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Compare United Airlines credit cards

Get your first checked bag free or board your plane sooner with the right credit card.

Compare United Airlines credit cards by considering factors such as the welcome offer, rewards and annual fee. This will help you narrow down your options to find the card that fits your financial and travel needs. Using your table, you can select up to four cards and hit "Compare" to see how their features stack up side by side. You can also click "Show filters" to narrow your search more.

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If United is your preferred airline, getting one of their cobranded credit cards could be worthwhile. You could easily earn a flight ticket or an upgrade just by using your card every time you make a purchase. Frequent flyers might want to consider a card with an annual fee as those cards tend to come with additional perks, such as United Club lounge passes or a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit.

Quick look at United Airlines cards

Foreign transaction feeFirst checked bag freeSecond checked bag freePriority boardingTSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee creditEarn companion certificateUnited Club passes
United℠ Explorer Card0%checkmarkxGroup 2checkmarkx2 one-time passes
United Club℠ Infinite Card0%checkmarkcheckmarkGroup 2checkmarkxUnited Club membership
United℠ Business Card0%checkmarkxGroup 2xx2 one-time passes

Which United Airlines credit card should I pick?

Best Chase United card for the occasional traveler

United℠ Explorer Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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Terms apply, see rates & fees
Frequent United Airlines flyers that want to get a good value for their card but aren't necessarily power-travelers should consider the United℠ Explorer Card. You get a host of United Airlines perks, including accelerated miles on select categories, a generous signup bonus, first checked bag free, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit and two United Club passes each year after your card anniversary.

Best Chase United card for travel perk

United Club℠ Infinite Card

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Consider this card if you want to get the ultimate perks and benefits available from the five United credit cards. Aside from the highest mile earning potential and a generous signup bonus, you get complimentary United Club membership, first and second checked bags free and complimentary upgrades.

How we selected our top cards

When choosing our United Airlines credit card picks, we looked at a few features, including rewards rate, signup bonuses, free checked bagsand any other United travel perks that a consumer might want from a cobranded card. Those cards that outperformed the others in a given category were chosen for our list.

What’s changed in 2022

With just a few United Airlines cards to choose from, the cards on our list have kept their positions for 2022 thanks to their varied utility and the niche each card covers.

Other cards you can use to earn United Airlines miles

United Airlines cobranded cards aren’t the only cards that can help you stack up miles. One alternative worth considering is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. For a $95 annual fee you earn 5x points on travel booked through Chase, 3x points on dining, select streaming services and eligible online groceries, 2x points on all other travel and dining purchases, 1x points on all other purchases and you get to earn a generous signup bonus worth up to $750 in travel redemption.

Should I pick a United Airlines credit card or a general travel card?

Frequent United Airlines flyers who want to get the best perks and deals may find a United Airlines card to be a better option.

But those who travel United once or twice a year — but still travel often — a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may offer a better value for the money.

Typical features of a United Airlines credit card

You get valuable card-specific perks depending on the card’s annual fee. But some features are shared by all United Airlines credit cards, including:

  • United miles. All United credit cards let you earn miles that you can redeem for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards and more.
  • Signup bonus. Whichever card you choose, you’ll earn a signup bonus. The higher the card’s annual fee, the higher the bonus reward.
  • In-flight discounts. All personal United Airlines cards come with a 25% discount on in-flight purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi.
  • No foreign transaction fees. When you travel abroad, use your United Airlines credit cards freely and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees.
  • First checked bag free. All United Airlines credit cards let you save money on your first checked bag. That’s $30 saved per person, per flight.
  • Priority boarding.All United Airlines credit cards come with a Group 2 priority boarding.

How much are United miles worth?

The exact mile value depends on the fare and the flight. Typically, the value varies between 1.5 cents and up to 2.4 cents per mile. This is way above competitors where the value of miles roughly stands at 1.5 cents per mile.

For example, a roundtrip flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) on Economy (lowest) costs $614 if you pay cash or 25,000 miles plus $11.2 if you redeem your miles. This translates to 2.4 cents per mile.

How to find the best deal?

The only way to find the best deal for your miles is to do the calculations yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Find the flight.
  2. Find out how many miles you need to redeem.
  3. Find out how much it costs in cash.
  4. Divide the cash amount with the miles: $614/25,000 = 0.024, or 2.4 cents per mile.

The higher the number you get, the higher the value for your miles.

How to compare United Airlines Chase cards

With several strong card choices to choose from, making your final choice can be tricky. Here are a few items to consider:
  • How often do you travel? If you travel often, you’ll want a card that can offer the most value on your flights and hotel stays, such as the United Club℠ Infinite Card.
  • Do you want free checked bags? All three cards offer this perk, but with the United Club℠ Infinite Card you’ll get your first and second checked bag free for you and a companion.
  • Do you want to pay an annual fee? Both the United℠ Explorer Card and the United℠ Business Card waive your annual fee for the first year, after which you’ll pay $95 and $99 respectively.

Can you have more than one United credit card?

It depends. For example, you can get the high-end United Club℠ Infinite Card only if you don’t have a United Club credit card and have not received a United Club card signup bonus in the past two years. However, you can get the business card or the United℠ Explorer Card even if you have another United card.

Do United cards count toward the 5/24 rule?

Yes. All United credit cards are part of the Chase 5/24 rule. This means, if you have opened five credit cards in the past 24 months, your United card application will be automatically denied.

Bottom line

United Airlines frequent flyers will enjoy the perks and benefits of any of these cards. Whichever card you go with, you can earn miles and a signup bonus. And if you’re willing to pay an annual fee, expect additional perks such as priority boarding, free checked bags and United Club passes.

But if you think there could be a better card for you, compare other airline credit cards until you find the right card for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

  • How can I get a seat upgrade on a United Airlines flight?
    There are multiple ways to get an upgrade, but the easiest one is to use your United miles.
  • How can I earn more United Airlines miles?
    One way to earn United miles is to use your cobranded credit card. In addition to that, you can use the United dining or shopping programs, you can stay at partner hotels or you can use partner car rental services.
  • Does United Airlines have elite levels in its reward program?
    Yes, you can earn the following elite levels:
    • Silver
    • Gold
    • Platinum
    • 1K

    Each level comes with benefits, such as mileage bonuses, preferred seating and flight upgrades.

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