Travel credit cards come in a variety of flavors. There are travel cards with no annual fees and there are credit cards for high spenders. Each category has multiple options, and the best fit for you depends on your lifestyle and spending habits.
The United Club Infinite Card is a premium travel card that falls into the high spender category, as it has a $525 (waived first year) annual fee. However, you can easily offset this annual cost by using the many valuable travel perks and benefits that come with this card.
This United Club Infinite Card review gives you a closer look at this new luxury card and whether you should make space for it in your wallet.
A Premium Card for United Flyers
- No annual fee first year
- 4X points on United purchases and 2X points on other travel and dining
- First and second checked bags are free (terms apply)
- United Club membership
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit
- High annual fee after first year
- Benefits focused on travel with United
Who should get the United Club Infinite Card?
The United Club Infinite Card was designed with the traveler in mind. It has great travel benefits, such as travel insurance, but as a co-branded United Airlines credit card, it’s the best airline credit card for use by frequent United customers.
With this card you can earn 4X miles on United purchases. Plus you get unique United travel benefits, including your first and second checked bags for free and a United Club membership. For any individual who flies United often or is interested in making an airline switch, this card can provide you with a lot of value.
If you’re interested in applying for this card, you will likely need a good or excellent credit score. For individuals who travel less and/or don’t want to pay a hefty annual fee, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can earn 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases, plus you get valuable benefits such as travel and purchase coverages. This makes it easy to offset the lower $95 annual fee.
|Annual fee||$525 (waived first year)|
|Intro bonus||Annual fee waived first year|
|Reward rate||4X miles on United purchases; 2X miles on other travel and dining (including eligible delivery services), 1X miles on all other purchases|
|Recommended credit score||Excellent, Good|
|Foreign transaction fee||0%|
United Club Infinite Card benefits and perks
Here are the best benefits and perks you can find on the United Club Infinite card:
- Generous intro bonus: Annual fee waived first year.
- Bonus miles: Earn 4X miles on United purchases; 2X miles on other travel and dining (including eligible delivery services), 1X miles on all other purchases.
- United Club membership: Travel in comfort with complimentary United Club membership. United Club members can enjoy premium access to more than 45 United Club airport lounges, as well as participating Star Alliance affiliated airport clubs around the world.
- TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit: Receive $100 statement credit as reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees once every four years. These programs allow for expedited screening when traveling through U.S. airports.
- Free checked bags: Primary cardholders and one companion traveling on the same reservation can avoid checked bag fees with United Airlines. They’ll receive their first and second standard checked bags free of charge, which could save you up to $320 (terms apply).
- 25% back on inflight 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.
- Premier Access: Receive complimentary Premier Access benefits at the airport, such as priority boarding, exclusive security screening lanes, and priority baggage handling.
- Hertz President’s Circle: Receive complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status. This includes a 50% bonus on Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Points, upgrades, exclusive offers, and more.
- Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Receive complimentary benefits through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection program when you book using your United Club Infinite Card. This may include daily breakfast for two, complimentary Wi-Fi, room upgrades, and early check-in and late checkout.
- Unique events: Eligible cardholders can enjoy unique access to exclusive Chase and United MileagePlus events. This may include celebrity meet-and-greets, private culinary events, sporting events, private winemaker dinners, and more.
- Mileage flexibility: Cardmembers can use their MileagePlus miles to book award travel with United, Star Alliance, and other partner airlines. There are no blackout dates for award travel on any United-operated flight.
- 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.
- Protections and warranties: Receive vital protections and coverages, including Chase purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranty protection.
Drawbacks to this card
- High annual fee: If you aren’t a regular traveler, this card may not be worth the cost.
- Co-branded limitations: As a co-branded United Airlines credit card, the United Club Infinite doesn’t make for a great general-purpose travel card. Its high-value benefits and bonus points are most closely tied to United, so it wouldn’t make sense to use this card for travel purchases with other airlines or hospitality companies.
Earning and redeeming United miles
Potential earnings in years one and two
Here's a look 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: $421
These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which looks at points or miles earned via spending, any intro bonus, 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 or Global Entry 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
The best way to earn miles with the United Club Infinite is by making United purchases and travel and dining (including eligible delivery services) purchases. You can earn 4X miles on United purchases and 2X miles on travel and dining (including eligible delivery services). All other purchases earn 1X miles.
Overall your best way to earn MileagePlus miles is by making purchases directly with United.
|Travel and dining (including eligible delivery services)||2X|
|All other purchases||1X|
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.
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 Silver 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.
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- 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
- Boutique Air
- Cape Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Silver Airways
United Club Infinite Card FAQs
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 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. As of Nov. 1 2019, 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 2X miles on these purchases: restaurants and eligible delivery services, hotel accommodations booked directly with hotel, eligible United purchases. You can also receive $100 TSA PreCheck 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 (waived first year) annual fee would be the better option. You can earn 4X miles on United purchases, receive a $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit, get your first two checked bags free, receive complimentary United Club access, get an invite to Hertz President's Circle, 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.
Other cards to consider
The bottom line is that the United Club Infinite is a great choice for frequent United flyers who want premium travel benefits. But if you don’t want your luxury card benefits to be tied to a specific airline, you might consider one of the following two rewards credit cards instead.
The Platinum Card from American Express still provides airport lounge access in the form of Amex Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges, but you don’t have to fly on a specific airline to access them. You also receive TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit and you can use Amex Membership Rewards points on more than 20 airline and hotel Amex transfer partners.
For one of the most flexible travel rewards programs available, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has your back. You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to more than 10 of the most popular airline and hotel brands in the world and still enjoy premium card benefits like $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass lounge access. Or you can redeem your points for discounted travel directly through the Chase travel portal.
A Premium Card for United Flyers
See how these cards compare:
The Platinum Card from American Express
- 75,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
- 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets
- 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
- $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
- Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
- Terms apply
Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 50,000 point sign-up bonus
- 3X points on travel and at restaurants
- $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2020 and 2021
- Priority Pass airport lounge access