Use United Credit Cards to Cash in on Thousands of Bonus Miles
Disclaimer: Some of the offers described below may no longer be available.
United Airlines is one of the world's largest airlines. If you live near one of their hubs, it's likely you fly them often. But, did you know that you could be leaving frequent flyer miles on the table from your daily spending? Here's our guide to the best credit cards for United Airlines.
United Credit Cards
There are three card products that are co-branded with United, which all will earn you United miles. If you're looking at good ways to use United miles, be sure to check out our guide to the program.
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is currently offering 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. You'll also get priority boarding and your first checked bag free. You'll also get two free United Club passes. For spending, you'll earn two miles per dollar on United purchases, and one mile per dollar on everything else, all for a $95 annual fee.
The United MileagePlus Club Card is another option, and includes United Club access. You'll pay a $450 annual fee, but you'll receive a $100 statement credit after your first purchase. You'll get 2 points per dollar on United purchases, and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else. You also get two free checked bags. You'll automatically get Hyatt Discoverist status, and Hertz Presidential Circle status.
Finally, there's a prepaid card, the MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid card. You'll earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on qualifying signature purchases, up to 2,500 miles each month. There's no annual fee and no credit check required.
Other Credit Cards
While the cobranded cards are good if you want a sign up bonus or airline benefits, they're actually not the best card for your travel spending. If you're spending a lot on airfare, consider the Amex Platinum card, which gets you 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline. That's 3 points per dollar more than the United card, but you'll not want to transfer points from Membership Rewards to United- it's a 2:1 transfer ratio.
Another card that's awesome is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases (and currently a 50,000 point sign up bonus). Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into United, so you're earning 1 more mile per dollar than the United cards. Points are also more versatile, since you can transfer to other airlines and hotel chains like Hyatt. If the $450 annual fee is too steep, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a 50,000 point sign up bonus for spending $4,000 in 3 months, earns 2 points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases, and only has a $95 annual fee.
United's program is great for award redemptions, since Delta's program has no published award chart and constantly changes rates, and American has very low availability currently for saver awards. With Star Alliance partners worldwide, United miles can get you nearly anywhere on earth. As always, reach out if you have questions in the comments!