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Earlier this spring, Chase and United Airlines issued a new co-branded credit card, the United Quest℠ Card. The card piqued many travelers’ interest with a sizable welcome bonus, an annual United purchase credit and award flight credits, among other benefits.
If you earn the full sign-up bonus, the miles alone can get you at least $1,000 worth of travel, per NerdWallet’s recent United miles valuation. However, the miles you earn aren't the only way to offset that annual fee. Here’s how to get the most from the United Quest℠ Card.
Benefits of the United Quest℠ Card
As a frequent United flyer or MileagePlus member, you might consider the United Quest℠ Card. These are some of the key benefits that the annual fee of $250 gets you.
$125 annual United purchase credit.
A 5,000-mile award certificate back in your account after you take a United-operated award flight, up to 2 times every anniversary year.
500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 in purchases made on the card (up to 3,000 PQPs per calendar year) toward elite status qualification.
Two free checked bags for up to two travelers booked together.
TSA Precheck / Global Entry credit toward enrollment fee every four years.
A 25% discount on United in-flight purchases.
Priority boarding on United flights.
Access to Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
3 miles per dollar spent on United purchases (after the $125 credit is depleted), 2 miles per dollar spent on travel, dining and select streaming services, and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
As a new holder of the United Quest℠ Card, you'll also have access to the following welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
» Learn more: What the United Airlines MileagePlus programs gets right
Ways to maximize the United Quest℠ Card
Use up the entire $125 annual United credit
The United Quest℠ Card comes with a $125 purchase credit, issued in the form of a statement credit, that you can apply toward qualifying United purchases. Examples include United flights booked directly with United Airlines, seat upgrades, in-flight meals, beverages and Wi-Fi, checked luggage and other fees.
So long as you make use of the full purchase credit every year you hold the credit card, you offset half of the annual fee.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Redeem miles for an award flight at least twice per year
If you redeem your miles for a qualifying United-operated award flight, you’ll be eligible for a 5,000-mile award credit toward a future redemption. If you happen to fly two qualifying flights in a year, you’ll receive 10,000 redeemable miles in your MileagePlus account on your account anniversary.
Extra miles never hurt anyone, so consider it somewhat of a rebate for booking an award flight. Ten thousand United miles are worth $100 — not a bad rebate.
Check up to two bags for free
As a rule, many airline credit cards let you check bags at no cost, and the United Quest℠ Card allows both you and one traveling companion to check up to two pieces of luggage per person for free. Just make sure you’re booked on the same reservation.
On a domestic flight, checking a bag with United costs $30 to $35 for the first bag and $40 to $45 for the second bag. If you fly a round-trip, double that amount. To that end, this credit card perk alone can save you up to $320 per round-trip itinerary.
Don’t forget to add your MileagePlus number to the reservation and use your United Quest℠ Card to pay for the tickets. Otherwise, the benefit won’t apply.
» Learn more: Great ways to earn United MileagePlus Miles
Enroll in TSA Precheck or Global Entry
Being able to enroll in either TSA Precheck and Global Entry for free has been a popular benefit on many travel rewards cards. It’s a benefit of the United Quest℠ Card as well. To get the cost of your enrollment fee erased — $85 for TSA Precheck and $100 for Global Entry — pay the fee with your United Quest℠ Card and wait for a statement credit to apply. You can use this benefit once every four years.
If the benefit is redundant to you because you already have access to it on another credit card, offer to pay a friend’s or a relative’s enrollment cost. They will appreciate it, and your benefit won’t go unused.
Spend on the card to qualify for elite status
If you’re close to qualifying (or requalifying) for Premier status but aren’t quite there, consider spending on the United Quest℠ Card to earn Premier Qualifying Points. For every $12,000 spent in net purchases, you’ll earn 500 PQPs (limited to 3,000 PQPs per year).
To qualify for elite status with United, you must fly at least four United-operated flight segments and earn enough PQPs. Alternatively, you can earn status through a combination of completing enough Premier Qualifying Flights with earning a lesser amount of PQPs.
Depending on how much you spend on the card annually, every 500 PQPs you earn by making everyday purchases with the United Quest℠ Card could be enough to push you over the qualification threshold.
Save 25% on in-flight purchases
Not a huge benefit, but making in-flight purchases, such as snacks, beverages or Wi-Fi aboard a United- or United Express-operated flight with the United Quest℠ Card will save you 25% after you’ve used up your $125 annual purchase credit. The discount applies in the form of a statement credit posted within 24 hours after you make a purchase.
Get the most from the United Quest℠ Card
The $250 annual fee on the United Quest℠ Card isn’t huge, but it’s not small either, so it’s important to make sure you can offset it enough to make your card membership worth it. Cardholders who use up the whole value of the $125 purchase credit annually, travel with checked bags and redeem miles for award trips will come out ahead.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card