Saturday, May 28

3 United credit cards are now offering elevated sign-up bonuses of up to 150,000 miles for a limited time


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United MileagePlus miles are an excellent choice if you’re looking to earn rewards that never expire — which is important since many of us aren’t yet sure when we’ll start traveling again. You can redeem United miles for award flights on United and over two dozen partner airlines, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, and ANA.

Chase has just launched limited-time offers on three of its co-branded United Airlines cards, and they’re worth considering if you want to give your United miles balance a big boost:

All of these United cards come with a little-known but incredibly valuable perk. Cardholders get expanded United award availability, which means they can access more available award seats than the general public. This can make a huge difference if you’re looking for flights on popular routes or during peak times, especially if you travel as a group.

Read more: The best United credit cards in 2021

Here’s what to know about these limited-time offers to help you decide if you should apply.

Annual Fee

$95, waived the first year

Regular APR

16.49% to 23.49% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, another 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual fee is waived the first year
    • Earns bonus miles on several purchase categories, including dining
    • Includes an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    • Gets you a free checked bag on United when you pay with the card
    Cons
    • Not the most rewarding card for most non-United travel purchases
    • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United purchases
    • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
    • 25% back on United inflight purchases
    • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and eligible delivery services

    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The United℠ Explorer Card normally offers a bonus of 40,000 miles after meeting minimum spending requirements, so this new offer is a substantial boost. You can earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, another 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.

    While the total spending required to unlock the full bonus is a lot, it averages to just $1,000 a month, because you’ve got six months to hit the requirement. Even better, the annual fee is just $95, waived the first year.

    Read more: United Explorer credit card review

    It’s the best all-around card for United flyers, because, on United flights, cardholders and a companion on the same reservation receive a free first checked bag when they pay with the card. You’ll also get priority boarding, a 25% discount on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases, and two one-time United Club passes each year (worth $59 apiece).

    The United℠ Explorer Card also comes with up to $100 in statement credits for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years, and you’ll earn 2x miles on United purchases, dining (including takeout and delivery services like Grubhub, Caviar, Seamless, and DoorDash), and hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

    Regular APR

    16.49%–23.49% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, and another 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Solid travel benefits with United, including a free checked bag and priority boarding
    • $100 annual United travel credit is relatively easy to earn
    Cons
    • Beyond the sign-up bonus, it will take a while to earn a lot of miles through everyday spending on this card
    • Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles
    • Earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.
    • Receive a 5,000-mile “better together” bonus each anniversary when you have both the United℠ Business Card and a personal United credit card.
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants (including eligible delivery services), gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting.
    • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, employee cards at no additional cost – miles earned from their purchases accrue in your account so you can earn rewards faster.
    • Enjoy a free first checked bag – a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip (terms apply), 2 United Club℠ one-time passes per year, and priority boarding privileges.
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s membership service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • $100 United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year.

    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The United℠ Business Card is now offering the highest bonus we’ve ever seen on a United card, but you’ll have to spend a lot to unlock it. You’ll earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, and another 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.

    150,000 United miles are worth nearly $2,000 in flights based on Insider’s valuation of 1.3 cents per mile, and are more than enough to book two round-trip tickets to Europe, for example. The annual fee is $99, which makes this an even sweeter deal, considering the normal bonus on the card is just 60,000 miles.

    Read more: United Business Card review

    The United℠ Business Card comes with many of the same benefits as the personal United℠ Explorer Card (free checked bag, priority boarding, two one-time United Club passes each year, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit), but adds a few more extras for frequent United flyers.

    If you make seven or more United flight travel-related purchases of at least $100 in an account anniversary year with your United℠ Business Card, you will receive a $100 statement credit. These purchases include United seat upgrades, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages, and Wi-Fi, baggage fees, and other United fees.

    In addition, if you also have a personal Chase United card (like the United℠ Explorer Card or United Gateway℠ Card), you’ll receive a “better-together anniversary bonus” of 5,000 United miles each anniversary of your United℠ Business Card.

    Regular APR

    16.49% – 23.49% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, another 15,000 miles after you spend $3,000 total on purchases made in the first 6 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Good bonus categories (including gas stations and local transit/commuting)
    • Access to expanded United award availability
    Cons
    • Other United credit cards have much higher welcome bonuses
    • No free checked bag benefit like other United cards
    • Few United perks other than 25% back on inflight purchases
    • Earn up to 30,000 bonus miles
    • No annual fee
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at gas stations
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on local transit and commuting
    • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

    The no-annual-fee United Gateway℠ Card doesn’t get much attention because it usually only offers a welcome bonus of 10,000 miles after meeting minimum spending requirements.

    With this limited-time offer, the bonus has been effectively tripled to 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, another 15,000 miles after you spend $3,000 total on purchases made in the first 6 months from account opening. 

    Read more: United Gateway Card review

    The United Gateway℠ Card doesn’t offer much in the way of travel perks, except a 25% discount on inflight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. However, if your reason for getting a United card is to access expanded award availability on United flights, this card is an affordable choice — with no annual fee, you can keep it for the long term and still enjoy access to this valuable benefit.

    Cardholders can also earn 2x miles on United purchases, gas stations, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit). 

    Don’t forget about other ongoing United card offers

    Regular APR

    16.49% – 23.49% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Substantial sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles
    • A free first and second checked bag can save you and a companion up to $320 round-trip
    • Up to $125 in annual credits toward United purchases can offset half the annual fee
    • 5,000-mile award flight credit can help you stretch your United miles
    Cons
    • High $250 annual fee
    • Card doesn’t offer United Club lounge access or passes
    • Earn 80k bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20k bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
    • $250 Annual Fee
    • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
    • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
    • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
    • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
    • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
    • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.

    These elevated bonuses are great deals, but be sure to look at the other United cards offering increased bonuses before you pull the trigger on an application. These include:

    Finally, if you want the option of earning United miles without being locked into a single frequent flyer program, a card that earns transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points might be a better pick. United is one of 13 Chase airline and hotel transfer partners, and you can move points to your MileagePlus account instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

    Right now, there’s an all-time-high welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 100,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. If you value flexibility, this card may be a better bet. Here’s our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for all the details.

    Featured credit cards from our partners

    Featured Reward

    100,000 points

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent



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