United cards offering up to 75,000-mile bonuses
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During the pandemic, credit card issuers have been focusing on limited-time promotions for existing cardholders, which we’re tracking in our full list of pandemic-related card perks.
However, new cardholders have certainly not been forgotten either. And if you’re in the position to do so, opening a new account still qualifies you to take advantage of temporary bonuses and benefits.
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Chase and United, for example, are now offering an elevated limited-time sign-up bonus on the United Business Card, along with updated offers on the United Explorer Card and the United Club Infinite Card.
The card, first introduced in January 2020, has a new limited-time offer: Earn 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. That bonus is worth $975, according to TPG valuations. Although air travel has slowed, this bonus offers a nice miles boost that can translate to an economy round-trip from the mainland U.S. to Europe once the pandemic has subsided. The card’s $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Customers can earn 2x United miles per dollar spent on purchases from United, including tickets, seat upgrades, Economy Plus, inflight food, inflight beverages, inflight Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United charges. You also earn 2x miles on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls and rideshare services, along with 2x miles at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants, all categories popular with small businesses.
The United Business Card is ideal for small businesses that travel regularly on United Airlines, thanks to bundled perks, including: Priority boarding; a free checked bag (which normally costs up to $35 each way) for the cardholder and a travel companion; two United Club one-time passes every card anniversary; and 25% back on inflight purchases.
Cardholders are also eligible for expanded award availability, plus complimentary upgrades for elite members traveling on award tickets. Additionally, select items purchased with the card come with extended warranty and purchase protections, plus the travel protections you’d expect from an airline credit card.
Finally, customers who have both a United business card and personal card are eligible to receive an annual 5,000-mile bonus on each card anniversary, helping soften the blow of the card’s $99 annual fee.
For the United Explorer Card, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. The bonus is valued at $520, according to TPG valuations. The first year annual fee is waived and it’s $95 per year thereafter.
When you spend with the card, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, dining and hotel spending and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. It’s nice to see higher miles per dollar spent on dining and hotels, two popular spending categories.
The United Explorer card also comes with a free checked bag for the cardholder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you purchase your ticket (or pay taxes and fees on an award ticket) from United using the Explorer Card. Other perks include priority boarding, two one-time United Club passes each year, a 25% discount on inflight United purchases — including Wi-Fi, food and beverage — and access to additional award availability, plus complimentary upgrades for elite members traveling on award tickets.
In non-pandemic times, the United Explorer Card allows you to earn up to 1,000 elite Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) on the card with $24,000 in annual spending on the card (500 points for each of the first $12,000 in annual spending). However, United has a promotion that doubles the number of PQPs you can earn with the Explorer Card to 2,000 PQPs. Plus elite thresholds were cut by 50%.
For the United Club Infinite Card, new cardholders will receive a $0 intro annual fee, then $525 thereafter. This card was launched in April 2020 with a splashy 100,000-mile sign-up bonus (which is no longer available), but with air travel way down, customers may find a waived annual fee to be a more attractive option, considering the card’s best perk is access to United Club lounges. United Club membership ordinarily costs up to $650 per year, making the card an attractive alternative.
Related reading: Full review of the United Club Infinite Card
Other travel-related benefits include a free first and second checked bag for the cardholder and one traveling companion, Premier Access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement, 25% back on in-flight food, beverage and Wi-Fi purchases, improved access to United award availability, and more.
Looking at this offer strictly from a lounge access cost perspective, you’d clearly be coming out ahead versus paying for a membership outright. However, the obvious fact is that most United Clubs are temporarily closed, and travel, in general, continues to be curtailed.
Related reading: Which U.S. airline lounges are currently open?
With a generous sign-up bonus under your belt, you’ll be able to get closer to a future trip — even if travel isn’t on your radar right now. Or, if United Club access is what you’re after, having the annual fee waived for the first year adds solid appeal.
But remember — since this is a card issued by Chase, it will be subject to the issuer’s 5/24 rule. If you have opened five or more accounts in the past 24 months, you will likely not be able to be approved for these cards.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
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.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 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.