United launches new United Gateway Card with no annual fee
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United and Chase have launched a brand-new credit card for those looking to dip into the United MileagePlus program with a no-annual-fee credit card: the United Gateway Card.
This new product offers an entry point for beginners or casual travelers looking to boost their United miles without an annual card fee. The card comes with a solid array of bonus categories that extends beyond just United flights, which could help beginners rack up miles — even if they aren’t constantly in the air.
Let’s take a look at the card details of this new credit card.
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: 20,000 United miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- 2x on United purchases
- 2x at gas stations
- 2x on local transit and commuting
- 1x on everything else
Other benefits: This is a no-annual-fee credit card, which means you won’t get any fancy statement credits or lounge access with this card. However, you will get 25% back on inflight purchases and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
Is this card worth it?
The United Gateway Card does have some solid benefits to consider — especially if you are a beginner traveler who lives near a United hub. The fact that you’ll earn 3x at grocery stores (on up to $1,500 per month) through Sept. 30, 2021, is a nice benefit for anyone who is staying home more frequently this year but won’t necessarily utilize a grocery store bonus category in the future. Plus, you are getting 2x on United purchases, gas, and local transit/commuting.
The one thing to keep in mind with this rewards structure is that you’re earning United miles. TPG values United miles at 1.3 cents each, giving you a 3.9% return on the 3x grocery spending and 2.6% return on the 2x categories. Certainly not the worst return, particularly with a no-annual-fee credit card, but also nothing to write home about.
The sign-up bonus is worth $260, which is a bit higher than many no-annual-fee credit cards, and it should be easy to hit for just $1,000 in spending over your first three months.
Something else to keep in mind is that this is a Chase-issued credit card. That means that the card adheres to the 5/24 rule. If you’ve added five or more credit cards to your wallet in the past two years, you almost certainly won’t be approved for the new United Gateway Card. Additionally, this card will count toward your 5/24 slots. If you’re planning on applying for other Chase credit cards soon, make sure this card is worth taking up one of those slots — especially considering the rest of Chase’s rockstar credit card lineup that includes both entry-level favorites such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and luxury travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Some cardholders will be automatically switched to the United Gateway Card
United and Chase are transitioning a small subset of existing United cardmembers from older legacy products to the new United Gateway Card. Those who have a TravelBank card or a specific legacy United MileagePlus card product will be among those affected. Legacy United MileagePlus cardholders transitioned on Sept. 13, 2020, while TravelBank cardholders transitioned starting Sept. 21, 2020, and should have a new card sent to them by Oct. 31, 2020.
Those receiving new cards will have a new expiration date and security code, but all other account details — account numbers, credit lines, interest rates and due dates — will remain the same through the transition. According to Chase, all cardholders who are affected have been notified directly via letter.
TravelBank cardholders have historically earned TravelBank Cash rather than United miles. Even though those cardholders will now have a United Gateway Card, all TravelBank Cash earned will still be redeemable through their TravelBank account with the same terms, conditions, and expiration date. However, all purchases made as of Sept. 21, 2020, will earn miles instead of TravelBank Cash.
This is just the latest change Chase has made to its lineup. Between the new no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex, updates to the existing Chase Freedom Unlimited and an increased sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, there are a lot of positive changes for beginner travelers looking to add low-annual-fee credit cards to their wallet.
If you’ve been considering diversifying your miles portfolio with a United credit card, this new product might be a great way to dip your toes into the water. United is among the major U.S. airlines to eliminate most change fees, and the airline has also announced plans for several new routes (including two nonstop flights to Hawaii bookable with miles). As we all start looking ahead to planning 2021 trips, this new card is certainly worth considering if you are a travel beginner who wants to earn United miles on everyday purchases.
The information for the United TravelBank, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured image courtesy of United
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