Editorial Review

United Club Infinite Card Review: Worth It for Lounge Lovers

Get unlimited access to United's airport lounges for less than the price of a stand-alone membership, along with free checked bags and a great rewards rate for United purchases.

Gregory KarpMarch 27, 2020

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Our Take

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: If you consider lounge access a must-have and you frequently fly (and check bags on) United, then this card's jumbo annual fee can be a relative bargain. Occasional travelers should look elsewhere, maybe even to a different United card.

Chase United MileagePlus(R) Club Card Credit Card

on Chase's website

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$525

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$525
Annual Fee
$525
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Lower fee

United℠ Explorer Card

2 lounge visits a year for a lot less

Less-frequent United travelers should consider this option, which gives you a pair of one-time passes to the United Club each year plus a free checked bag for you and a traveling companion. You earn 2 miles per dollar on tickets purchased from United and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. There's a nice sign-up offer, too. Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$525

Annual Fee

$550

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

N/A

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

For frequent flyers on United Airlines who enjoy escaping the hubbub and congestion of the airport terminal, the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card allows access to the carrier’s exclusive lounges.

The card also provides accelerated rewards on United purchases and some nice perks.

But that premium experience comes at a premium cost annually: $525.

The card is chock-full of features and benefits, but ultimately the decision comes down to whether you want unlimited United Club access, something no other credit card can provide.

New! United Club℠ Infinite Card: Basics

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $525.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on all other travel.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on dining.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.

NerdWallet values United miles at 0.8 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.8 cent or more in value from your United miles.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Perks:

  • United Club membership.

  • First and second checked bags free for you and a companion on your reservation.

  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit.

  • 25% off inflight purchases.

  • Premier Access travel services (see below).

Nerd tip: This card underwent significant changes in March 2020. United Club℠ Card customers will not be automatically moved to the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card, according to the issuer. However, they can call Chase to ask whether they are eligible to switch. The old version of the card is no longer accepting applications.

Why you might want the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card

Lounge membership

A regular membership to United Club airport lounges generally costs $650 a year. So if you’re planning to join anyway, it’s a no-brainer to get the credit card instead and save money.

Membership offers access to about 50 United Club locations at about 30 airports worldwide as of March 2020, as well to airport clubs of participating partners in the Star Alliance airline group. One-time passes to United Club lounges cost $59. So, based on lounge visits alone, you’ll need to enter the club about nine times to break even on the credit card’s annual fee.

In the lounges, many of which have been renovated in recent years, you’ll generally find bar service, light snacks, free Wi-Fi and usually quieter and more comfortable surroundings than an airport gate.

United Club members can bring one adult and dependent children under age 21, or up to two adult guests, according to membership rules. Authorized users on a card account do not receive their own United Club membership and are eligible for access only if they are traveling with the primary cardmember.

Sign-up bonus

Sign-up bonuses can change, but frequent-flyer miles you can earn as a new cardholder are usually enough for one, or even several, round-trip domestic flights in economy if you figure such flights cost 25,000 miles each. The current offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Rewards for spending

The 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases is especially good for an airline card and will help you rack up frequent-flyer miles as you buy airfare, for example. The double miles on non-United travel purchases and restaurant spending is good because the bonus categories are useful to travelers. And the definition of travel is nice and broad: airfare (non-United), trains, local transit, cruise lines, hotels, car rentals, taxicabs, resorts, ride shareservices and tolls.

As of this writing, airport lounge credit cards by competing major airlines offer no similar bonus categories.

However, spending on the card does not earn progress toward elite-flyer status on the airline like other premium airline cards offer. It also offers no annual companion certificate, like some other premium airline cards offer. As an example, Delta Air Lines' airport lounge credit card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, offers both. Terms apply.

ExTRA FREE BAGS AND PREMIER ACCESS

You and a companion traveling on your reservation can each get your first two checked bags free. The first bag typically costs $35; the second, $45. So this perk alone could save as much as $320 on a single round trip.

The top-tier United Airlines card also gives you and your companions on the same reservation more than priority boarding. It comes with Premier Access, a type of elite status that includes priority airport check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit

This statement credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry is worth up to $100 every four years and can be used to cover your application fees for these programs. Both statuses last for five years.

OTHER PERKS

The card includes numerous other benefits, such as 25% off onboard purchases when you pay with the card, primary rental car coverage, perks at some hotels and resorts and additional benefits at Hertz rental cars.

As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with perks offered by the Visa network.

Why you might want a different card

ANNUAL FEE is high

The most obvious drawback is the card’s annual fee of $525. However, the fee is on par with other premium cards, including airline cards that offer airport lounge access.

lounge access might not be that important to you

United Club membership is the primary selling point of the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card. If you don't consider it important to park yourself in the lounge on every trip, take a look at this card's more basic sibling, the United℠ Explorer Card. It gives you two one-time United Club passes each year, along with a free checked bag for you and a companion, for an ongoing annual fee that's far lower: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. The sign-up bonus is smaller: Limited-time offer! Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months from account opening.

For the difference in annual fee, you can buy seven additional one-time passes to the lounge for a total of nine per year.

baggage benefit is Limited to Two people

The primary cardmember and one traveling companion on the same reservation are each eligible to receive their first two checked bags free. Two checked bags each is nice and might suffice for many trips, but many other airlines offer a free checked bag for far more travel companions. For example, American Airlines’ comparable card, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, offers a free checked bag for the cardholder plus eight companions, potentially worth $540 roundtrip. And Delta Air Lines' lower-tier card, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, also offers free checked bags for a total of nine travel partners (terms apply).

Other cards offer more flexibility

If you mix your flying with other airlines, a general travel card might be a better fit. For those looking for premium perks, good choices include the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

For a lower annual fee in a general travel card, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

How the United cards stack up

For United loyalists, the other choices among consumer cards are the United℠ Explorer Card and United℠ TravelBank Card, which offer lesser rewards and perks without the big fee and without unlimited airport lounge access.

Here’s how the United Airlines consumer cards compare on key features:

Is the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card right for you?

Frequent flyers on United Airlines have one overriding reason to get the New! United Club℠ Infinite Card: United Club airport lounge access. It’s an easy decision to forgo the stand-alone club membership, which is more expensive, and instead get the card, which carries the same benefits. You’ll also get some enhanced perks over the lower-fee United co-branded card and nice bonus categories for reward miles. If United isn’t your go-to airline, a general travel card — some of which have premium features and similar fees — might suit you better.

Information related to the United℠ TravelBank Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

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