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United Club℠ Infinite Card Review [2024]: Is it Worth the Annual Fee?

This luxury card offers valuable rewards and high-end travel benefits, and it’s a good fit for more travelers than you might think.

Updated June 14, 2024
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United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card
4.8

OUR VIEW

Some might see the United Club℠ Infinite Card’s $525 annual fee and experience a bit of sticker shock. And while it might look steep on the surface, the card offers benefits that easily outweigh the annual fee.

This card won’t make sense for everyone, though. You need to be a United loyalist and fly at least a few times per year. You also need to value lounge access, priority boarding, and the ability to check up to two bags for free for yourself and a companion.

If that’s you, though, it’s worth the annual fee.

Pros

Elevated earnings on United and travel purchases along with dining allow you to build up miles more quickly
Impressive welcome offer provides immediate value
Lounge access makes travel more pleasant and cost-effective (no expensive airport food)

Cons

Requires excellent credit, so it’s not accessible to everyone
Free checked bags are limited to the primary cardmember and companion, so some families will still need to shell out cash to check bags
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card rating
4.8
Card type Travel
Card issuer Chase
Annual fee $525
Welcome offer Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (limited time offer)
Reward rate 4 miles per dollar on United purchases; 2 miles per dollar on all other travel and dining; plus 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Who should get the United Club Infinite Card?

While you don’t need to fly every week or even every month for this card to be valuable, you should fly United at least a few times per year.

You should also value amenities like lounge access. Otherwise, the math doesn’t work when it comes to the annual fee. It’s not a card for someone who doesn’t fly United often or who prefers budget travel.

Why it’s worth the annual fee

Let’s look at some of the United Club Infinite Card’s perks and see how they add up.

Checked bags

The cost to check a bag varies, but one example one-way flight from LAX to DTW offered the 1st bag prepaid for $35 and the 2nd bag prepaid for $45, for a total of $90. For two passengers, that comes to $180 each way.

United baggage fees

Lounge access

Airport food and beverage prices are ridiculous. I’ve spent $12-$15 on some of the saddest sandwiches I’ve ever seen. The value of access to food and drinks alone is easily $30 per person.

In fact, United values it at $59, which is the cost of a one-time pass to a United lounge. You can bring one adult guest plus dependent children under age 21 or two adult guests. So each visit to the lounge with two adults is valued at almost $120.

TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit

The United Club Infinite card offers up to $100 in a statement credit once every four years, so it’s worth about $25 per year. I’ve personally gotten a lot of value from TSA PreCheck — the lines are shorter, and I don’t have to spend time fumbling around getting my shoes on and off.

Elevated earnings

With this card you can earn 4 miles per dollar miles on United purchases. This is the highest earning rate on United purchases of any of its consumer cards. Which aligns with the purpose of the card — this card is for people who fly United somewhat frequently, which makes the most of the high earnings rate.

Other benefits and perks

  • Impressive welcome offer: You can earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (limited time offer). This more than offsets the annual fee the first year on its own and is one of the highest welcome offers I’ve seen.
  • 25% back on in-flight purchases: When flying on United-operated flights, receive 25% back as a statement credit on inflight purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi when you use this card. Wi-fi i s $8 for MileagePlus members on domestic flights and varies elsewhere. So while this isn’t a life-changing benefit, every little bit helps.
  • Premier Access: You receive complimentary Premier Access benefits at the airport, including priority boarding, exclusive security screening lanes, and priority baggage handling. That gives you a better chance at snagging overhead bin space, lessens your wait times, and gives you a chance to settle in before take-off.
  • Travel insurance: Receive essential travel insurance, including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

Who shouldn’t get this card?

You shouldn’t get this card if you’re not at least somewhat loyal to United. If you’re ambivalent about which airline you travel with but you’d still like some luxury perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be a better fit. It’s structured like the United Club Infinite Card (high annual fee, high value) and offers lounge access.

You also shouldn’t get this card if you aren’t confident you’ll get enough value to offset the annual fee.

If you like flying United but the annual fee on the United Club Infinite Card is hard to swallow, I’d consider the United℠ Explorer Card. It has a much more modest annual fee of $95 (waived first year).

You get priority boarding, a free checked bag, and two one-time-use United Club passes each year with the Explorer card. This is a very unusual benefit that I haven’t seen on similar airline cards. It also includes up to $100 in statement credits every four years for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS.

It does have a significantly lower earnings rate than the United Club Infinite Card, which is understandable given the difference in annual fees.

Earning and redeeming United miles

Potential earnings in year one

Here's a look at how your miles can add up with the United Club Infinite Card To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per mile.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,866

Year two earnings: $831

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points or miles earned via spending, any welcome offer, and the annual fee.

For this particular card, the assumption is that the travel spending did not include any purchases from United Airlines. Of course, with this card you are likely to book United flights and enjoy the higher rewards earning rate associated with those purchases. Therefore your earnings would potentially be much higher.

Additionally, if you take advantage of this card's many perks — free checked bags, the TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS application fee credit, and United Club membership — then your earnings will likely be hundreds of dollars more than the valuation above.

