United’s premium credit card — United Club Infinite Card Review

Apr 16, 2020

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


United Club Infinite Card Overview

The New! United Club Infinite Card is United’s newest addition to its cobranded card lineup issued by Chase. For any loyal United flyer who spends a significant amount with the airline each year, this card could be a great addition to your wallet. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

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, but we are sharing this because it is a great offer that could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

One of the primary disadvantages of many airline credit cards is a low return on spending, even on branded purchases — most airline cards only offer 2x or 3x on airline purchases. The United Club Infinite Credit Card is setting a new standard with an impressive 4x on United purchases.

United has made a lot of changes in the past year or so, from switching to dynamic pricing in to overhauling its elite status requirements. But the airline has also made some strides in customer care lately by extending current elite status through Jan. 31, 2022, and making it a little easier to earn elite status in 2020 and 2022.

Let’s dive into some of the details of the top-tier United Club Infinite Card to see if it makes sense for you.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

Like any premium cobranded airline card, the United Club Infinite Card is best suited for loyal United flyers. If you’re a frequent United flyer and want premium perks like United Club membership, adding the United Club Infinite Card to your wallet is definitely worth it. The card does come with a high $525 annual fee, so it may not be the best option for beginners or travelers who aren’t loyal to United.

Related reading: Credit card annual fees — Is it worth it?

Sign-up bonus: Limited time offer worth $1,300

To celebrate the launch of this card, United and Chase are offering 100,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening. TPG values United miles at 1.3 cents each, which makes the bonus alone worth $1,300. The offer ends May 18, 2020, so you have plenty of time to apply before it disappears.

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

While this card is an entirely separate product from the existing United Club Card, you won’t be able to have both cards at once and sign-up bonuses across both cards are limited to one every 24 months. Here are the exact eligibility terms:

This product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any United ClubSM credit card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any United Club credit card who received a new Cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. If you are an existing United Club Visa Signature Cardmember and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change.

While current United Club Cardholders are able to request an upgrade to the United Club Infinite Card, you’d be sacrificing 100,000 bonus miles in the process. This is one of the major downsides to this option.

And of course, this is a card issued by Chase, which means it will more than likely be subject to the issuer’s infamous 5/24 rule. If you have opened five or more card accounts in the past 24 months, you will probably be denied for this one.

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.

Related reading: What to do after you reach 5/24

Main perks and benefits

The United Club Infinite Card mirrors many of the United Club Card‘s travel perks and protections, with one addition. You might wonder if this card is worth applying for now since many of the travel perks won’t be utilized in the near future. While it’s true that the pause on travel means that perks like lounge access and travel protections aren’t as valuable short-term, the sign-up bonus on this card does position you for an excellent redemption once travel resumes. And when you are finally back in the air, the perks this card offers will enhance your experience.

Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee credit

This is a common benefit across travel credit cards, but the United Club Card doesn’t offer this perk. If you don’t already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the United Club Infinite Card will fund your application fee credit once every four years. For travelers who already have the benefit (or those who aren’t eligible due to their state of residence), you can always gift this perk to a family member or friend.

United Club membership

The high point of the United Club Card is the United Club access for primary cardholders. United has carried it over to the United Club Infinite Card. With a United Club membership, you’ll have access to United Clubs and select Star Alliance lounges when flying United and its partners.

You’ll also be able to bring up to two adult companions (or one adult and any dependent children under the age of 21). Considering this benefit costs $650 each year for non-cardholders, this perk alone makes up for the $525 annual fee.

United Club at London Heathrow (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)
One of the best benefits of the United Club Infinite Card is a complimentary United Club membership. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

Elite-like perks

The card comes with two free checked bags (for the primary cardholder and one traveling companion on the same reservation paid for with the card), Premier Access (which includes priority access for check-in, security screening where available, boarding and baggage handling), 25% back on United inflight purchases, expanded award availability and more. If you have United elite status, these perks may not be as compelling. But for those who have yet to hit it, these are valuable benefits.

Travel and shopping protections

With this card, you’re getting the same protections as the United Club Card

Rental car privileges

The primary cardholders will get complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle membership, which is the rental car company’s top-tier elite status. Generally, members only get this after 20 car rentals or $4,000 in annual spending.

President’s Circle members get guaranteed upgrades, 1.5 points per dollar spent, no additional driver fees for spouse/domestic partners in the U.S., four months of CLEAR membership a wider selection of cars to choose from and the ability to transfer points to select travel partners.

Related reading: How to earn miles with the United Airlines MileagePlus program

Earning miles

The earning rate on the United Club Infinite Card is what ultimately sets it apart from other cobranded airline credit cards. Cardholders earn 4x miles on United purchases, 2x on all other travel and dining purchases and 1x on everything else. That’s a 5.2% return on United spending (based on TPG valuations), higher than any other airline credit card.

Since Chase is the issuing bank, the travel and dining categories are broadly defined, just as they are with Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you have either of those cards, you’ll want to use those for general travel and dining spending, since Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth more than United miles. But if you don’t already have either of those cards, you’ll still be able to earn rewards on those purchases with the United Club Infinite Card.

Redeeming miles

Understandably, many are probably wondering why signing up for an airline credit card is a good idea amid global travel restrictions and concerns around coronavirus — there admittedly aren’t many opportunities to redeem miles for vacations right now. A stash of 100,000+ United miles could help you in an emergency if you or a family member needs to travel.

While it’s hard to look far ahead in uncertain times, remember that eventually things will settle down. A lot can change over the course of the next three months and building up a stash of miles now could fund a much-needed getaway once global concerns have waned and travel restrictions have been lifted.

When you are ready to redeem miles, United does have some sweet spots in its Mileage Plus program. Unfortunately, United no longer publishes an award chart, which means award redemption rates can be unpredictable. But there are other ways to find value in the program, such as the United Excursionist perk or booking partner awards with United miles. United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges on partner awards, which can save you hundreds of dollars per ticket when booking awards like first-class tickets on Lufthansa.

Related reading: Maximizing redemptions with United MileagePlus

United Club Infinite Card vs United Club Card

At first glance, these two cards are very similar — from the perks offered down to their names. Considering the United Club Infinite Card charges a $525 annual fee vs. the United Club Card‘s $450 annual fee, you might be wondering why it would make sense to splurge on a card that costs an extra $75. The key lies in the additional earning power of the United Club Infinite Card.

Because you’re earning 4x vs 2x on United purchases with the United Club Infinite Card, those who are spending a lot on United purchases will still be better off with the United Club Card — even factoring the higher annual fee. The breakeven point is $2,885 per year in United purchases. If you’re spending that much, then that’s 11,540 miles with the United Club Infinite Card, worth $150.02 according to TPG valuations. That same spend earns just 5,770 with the United Club Card, worth $75.01. At that point, the United Club Infinite Card becomes more valuable to have in your wallet — not including the up to $100 additional statement credit you can get every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Bottom line

If you spend thousands of dollars on United flights each year, the United Club Infinite Card is definitely worth considering. You’re getting a great earn rate for a cobranded card, a solid lineup of perks, United Club access and solid travel protections. Even though it has a higher annual fee than the current United Club Card, the extra $75 in cost is well worth it if you’re flying with United enough to warrant a premium cobranded credit card.

It’s not the best time for United to be launching an airline credit card. But 100,000 miles can be a lifesaver in an emergency where you or a family member needs to travel last minute. Or it can be a great stockpile to use on an amazing redemption once the travel industry is back to business as usual after global concerns about the coronavirus have waned.

Official application link: Sign up for the United Club Infinite Card to earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Featured image by John Gribben for The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.