Best Chase United Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits & Perks

United Polaris Lie-Flat Seat
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Chase offers 6 co-branded cards with United Airlines: 4 personal cards and 2 business cards.

When we talk about Chase cards, we often focus on how to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points. However, there are several benefits that come with the Chase United cards that should not be ignored. Let’s dig into each of these United cards and see what you get.

Chase United Credit Cards

Whether looking for a card for your personal use or for your business, there are several cards in the United portfolio, from premium high-end cards to several without an annual fee!

The following reviews will help you decided which card is right for you.

United℠ Explorer Card

Probably the most popular United card is the United Explorer card. This card comes with a sign-up bonus to get you started with a nice stash of MileagePlus miles, and there are several other useful benefits.

When you use this card to purchase a ticket on United, you will receive your first checked bag for free. Additionally, 1 traveling companion on your itinerary will also receive a free checked bag. This could save you up to $100 in checked bag fees charged by United.

Cardholders also receive priority boarding access that can be very useful when you want to ensure that you find overhead space for your carry-on bag. While it’s free to gate-check a bag, this can be very inconvenient if you have a tight connection.

You also get 25% back on United inflight Wi-Fi, food, and drinks.

When you are approved for the card, you will receive 2 single-use passes to the United Club. These are great when you want to make a fun trip just that little bit better. You will continue to receive these for each cardmember anniversary.

When it comes to earning more United MileagePlus miles, you will earn 2x miles on all purchases with United, hotels, and dining, and 1x miles on all other purchases. Your miles will not expire as long as your card is open.

Every 4 years you can receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100).

The annual fee for this card is $95.

New United Quest℠ Card

The newest edition to the United lineup of credit cards is the United Quest card. With an annual fee of $250, it sits squarely between the more affordable United Explorer card and the more premium United Club℠ Infinite Card.

In terms of rewards, United Quest cardholders earn 3x miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2x miles per $1 spent on travel, dining, and streaming services, plus 1x mile per $1 on all other purchases.

The United Quest card comes packed with some benefits that United frequent flyers are sure to love. For starters, cardholders receive a $125 annual United purchase credit that can be applied to any United expense — including flights!

If you love booking award flights, the United Quest card helps stretch your miles even further by giving you up to 2 5,000 mile anniversary award flight credits after you book an award ticket with your United miles. So as long as you book at least 2 United award tickets each year, you can count on receiving 10,000 United miles on your account anniversary.

Chasing United elite status? The United Quest card can help you get there by offering 500 PQPs for every $12,000 you spend on your United Quest card (up to 3,000 PQPs in a calendar year).

You and 1 traveling companion will also receive 2 free checked bags when you use your United Quest card to purchase your tickets, along with other great benefits like priority boarding, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, and 25% back on United inflight purchases.

United Club Infinite Card

The United Club Lounge Heathrow Seating
Enjoy access to United Clubs with either of United’s co-branded Club cards. Image Credit: Greg Stone

The United Club Infinite card is a high-end card with perks and benefits to match. The annual fee is $525, and it’s pretty easy to see why.

As a cardholder, you’ll receive a full membership to the United Club. This allows you and 2 guests to access United Clubs anytime you’re traveling on United or a Star Alliance partner. As a comparison, United Club memberships are sold by United for $650 per year.

This card also earns 100% more on United purchases than the United Explorer card, which means you can earn 4x miles per dollar on all United purchases, as opposed to 2x with the United Explorer card.

You (and a companion) will also receive 2 free checked bags as well as Premier Access at the airport where available. Premier Access provides 4 main benefits: dedicated check-in lines, priority security lanes, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling so you can get your checked bags quickly.

The travel perks don’t stop with United, though. You will also receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, 25% back on United inflight purchases, and Hertz President’s Circle elite status.

This card also provides access to The Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection. When you book stays with this card, you can receive benefits such as breakfast for 2, a dining or spa credit, complimentary Wi-Fi, room upgrades when available, and early check-in and late checkout when available.

Bottom Line: The United Club Infinite card could be the card for you if you’re looking for perks when traveling.

United Gateway℠ Card

Want to earn United miles and benefits but aren’t keen on the idea of paying an annual fee? Then the United Gateway card might be the perfect option for you. The no annual fee card offers you 2x miles per $1 spent on United purchases, gas stations, and transit and commuting (including ride shares, trains, and mass transit), and 1x miles per $1 on all other purchases.

While the United Gateway card doesn’t offer nearly as many benefits as all of the other co-branded United cards, you’ll still get perks like 25% back on United inflight purchases, expanded United award availability, trip cancellation insurance, and purchase protection.

United℠ Business Card

The United Business card is a great option for small business owners who frequently fly with United. The card offers 2x miles per $1 on United, local transit, and commuting purchases.

