Chase is now offering the MileagePlus Club Card with a 50,000 sign-up bonus. This is a huge increase from the standard public offer that typically offered a $100 statement credit (though targeted offers have offered as much as 75,000 miles) but there are some factors you should consider before applying for this card.
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Here’s a look at some of the perks:
- 50,000 mile sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- 1.5X on all purchases
- 2X on United purchases
- Access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance™ affiliated lounges worldwide
- Priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling privileges
- The primary Cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first and second standard checked bags free
- World of Hyatt: Discoverist Status (the same status offered by the Hyatt card)
- Hertz President’s Circle® Elite Status
- No close-in award booking fees on United tickets
- Primary rental car insurance
- The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
- $450 annual fee (not waived)
I don’t recall ever seeing this card with a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus available to the public so this is something new and a bit exciting. 50,000 United miles is a nice chunk of miles, though if I were only after miles I would opt for the MileagePlus Explorer Card which sometimes offers as much as 70,000 miles as a sign-up bonus and comes with a $95 annual fee that is often waived the first year.
If you already have the MileagePlus Explorer Card it could still be worth it to some to get this card for the sign-up bonus since it’s like paying $450 for 50,000 miles which comes out to about .9 cents per mile which isn’t horrible (especially considering the additional benefits you’d receive).
However, you still need to be under 5/24 to be eligible so that could be an issue (subject to getting pre-approved for this card in-branch).
The 1.5X earning rate on all purchases is great considering other premium cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® only offer 1X on all purchases. If you seriously wanted to earn United miles at a high rate, however, the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited would earn you 1.5X Ultimate Rewards on all purchases that you could then transfer to United.
Lounge access and other perks
The biggest perk for premium cards is usually the lounge access. For this card you get access to United Clubs and select Star Alliance lounges. United Club membership usually costs $550 per year so this card essentially offers you a discounted rate that comes with all of the other benefits as well. This is obviously well worth it if you were already in the market to purchase lounge membership.
But that’s the thing… if you don’t fly a lot and don’t frequently use United Club lounges, it will be tough to justify the $450 for lounge access. Always keep in mind that you get two free passes with the Explorer Card and can always purchase United Club day passes for cheap (~$20-25) online.
If you fly United often or even semi-frequently the free bags and priority check-in, security, and boarding will obviously come in handy and it’s a bit like having United Premier Silver Status. The biggest differences are that you’re not eligible for business class upgrades or economy plus upgrades, the latter of which is one of the biggest perks of Silver status. I don’t put a whole lot of value on premier access for check-in/security but getting two checked bags for free for you and a companion could certainly add up quickly with the savings.
Is this card worth it for the lounge access?
As stated, for those who frequently fly out of United hubs like IAH this card is really tempting. While I still think the The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best credit card for lounge access, those Centurion Lounges are limited, often crowded, and will only be in one given terminal at an airport. And the Priority Pass lounges can be very hit or miss domestically. But with the MileagePlus Club Card, you’d be able to access United Clubs/Star Alliance lounges at different terminals so for many this option could work out better.
Overall, this is a decent offer but there are a lot of other cheaper ways to get the many of the perks and benefits offered by this card. I think that only a subset of frequent United flyers would benefit the most from this card while most others would be better off going with alternative options.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.