Best ways to earn

Given that you earn 4 miles per dollar on United purchases; 2 miles per dollar on all other travel and dining; plus 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases, you’ll want to keep this card on you when you travel and use it to book your United flights.

Categories Rewards rate
United purchases 4 miles per dollar
All other travel and dining 2 miles per dollar
All other purchases 1 mile per dollar

Maximizing your redemptions

The best way to redeem your miles is by flying United with points. Award redemptions on flights will typically offer you the best value for your miles, which makes complete sense for an airline credit card.

You can redeem your miles for flights with United and take advantage of its frequent flight sales and the United Excursionist Perk (this is a free one-way award flight), or you can find a good deal through one of United’s Star Alliance partner airlines.

One of the top ways to stay updated on award sales from different airlines is to follow their social media accounts and/or subscribe to their email newsletters. Then you can see deals and sales as they’re posted, which gives you the opportunity to score discounted flights.

You can also redeem MileagePlus miles for hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, products, gift cards, experiences, and more. These award redemptions will likely offer less value than redeeming your miles for flights, though.

For instance, a $100 iTunes gift card would cost 33,333 MileagePlus miles, whereas an economy one-way flight fare from the U.S. to Europe would normally cost over $300, or 30,000 MileagePlus miles. Your miles can pack a lot more value when you use them for flights.

Note that you can also redeem 30,000 miles to cover the $525 annual fee, which gives you a value of 1.75 cents per mile.

United transfer partners

Cardholders can take advantage of United’s transfer partnerships with Star Alliance member airlines and the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. You can convert MileagePlus miles to Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio if you’re a Premier Gold or higher MileagePlus member.

Star Alliance is an aviation alliance consisting of more than two dozen member airlines from around the world, including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines, Air Canada, and many more. You can earn and use MileagePlus miles on all Star Alliance member airlines and other United airline partners, like Aer Lingus and Hawaiian Airlines.

Here are the full lists of United’s airline transfer partners, including the Star Alliance airline members.

Star Alliance:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa Airlines
  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

Other worldwide partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Airlink
  • Azul
  • Boutique Air
  • Cape Air
  • Discover Airlines
  • Edelweiss
  • Emirates
  • Eurowings
  • Flydubai
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JSX
  • Olympic Air
  • Silver Airways
  • Virgin Australia
  • Vistara

FAQ

Is the United Club Infinite Card worth it?

The United Club Infinite Card is worth it if you can take advantage of its premium travel perks and benefits, such as United Club membership, free checked baggage on United flights, and the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry/NEXUS credit. If you don’t travel often or don’t use United for air travel, this card may not be as worth it for you.

Can I use my United Club pass if I’m not flying United?

No, you cannot gain entry to a United Club location if you are not flying on United. Admittance to a United Club location with a United Club membership card or one-time pass must be accompanied by a same-day boarding pass for travel on United, Star Alliance, or a contracted-partner-operated flight. This is in addition to the requirement of showing a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID.

What is the best United Airlines credit card?

The best United Airlines credit card is the one that best fits your travel needs and spending habits. If you travel only occasionally, the United℠ Explorer Card could be a good fit. For a $95 (waived first year) annual fee, you can earn 2 miles per dollar miles on these purchases: dining, hotel stays, and United purchases. You can also receive up to a $100 TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, or Global Entry credit and get your first checked bag free.

For more frequent flyers who want premium benefits, the United Club℠ Infinite Card with a $525 annual fee would be the better option. You can earn 4 miles per dollar miles on United purchases, receive up to a $100 TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, or Global Entry credit, get your first two checked bags free, receive complimentary United Club access, receive IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status, and more.

How many miles does it take to get a free flight on United?

United award airfare redemptions vary, but you can usually gauge how much United miles are worth fairly easily. Typically, MileagePlus miles are worth at least 1 cent per mile, though their value will likely be higher than that. So 30,000 miles should be worth at least $300 when you redeem your miles for a United-operated flight.

For domestic one-way flights, including cross-country flights like New York City to Los Angeles, you will most often see fares for more than $125, or 12,500 miles. For international one-way flights, such as the U.S. to Europe, you will most often see fares for more $300, or 30,000 miles.


Bottom line

If you fly United at least a few times a year and you appreciate lounge access, the United Club Infinite card is worth the annual fee. It includes a lot of value that aligns well with frequent travel, and the welcome offer gets you off on the right foot.

If the annual fee feels too steep, the United Club Explorer card is a worthy alternative. Or if you’re not sure you’d fly United enough, a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers similar perks without the commitment to an airline.

A Premium Card for United Flyers

4.8

United Club℠ Infinite Card

Current Offer

Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee

$525

Rewards Rate

4 miles per dollar on United purchases; 2 miles per dollar on all other travel and dining; plus 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Melinda Sineriz, ABFP™

Melinda Sineriz is a Lead Editor at FinanceBuzz and an Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional™ designee. Melinda has a B.A. in English from Miami University and a master’s degree from Bard College. Before focusing on personal finance content, she worked in insurance for six years, educating clients on Medicare supplements, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities.