United Quest Card: $250 Fee Grants You More Miles and Credits for Your Journey

It offers better rewards and benefits than other more basic United cards do, including redemption credits each anniversary, plus a yearly United credit that can chop the annual fee in half.

Gregory KarpJul 1, 2021
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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The $250 annual fee is not for everybody, but frequent United flyers who use the $125 airline credit should be able to extract plenty of value from the card.

Chase United Quest Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$250

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Airline credit

  • Free checked bags, priority boarding

  • Award-flight credits

  • Bonus categories

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • No airport lounge access

Alternate Pick: Lower annual fee

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

United℠ Explorer Card

Airport lounge access

The United℠ Explorer Card isn't as generous with rewards or other perks, but it costs less to carry and, unlike the Quest, offers two United Club lounge passes per year.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$250

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$525

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% 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

The New United Quest℠ Card from Chase gives United Airlines flyers a way to earn more miles and perks than with the carrier’s more basic cards, while avoiding the massive annual fee for the priciest card that includes airport lounge access.

It's still on the pricey side, though, at an annual fee of $250. That means the New United Quest℠ Card slots in as a midtier option among the three other United-branded credit cards offered for personal use. (Annual fees on those other cards? $0, $95 and $525).

The Quest's fee effectively can be chopped in half if you use its $125 annual credit for United purchases. Layer on award-flight credits, progress toward elite status, extra free checked bags, and a credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, and you’re quickly making out on the deal. You also rack up miles with useful bonus categories on your spending, including extra miles for United purchases, travel, dining and streaming services.

Airline credit cards, especially those with $250 fees, aren’t for everyone. But frequent United flyers should be able to get their fee back and more with the New United Quest℠ Card.

United Quest Card: Basics

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $250.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months.

You can earn either or both of these bonuses.

Rewards:

  • 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases.

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel, including other airlines, hotels, car rentals and more.

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and select streaming services.

  • 1 miles per $1 spent on everything else.

NerdWallet values United miles at 1 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 1 cent or more in value from your United miles.

Benefits: 

  • $125 United purchase credit per year (good on airfare).

  • Two 5,000-mile award flight credits per anniversary year.

  • Two free checked bags for the cardholder and a companion.

  • Priority boarding.

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

  • 25% back on United in-flight purchases, including Wi-Fi, food and beverages.

  • Travel protections.

  • Perks at some hotels and resorts booked with the card through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

  • Potential elite status boost and seat upgrades.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Why you might want the New United Quest℠ Card

Sign-up bonus

One of the joys of getting a new airline credit card is reaping a huge cache of bonus miles if you’re able to meet the minimum spending requirements. That windfall of miles potentially means free flights soon after you get the card. The New United Quest℠ Card offers the following bonus:

Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months.

REWARDS FOR SPENDING

Earning extra miles for United purchases as well as travel and restaurant spending is useful and welcome on an airline card. Bonus rewards on streaming services don't quite fit the travel theme neatly, but they can be useful and give you an excuse to use the card for non-travel spending.

Overall, though, it's easier to rack up ample United miles with this card than with other options.

$125 annual United purchase credit

When you make United purchases with the card, you can get up to $125 in statement credits each anniversary year. The credit applies to most United spending you can think of, not just incidentals. So it counts toward airline tickets and seat upgrades, as well as in-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi. It counts toward bag fees, too, although you already have some checked-bag benefits baked into this card.

A key way to think about this benefit: Fully used, it cuts the annual fee in half.

Credits for booking award flights

When you rack up enough miles and book a free flight — called an award flight — you’ll get 5,000 miles returned to your frequent-flyer account. You can use those miles on a future award flight, and you can do that twice a year. The benefit starts on your first anniversary with the card. The value of frequent-flyer miles changes over time, but if United miles were worth a penny each, that’s a potential value of $100 per year if you book a couple of award flights. Those credits do not carry over from year to year, though. It’s "use it or lose it."

NerdWallet values United miles at 1 cent each.

Free checked bags and priority boarding

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.

You also get priority boarding. Getting on the plane earlier means you’re more likely to find overhead bin space for your roll-aboard. And some flyers like to board earlier to get settled before the cabin gets crowded. Either way, priority boarding is usually a welcome perk, although it also comes with the lower-tier United℠ Explorer Card.

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.

Status Boost bonuses and seat upgrades

Through spending on the card, you can earn up to 3,000 premier qualifying points (PQPs) per year toward Premier status eligibility. That’s nearly enough to get you to Silver status, which at the time of this writing requires 3,500 PQPs. Earn 500 PQPs for every $12,000 in card spend, up to 3,000 PQPs in a calendar year.

The primary cardmember who is also a MileagePlus Premier member traveling on a domestic MileagePlus award ticket will be eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades on eligible United-operated flights when available.

