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United MileagePlus Select Visa Card
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

In A Nutshell

The United MileagePlus Select Card is a legacy card that is no longer accepting application. In my opinion, holders of this card are very lucky because this is the best United card for earning miles from "Everyday Spending" categories and also from flying United and Star Alliance. You can also earn more PQPs (which can be applied towards 1K Premier) than the current lineups of United credit cards. In this review, we'll dig into this card and look into whether you should keep this card or switch to a current United card.


Fees

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%


How You Earn Miles

This is how you can earn miles with the United MileagePlus Select Card.

  • 3 award miles per $1 spent on United purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from other Star AllianceTM member airlines
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and home improvement stores
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 5,000 bonus award miles each year on your account anniversary

Opinion - This is the best United credit card for both earning miles on United and everyday spending. Earning 3X is also better than the United Explorer and the United Club Card, which only allows you to earn 2X on United Purchases. Only the recently introduced United Club Infinite allows you to earn 4X on United purchases.

This card has the best earnings rate for everyday spending. No other United card allows you to earn 2X on gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and home improvement stores.

Another thing to be aware of is that you can earn 5,000 Anniversary Bonus Miles if you keep your card open each year. This feature is no longer present in the newer United cards.


Earn PQPs Through Credit Card Spending

From 2020 onwards, United has changed it's Premier Elite Status requirements to number of flights (PQF - Premier Qualifying Flights) and dollars spent (PQP - Premier Qualifying Points). You can also earn Premier Status just from PQP (but you need more if you want to use it as a standalone to qualify).

When you spend $12,000 on the card, you earn 500 PQPs. You can earn up to 3,000 PQPs with this card. The PQPs you earn from this card can be used to help you achieve status all the way to Premier 1K.

Opinion - This is much better than the current lineup of United cards where you can only earn up to 1,000 PQPs (ie $12,000 X 2 = $24,000 in credit card spending) and these can be only used to up to Premier Platinum status.

Update - Due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic, United will allow United Explorer Card members to earn up to 2,000 PQPs for 2020. They will allow Club Infinite members to earn up to 4,000 PQPs in 2020.


Comparison

Like we mentioned before, this card is no longer offered. So existing cardholders are always asking if they should upgrade to the latest lineup of United cards. So we are going to this card with the United Explorer Card because it has the same annual fee (both have $95 annual fee) and holders of this card are always wondering if it makes sense to switch or get the Explorer card in addition to this one.

Comparison with United Explorer Card

There are two main ways in which the United Mileage Plus Select is better than the United Explorer Card.

Firstly, you earn more miles (3X vs 2X) for United Purchases. You also earn 2X on a variety of everyday purchases. In fact, the United Mileage Plus Select is the best card for earning United Miles from everyday spend.

The second feature that the United Mileage Plus Select is better than the United Explorer is that you can earn up to 3,000 PQPs with the Select Card vs just 1,000 PQPs with the Explorer Card. Furthermore, the PQPs you earn with the Select Card can be used to qualify for 1K Premier whereas the PQPs you earn from the Explorer Card can only be used to qualify up to Platinum Premier.

Update: Due to Covid-19, United has now increased the amount of PQP you can earn for the United Explorer in 2020 to 2,000 PQPs.

The United Explorer has a few legs up on this card though.

  • First Free Checked Bag
  • Priority Zone 2 Boarding
  • Statement Credit for Global Entry TSA Pre-check Application Fee
  • 2 One-time Club Lounge Passes
  • Premier Upgrades on Award Tickets
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Related: United MileagePlus Select vs United Explorer Card.


Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Best United Card for Earning Miles from Everyday Spending - No other United card allows you to earn 2X on grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and home improvement stores.

  • 2nd Best United Card for Earning United Miles - You can earn 3X on United purchases. Both the United Explorer and Club Card only allow you to earn 2X on United Miles. Only the new United Club Infinite allows you to earn 4X on United purchases.

  • Earn 2X on Star Alliance Purchases - This is the only United card that allows you to earn 2X on Star Alliance purchases. You could argue that you could also earn 2X on Star Alliance with the new Club Infinite because they give you 2X on "other travel" (which is quite liberal in its' interpretation). But that card has a $550 annual fee!

  • Can Earn 3,000 PQP from Credit Card Spending and use it for Premier 1K Qualification - This is more than any of the current United lineup which only allows you to earn up to 1,000 PQP and only for up to Platinum Premier Qualifications.


Cons

  • Lacking Features found in other United Cards - The UMP Select lacks features that are present in all other United cards. They include features like free first checked bags, Priority Zone 2 Boarding, Club Lounge Passes and Statement Credit for Global Entry.

  • Charges Foreign Transaction Fee - Unlike the current line up of United credit cards, the MileagePlus Select charges a foreign transaction fee. Having said that, most frequent travelers have more than one credit card and getting another card with no foreign transaction fee is pretty easy.


Our Take: United MileagePlus Select Is The Best United Card For Everyday Spend

Among all the United credit cards (both legacy and current lineups), the United MileagePlus Select Visa is the best card for earning United Miles from "everyday spending" categories. You can earn 2X for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and home improvement stores and even Star Alliance partners.

Furthermore, you can earn up to 3,000 PQPs from credit card spending. These PQPs you earn can be used to qualify up to 1K Premier level. The only other card that allows you to earn more PQPs from credit card spending is the United Presidential Plus Card, which allows you to earn up to 10,000 PQPs which could be used help you qualify for 1K Premier level. Current United cards only allow you to earn up to 1,000 PQPs and these can only help you qualify for up to Platinum Premier level.

It lacks features that are found in the current United card lineup like free checked bags, priority boarding. However, these features are already available if you are a Premier member.

If you already have this card, many of you are wondering if it makes sense to keep it or switch to the United Explorer Card. As we saw in our comparison above, the Explorer card is more suitable to non-Premier members because the benefits they provide are already available if you are a Premier member.

Those of you who are Premier members and still want to either or both earn United Miles and PQPs from credit card spending, then this card is a keeper because you it's earning rate on both United and Star Alliance airlines and everyday purchase category is outstanding.