Here’s What You Should Know Before Applying for a United Airlines Credit Card

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Here’s What You Should Know Before Applying for a United Airlines Credit Card

Million Mile SecretsHere’s What You Should Know Before Applying for a United Airlines Credit CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Even if you don’t fly United Airlines, earning their miles can come in handy.  Because you can redeem United Airlines miles to book award flights on Star Alliance partner airlines, like LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, and many others!

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
United Airlines Miles Are Extremely Valuable Because You Can Redeem Them for Award Flights on Star Alliance Partners, Like Emily Did on Lufthansa

A quick way to earn United Airlines miles is with one of their credit cards.  For new applicants, these are the 5 different United Airlines cards to choose from:

Card Name Sign-Up BonusAnnual Fee
United TravelBank Card
United TravelBank Card
$150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

The information for the Chase United TravelBank Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

None
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

50,000 United Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$95 (Waived the first year)
United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card
Card Image Not Available
50,000 United Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$95 (Waived the first year)
United MileagePlus® Club CardUnited TravelBank Card50,000 United Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$450
United MileagePlus® Club Business Card
Card Image Not Available
$100 statement credit after your first purchase$450

The right card for your wallet will depend on your travel goals and preferences.  That said, it’s good to know which perks you’ll get with each version.  For example, only some of the cards will save you money on baggage fees or get you lounge access.

Which United Airlines Card Is Right for You?

There are currently 5 United Airlines credit cards available to new applicants.

If you’ve been a United Airlines cardholder for awhile, it’s possible your version of the card is not on the below list.  Chances are your old card is considered a different card product.  This means you would be eligible to apply and earn the sign-up bonus on one (or more) of the below cards.

Keep in mind, all of these cards are issued by Chase and are impacted by the bank’s stricter application rules.  So if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for these offers.

1.   Chase United TravelBank Card

Link:   Chase United TravelBank Card

Link:   My Review of the United TravelBank Card

The Chase United TravelBank card is the only no annual fee United Airlines card available to new applicants.  When you sign-up for this card, you’ll earn $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

The rewards you earn with this card can ONLY be used for flights on United Airlines.  So this sign-up bonus will save you $150 off the cost of a United Airlines flight, not any partner airline flights.

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
Easily Save $150 Off the Cost of a Flight to Chicago With the Chase United TravelBank Card and Explore the Sights, Like Team Member Jasmin and Her Kids Did!

With this card, you’ll also get:

  • 2% back in TravelBank cash per $1 with United Airlines
  • 1.5% back in TravelBank cash per $1 for all other purchases
  • 25% off United Airlines onboard food and beverage purchases
  • Rental car insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • NO annual fee

If you’re new to miles & points, this isn’t the first card I’d recommend, even if you frequently fly with United Airlines.  The other United Airlines credit cards I’ll tell you about have more valuable sign-up bonuses and better perks!  And this card doesn’t get you access to more United Airlines award seats.

But if you have other Chase United cards that charge an annual fee, and want to save on the expense, you might be able to downgrade to this card instead of cancelling your card.

2.   Chase United Explorer

Link:   United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

With the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card, you’ll earn 50,000 United Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

I’ve seen the sign-up bonus higher on this card.  So I’d consider waiting to apply until the sign-up bonus increases.  Also, look out in the mail for any targeted offers.  Team member Keith recently received a mailer with an offer to earn 60,000 miles.

But 40,000 United Airlines miles could still get you 3 one-way coach Saver award tickets within the US, which cost 12,500 miles per person.

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
Use Miles from the Chase United Explorer Card Sign-Up Bonus to Save Money on Flights to Destinations Like Santa Monica, California!

With this card, you’ll also earn 5,000 United Airlines miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of opening your account.

And you get these perks:

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
Having Exclusive Access to Certain United Airlines Award Seats With the Chase United MileagePlus Card Is an Extremely Valuable Perk!

This card has a $95 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.

3.   Chase United Explorer Business Card

Link:   My Review of the United Explorer Business Card

With the small business version of the United MileagePlus Explorer cardyou can earn 50,000 United Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  The sign-up bonus can get you:

  • A round-trip coach award flight to Hawaii
  • 2 round-trip coach award flights within the US

And unlike the personal version, the card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

You must have a small business to be eligible for this card.  But you might qualify for a small business card without realizing it!  If you earn income for performing a service (like driving for Uber), or selling goods on eBay, you could have a small business.

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
If You Qualify for Small Business Cards, I’d Recommend the Chase United Explorer Business Card Instead of the Personal Version. You’ll Earn a Larger Sign-Up Bonus and the Annual Fee Is Waived the First Year!

