I have written many times about the United Club card, a credit card from Chase that carries a high annual fee and no sign-up bonus. You may think, because of that, that what I have written was negative. On the contrary, there are many positives about the card that can help the United flyer.
The United Club Card Is About To Lose A Valuable Advantage
The United Club Card
However, come next month or so, a valuable advantage of the United Club card (fee-free the first year for some)is going to be lost. That advantage is the 1.5 United miles per dollar earned on spending. For the person who wants to fly United and their partners, earning 1.5 United miles per dollar on everyday spending is a great perk of the United Club card. Yes, you will need to spend a lot in a calendar year to make that extra earning worth it over the regular United MileagePlus Explorer card, but that extra .5 mile can add up to additional value.
The New Challenger For Everyday Spending
But, with the coming of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card – a no-fee card that will earn 1.5% on all purchases – that advantage will go away. If you have an Ultimate Rewards earning card (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus), you will be able to convert that 1.5% earning to 1.5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar. Given that you can transfer Ultimate Reward points to United at a value of 1:1, that makes the earning on the new Freedom Ultimate card as good as the United Club card for earning.
Chase Freedom Unlimited – Better For Earning
Well, almost as good. It does, in fact, make the Freedom Ultimate an even better earning alternative because you gain additional flexibility by being able to transfer Ultimate Reward points to any of the Chase partners – that includes partners like Hyatt, Southwest, Singapore, British Airways, and of course, United to name a few. So even though the earning amount is the same, the value of putting that everyday spending on the Freedom Unlimited card is greater because you gain that flexibility.
Should You Keep The United Club Card?
Should you keep the United Club card going forward? With its high annual fee, I am sure there are not that many people that have it solely for the purpose of earning 1.5 United miles per dollar. One of the primary benefits of the card is that it gives you access to United and Star Alliance lounges when traveling with them. That is a great benefit that you would only have otherwise if you are traveling in international business/first class or you have status with a foreign Star Alliance partner at the Star Alliance Gold level (like Aegean’s Miles+Bonus Gold).
Of course, there are other benefits as well like the Premier Access to give you elite-like benefits at the airport for check-in and boarding. It also has Hyatt elite status and Hertz elite status as well as giving you fee-free close-in award bookings on United (normally costs $75 per ticket for non-elites). These are all great benefits to make the $450 annual fee easier to swallow. But, if you were leaning on the 1.5 United miles per dollar in spending to add to the overall benefit, that advantage will be gone soon and you may need to consider if you will keep the United Club card going forward.