United Gateway℠ Card review

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Pros Cons
No annual fee Sign-up bonus won’t get you too far
Decent rewards for everyday spending No notable United benefits to improve your trip
No foreign transaction fees

From our partner

United Gateway℠ Card

From cardholders in the last year

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What you need to know about the United Gateway℠ Card

The United Gateway℠ Card is a low-risk, low-reward airline credit card. Take a look at some of its most notable features.

An airline card with no annual fee

If you’re looking for an airline card with no annual fee, the United Gateway℠ Card fits the bill.

The United Gateway℠ Card comes with a $0 annual fee. So you might feel less pressure to spend a lot or travel every year simply to justify the annual fee.

Small sign-up bonus not worth much

The United Gateway℠ Card offers a small sign-up bonus that won’t get you very far.

You could earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after your account opens.

United miles are worth an estimated 1.71 cents each when redeemed for award travel, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations. That means the sign-up bonus could be worth $342.

To put that in perspective, that might be enough for a round-trip flight to a nearby destination, or a one-way, cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles. But if you want to travel internationally, it wouldn’t even come close to paying for many one-way flights to London.

Earn miles — even when you’re not flying

The United Gateway℠ Card participates in the United MileagePlus® program. And while the sign-up bonus isn’t eye-catching, the rewards for everyday spending are competitive.

You could earn United MileagePlus® miles in all sorts of categories.

  • 3 miles for every $1 you spend on groceries on up to $1,500 in purchases each month through Sept. 30, 2021
  • 2 miles per $1 on purchases from United Airlines
  • 2 miles per $1 at gas stations
  • 2 miles per $1 on local transit and commuting
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases

That’s a decent amount of rewards for common spending, especially for no annual fee.

Plus, there are other ways to redeem your miles when you don’t want to fly. If you’re looking for nontravel options, you could redeem your miles for gift cards, merchandise and more.

The perks leave a lot to be desired

The trade-off for not paying an annual fee is that you’ll miss out on some common airline perks.

While you might not care about some of the more premium perks like lounge access from a United Club membership, or a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, those are not the only perks you’ll go without.

The United Gateway℠ Card also fails to offer free checked bags and priority boarding. Both of those features come standard with the United℠ Explorer Card, which charges an annual fee of $0 intro, then $95 after first year.

The United Gateway℠ Card does offer 25% back on inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi purchases, and charges a $0 foreign transaction fee. But those perks probably shouldn’t be your reason for getting the card.

Who the United Gateway℠ Card is good for

The United Gateway℠ Card could be right for airline loyalists who really, really don’t want to pay an annual fee. But most United flyers will probably be better off with another card.

Even if you don’t travel often, other cards with no annual fee are likely to give you more value for your spending.

For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® gives 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, including United Airlines tickets. But the United Gateway℠ Card gives you only two miles per $1 spent on United purchases, which we estimate to be worth about 3.42 cents.

Those diminished rewards might be worth it if the card offered improved airline perks with United. But you won’t get common airline card benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding with this card.

Not sure this card is for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you want more perks or typically travel with other airlines, one of these other travel credit cards might be a better fit.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.