A new version of the United Club℠ Card, the premium co-branded credit card for United Airlines, made its debut on March 16, 2020, and it comes with more bonus categories and perks — and a higher annual fee.New United Club℠ Infinite Card is also launching with a valuable limited-time offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (Offer ends 5/18/2020).
Current United Club℠ Card customers will not be moved to the New United Club℠ Infinite Card automatically, according to the issuer. However, they can call Chase and see whether they are eligible to switch, if they choose. The old version of the card is no longer accepting applications.
But on the whole, these changes make the card slightly more valuable for travelers who can take advantage of the new benefits, even as the annual fee increases by almost 17% to $525 from $450.
Before and after
If you plan to use this card only for United Club lounge access, the changes make it a little less valuable. That likely won’t hold much sway over your decision, though. Without the card, a general membership would cost $650, so the card’s new annual fee is still less expensive.
But for those who can take advantage of the new benefits, the changes — specifically the expanded bonus categories and added credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry — could make the card slightly more valuable for traveling overall. Here’s an overview of what’s changing:
|Old United Club℠ Card||New United Club℠ Infinite Card|
|Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (Offer ends 5/18/2020.)|
Big limited-time sign-up bonus. For a limited time, this card is offering an increased sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.. Previously, the offer was 75,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
For those who won’t have any trouble reaching the higher spending requirement, this is a good deal.
Expanded bonus categories. The new version of this card will earn the following bonus rewards:
- 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases.
- 2 miles per dollar spent on dining.
- 2 miles per dollar spent on all other travel.
- 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
For those who mostly use the card for United purchases, dining and travel, this is a valuable change. But the base rate is lower — you’ll get 1 mile per dollar instead of 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases with the old version. More on that later.
Added Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit. This credit is worth up to $100 and can be used to cover your application fees for these programs. Both statuses last for five years. Although this feature is practically ubiquitous among premium cards, the old version of the United Club℠ Card didn’t offer such a credit.
In-flight discount. With the new version of the card, you’ll get 25% off onboard purchases, such as in-flight food or beverages. It’s a modest perk, but could be useful if you make such purchases often.
Annual fee is increasing. Previously, the annual fee on the United Club℠ Card was $450. On the new version, it’s $525. That increase makes it less appealing to those who can’t take advantage of the card’s new benefits.
Lower base rewards. With the new card, you’ll get 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases that don’t fall into the bonus categories. That’s a decrease from the 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases the old version offered, making the card less valuable for everyday purchases.
No more price protection. Chase confirms that the new version of the card won’t offer price protection. The old version offered this benefit, offering reimbursements for differences in price when items were advertised for less in print or online within 90 days of purchase; the coverage went up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year. That’s a somewhat surprising negative change, since the card is going from a Visa Signature to a Visa Infinite. Usually, Visa Infinite cards offer more side perks like these, not fewer. Chase didn’t clarify what new perks the Visa Infinite program offered, but only stated that it will have “all typical benefits associated with Visa Infinite.”
What does it mean for current cardholders?
If you currently have the old version of the United Club℠ Card, you can call Chase and request to be upgraded to the new card. Or you can choose to continue using your old card. Some things to note if you switch:
- You won’t be eligible for the new sign-up bonus.
- You’ll get a new card in the mail, but not a new card number.
- You’ll start getting the new rewards and perks on your card one to three days after your request is approved.
Is it worth it?
The New United Club℠ Infinite Card is an excellent choice for those interested in United Club membership. With its new benefits, it could also be a little more valuable for frequent travelers compared with the old version, despite its higher annual fee.