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If you are a frequent United Airlines flyer and want to score some mega miles as well as improve your travel experience with relevant perks, you may want to check into the New United Club℠ Infinite Card.
For starters, the new New United Club℠ Infinite Card has a limited-time offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This offer is available to those who apply and are approved for the card by May 18, 2020.
This card comes with an annual fee of $525, but that fee does get you a United Club membership that costs $650 if you were to buy it outright. With a membership, you and up to two guests traveling with you can access any United Club lounge. Note that you do need a day-of boarding pass on a United or a Star Alliance flight for entry.
Mileage earning potential
This card is designed to compete against other premium airline cards, as well as traveler favorites like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card, which are known for offering bonus points on travel and dining.
On this card, you’ll rack up the most miles with United purchases, at 4x miles for every dollar spent with the airline. When it comes to other travel and dining purchases, you earn 2x miles for every dollar spent.
For comparison, the Citi Prestige® Card doles out 5x ThankYou Rewards for every dollar spent on airfare and dining, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x per dollar spent on both airfare and dining. That puts this United card right in the middle of the pack — but only if you spend mostly on United purchases.
The New United Club℠ Infinite Card's 2x miles on other dining and travel (including other airlines) is slightly underwhelming in comparison, but for those who value United miles, this could be a decent option.
Don’t forget that you can convert Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to United. This means if your goal is to maximize United miles, sticking with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® will likely still be your fastest path to mileage domination (sign-up bonuses not withstanding).
Perks on top of big-time points
That said, there are some definite perks that may sway certain travelers toward this card.
For starters, an annual membership to the United Club costs $650 — so right off the bat, this card saves you $125 per year in membership dues. Add onto that the hefty sign-up bonus if you can meet the minimum spend requirements, and this card is already worth it for frequent travelers who value lounge access.
The card also comes with a $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit and 25% off onboard purchases for things like food and drinks on United flights. You’ll also get Priority Access for boarding and check-in lines automatically by having this card.
If you travel with checked bags, the first two will fly free — and when you use this card overseas, there are no pesky foreign transaction fees.
Another nice perk of having this card is that it automatically upgrades you to elite status with Hertz, which can be helpful if you often rent cars.
» Learn more: Credit cards that give you elite car rental perks
Who should and shouldn’t take advantage of this offer?
If you’re a frequent United customer who enjoys having access to the United Club, this card is a solid option.
If you travel infrequently or book with many different airlines, this isn't the best option for you. It may be better to stick with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® that rewards you with a transferable points currency you can use to book a variety of travel options.
» Learn more: NerdWallet's full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
How to maximize 100,000 United MileagePlus miles
As of last year, United switched to a dynamic pricing model for flights. This makes it more complicated to understand how many miles to save up for your next trip.
United.com offers a helpful calendar award search that allows you to see multiple options. In addition, United continues to publish an award chart for its Star Alliance and other partner airlines. Those big international trips are easier to plan for since you know how many miles you’ll need to save to redeem for a ticket.
At the time of this writing, we rounded up some places you can visit domestically or internationally with the New United Club℠ Infinite Card’s sign-up bonus.
You can fly cross-country from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles for 12,500 miles each way in economy, or 60,000 miles each way in first class if you want to treat yourself. Travelers who have a United co-branded credit card or are a MileagePlus Premier member have access to first-class tickets for as low as 50,000 miles each way.
If you want to travel in flat-bed business class on a new Dreamliner aircraft, United has one-way flights between Newark and Los Angeles for 50,000 miles.
Want to fly across the pond? Flights between Los Angeles and Frankfurt are available for 30,000 miles each way in economy and 60,000 miles each way in business class (although the shorter segment of this flight is in economy).
You can also fly between San Francisco and Hong Kong later this summer for 75,000 miles in business class one-way, or just 40,00 miles each way in economy.
Remember it’s prudent to look at all of the cabin options before you book. In the above example, note that it is only 4,000 miles more to fly in business class than in premium economy. Be sure to check all cabin availability or you could miss out on a better flying experience for just a few more miles.
Even if you do fly in economy, this new credit card’s United Club membership will get you into the lounge at your departure airport for a little pre-flight comfort.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Complete guide to the United Mileage Plus program Valuable benefits of the United Airlines credit cards