Review of United MileagePlus® Club Card

Picture of Item Reviewed
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0
Perhaps one of the best frequent flyer card as it gives you full access to it's lounges. The ability to earn 1.5 miles for ordinary purchases on the card is also a great plus. We only wish that the first and second free baggage check-ins apply to more than just yourself and your companion. One can also qualify automatically for Platinum Status on Hyatt's Gold Passport events.
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Issuer Credit Needed
N.A. $375 Chase Excellent
Feature Summary
  • Access to United's Lounges as well as Star Alliance lounges
  • Earn 1.5 miles on regular purchases
  • Free first and second baggage for yourself and a companion
  • Platinum Level status for Hyatt Gold Passport program

Chase launched the United MileagePlus Club Card on 27th March 20121 and essentially revamps its high end offering for United. This card comes with a few perks that are better than it's competitors. It also comes with a $375 (though not as high as other "elite cards", is still hefty). The key question with all high end cards is whether it is worth it. Well, we'll have to look at it's features first before we can answer the question.

50% Bonus Miles? - Like most frequent flyer cards, this card allows you to earn double miles when you buy United Continental airlines tickets. But one regular purchases, you can earn 1.5 points per dollar, which is 50% more than what other airline cards offer.

No close-in booking fees for award tickets - Another nice feature is that as a card holder, you would not have to pay any booking fees for close-in dates when using award tickets. United will charge a $75 booking fee if you book less than 21 days in advance

Free visits to United Club Lounge - This is perhaps one of the best perks if you fly often with United or Continental. If you buy an annual membership to access the United Lounge, you will have to pay $475 (elite members pay a slightly lesser fee). So this perk in itself more than covers the annual fee of the card. In fact, with this card, you can also access Star Alliance lounges (that are eligible).

Premier Access Travel Service - This is more of a check in perks. You could get priority check-in, security (where available), boarding and baggage handling benefits. This is a great feature when you fly economy because many of these perks are available to business class flyers.

No Foreign Transaction Fee - Since 2011, many cards have done away with foreign transaction fees. For example, every Discover and Capital One card does not have them. As an elite card, it was wise of United not to impose any FX fees on this card. This is a nice feature to have for those who travel abroad often.

First and Second Bag Free - Like most frequent flyer cards, these days, this card also offers card holders the opportunity to save on baggage fees. You and your companion will get the first and second bags checked in for free.

Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection - I believe this is a perk that is offered because this is a Visa card. Visa Signature cardholders can enjoy room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and other perks with over 700 hotels worldwide that are part of this plan.

Platinum Level Status For Hyatt Passport Gold - One of the unique perks of this card is that you can Platinum Status for your Hyatt Passport Gold membership. If you are a Hyatt Platinum member, you will get 15% bonus points that are earned when them and various other upgrade, late check out perks.

Avis Presidents Club Elite Status - The Elite status for Avis allows for 2-class car rental. It is by invitation only. For those who rent from Avis, this is a nice perk to get.

Inside Access Events - Inside Access is much like the American Express Gold card events. Chase frequently sponsors events and they will give cardholders earlier booking dates for tickets before they are made available to the public and many of their seats are very good ones as well. Inside Access is available for this card.

Concierge Service - Any most high end cards these days, you will get concierge service as one of your benefits.

Is the United MileagePlus Club Card Worth It? How Does It Compare Feature Wise?

Being an elite card, it contains most of the features that I would expect. The Club Lounge access remains one of it's key features. If you are not an elite member, an annual membership will set you back $475. So that benefit alone covers the annual fee. This perk may also be important for folks who have Priority Pass Select membership from being a credit card holder (like American Express Platinum or Visa Black Card). As of October 2011, these members will no longer be able to access United and Continental Lounges. The reason is because so many cardholders have this perk, the lounges will probably be overwhelmed.

I also like the fact that your second baggage also fly free. Most other airline cards only allow the first bag to fly free. I would have liked to see more than just your companion having that benefit. For example, the new Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Visa allows the first bag fee for up to four companions! The Delta Reserve Card allows first free baggage for up to nine people!

The other unique perk is the Platinum Status for Hyatt members. This perk resembles the Amex Platinum giving members Platinum Status for Starwood. But it is a great perk nevertheless if you are a Hyatt member. Aside from Amex and Citi ThankYou Prestige, no other cards give you a bumped up elite status for a hotel frequent guest program.

The other great feature is the ability to earn 1.5 miles for ordinary purchases on the card. Only British Airways has that perk on their Visa card. Other airline cards simply allow you to earn the standard one mile for regular purchases. So this card is a great way to rack up the miles. And if you are the type of person that likes to use your miles last minute, the ability to save on close-in booking fees is great as well.

The one feature that is missing from this card is the fact that you do not get any discounts with in-flight services. For example, both the Delta Reserve Card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Visa gives you 20% and 25% discounts on eligible in-flight services.

This card gets our thumbs up

Overall, this card gets our highest recommendation if you are a United Frequent flyer. The club lounge itself would be worth the price of this card. But the addition of Platinum status for Hyatt members and the ability to earn 1.5 miles makes this card almost a must get for the United and Continental frequent flyer.

1. Chase and United launch United Mileage Plus Club Card