Primary rental car coverage

This feature, by the wonky name “auto rental collision damage waiver,” is unusual. Unlike most airline and travel cards, this card comes with car rental coverage that's primary, meaning the card’s benefit kicks in before your own auto insurance. That can save you money — your insurance deductible — if you have an accident in a rental. To use this benefit, you must pay for the rental with the card and decline the rental company's coverage.

Other travel protections

  • Baggage delay insurance.

  • Lost luggage reimbursement.

  • Trip delay reimbursement.

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

  • Travel accident insurance.

How it compares with other United cards

United and Chase offer four co-branded credit cards for personal use, each with different benefits and annual fees.

For the Quest's annual fee of $250, you get some big upgrades from the United℠ Explorer Card, which has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95. But you don’t get a United Club airport lounge membership, which comes with the United Club℠ Infinite Card at a price of $525.

The New United Quest℠ Card most competes with the United℠ Explorer Card. That’s especially true because if you’re able to regularly use the $125 airline credit, it effectively drops the annual fee to very close to the annual fee of the United℠ Explorer Card.

United Gateway℠ Card

United℠ Explorer Card

New United Quest℠ Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card

Card information:

Annual fee:

$0

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

$250

$525

Bonus offer:

Earn up to 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months.

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months

Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months.

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Free checked bags:

None

First checked bag free for you and one companion on your reservation.

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

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

Rewards on spending:

2 miles per $1

2 miles per $1

3 miles per $1

4 miles per $1

Other spending rewards:

  • 2 miles per $1 at gas stations.

  • 2 miles per $1 on local transit and commuting.

  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

  • 2 miles per $1 at restaurants.

  • 2 miles per $1 on hotels (when booked directly with the hotel).

  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel (including other airlines, hotels, car rentals and more).

  • 2 miles per $1 on dining (including takeout and delivery).

  • 2 miles per $1 on select streaming services.

  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

  • 2 miles per $1 on all other travel.

  • 2 miles per $1 on dining.

  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Airport lounge access:

None

2 United Club one-time passes each year.

None

Annual membership to all United Club locations, plus select Star Alliance lounges.

Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry:

None

Up to $100 every four years.

Up to $100 every four years.

  • Up to $100 every four years.

Why you might want a different card

A LOWER ANNUAL FEE

You don’t expect these kinds of rewards and perks on a card with no annual fee. But if $250 a year is too much to stomach, you could drop down to one of the lower-priced United cards. Or, you might find a better fit with a general travel card.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has a lower fee, and it earns points in similar categories. You get 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, you'll receive 2 points per dollar on grocery store spending now through Dec. 31, 2021. It also offers $200 in statement credits, including up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee and up to $100 for airline incidentals, such as seat upgrades, checked bags and day passes to lounges.

Free lounge access

Competing travel rewards cards offer some airport lounge access. Even the lower-tier United℠ Explorer Card offers two United Club lounge passes per year. The Quest card has none.

If lounge access is your top priority, the United Club℠ Infinite Card is an obvious choice. Or go with another premium card instead — The Platinum Card® from American Express. It offers access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, along with a bevy of other benefits. The annual fee is huge, but for perpetual travelers who can take advantage of everything it offers, it could be worth the cost. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

BAGGAGE BENEFIT for more travelers

With the New United Quest℠ Card, 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 might be overkill for most trips, but many other airlines offer a free checked bag for more travel companions, which is potentially more useful. For example, Delta Air Lines’ comparable card is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. It offers free checked bags for a total of nine people. Terms apply, see rates and fees.

MORE FLEXIBILITY

Generally, the best redemption options for United MileagePlus miles are award flights and seat upgrades on United and its Star Alliance partners. That’s pretty limiting compared with general travel cards, which allow you to apply rewards to a wide range of travel-related expenses.

If you mix your flying with other airlines, a comparable card is the American Express® Gold Card, which also has useful bonus categories for everyday spending. Terms apply, see rates and fees.

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.

Companion fare

The same-tier credit card from Delta Air Lines, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, comes with an annual companion certificate — a rare and valuable perk that covers the cost of a round-trip domestic economy ticket for someone flying with you.

The New United Quest℠ Card doesn't come with a companion-fare benefit.

Is the New United Quest℠ Card right for you?

If you can use the $125 airline credit on this card, it probably makes it a superior choice to the popular United℠ Explorer Card, one of NerdWallet’s perennial favorite airline credit cards. The additional perks on the New United Quest℠ Card have a real cash value, while its lucrative bonus-rewards categories help boost your bank of frequent-flyer miles.

If you mix your flying with airlines, a general travel card might be a better pick, but frequent United Airlines flyers should take a hard look at the New United Quest℠ Card.


To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

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

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page.