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United Reconsidering Chase Partnership Amid Double-Digit Growth

April 18, 2019
3 min read
United Reconsidering Chase Partnership Amid Double-Digit Growth
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United offers a robust portfolio of co-branded credit cards, tied to its MileagePlus loyalty program. But here in the US, United, like Delta, is solely linked with one issuer — in this case, Chase — while American Airlines seems to be doing well for itself by branching out, through products issued by both Barclays and Citi.

Currently, United's Chase-issued cards include:

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  • United Club Card
  • United Explorer Card
  • United Explorer Business Card
  • United TravelBank Card

The information for the United TravelBank, 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.

As the airline's president Scott Kirby discussed during the company's earnings call this week, "credit card acquisitions grew double digits in the first quarter of 2019" — no doubt in part due to a big push the carrier's been making through its flight attendants, who are incentivized to sign customers up during a flight.

Credit cards have been known to bring in significant revenue, and it's no secret that Kirby's set his sights on more, saying:

"With respect to our MileagePlus program, we know some of us from prior personal experience that this is one of our single biggest margin growth opportunity and therefore one of the company's and my personal top priorities. There are aspects of the program we're very proud of. However, it remains true that the co-brand component of our program underperformed relative to our peers, and this disparity only widened after recent announcements. Fortunately, United has hubs in the largest and highest income cities, which gives United and Chase the most opportunity for any co-brand card anywhere in the world."

It sounds like United is still hoping to build a stronger (more lucrative) partnership with Chase for the moment, though I'm sure American Express, Citi and other issuers wouldn't mind throwing their hats in the ring, too, assuming their current airline partnerships allow it.

As Kirby said, "We're negotiating with Chase opportunities for improved economics for our card partnership to ensure that our deals delivers industry competitive value to all of our stakeholders."

Still, a new co-branded partnership could create an opportunity for United to innovate a bit — hopefully by changing its cards for the better, with new benefits, additional earning opportunities and other perks, such as even more discounted award availability for elites and cardholders. We can dream, at least.

What would you like to see in a new United credit card? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured photo by Sara Wass/The Points Guy.

Featured image by New 2019 bear (L) and the older bear (R). (Photo by Sara Wass/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best For Occasional United Flyers
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 2X miles
2XEarn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
2XEarn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
1X1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

50,000 Bonus Miles
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Annual Fee

$0 Intro for First Year, then $95.

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

This card is geared toward both frequent and occasional United flyers alike, and offers plenty of elite-like benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding and a discount on in-flight purchases. It also racks up miles at a steady pace on a variety of purchases including dining and hotels, putting that next award ticket within reach sooner.

Pros

  • Earns 2 miles per $1 spent on United, dining and hotels
  • First checked bag free for the cardholder and a companion
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% off eligible inflight purchases
  • Up to $100 credit every four years for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Cons

  • Day-of-travel perks limited to United and some partner flights
  • Other United cards have higher earning rates on some purchases
  • You might get more use from transferable points instead of United miles
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bags - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.
Best For Occasional United Flyers
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

2XEarn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
2XEarn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
1X1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

    50,000 Bonus Miles
  • Annual Fee

    $0 Intro for First Year, then $95.
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

This card is geared toward both frequent and occasional United flyers alike, and offers plenty of elite-like benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding and a discount on in-flight purchases. It also racks up miles at a steady pace on a variety of purchases including dining and hotels, putting that next award ticket within reach sooner.

Pros

  • Earns 2 miles per $1 spent on United, dining and hotels
  • First checked bag free for the cardholder and a companion
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% off eligible inflight purchases
  • Up to $100 credit every four years for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Cons

  • Day-of-travel perks limited to United and some partner flights
  • Other United cards have higher earning rates on some purchases
  • You might get more use from transferable points instead of United miles
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bags - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.