Best Credit Cards for Hotel and Airline Elite Status [2020]

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Most hotels and airlines offer elite status that can help you get more value out of your stay or trip. Sometimes that elite status can be a little intimidating to achieve, but with some credit cards, you can gain elite status without ever leaving home.

In this article, I will go over hotel and airline credit cards that offer elite status automatically, with spend requirements, or that boost you to the next tier with milestones. Sometimes, it’s as easy as getting a credit card or spending money to be a top tier elite. 


What is credit card elite status?

Some credit cards have the benefit to give you or push you towards elite status at hotels or for airlines. 

Hotel elite status has benefits like room upgrades, free breakfast, extra points, late checkout, and club lounge access.

Airline elite status has benefits like seat upgrades, free baggage, fast track service, and extra miles.

Elite status doesn’t have a set worth to it, but sometimes the benefits are over $1,000+. So, when a credit card helps you achieve elite status without traveling, it can give you lots of unique benefits that might make your stay or journey a little better.

Down below I go into detail of all types of different elite status given by credit cards.


Ways credit cards can give you elite status

There are three methods for achieving elite status with credit cards:

  • Complimentary credit card elite status
  • Credit card spend requirements for complimentary elite status
  • Gain elite qualifying credit or miles via credit card spend

Each one can make you reach elite status with a hotel or airline, but some methods might be harder than another.

Complimentary credit card elite status

A number of credit cards will give you elite status at hotels or with airlines for just having the card. This means, you can apply for the card and once you have the card, you receive elite status.

For example, if you were approved for the Hilton Honor American Express Surpass Card, you would be granted automatic Hilton Gold status and you’d keep it as long as your card stays open. 

As it’s complimentary, all for the price of the annual fee on the credit card, it will automatically give you elite status and its benefits passively without you needing to meet any real requirement for status. 

Elite status given as an automatic benefit from a credit card is the best as it gives you the ease of staying anywhere you want without worrying about re-qualifying each year for elite status.

Credit card spend requirements for complimentary elite status

Credit cards sometimes have the added benefit of having an annual spend requirement for achieving elite status.

Elite status given by spending a certain amount on a credit card is usually harder to obtain, but if you spend a ton on a credit card and want to obtain a unique high tier elite status without traveling much, this can be a good benefit.

For example, if you spent $40K on the Hilton Honor American Express Surpass Card, you could be granted Hilton Diamond status. 

The spend requirements can be as high as spending $75,000 in a year. While it’s more money than what the average consumer spends a year, if you’re a business with lots of expenses, gaining top tier elite status by hitting a spend requirement without any travel isn’t so difficult.

Gain elite qualifying credit or miles via credit card spend

Sometimes credit cards might not give you any elite status but will offer spend thresholds that allow you to earn credits towards elite status. 

Hitting spends requirements on cards can push you over a tier qualifying requirements for hotels or airlines. Sometimes the spend can make you go from a Silver Medallion to a Gold Medallion. Or, for example, the spend on one of Southwest’s cards can get you halfway to A-List.

Spending to hit milestones will make it easier to obtain elite status, but it won’t be giving you elite status like complimentary credit card elite status.


The card that has all-around elite status

Amex Platinum

The Amex Platinum is one of the top cards out there for elite status. It comes equipped with elite status with Hilton and Marriott. On top of the elite status given, you also have lounge access to Priority Pass, Centurion, and Delta Sky Clubs. Other benefits like the Uber credit and airline credit can virtually make the annual fee go away.

If you wanted a card that gives you elite status while offering an awesome return on airfare purchases and the best lounge access, the Amex Platinum should be on your list.


Best credit cards for hotel elite status

Hilton

Here are the Hilton status qualifying requirements:

StaysNightsBase points
Silver41025,000
Gold204075,000
Diamond3060120,000

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Aspire Bonus

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • One weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio (upon opening the account and on account anniversary every year)
  • Weekend night after spending $60,000 on the card within a calendar year
  • $250 airline incidental fee statement credit
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
  • Unlimited Priority Pass membership
  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • $450 Annual Fee

Hilton Diamond status as a benefit given to you only by holding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. In fact, Diamond status is Hilton’s best elite status which offers upgrades up to suites, executive lounge access, free breakfast, late check-out, and 100% bonus points on paid stays.

