meanwhile, United Club cardholders are covered if an item is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days of purchase. Price protection will refund the different up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year. This benefit is only applicable to purchases made in the U.S.
Aside from this, the two cards offer identical travel protections:
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
Baggage delay insurance: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over six hours by the carrier, up to $100 a day for three days.
Lost luggage reimbursement: If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
Trip delay reimbursement: If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
Auto rental collision damage waiver: Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
Return protection: You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.
Extended warranty protection: Extends the period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
The United Club Infinite and United Club Card offer many of the same benefits and perks. The difference is primarily in the sign-up bonus, annual fee and category bonuses. Whether you're an existing United Club Card member or just looking to give your United MileagePlus balance a boost, then the 100,000-mile sign-up bonus from the United Club Infinite Card can be worth pursuing. These are considered separate products, so having the United Club Card does not disqualify you from applying for a United Club Infinite Card. That being said, you can't have both cards and you also can't qualify for the United Club Infinite's 100,000-mile sign-up bonus if you've received the United Club Card's bonus in the last 24 months.
If you're disqualified under this rule and wondering whether it's worthwhile to swap out your existing United Club Card for the Infinite version, then consider your spending habits first and foremost. With the United Club Infinite Card offering 4x miles on United purchases (as opposed to 2x on the United Club Card) and 2 miles per $1 on all other travel and dining, this could be worthwhile if you plan on booking lots of paid United fares once this crisis is over.
If you have another card that earns substantial rewards on travel and dining, then you may be better off maximizing your non-bonus category spending with the United Club Card. The "best" card really comes down to which card is earning its keep based on your travel and spending habits.
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)