It also includes perks like priority boarding, your first checked bag free, a $100 annual United travel credit, 25% back on United inflight purchases, 2 United Club 1-time passes, and 5,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary when you have both the United Business card and a personal United card.

United Club℠ Business Card

The United Club Business card differs a bit from the personal version of the card. This card earns 2x miles per dollar on all United purchases and 1.5x miles per dollar on all other purchases.

An important point to consider regarding the United Club membership that comes with these cards is that it will not allow you access to United’s Polaris Lounges. United has 5 Polaris Lounges in operation, and this program is expanding to several more cities.

To gain access to a Polaris Lounge, you must be traveling on a United flight in Polaris first class or business— this is different than United first or business — or in first or business class on an international Star Alliance flight.

The annual fee on this card is $450.

Hot Tip: Chase United credit cards are eligible for Chase Offers. Check out our complete guide to Chase Offers for ways to save a lot on special discount offers or earn a lot of extra points!

Extra Award Space on United Flights

United Polaris seat on Boeing 787 9 Dreamliner
While standard awards are not a great deal, if you need 1 in a pinch, then guaranteed space is nice to have. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

One of the best perks provided by all 6 of these United cards? Guaranteed access to extra award availability on United flights.

With these cards, you’ll receive access to award space in the fare class XN, which is only available to cardholders and those who have earned status on United. The XN fare class is a saver-level economy fare class.

While we often talk about booking United business class and first class, this extra economy award space can be extremely useful when you need to book a flight but ticket prices are sky-high.

Additionally, cardholders are guaranteed the ability to book a standard level award in first class, business class, or economy on United if there is a seat for sale. While we don’t recommend booking standard-level awards, they can be useful if you’re in a tough spot.

Bottom Line: Access to extra award space on United might be the best perk offered by a co-branded airline card.

What Can You Do With United Miles?

Lufthansa First Class
Enjoy the luxurious Lufthansa first class lie-flat seat and a glass of Champagne or 2. Image Credit: Spencer Howard

United MileagePlus miles can be used to book awards on United or any of its Star Alliance partners. You can reach just about anywhere in the world thanks to the large Star Alliance network.

In fact, some of the best redemption options are on United’s partners. With United miles, you can book Lufthansa first class, which is considered one of the best flying experiences in the world.

You could also book an award flight on EVA Air to Southeast Asia in one of the nicest business class cabins out there.

Hot Tip: For some inspiration, check out the best ways to redeem United MileagePlus miles and see all the amazing trips you could take.

Elite Status Premier Qualifying Points

If you fly with United regularly and are looking to reach a certain Premier Qualifying Point (PQP) or Premier Qualifying Flight (PQF) requirement, one of these co-branded United cards can help.

First, let’s look at the requirements of each elite status level with United. Due to COVID-19, United has reduced requirements for status through the 2022 program year beginning on January 1, 2021:

2022 StatusEarn Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF)and Premier Qualifying Points (PQP)…or Meet a Higher PQP Goal
Premier Silver83,0003,500
Premier Gold166,0007,000
Premier Platinum249,00010,000
Premier 1K3613,50015,000

Members who held United MileagePlus Premier status at the end of 2020 will receive a 25% bonus of the 2021 PQP requirement to help them achieve status for the following year.

The bonuses are:

  • Premier Silver: 875 PQP
  • Premier Gold: 1,750 PQP
  • Premier Platinum: 2,500 PQP
  • Premier 1K: 3,750 PQP

United Explorer card, United Quest card, United Club Infinite card, United Business card, and United Club Business cardholders can earn 500 PQPs for every $12,000 they spend on their card — for a maximum of 1,000 PQPs per year (or 3,000 PQPs per year with the United Quest card and United Club Infinite card).

While hitting these spending thresholds certainly won’t fast-track you to any particular elite status level, it can certainly help if you’re already flying with United frequently.

Which United Card Should You Get?

If you’re looking for an easy way to earn United MileagePlus miles and want access to award space, and some of the benefits that come with low-level United elite status, the United Explorer card is a great choice.

However, if you know you will be flying out of airports with United Clubs regularly and would prefer to earn 4x miles per dollar on your United purchases, the United Club Infinite card might be right for you.

If you’re looking for something a little more robust than the benefits offered with the United Explorer card, but don’t quite want to pay the large annual fee of the United Club Infinite card, then the United Quest card is a happy medium.

On the other hand, if you really prefer to avoid paying an annual fee, but still want to earn United miles and receive a few benefits, too, then the United Gateway card would be your best bet.

For business cards, the United Business card is great thanks to 3 bonus categories that earn 2x miles per dollar. If your spending lines up with those categories, it can easily outweigh the 4x miles per dollar on United purchases with the United Club Business card. In this case, you have to decide if the other perks from a higher-end card are worth it.