This card is not only handing out elite status, but it’s also handing out an un-capped free weekend night every year, $250 resort credit, $250 airline incidental credit, and Priority Pass membership. These four benefits alone pay for your annual fee plus a little extra.

In my opinion, this card is one of the best credit cards out there. Even if you don’t put spend on it, the card benefits are passive not requiring you to spend on the card unless you want to use the credits basically paying for the annual fee itself.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Spend $40,000 on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • Free Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year
  • 10 Priority Pass lounge passes a calendar year
  • 12X at hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations
  • 3X on all other eligible purchases
  • $95 annual fee

If you think you aren’t going to use those airline credits, resort credits, and free weekend night that is given to you by the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, then the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass is the second best Hilton card out there. 

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass comes with a few benefits that could make the card worthwhile. It comes with Hilton Gold status. Hilton Gold status benefits include free breakfast, room upgrades, free wifi, late check-out, and free bottle of water. While the benefits aren’t crazy good, breakfast is still a benefit that can come in handy. 

Plus, the card comes with 10 Priority Pass lounge passes a year. These lounge passes can be used at any Priority Pass lounge in the world for anyone, even if you aren’t traveling. While I still recommend the Aspire Card over the Surpass, the Surpass is still a good contender if you don’t think you can use the Aspire Card benefits. 

If you wish for a business card, Hilton does offer a business card called the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Most of the benefits are the same as the Surpass card, but a great card if you want to watch your 5/24 status.

IHG

Here are the IHG status qualifying requirements:

NightsElite Qualifying Points
Gold1010,000
Platinum4040,000
Spire7575,000

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status
  • Anniversary Free Night Certificate valued up to 40,000 points
  • Fourth night free when using points
  • Cell Phone Protection (up to $800) per claim and $1,000 per year effective November 17, 2019
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 a year
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • $89 annual fee

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is another card I think everyone should have if they stay at any IHG property a year. 

The card comes with IHG Platinum Elite status as a benefit. Platinum Elite status benefits include room upgrades up to suites, free wifi, late check-out, and 50% bonus points on spend at the property. The benefits aren’t crazy good, but Platinum has done me well with decent upgrades and better treatment at hotels.

Other benefits like the anniversary free night certificate and fourth free night using points make the card worthwhile, even if you aren’t planning to stay frequently at IHG properties.

Marriott

Here are the Marriott Bonvoy status qualifying requirements:

  • Silver: 10 to 24 nights
  • Gold: 25 to 49 nights 
  • Platinum: 50 to 74 nights 
  • Titanium: 75 to 99 nights
  • Ambassador: 100 nights +  $20,000 U.S. dollars in qualified annual spend

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status
  • Spend $75,000 on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Platinum Elite status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year (not stackable with other Marriott cards)
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit
  • Annual free night certificate valued up to 50,000 points
  • 6X points per dollar spent at Marriott properties
  • 3X points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $450 annual fee

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card doesn’t hand out any crazy good elite status, but it does offer shortcuts to valuable elite status.

The card gives you automatic Gold Elite status and also boosts you 15 elite night credits a calendar year. It also gives you the option to spend $75,000 in a calendar year to achieve Platinum Elite status.

So, the card hard has three different methods to achieve elite status.

For your reference, Gold Elite status benefits are room upgrades, free wifi, and 2pm late check-out. Platinum Elite status benefits are upgrades up to suites, executive lounge access, free breakfast, 4pm late check-out, and welcome choice benefit.

Other benefits on the card include an annual free night certificate and $300 Marriott Bonvoy credit. These benefits effectively make the annual fee $150.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Chase Card

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status
  • Spend $35,000 on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Gold Elite status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year (not stackable with other Marriott cards)
  • Annual free night certificate valued up to 35,000 points
  • 6X at Marriott properties
  • 2X on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

I wouldn’t recommend getting the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Chase Card card for only Silver Elite. Why? Because Silver Elite status offers nothing valuable for benefits as the benefits are enhanced room view in the same category, free wifi, and 10% bonus points on paid stays.

However, if you get this card for the 15 elite night credits a calendar year, it’s a worthwhile card to have and keep. Plus, it offers other benefits like the annual free night certificate.

The annual free night certificate is great for a free night a year at many Marriott properties. I personally think the free night certificate alone is worth the cards annual fee.

