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United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

Introduction

The United MileagePlus Platinum Classic Visa Card was issued way back when United first merged with Continental Airlines. This card is still around though you cannot apply for it anymore. I am willing to bet that many folks still have this card because United has allowed cardholders of this card to earn PQPs after their Premier requirements changed in 2020. Those of you who still hold this card are wondering if it makes to switch to one of United's current card line up? In this review, we will explore the features, compare it to the current United credit cards and see where that leaves us.


 

Sign Up Bonus

While you cannot apply for this card anymore, I thought it would be a good idea to leave in place the introductory sign up bonus for a historical research perspective.
 

  • Earn 15,000 Bonus Miles After First Purchase

  • Earn 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles After First Purchase

 

 

How You Earn Miles

  • Earn Double Miles on United and Star Alliance Tickets

  • Earn Double Miles on "Everyday Purchase Categories" like groceries, dining, gas at the pump, and items from home improvement stores.

  • Earn 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles when you spend $35,000 each year with your card

  • Earn One Elite Qualifying Mile per dollar spent on ticket purchases at united.com, up to 5,000 total elite qualifying miles a year.

 

 

Helps Earn Elite Status

One of the important feature of this card is that it can help you earn elite status. Prior to 2020, you can earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM). EQMs are one of the criteria for earning elite status.

For 2020, the criteria for earning Premier Membership and status has changed. You now either require a combination of PQFs (Premier Qualifying Flights) and PQPs (Premier Qualifying Points) or just outright PQPs. For example, if you use outright PQP as the criteria, you need 5,000 PQPs for Silver Premier, 10,000 PQPs for Gold Premier, 16,000 PQPs for Platinum Premier and 24,000 PQPs for 1K Premier.

You can earn PQPs on United cards the following way. When you spend $12,000 on the card, you earn 500 PQPs. For the United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa, you can earn up to 3,000 PQPs a year which can be used to help you earn up to 1K Premier.

 

 

Fees

The annual fee of the card is $140.

 

 

Comparison with Other United Cards

Since this card is now a legacy credit card, I'm not too sure how relevant it is to do comparisons of this card. However, many of you do have this card and so the key question you might have is should you keep this card, cancel this card or switch to a current United card. It is from this angle that I will do the comparisons.
 

Cards Earn Miles Earn PQPs Annual Fee
United Platinum Class
  • 2X on United and Star Alliance tickets
  • 2X on groceries, gas, restaurants, home improvement stores
3,000 PQPs $140
United Select Card
  • 3X on United tickets
  • 2X on Star Alliance tickets
  • 2X on groceries, gas, restaurants and home improvement stores
3,000 PQPs $95
United Presidential Plus Card
  • 2X on United Tickets
  • 2X on Hotel purchases directly with Hotels and Car Rentals
10,000 PQPs $100 or $450
United Explorer Card
  • 2X on United Tickets
  • 2X on Hotels booked directly with Hotels and Restaurants
  • 1,000 PQPs
  • For 2020, 2,000 PQPs
$95
United Club Infinite Card
  • 4X on United Tickets
  • 2X on Travel Related Expenses and Restaurants
  • 1,000 PQPs
  • For 2020, 4,000 PQPs
$525


There are two aspects of this card that I would like to focus on. The first is how you earn miles. As you can see from the table above, the United MileagePlus Classic Platinum is perhaps the best United card (along with the United MileagePlus Select Card) for earning miles from "everyday spending" categories. No current United cards comes close to that.

The second aspect is the ability to earn PQPs. It turns out that the legacy United cards can earn you more PQPs than the current United card lineups. Both the United MileagePlus Select Visa and the Classic Platinum lets you earn up to 3,000 PQPs that can be applied towards 1K Premier. The other legacy United card, the United Presidential Plus Card, allows you to earn up to 10,000 PQPs a year that can be applied towards 1K Premier status.

In contrast, the United Explorer Card and the United Club Infinite Card only allows you to earn up to 1,000 PQPs which can be only applied up to Platinum Premier levels. This is in contrast to the legacy cards where you can not only earn more PQPs from credit card spending but can also apply those PQPs towards 1K Premier.

Convid-19 Update - Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, United (for 2020 only) will allow United Explorer Card to earn up to 2,000 PQPs and the United Club Infinite Card to earn up to 4,000 PQPs.

 

 

Pros and Cons - Relative To Current Line Ups

Pros

  • Earn Double Miles on Star Alliance Tickets - If you have the United Explorer Card, you will not earn 2X on Star Alliance flights. In fact, you will only earn 1X on non-United flights. The new United Club Infinite Card is slightly better in that you will earn 3X on "other travels". Since Chase is quite liberal in their "travel" definition, we can assume Star Alliance flights will earn 3X. But remember, the United Club Infinite has a $525 annual fee.

  • Earn Double Miles on Everyday Spending - The only other legacy cards that allow you to earn 2X miles on gas, groceries, restaurants and home improvement stores is the United MileagePlus Select Visa Card and the United Presidential Plus Business Card. One could argue that the now legacy United Club Card allows you to earn 1.5X miles on all non-United purchases. But the current Explorer and Club Infinite do not have everyday spending as a bonus category.

  • Earn PQP Up to 1K Premier Level - This card allows you to earn more PQPs from credit card spending than the present line up of United Cards. You can also apply these PQPs towards 1K Premier qualification.

Cons

  • Lacks Premier Level Features Current Cards Have - The big difference between legacy cards and current United cards is that the lack features that one would describe as "Premier Member" type features. For example, they lack first of second free checked bags (though these are perks that Silver and Gold Premier members get). They also lack perks like Priority Zone 2 boarding (which once again Silver Premier members have).

  • No Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Application Fee Credit - Both the United Explorer and Club Infinite card now will give you a credit when you apply for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. This card does not have this feature.

 

 

Our Take

For those of you lucky to have kept the United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa, you may have got yourself a keeper. The reason is that this is a great card for earning United miles from "everyday spending". You earn 2X on gas stations, restaurants, groceries and home improvement stores. You also earn 2X on United purchases. It is not as good as the United MileagePlus Select Card in that it has a higher annual fee ($140 vs $95) and you only earn 2X on United tickets vs 3X for the Select Visa. But it certainly is better than the Explorer and Club Infinite in this aspect.

The Platinum Class is also better than the United Explorer Card and Club Infinite Card in terms of earning PQPs from credit card spending. You can earn both more PQPs and use them towards qualifying for up to 1K Premier level.

The United MileagePlus program has changed a lot recently. Their award chart is now dynamic for both United and Star Alliance partners. Many of you who used to qualify for a certain status will now only qualify for status that is one or two notches below. For some of you, it no longer makes sense to earn United Miles or PQPs from credit card spend. Ditching any United card you have may make sense.

However, some of you may benefit from United's new Premier qualification scheme. If you find that earning United miles and PQPs from credit card spend still makes sense for you, and if you have this card, I would say that this card is a keeper because of the miles you can earn from "everyday spending" categories and also PQPs.