Alternatives to the Chase United Credit Cards

Singapore Suites First Class Morning Coffee and Champagne
With the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards, you could transfer to Singapore Airline’s KrisFlyer program to fly Suites class. Image Credit: Alex Miller

We can’t forget to mention that earning United miles with a United-branded card locks you into booking with United miles. If you aren’t concerned about extra award space, United Club access, or other perks, you might want to consider earning Chase Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred to United almost instantly.

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards often come with more bonus categories that can help you earn points even faster. Since you won’t be locked in with a single airline program, you’ll have many more options to redeem Ultimate Rewards.

If you want to use United miles but flexibility is important to you, consider earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these cards:

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering Chase's best offer ever of 100,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The card earns 2x points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. With offering other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage, including car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card - This premium card will get you access to 1,300+ airport lounges. as well as a number of other card benefits. The current sign up bonus is 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee. As an extra bonus, until 12/31/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.

Earn big with this card, earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, earn 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, then 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Chase Freedom Unlimited® card - A solid, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year; as well as a number of other benefits.

Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases — with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card - Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card - Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. There's no annual fee.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a card for personal use or business expenses, Chase has plenty of options to choose from. If you prefer to stick to redeeming United MileagePlus miles, one of the co-branded United cards might be just what you need.

In search of extra perks such as United Club access or Hertz President’s Circle elite status? One of the United Club cards can provide that.

Finally, if you want the ability to earn tons of points but don’t want to be locked into United’s MileagePlus program (just in case there’s a better option for some of your travel), you can look to Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Whatever you choose, you’re going to get some great value out of these cards. Whether it’s free checked bags and priority boarding or flexible points that can be transferred to United, you’re on the way to enjoying a better travel experience!


The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


Frequently asked questions

Do miles earned with the United credit cards count toward elite status?

No, the miles you earn with the United cards are redeemable miles. They do not count towards elite status.

Can you transfer United miles to other airlines?

No, but you can book flights on United’s partners using United miles. As a member of Star Alliance, there are plenty of other airlines that you can fly with United miles.

Can you have more than 1 United co-branded credit card?

Yes, you could technically get all of them — but that wouldn’t necessarily be the best decision. In all likelihood, you can choose just the 1 card that best fits your needs.

Which United credit card is best?

The “best” United card will depend on what you are looking for out of the card. If you want to earn the most possible for your United purchases and get United Club access, then you should go with the United Club Infinite card.

Prefer not to pay an annual fee but still want to earn United miles? Then the United Gateway card makes the most sense here.

If you want a middle-of-the-road option that offers a nice balance of perks relative to the annual fee, then consider the United Explorer card or United Quest card.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

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7 comments

  1. What will happen if the United-Chase cobranded card is cancelled/closed after qualifying for the PQD waiver: is the waiver going to stay in place this year or is it going to be cancelled?

    Reply

    • Hi Marina. According to the PQD waiver terms and conditions, United states that members qualify for the waiver when, “during the applicable calendar year have spent at least $25,000 in Net Purchases, on a MileagePlus co-branded credit card issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A. at the time in 2018 (2019) when they qualify for Premier status”. This language suggests that if you’ve spent the $25,000 and have also qualified for Premier status (miles/segments, etc) then you should be ok if the card is subsequently canceled. However, I would contact United MileagePlus customer service for a solid answer.

      Reply

  2. You can’t use United Clubs unless you are flying on United or a Star Alliance partner that day. This applies to all club memberships (purchased, Club card, or Infinite Club card). They made that rule November 1, 2019.

    Reply

  3. Raymond Gallagher December 31, 2020

    I have used a Chase Credit Card for many years. Recently, for whatever reason, they have disallowed a charge that I made. I have an $18,000 credit limit with a current balance of less than $3,000. We have NEVER missed a monthly payment, nor have we incurred a finance charge. Yet, on three recent occasions, a charge made through this account has been declined by Chase. Today, I attempted to resolve this problem and after waiting for more than 10 minutes, the call was disconnected. Later the same process, but I did speak with a Chase representative – after going through the verification process and explaining about my concern, she said that she would check into the matter…the line went dead! At the moment, I have been waiting on hold for more than 20 minutes and just listening to lousy recorded music…not really the way to run a ship! Perhaps they’d rather spend umpteen dollars to find new customers! I’m through with them!

    Reply

  4. Your post mentions that all 4 of these cards have access guaranteed access to extra award availability on United flights. However, I read elsewhere that the no annual fee Gateway card does not (even though the older no AF MileagePlus cards did). Can you confirm that the Gateway card does in fact have the same access to saver awards as the other three?

    Thanks.

    Reply

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