If you wish for a business card, Marriott does offer a business card called the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. Most of the benefits similar to the same as the Boundless card, but a great card if you want to watch your 5/24 status.

Hyatt

Here are the World of Hyatt status qualifying requirements:

NightsBase pointsQualifying meetings
Discoverist1025,0003
Explorist3050,00010
Globalist60100,00020

World of Hyatt Chase Card

  • Complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status
  • Receive 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year
  • Earn 2 additional qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
  • Anniversary free night certificate valued up to category 4 (second free night certificate after spending $15,000 within the anniversary year)
  • 4X spent with your card at Hyatt hotels, including participating restaurants and spas
  • 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxis, mass transit, tolls, and ride-share services
  • 2X at restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
  • 2X on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
  • 2X spent on fitness club and gym memberships
  • $95 annual fee

For Hyatt lovers, the World of Hyatt Chase Card is for you. By holding the card, you get automatic Hyatt Discoverist status and five qualifying night credits. Then you have the option to gain two additional qualifying night credits every $5,000 you spend. So, you could spend $140,000 a year on this card to gain Globalist status without ever stepping foot into a Hyatt.

Plus, with the card you also receive an anniversary free night certificate a year valued up to a category 4 property. That means you could use the free night certificate at the Park Hyatt Istanbul.


Other hotel cards 

Wyndham

Here are the Wyndham status qualifying requirements:

  • Gold: 5 nights
  • Platinum: 15 nights
  • Diamond: 40 nights

Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Signature Card

  • Complimentary Platinum elite status
  • Earn 6,000 bonus points annually after your account anniversary every year
  • 5X per dollar spent on eligible Wyndham properties
  • 2X per dollar spent on eligible gas, utility, and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • 1X on everywhere else
  • $75 annual fee

Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

  • Complimentary Gold elite status
  • 3X per dollar spent on eligible Wyndham properties
  • 2X per dollar spent on eligible gas, utility, and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • 1X on everywhere else
  • No annual fee

Both Wyndham cards offer elite status. The more expensive Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Signature Card is great if you want automatic Platinum status which has benefits like annual points bonus and early check-in. However, the no annual fee Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card comes with automatic Gold status and that still has preferred room upgrade and late check-out.

Both of these cards aren’t remarkable, but if you are in the market for Wyndham status, they both offer benefits that help make your stay slightly better.


Best credit cards for airline elite status

Delta 

I would like to note that the following Delta cards were recently revamped. Starting January 30, 2020, all Delta co-branded cards will have the following changes. As it’s almost 2020, the cards you see below all reflect the post-January 30, 2020 changes. 

Here are the Delta Medallion status qualifying requirements:

Medallion TierMQMs or MQSs requirementMQDs requirement (only for US residents)
Silver25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs$3,000 MQDs
Gold50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs$6,000 MQDs
Platinum75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs$9,000 MQDs
Diamond125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs$15,000 MQDs

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

  • Annual status boost spend milestones up to 60,000 MQMs
  • Annual MQD waiver spend milestone
  • Anniversary companion certificate for domestic First Class, Comfort+, or Main Cabin
  • First checked bag free
  • Centurion Lounge access 
  • Delta Sky Club membership & two Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes
  • 3X miles on Delta
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Credit
  • Complimentary upgrades
  • $450 annual fee for new applications before January 30, 2020 ($550 annual fee for new applications after January 30, 2020)

If you want the best Delta credit card, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the way to go. For the annual status boost, there are six milestones on this card. The milestones are:

  • $25,000 of spend for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion status MQD waiver
  • $30,000 of spend for 15,000 MQMs
  • $60,000 of spend for 15,000 MQMs
  • $90,000 of spend for 15,000 MQMs
  • $120,000 of spend for 15,000 MQMs
  • $250,000 spend for Diamond Medallion status MQD waiver

If you meet the $120,000 spend threshold (and earn 60,000 MQMs), you’ll earn Delta Gold Medallion status. That’s a lot of spend but I always find it interesting when you can pick up an airline status without actually flying.

On top of earning elite status via spend on this card, you also have the companion pass, Sky Club lounge access, two guest passes a year for the Sky Club, and Centurion lounge access. Plus, new benefits like complimentary upgrades without status. The upgrades might be rare, it’s still better than nothing.

