Which United MileagePlus Credit Card Should You Get?

By Jason Steele. Last updated 30 October 2017. 0 comments

This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content is not provided by the advertiser and any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain. Please visit our Advertiser Disclosure to view our partners, and for additional details.

United is one of the largest airlines in the world, with several important hubs and an impressive global network. It's MileagePlus frequent flyer program is also very valuable, as it allows members to earn and redeem points on 26 other Star Alliance carriers as well as several other non-alliance partners. (See Also: How Airline Partnerships Can Supercharge Your Travel Rewards).

And the best way to earn MileagePlus miles on the ground is through your credit card. Fortunately, there are several different cards you can use to earn these miles, so travelers should take care to pick the best one for their needs.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers double miles on tickets purchased from United, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include free checked bag for the cardholder as well as one companion traveling on the same reservation, so long as they purchase their ticket with this card, priority boarding, and two free United Club passes each year. New cardholders get 40,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Add an authorized user and get 5,000 bonus points after making a purchase within the first 3 months. You also get 10,000 bonus points each year you spend at least $25,000 in net purchases on your card. There is no limit to the number of miles you can earn, and your miles don't expire as long as your credit card account is open. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

The business version of the Explorer card offers all of the benefits of the consumer version, plus more categories to earn double miles in. In addition to earning double miles on tickets purchased from United, cardholders earn double miles for each dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. This card also offers a 50,000 bonus for new cardholders after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. There is no additional bonus for adding an authorized user. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

United MileagePlus® Club Card

The United MileagePlus® Club Card offers double miles on tickets purchased from United, and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases. Yet the big benefit of this card is a United Club membership that allows the cardholder and eligible travel companions access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide. Other benefits include the first and second checked baggage fees waived for the cardholder and one companion as well as premier access travel services including designated check-in lines, priority security lanes, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling. Finally, cardholders can have their close-in booking fees waived on United Awards. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

 

Note: There is a business version of this card that has the exact same benefits.

 

United MileagePlus Explorer Card

United MileagePlus Club Card

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

Bonus Offer

50k after $3,000 in first 3 months + 5k for adding first authorized user and making a purchase in first 3 months

50k after $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

50k after $2,000 in the first 3 months

Earning Miles

2 miles per dollar on tickets purchased from United, 1 mile per dollar on other purchases

2 miles per dollar on tickets purchased from United, 1.5 miles per dollar on other purchases

2 miles per dollar on tickets purchased from United, restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores, and 1 mile on other purchases

Checked Bags

First bag free + 1 companion

First and second bags free + 1 companion

First bag free + 1 companion

Priority Travel

Priority boarding

Priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling

Priority boarding

Lounge Access

2 United Club passes per year

United Club membership + eligible travel companions

2 United Club passes per year

Anniversary Bonus

10k after spending $25k each year

None

10k after spending $25k each year

Foreign Transaction Fee

Zero

Zero

Zero

Chip-enabled Card

Yes

Yes

No

Annual Fee

$95

$450

$95, waived the first year

Other Ways to Earn

Another way to get award flights on United could be credit cards that offer points to miles transfer to United's MileagePlus program. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 1:1 transfer of their points to United miles. This card is a better option if you aren't a frequent flyer and can't benefit from the double points these MileagePlus credit cards offer. However, you do sacrifice the United specific perks.

Which Card Should You Get?

The Explorer and Explorer card for business are both great deals for travelers who want to earn miles while receiving a few basic perks like free checked bags and priority boarding. For frequent travelers who crave access to the business lounge, the Club Card is the clear choice. Furthermore, it provides nearly all of the benefits of having elite status with United, except for the first class upgrades. (See Also: Best Credit Cards with Free Airport Lounge Access)

The information related to the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, United MileagePlus® Club Card and United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card has been collected by Wise Bread and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis
Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.