3 Chase® United® cards you should know about

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In a Nutshell

If you’re looking for a Chase United card to help you earn United rewards, our top three picks might be for you. Keep reading to learn more.
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If you’re a frequent United Airlines® traveler, there are several Chase® United® cards that could help you earn United® rewards. We compare three to help you figure out the best one for you.

Chase offers such a wide variety of cards that there’s probably one that’s the best — or at least a pretty good fit — for just about anybody who uses a credit card. If you fly United and are in the market for a travel rewards card, there are three Chase® cards that feature United Airlines® rewards and other benefits.

  • United℠ TravelBank Card: an affordable choice with no annual fee and basic travel benefits
  • United℠ Explorer Card : a step up with an annual fee of $0 intro, then $95 after first year, and additional travel benefits
  • United MileagePlus® Club Card: the high-end option, with a $450 annual fee and upscale travel perks for the frequent-flyer set
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United℠ Explorer Card

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See Details, Rates & Fees

At a glance: United TravelBank Card vs. United℠ Explorer Card vs. United MileagePlus® Club Card

United℠ TravelBank Card

United℠ Explorer Card

United MileagePlus® Club Card

Annual fee $0 $0 intro, then $95 after first year $450
Sign-up bonus $150 in United® TravelBank cash after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Earning rewards
  • 2% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
  • 1.5% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, at restaurants and eligible delivery services, and on hotel stays
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 on tickets purchased from United
  • 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases
Variable APR for purchases & balance transfers 15.99%–22.99% 16.49% - 23.49% 18.24%–25.24%
Travel perks 25% back as a statement credit for onboard food and beverage purchases on United-operated flights
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag is free when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  • United Club℠ membership
  • Premier Access®
  • First and second checked bags are free when you use your card to purchase your ticket

  1. Best for rewards value
  2. Best for card benefits
  3. Best for annual fee
  4. Heads up: What to consider when applying for a Chase® United® card
  5. Bottom line: Which Chase® United® card is right for you?

Best for rewards value

If you use your card for everyday purchases, the United MileagePlus® Club card can help you rack up rewards faster than the other two cards.

Let’s assume you spend $25,000 per year on everyday purchases with your card (that’s about $2,083 per month). Setting aside the sign-up bonuses and extra points for United® travel purchases, here’s what you would earn with each card.

Card Rewards earned on $25,000 in purchases in a year
United℠ TravelBank Card $375 TravelBank cash rewards credits
United℠ Explorer Card 35,000 reward miles
United MileagePlus® Club Card 37,500 reward miles

Spend more than $25,000 annually and the United MileagePlus® Club Card pulls even further ahead.

Best for card benefits

Which card comes with the best benefits depends on how much you travel, how committed you are to United, and how much you enjoy the various United® travel benefits that come with these cards.

If you’re a devoted and frequent United® traveler, the pricey-looking United MileagePlus® Club Card could offer the best benefits for your lifestyle. If you’re a United® fan but don’t travel often, either of the other two cards might be the best choice for you.

Best for annual fee

With no annual fee, the United℠ TravelBank Card certainly looks like the winner. But the United℠ Explorer Card offers you a nice package of United travel benefits for a relatively modest annual fee of $0 intro, then $95 after first year.

With the United℠ Explorer Card, you and an eligible companion can each check your first standard bag for free, worth up to $140 on a round trip.

The United MileagePlus® Club Card might look like a loser with its $450 annual fee, but if United’s premium travel perks make your life on the road a lot more comfortable and convenient, that fee could be very reasonable.

Heads up: What to consider when applying for a Chase® United® card

All of these Chase® United® cards come with identical transaction and penalty fees.

  • Balance transfer fee: 5% (minimum $5) of the transferred balance
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advanced, whichever is higher
  • Late or returned payment penalty fees: up to $39, depending on the payment amount.

Take note: Balance transfers, cash advances and certain other transactions don’t qualify for mileage or TravelBank rewards.

On the upside, none of these cards comes with a foreign transaction fee. That’s a nice money-saving benefit if you use your card outside the U.S.

Bottom line: Which Chase® United® card is right for you?

Here’s a key question to ask yourself before you apply for a Chase® United® card: What kind of traveler and spender am I?

If you travel frequently and use your card often, a premium travel card such as the United MileagePlus® Club Card or another travel rewards card might be a must-have for you.

If your travel takes place mainly in your imagination, a cash back credit card or one with a low-cost balance transfer opportunity might be more valuable for you than a travel rewards card that offers you airline miles or other travel benefits you probably won’t use.

If you’re somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum, look for a card with a low or no annual fee and a nice assortment of travel rewards that can help you get where you want to go.


About the author: Marcie Geffner is an award-winning freelance reporter, editor, writer and book critic. Her work has been featured online and in print by the Chicago Sun-Times, Fox Business Network Onlin… Read more.