With this card, you’ll also get these benefits:

  • 2 United Airlines miles per $1 you spend on United Airlines and at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores
  • 1 United Airlines mile per $1 you spend on everything else
  • First checked bag free for you and a traveling companion when you use your card to pay for your reservation
  • Priority boarding
  • United Club lounge passes per card membership year
  • 10,000 bonus United Airlines miles when you spend more than $25,000 on net purchases on the card each calendar year
  • Access to more United Airlines award seats
  • No foreign transaction fees

I like that the small business version has bonus spending categories.  This makes it easier to earn miles you can use to get Big Travel with Small Money!

4.   Chase United Club Card

Link:   United MileagePlus® Club Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase United Club Card

You’ll earn 50,000 United Airlines miles when you sign-up for the Chase United Club card and spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

And this card also comes with a United Club membership (worth up to $550)!  So if you like relaxing in United Airlines lounges and enjoying free food and drinks, this can be a great card to have!

With the membership, you can access United Clubs AND Star Alliance lounges.  Plus, you can bring 2 guests for free (or 1 adult and dependent children under 21 years of age) – to a United Club.  Or 1 guest to a Star Alliance lounge.

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
The Chase United Club Card Comes With a Lounge Membership, Which Is Ideal for Folks Who Like to Relax Before Flights!

 With this card, you also get:

  • 2 United Airlines miles per $1 spent on United Airlines flights
  • 1.5 United Airlines miles per $1 spent on other purchases
  • 1st and 2nd bags checked free when you pay for your ticket with the card (save up to $240 per round-trip flight)
  • Hyatt Discoverist elite status when you register (bonus points, late check-out)
  • Hertz President’s Circle elite status when you register (upgrades, bonus points)
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Access to more United Airlines award seats
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase United Club cardholders also don’t pay close-in booking fees on United Airlines award tickets.  Don’t forget there’s a secret way you can avoid paying these fees, even if you’re not a cardholder!

This card has a $450 annual fee, which is not waived the first year.  But the savings from the checked baggage benefit and United Club membership can more than offset the annual fee expense.

5.   Chase United Club Business Card

Link:   United MileagePlus Club Business Card

There’s also a small business version of the Chase United Club card.  Unfortunately, there’s no miles sign-up bonus with this card.  But you’ll get a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.

The rest of the perks are the same as the personal version mentioned above.

Why Folks Like United Airlines Miles

Link:   All the Ways to Earn United Airlines Miles

Link:   Changes to United Airlines Award Charts

Even though there have been some recent changes, United Airlines has a simple award chart with easy-to-understand pricing.

I love using United Airlines miles to book flights on United Airlines’ Star Alliance partners because they have competitive prices and don’t add fuel surcharges!  Million Mile Secrets team member Scott likes to use United Airlines miles to fly on partner airlines to Europe.

Comparison Of United Airlines Credit Cards
You Can Book an Award Flight to Warsaw on LOT Polish Airlines by Redeeming United Airlines Miles Because Both Airlines Are Part of the Star Alliance!

And don’t forget United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.  This means you can transfer these flexible points directly to the airline if you have these popular credit cards:

You can read my post with all the ways to earn United Airlines miles!

Bottom Line

Folks looking for a United Airlines card have 5 options to choose from.

The Chase United TravelBank card is the only no annual fee United Airlines card available to new applicants.  But you don’t earn miles with this card.  Instead, you’ll earn TravelBank cash, which only works to save you money on United Airlines flights.

For more flexibility, I’d recommend the Chase United Explorer (personal or small business) or Chase United Club (personal or small business).  Because you earn United Airlines miles with these cards, which you can use to book award flights on Star Alliance partner airlines, like Lufthansa or SWISS!

And these cards also get you access to more United Airlines award seats.  Plus, other card perks, like free checked baggage can save you money!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Still No United Card

I received an offer from United that didn’t mention the 5/24 rule so I applied. I am WELL over the 5/24 but I am still obtaining cards from other banks. Chase declined me despite having a FICO score in the 800s. A further reconsideration didn’t change my status.

So buyer beware. United is still declining applications even when an offer mail is mailed to you with no mention of the 5/24 rule.

Million Mile Secrets

I understand your frustration! The applications typically don’t include the “5/24” language. There are a handful of cards you can still get even if you’re over the limit. Here’s a post with more details:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/07/30/chase-5-card-limit-exceptions/

I was planning to apply for the Explorer card anyway, but then a few days ago I got a targeted offer of 60K miles and a $100 statement credit for a $3K spend in three months. Still had room for one more card under 5/24 and got approved last week. Score!

I too got the 60k offer and just took it. However, a few months ago, I had got the 70k offer and ignored it ! Anyhow, with the Chase preferred and this one I figured I would get enough miles to get trips overseas. Also planning to go to Phoenix in the summer and United has a convenient flight so the free baggage will negate the annual fee. Don’t plan to use miles on that one because I am saving for the more expensive ( and fancier ) seats to Europe

Million Million Secrets

Glad to hear both of you took advantage of the targeted offer with the increased sign-up bonus!