United Quest℠ Card review: Affordable annual fee and solid perks

Two smiling women stand side by side looking at a smartphone, while one holds her United Quest Card in her other hand.Image: Two smiling women stand side by side looking at a smartphone, while one holds her United Quest Card in her other hand.
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Pros

  • Solid sign-up bonus
  • Valuable United travel credits
  • United allows stopovers on award flights
  • Relatively affordable annual fee

Cons

  • Not as many travel perks as some more expensive premium rewards cards
  • No airport lounge access
  • No companion ticket
  • No complimentary seat upgrades


3 things you should know about the United Quest℠ Card

Frequent flyers who are loyal to United Airlines can’t go wrong with the United Quest℠ Card.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a premium travel rewards card but aren’t sure you want to shell out the cash for a steep annual fee, the United Quest℠ Card’s affordable annual fee can lower the barrier to entry.

1. The sign-up bonus could be worth $1,526

The United Quest℠ Card features a sign-up bonus of 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

Depending on how you redeem your miles, the sign-up bonus could be worth $1,526, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations. That could be enough miles for a round-trip award flight to Europe or Asia.

On top of the sign-up bonus, you’ll also earn rewards on the following purchases:

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent with United Airlines (after earning your $125 United purchase credit)
  • 2 miles per $1 on all other travel purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 at restaurants
  • 2 miles per $1 on subscriptions to certain streaming services
  • 1 mile per $1 on everything else

2. There’s a $250 annual fee, but it’s affordable compared to some other travel cards

At $250, the United Quest℠ Card has a relatively affordable annual fee for a premium rewards card. To put it in perspective, it’s not uncommon for the top premium rewards cards to charge annual fees north of $400 — with some pushing $700.

3. United travel credits outweigh annual fee

The United Quest℠ Card features two unique travel credits that help offset the annual fee.

You’ll receive up to $125 in statement credits each year for United purchases, along with up to 10,000 miles in anniversary award flight credits. When you book an award flight, a 5,000-mile rebate will be deposited back into your MileagePlus® account up to two times each year.

These United travel credits should easily outweigh the annual fee, but to fully take advantage of these perks, you’ll need to fly with United Airlines at least a couple of times each year. When you do, you’ll be treated to perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, which could improve your airport experience.

What’s missing from the United Quest℠ Card?

For all of the things we like about the United Quest℠ Card, it’s missing a few secret ingredients that could make it even better.

Here’s where it falls short.

  • You won’t gain access to the United Club℠ or any other airport lounges.
  • You won’t receive a companion ticket to bring a guest along for free on your next flight.
  • You might find that earning Premier status solely through the credit card is practically out of reach, but you won’t be eligible for complimentary seat upgrades without it.

Occasionally, you might find some of these features offered by other premium airline rewards cards.

Understanding your points

United MileagePlus® miles are worth an estimated 2.18 cents each, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations.

Of course, your mileage may vary, depending on how you redeem your rewards. For example, your miles will probably take you farther on longer, international flights, which generally offer a higher value than domestic flights.

So if you’re not ready to dust off your passport quite yet for a global jaunt, you might need to lower your expectations.

Putting it all together

To get the best value with the United Quest℠ Card, you can book a free stopover on award flights. The Excursionist Perk, as it’s known, allows you to book three award flights for the price of two, so you can visit another destination on the same trip.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you’re planning a trip to London, but are also interested in seeing Paris. You could book flights from the U.S. to London, London to Paris, and Paris back to the U.S. You’d redeem miles for the first and last flights, but the second flight would be free.

This has the potential to make your miles worth much more.

To learn more about the best ways to redeem your miles, check out our guide to the United MileagePlus® program.

Is the United Quest℠ Card worth it?

The United Quest℠ Card can pay for itself, but not much more.

As long as you fly with United Airlines a few times each year, the travel credits should at least help you break even — and the sign-up bonus could help fund your next vacation.

But if you’re expecting exciting perks like a free companion ticket, airport lounge access or complimentary seat upgrades, you might be disappointed.

Not sure the United Quest℠ Card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re looking for something else, here are a few other travel cards you might be interested in.


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.