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Originally posted on 8/4:
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Limited time signup bonus
From today through 9/30, you can earn 100,000 bonus miles for opening a Chase United Club Infinite Card and spending $5,000 within 3 months.
Comparison to previous card and signup bonus:
The discontinued United Club card offered up to 50,000 bonus miles.
This United Club Infinite card was launched earlier this year and this limited time offer matches the intro offer. After the intro offer ended the card had no signup bonus, but had the first year’s annual fee waived, which is a much weaker offer.
This new card is very similar to the old discontinued United Club card, but offers 4 miles per dollar on United purchases, adds Global Entry/Pre-Check, and removes the earnings of 1.5 miles per dollar on everyday purchases.
You’re generally better off using a Freedom Unlimited or Ink Unlimited to earn 1.5 points per dollar on everyday purchases, so that’s not a huge loss except for spending abroad due to foreign transaction fees on those cards.
This card has a hefty $525 annual fee, though that’s cheaper than even top-tier United elite members pay for a Club membership, which is included with the card.
You can currently redeem 35,000 United miles to pay for the card’s annual fee:
That means you can get this card with no fee for the first year, and still get an effective signup bonus of 65,000 miles with a club membership and United travel benefits.
Welcome bonus terms
- You can receive the bonus on this card if you haven’t received a bonus on a United Club Or United Club Infinite consumer card in the past 24 months and don’t currently have a United Club/Club Infinite Consumer card.
- You can receive the bonus on this card even if you got a United Explorer or United business card in the past 24 months or currently have a United Explorer card or United business card.
All Chase cards appear to be subject to 5/24 restrictions, meaning that you are not likely to be approved if you have been approved for 5 or more consumer credit cards in the past 24 months. Note that the Chase system automatically counts cards like authorized user cards and store cards as cards that count towards 5/24, but if you explain to Chase that those cards are merely authorized user cards or store cards they can manually approve you for a new card.
You can check your credit report for free at the federally authorized annualcreditreport.com to check how many accounts are shows as being open in the past 24 months.
- Full United Club membership: Bring your entire family, or you and 2 guests, to enter hundreds of United and partner lounges worldwide when flying United or Star Alliance airlines.
- Note that many clubs are currently closed due to COVID-19, but hub airports all have open clubs.
- Unfortunately you now need to be flying United to access clubs.
- 4 miles per dollar on United purchases, including tickets, upgrades, WiFi, inflight food and drinks.
- 2 miles per dollar on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per dollar elsewhere.
- Cardholders get Global Entry/Pre-Check for free.
- Cardholders get a 25% rebate on inflight WiFi, food, and drink purchases.
- 2 free checked bags for the cardholder and a companion, even on basic economy fares.
- A free carry-on bag for the cardholder and companions, even on basic economy fares.
- Premier Access: Priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling privileges.
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Status
- The ability to use online checkin and get a boarding pass in advance on basic economy fares. United does not allow online checkin on basic economy fares unless you have elite status or a United card with free bags.
- No foreign exchange fees.
- Exclusive cardmember access to auctions that allow you to use your miles for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A few years ago I used 25K miles for 4 field box seats to an Indians game along with the right to run onto the field before the top of the 7th inning and swipe 2nd base right off the field. Nobody could believe it as I walked around the ballpark with 2nd base. I even got it signed after the game by the Indians wining pitcher that night, who was equally shocked that I actually had 2nd base.
- Cardholders with United elite status get free upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes.
- If you spend $12K/year on the card it will give you 500 PQPs and if you spend $24K/year you’ll get 1,000 PQPs. PQPs from multiple cards can stack together.
- Primary rental car CDW insurance in every country.
- Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
- Lost Luggage Insurance
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Purchase protection for items damaged or stolen within 120 days
- Return protection
- Extended warranty protection
You can downgrade this card to a no-annual fee United card.
Expanded award ticket availability
The reason this card is the best airline card you can get isn’t for the spending benefits, it’s for the perks. And they are awesome.
The reason this is my favorite airline card is that the United card is the only airline card that offers expanded award ticket availability.
This increases the value of your miles significantly and in turn makes the Chase Quadfecta/Quinfecta spending strategy even more valuable.
Cardholders have access to expanded saver coach award availability (XN class), last seat standard coach award availability (YN class), and last seat standard business/first class award availability (JN class).
It’s not just slightly expanded. There is a world of difference between the availability that cardholders can access and the availability for non-cardholders.
This availability differential applies to all domestic and international routes and makes it crucial to be a United cardholders.
Expanded Plan B availability
As you have better access to saver coach awards you’ll also have better ability to do Plan B awards.
Plan B allows you to redeem for saver business class awards when there’s only saver coach available! Read more about Plan B in this post.
No airline besides United offers a Plan B style award redemption.
Discounted awards for cardholders
United runs promotions offering discounts on award flights for cardholders.
Here Is United’s Hidden Award Chart
United no longer publishes an award chart, but rates for United flights found in their old award chart are still correct.
United does charge a close-in mileage surcharge and they can be found in the chart below. Note that the you’ll want to book travel as 2 one-ways to avoid paying the surcharge on the return leg when it wouldn’t apply when booked separately. However if you do that you would lose your ability to take a free stopover.
Partner award rates have gone up and they can be found in the unpublished award chart below with one-way rates for flights to/from the mainland US:
|United flights||Partner flights|
|Close-in surcharge within 7 days||2.5K-3K miles||1K-3K miles|
|Close-in surcharge 8-21 days in advance||2K-2.5K miles||1K-3K miles|
|Mainland US/Canada||12.5K Coach|
35K Premium Business
40K Premium Business
50K Premium Business
|Central America||17.5K Coach|
|Northern South America||20K Coach|
|Southern South America||30K Coach|
|Middle East||42.5K Coach|
|Central Asia||42.5K Coach|
|South Asia||40K Coach|
|North Asia||35K Coach|
|Japan and Oceania||35K Coach|
|Australia and New Zealand||40K Coach|
While American and Delta have eliminated free stopovers, United continues to offer a free excursionist perk as described in this post. Just use the multi-city award search on United.com to piece it together.
A round-trip to 2 Hawaiian Islands is just 45,000 miles round-trip thanks to the free excursionist perk:
A round-trip ticket to 2 European or South American cities is just 60,000 miles round-trip thanks to the free excursionist perk:
A flight to 2 of my favorite cities in Asia, Hong Kong and Chiang Mai, Thailand is 80K miles thanks to the perk:
You’re even allowed a free open jaw in addition to the perk to really maximize your travel. For example this itinerary includes travel to London, Paris, and Zurich. You can take a train or use 4.5K BA Avios to get from London to Paris to fill the hole in the open jaw:
Of course the free stopover isn’t just useful from the US.
You can stopover in NYC and LA when flying from Tel Aviv to the US:
United has dozens of partner airlines which means lots of great award opportunities. It can be worth checking for award space on partner sites like ANA or Aeroplan.com to search for award availability and then call United to book if you don’t see availability on United.
Partners airlines include:
- Aegean Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air Dolomiti
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Avianca Airlines
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Cape Air
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- EVA Air
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Island Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- LOT Polish
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Silver Airways
- South African Airways
- Swiss International Airlines
- TAP Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
Will you signup for a United Club Infinite Card?