We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.
Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.
Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.
These offers are no longer available on our site: United℠ TravelBank Card, United MileagePlus® Club Card
If your trip could be — or already has been — affected by COVID-19, check out the Credit Karma travel resources page for more information.
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
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|
|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||
- Best for sign-up bonus
- Best for rewards value
- Best for card benefits
- Best for annual fee
- Heads up: What to consider when applying for a Chase® United® card
- Bottom line: Which Chase® United® card is right for you?
The United℠ Explorer Card is the winner here — you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
But that’s only if you’re comfortable with the $0 intro, then $95 after first year annual fee and plan to spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The United℠ TravelBank Card is even easier on your wallet with no annual fee, but it has a small bonus. Spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening gets you $150 in TravelBank cash.
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.
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.
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.How to maximize the benefits of the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
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.
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.
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.Travel rewards vs. cash back: How to choose the right card for you
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.