United will launch a new credit card this spring — here’s what we know
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Most credit cards don’t last forever.
Issuers rebrand cards, change benefits and retire products all the time. And that holds true for select legacy United Airlines cobranded cardholders. Over the last few weeks, some United Platinum Class Visa cardholders (no longer open to new applicants) have received notice about the end of the card’s lifespan.
While a card’s discontinuation isn’t particularly newsworthy in and of itself, what is interesting is the product these cardholders will be migrated to on March 21, 2021.
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What we know about the new United Quest Card
Chase is transferring select legacy United cardholders to an entirely new offering called the United Quest card. While this card isn’t publicly available, we now know many details, thanks to these mailed notices.
Potentially launching this spring, the $250-per-year United Quest card looks to slot in as a hybrid between the mid-tier $95-per-year United Explorer Card and the premium $525-per-year United Club Infinite Card.
TPG reached out to Chase for more information about this card and a spokesperson told us, “We can confirm that a small number of our cardmembers received a letter about changes to their MileagePlus cards. Impacted cardmembers can call us if they would like to make any updates to their account. We will have more to share in the spring about an exciting new card product from United and Chase.”
Key benefits on the Quest card
Here are some of the Quest card details and how legacy United Platinum cardholders will be affected.
$125 credit: Each anniversary year, cardholders will receive a $125 annual United purchase credit (note: this credit does not earn any United miles) that will help offset the $250 annual fee.
Up to 10,000 miles back: Automatically get 5,000 United miles back into your account after taking a United award flight — up to two times per anniversary year. Essentially, if you take two award flights per year, you’ll get 10,000 MileagePlus miles back.
Checked bag benefit: A free first and second checked bag
Boarding and upgrade privileges: Priority boarding and Premier upgrades on award tickets
No foreign transaction fees, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and trip delay reimbursement.
Both the $125 credit and the 10,000 MileagePlus miles (as a rebate) are unique card benefits that help offset the $250 annual fee. Meanwhile, the card offers the first and second checked bag free, a benefit that is only found on the more expensive United Infinite card. The other perks — such as no foreign transaction fees, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and trip protection — are also found on the two other annual-fee United cards.
The United Quest card has a fairly broad array of bonus categories. You’ll earn 3x on United purchases and 2x on all other travel (including Star Alliance purchases), select streaming services and restaurants.
Here’s how that compares with the other, current United cards that have an annual fee.
|United Explorer||United Quest||United Infinite|
|Annual fee||$95 (waived for the first year)||$250||$525|
|All other travel||2x (hotels booked directly only)||2x||2x|
|Select streaming services||1x||2x||1x|
Related: What’s the best United card for you?
Comparing the new Quest card with the Platinum Class Card
Here’s a quick snapshot of the changes to bonus categories for legacy United Platinum Class Visa cardholders.
Keep in mind that the annual fee is getting a significant increase from $140 to $250. However, there are benefits — including a $125 purchase credit — that will take the sting out of this jump.
|Legacy United Platinum Visa card||New United Quest card|
|Star Alliance purchases||2x||2x|
|All other travel||1x||2x|
|Select streaming services||1x||2x|
|Gas stations, home improvement stores, grocery stores||2x||1x|
The Quest card will not offer a Companion travel certificate offered each year on your anniversary that the Platinum Visa did.
We spoke to Doug L. (he preferred we didn’t use his last name for this story), a United frequent flyer and legacy cardholder who received notice about the Quest card transition. For him, the inability to earn bonus miles with the Quest in the key categories of gas, home improvement and groceries is a drawback.
“United appears to be shifting their card benefits away from general retail purchases, which greatly reduces the ability to accrue miles. That’s unfortunate, and I’ve shifted most of both my travel and retail spend to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It has at least as good benefits and a lot more flexibility on how to use points.”
Indeed, United appears to be aligning this new card for travel spending as opposed to everyday spending with the previous legacy Platinum Class Visa. However, cardholders can always call Chase for other options or downgrade to another card.
Card issuers often change benefits to align with consumer behavior, competitors and, in the case of the past year, a global pandemic.
Not only will the legacy $140-per-year United Platinum Class Visa card be retired and transition to the Quest, but new cardholders may also potentially have the opportunity to apply this spring.
Of course, whatever card that Chase and United end up launching this spring will be subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. Essentially, to be approved for any Chase card, you cannot have opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months.
From what we know now, the $250-per-year Quest card slots squarely in the middle of United’s four-card lineup. With a $125 credit, the Quest is only $30 more per year than the United Explorer card and offers a second free checked bag along with the up to 10,000-mile rebate. Additionally, there are more bonus categories on the Quest compared to the Explorer.
Be on the lookout for more information about a new card from Chase and United in the coming weeks.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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