This card would be great for the Delta loyalists out there wanting a boost to the next elite status tier.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

  • Annual status boost spend milestones up to 20,000 MQMs
  • Annual MQD waiver spend a milestone
  • Anniversary companion certificate for domestic Main Cabin
  • First checked bag free
  • 3X miles on Delta
  • 3X miles at hotels 
  • 2X miles at restaurants
  • 2x miles on purchases made at U.S. supermarkets
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit
  • $195 annual fee for new applications before January 30, 2020 ($250 annual fee for new applications after January 30, 2020)

While the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card won’t earn you enough MQMs to earn Silver Medallion status (Delta’s lowest status tier), it can boost a Delta flier to the next status tier. There are four milestones you can hit by spending on this card:

  • $25,000 of spend for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion status MQD waiver
  • $25,000 of spend for 10,000 MQMs
  • $50,000 of spend for 10,000 MQMs
  • $250,000 spend for Diamond Medallion status MQD waiver

On top of the spend milestones pushing you to the next elite status tier, the card comes with an anniversary companion certificate. The companion certificate can offset the annual fee making this a good option if you don’t need the Reserve card.

If you wish for a business card, Delta does offer business Delta co-branded Amex cards. All the benefits are similar to the personal cards, but the business cards are great if you want to watch your 5/24 status.

American Airlines

Here are the American Airlines AAdvantage status qualifying requirements:

EQMsEQSsEQDs
Gold
oneworld Ruby
25,00030$3,000
Platinum
oneworld Sapphire
50,00060$6,000
Platinum Pro
oneworld Sapphire
75,00090$9,000
Executive Platinum
oneworld Emerald
100,000120$15,000

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after spending $40,000 in eligible purchases that post to the cardmember’s account during a calendar year
  • Admirals Club access
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, and early boarding
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit
  • 2X miles on every American Airlines purchase
  • $450 annual fee

The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is a unique card as it offers benefits like priority check-in, airport security, Admirals Club access, and early boarding. Those three alone are benefits of having elite status.

Then there is the yearly spend milestone for EQMs. Spending $40,000 every year will get you 10,000 EQMs. That alone isn’t enough for Gold status with AA, which is their lowest elite status tier, but if you casually fly AA those EQMs can help you to the next tier.

The card isn’t in the same league of Delta’s credit cards, but it’s still very valuable if you are an AA flier.

Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard

  • Earn 3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • Companion Certificate good for 1 guest at $99, issued each year after your account anniversary when you spend $30,000 or more on eligible purchases
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% inflight savings on food, beverages, and headsets
  • Earn 2X on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X on for every one dollar spent at eligible office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants
  • $95 annual fee

The Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is not as premium as the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, but it helps fliers by earning EQDs instead of EQMs. EQDs are typically harder to earn when flying, so earning 3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 within a calendar year can help if you needed more EQDs for the next elite status tier.

On top of earning EQDs, if you only spend $5,000 more (total $30,000 a year) you can get a companion certificate. Not bad, if you are already going for the EQD milestone. Also, you get benefits like preferred boarding and a baggage allowance.

Not the best card if you’re an AA casual flier, but if you frequently fly AA it can help you to the next tier. 


United 

I would like to note that United revamped their whole Premier loyalty program. Therefore, the cards now have different milestones. Starting January 1, 2020, the new Premier loyalty program will have different requirements. As it’s almost 2020, I am using 2020 milestones.

Here are the United Premier status qualifying requirements:

PQF + PQPPQP only
Silver12 PQF and 4,000 PQP5,000
Gold24 PQF and 8,000 PQP10,000
Platinum36 PQF and 12,000 PQP15,000
1K54 PQF and 18,000 PQP24,000 PQP

United MileagePlus Club Card

  • Earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spending (up to 1,000 PQP in a calender year)
  • Access to United Clubs and participating Star Alliance lounges
  • Priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling
  • The primary Cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first and second checked bags free
  • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status
  • Miles Don’t Expire
  • MileagePlus Premier members and traveling on an award ticket can receive Premier Upgrades
  • Increased award availability
  • 2X miles on United
  • 1.5X miles on everything else
  • $450 annual fee

The United MileagePlus Club Card is a great card for the benefits offering access to United Clubs and participating Star Alliance lounges and priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling.

