How to maximize the benefits of the United MileagePlus® Club Card

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In a Nutshell

If you're a frequent United flyer looking for an airline rewards card with premium lounge benefits, the United MileagePlus® Club Card easily justifies its $450 annual fee.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: United MileagePlus® Club Card

The United MileagePlus® Club Card offers some luxury benefits generally reserved for United MileagePlus® Premier status members.

If you’re a frequent United flyer with a United MileagePlus® Club Card in your wallet, you’re probably already enjoying this card’s greatest benefit: access for you and your eligible travel companions to all United Club℠ locations and participating Star Alliance™ affiliated lounges worldwide.

With a United Club℠ membership valued at up to $550 per year, that’s one eye-popping perk that could be enough to justify the card’s $450 annual fee all on its own.

But there’s a lot more to the United MileagePlus® Club Card. For example: You’ll also get free first and second standard checked bags on United-operated flights for you and a companion traveling on the same reservation booked with the card, enjoy Premier Access® travel services like priority check-in and earn two miles per $1 spent on tickets bought directly from United (plus 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases).

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How can I maximize my United MileagePlus® Club Card benefits?

Alex Gerard, CEO of personal finance website Cards Mix, admits that United MileagePlus® Club Card cardholders deserve a lot in return for the $450 annual fee.

“The card should work hard to justify this hefty price,” says Gerard, who says that most of the card’s value comes from the United Club℠ membership benefit. But lounge access isn’t the only way to squeeze your money’s worth out of this airline rewards card.

If you stay on top of the United MileagePlus® Club Card’s features, you’ll find plenty of ways to maximize this card’s already appealing benefits. Here’s how you can get the most out of United Airlines’ personal card with the highest annual fee.


4 ways to maximize the benefits of the United MileagePlus® Club Card

  1. Land at the United Club℠ during delays.
  2. Don’t restrict spending to United Airlines purchases.
  3. Take advantage of Premier Access® lanes at the airport.
  4. Decline the car rental company’s collision insurance (you don’t need it).

1. Land at the United Club℠ during delays.

This card’s United Club℠ membership benefit lets you avoid long lines of cranky passengers during delays as you can make changes to your reservation with United Club℠ reservation agents.

Once they’ve got your reservation updated and squared away, take a breather from the airport crowds in the posh lounge area.

If lounge access is a crucial and regular aspect of your travel plans, we recommend going with the United MileagePlus® Club Card over its sibling card, the United℠ Explorer Card .

While the United MileagePlus® Club Card grants an annual membership with United Club℠ access for you and your eligible travel companions, the United℠ Explorer Card only gives you two one-time passes each year on your card member anniversary.

What is a United Club℠ membership?

A general United Club℠ annual membership costs $550 or 70,000 miles, with varying membership rates based on your MileagePlus® Premier status. (There’s also an initiation fee of $50 or 7,000 miles for new or expired memberships.)

United Club℠ membership benefits include complimentary bar service, light snacks and free Wi-Fi at more than 45 United Club℠ locations, as well as access to participating Star Alliance® affiliated airport clubs worldwide. You’ll also get agent assistance with reservations, seat assignments and electronic ticketing.

2. Don’t restrict spending to United Airlines purchases.

With this card, you’ll earn two miles for every $1 spent on tickets you purchase from United. But while it’s easy to focus on racking up airline miles with actual airline purchases, don’t overlook this card’s generous reward rate on regular spending.

This card offers 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. “Combining this with the fact that United MileagePlus® miles are some of the most valuable air miles gives you an idea to use the card as your main spending tool,” Gerard says.

Which airlines rewards program offers the best value per mile?

3. Take advantage of Premier Access® lanes at the airport.

As a United MileagePlus® Club Card cardholder, you can skip long airport lines by keeping an eye out for United’s Premier Access® exclusive security and check-in lanes, which you’ll receive access to wherever they’re available.

4. Decline the car rental company’s collision insurance (you don’t need it).

The United MileagePlus® Club Card comes with primary auto rental collision coverage. That means when you pay for a rental car with the card, the primary insurance kicks in before your own insurance if you damage the car.

Coverage provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the car for theft and collision damage, and it applies to most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. So go ahead and kiss that extra expense at the car rental desk goodbye — you’re already covered.


Bottom line

The United MileagePlus® Club Card is ideal for United customers who travel frequently and haven’t yet attained Premier status but want to enjoy Premier-level perks. Yet even Premier status levels don’t include some of the perks you get with this card, starting with that United Club℠ membership. It’s clearly the card’s biggest draw and best benefit, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

With that said, you might want to consider checking out this card’s sibling, the United℠ Explorer Card , if you don’t really take advantage of airport lounges.

It offers a lot of the same perks with a relatively modest annual fee of $0 intro, $95 after first year.


Other airline credit cards to consider

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a good option for travelers who fly frequently on Alaska Airlines. If you prefer Alaska to United, this may be a better choice.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers double points on Southwest flights, plus an annual anniversary bonus.

It’s a good option for travelers who fly frequently on Southwest Airlines.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers similar rewards to the above cards.

You’ll earn two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases.

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