Chase Launches New United Gateway Card, Replacing TravelBank

Profile photo of Gregory Karp
Written by Gregory Karp
Senior Writer
Profile photo of Kenley Young
Edited by Kenley Young
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Chase Launches New United Gateway Card, Replacing TravelBank

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

» This offer has expired

This article describes the offer available on the United Gateway℠ Card when it first came on the market in 2020. See our review of the United Gateway℠ Card for the current offer.

Chase has launched a new attempt at a United Airlines $0-annual-fee credit card, the United Gateway℠ Card.

The new offering will replace the United℠ TravelBank Card, a no-fee card that was grounded not so long after takeoff when Chase closed it to new applications after just three years.

A main difference between the cards is the rewards currency. The new card will earn regular United MileagePlus frequent-flyer miles. The United℠ TravelBank Card earned a new currency called “TravelBank Cash” that could be used to buy United airfare. It was like earning store credit at a retailer.

The new United Gateway℠ Card also has a different structure for how cardholders will earn rewards for spending, including a few spending categories below 30,000 feet. For example, spending on gas and commuting earns more than the usual 1 mile per $1 spent.

Details on the new United Gateway℠ Card

  • Sign-up bonus when launched in Oct. 2020: New cardmembers can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The current sign-up bonus is: Limited-time offer: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. Learn more. NerdWallet values United miles at 1.2 cents each.

  • Rewards: Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations, and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Discount: Earn 25% back on United in-flight purchases.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

What this means for existing customers

United℠ TravelBank Card cardholders

Chase says current United℠ TravelBank Card cardholders moved to the new United Gateway℠ Card on Sept. 21, 2020, and will have a new card sent to them by Oct. 31. Their card expiration date and security code will change, but account numbers, credit lines, interest rates and payment-due dates will all stay the same.

Customers will still have access to their TravelBank account to redeem TravelBank Cash. TravelBank terms and conditions, including those related to expiring rewards, will still apply. However, all purchases made on the card as of Sept. 21 will earn miles instead of TravelBank Cash.

United MileagePlus cardholders

The old “legacy” United MileagePlus cardmembers transitioned to the United Gateway℠ Card on Sept. 13, 2020. Their account numbers, credit lines, interest rates and payment-due dates stayed the same, Chase said.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The United℠ Explorer Card is a separate product and holders of that card are not affected.

Is it a good deal?

Overall, yes, the United Gateway℠ Card is superior to the outgoing United℠ TravelBank Card, and here's why:

Better currency

The switch in rewards currencies from TravelBank dollars to MileagePlus miles is a good one. NerdWallet didn’t see the point of the United℠ TravelBank Card because it was inferior to many cash-back cards where the rewards currency is the most useful: cash.

Frequent-flyer miles at least give you the opportunity to earn outsized value by finding a pricey airfare or seat upgrade that doesn’t cost too many miles — first class, anyone? And United miles can be spent with travel partners, such as hotels and car rental agencies.

Better reward rates

Double points on gas stations and on local transit and commuting is a welcome change on the new United Gateway℠ Card . (The United℠ TravelBank Card offered 1.5% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on all purchases except United tickets, which earned 2%.)

Bottom line: The United℠ TravelBank Card wasn’t a bad card for leisure flyers, but the United Gateway℠ Card ticks an important box for an airline card: being aspirational.

What you don’t get in a no-fee card

Neither the old nor the new no-fee United card includes key perks of higher-tier United cards with annual fees. For example, the United℠ Explorer Card has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95. It offers such perks as:

  • Free checked bags.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Two one-day passes annually to United Club airport lounges.

To be fair, all major U.S. airline credit cards that lack an annual fee also lack free checked bags and priority boarding. (Southwest Airlines doesn’t have a no-fee card and offers two free checked bags to all passengers.)

Of course, that hints at a likely business goal for the new United Gateway℠ Card: Make it a “gateway” to a higher-end United credit card.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Get Started
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.