There are two spend milestones for PQP:

  • $12,000 of spend for 500 PQP
  • $24,000 of spend for 500 PQP

In United’s new Premier loyalty program, you will notice how 500 PQP is not a lot. In fact, it’s not even 1/4th of the way to Silver status

In my opinion, this card isn’t meant for gaining elite status. Maybe giving you a little push to the next tier is possible, but still not like Delta credit cards for earning elite status.

United Explorer Chase Card

  • Earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spending (up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year)
  • Free Checked Bag
  • Priority Boarding
  • Anniversary United Club Passes
  • Miles Don’t Expire
  • MileagePlus Premier members and traveling on an award ticket can receive Premier Upgrades
  • 2X miles on United
  • $95 annual fee (waived on some offers)

Just like the United MileagePlus Club Card, the United Explorer has the same two spend milestones for PQP:

  • $12,000 of spend for 500 PQP
  • $24,000 of spend for 500 PQP

Again, it’s not even 1/4th of the way to Silver status. So, if you are trying to gain elite status with this card with minimum travel effort, you will be out of luck with both these cards.

However, if you care about only free baggage, priority boarding, anniversary United Club Passes, and more award space availability, than this, might be the card for you.

If you wish for a business card, United does offer business United cards. Most of the benefits are similar to the personal cards, but the business cards are great if you want to watch your 5/24 status.


JetBlue

JetBlue Plus Barclay Card

 

  • TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases annually with your card
  • Free first checked bag
  • 5,000 points after first year anniversary
  • 10% points rebate
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases including cocktails and food
  • 6X on JetBlue purchases
  • 2X on grocery stores and restaurants
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • $99 annual fee

JetBlue is a great domestic airline, especially their Mint seat for transcontinental. While their elite status, Mosaic, won’t offer upgrades to Mint, it does offer benefits that help flying JetBlue just a little bit more better.

The JetBlue Plus offers one spend milestone, spend $50,000 and automatically get Mosaic status. As it’s JetBlue’s only elite status tier, it’s offering all the goodies you can think of for flying JetBlue.

The card also comes with 50% savings for inflight food and beverages, a 10% points rebate for award redemptions, a baggage allowance, and 5,000 points every anniversary.


Southwest Airlines

Here are the Southwest status qualifying requirements:

  • A-List:
    • 25 one-way qualifying flights OR
    • 35,000 tier qualifying points
  • A-List Preferred:
    • 50 one-way qualifying flights OR
    • 70,000 tier qualifying points

Southwest Priority Chase Card

  • You’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases up to $100,000 in purchases annually which equal 15,000 TQP
  • 2X Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
  • 2X Rapid Rewards on hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1X Rapid Rewards on all other purchases
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
  • $149 annual fee

Southwest Premier Chase Card

  • You’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases up to $100,000 in purchases annually which equal 15,000 TQP
  • 2X Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
  • 6,000 anniversary points each year
  • $75 annual fee

With both the Southwest Priority and Southwest Premier, every $10,000 you spend you will receive earn 1,500 TQPs. There is a cap of $100,000 in purchases annually, which equals 15,000 TQPs a year.

So you can get nearly halfway to A-List just by putting spend on your Southwest credit cards. 

But I would also like to note that the Priority card does come with four upgraded boardings a year. As that is similar to A-List benefits, you would be getting similar benefits to A-List status by just holding the priority card.


Final word

There are many ways to gain elite status with credit cards. It makes me question, does elite actually make sense to chase if you can get elite status type benefits through a credit card with minimal effort.

 

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for the article, Steve. I’ve wondered about this topic so I’m glad to have been notified of your article. Below are some quick updates for the info on United cards.

    For the United MileagePlus Club Card, Hyatt Discoverist Status was removed as a benefit in 2018.

    1.5 miles accrual for “everything else” purchases applies only to the United MileagePlus Club Card to substantiate its premium $450 annual fee, and not to the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which earns 1 mile per dollar spent on “everything else” purchases.

    Both cards, however, offer primary car rental insurance, a free benefit awarded by only a few credit cards. All other credit cards that provide some type of car rental insurance provides secondary car rental insurance, or require a payment or subscription for car rental insurance. Both United cards still come with shopping, travel, and protection benefits that were removed from cards issued by institutions other than Chase.

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