United Quest Card – Full Review [2021]

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United Quest Card – Full Review [2021]

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"The newest United card!"

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The newest addition to United’s lineup of cards is the United Quest℠ Card. With it, you can bolster your United MileagePlus miles thanks to the bonus categories, while enjoying the card’s many perks designed to help save you money on each United flight.

With an annual fee that falls between the United℠ Explorer Card and United Club℠ Infinite Card, the United Quest card makes for a fantastic card option for United frequent flyers.

Pros

  • 3x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on travel, on dining, and on select streaming services
  • $125 annual United credit
  • 2 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits
  • Free first and second checked bag for you and 1 traveling companion
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated award tickets (when available)
  • Expanded award availability
  • Up to 3,000 Premier Qualifying Points
  • Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Travel and shopping protections like trip delay insurance, lost/delayed luggage insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection

Cons

  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Does not offer airport lounge access
  • $250 annual fee

United Quest Card - Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

United Airplane Newark New Jersey New York NYC
The United Quest card is a perfect option for frequent United flyers. Image credit: Tim Gouw via Pexels

The United Quest card is best suited for United frequent flyers, either by choice or those that are hub-captive, and is also suited for those who book a handful of United award tickets each year thanks to the card’s anniversary award flight credits.

Further, if you’re not a United frequent flyer, but are looking for a card that mimics low-level elite status within the program, the United Quest card is a great choice thanks to perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and discounts on United inflight purchases.

United Quest Card Travel Benefits

The United Quest card comes loaded with benefits that United flyers will love and regularly take advantage of.

  • $125 Annual United Credit — Purchase a United flight with your United Quest card and get $125 as a statement credit. This perk alone effectively lowers the card’s annual fee to $125.
  • 5,000-Mile Anniversary Award Flight Credits — Up to 2 times each year, you’ll receive 5,000 miles back in your account after taking a United-operated award flight — saving you up to 10,000 miles each year.
  • Free Checked Bags — You and 1 companion on the same reservation will each receive your first and second standard checked bag free when you pay for your flight with the United Quest card.
  • Priority Boarding — You and any traveling companions will be able to board in Group 2, along with United Premier Silver and Star Alliance Silver members.
  • 25% Back on United Inflight Purchases — Receive a statement credit when you use your United Quest card to purchase food, beverages, or Wi-Fi on board.
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades — When flying on a United-operated award ticket, you’ll be eligible for a space-available seat upgrade to the next cabin class.
  • Expanded Award Availability — By holding a co-branded United card, you’ll have no restrictions or blackout dates on award flights.
  • Up to 3,000 Premier Qualifying Points — You’ll earn 500 PQPs for every $12,000 you spend on the card to help you reach higher levels of United elite status.

United Quest Card Travel and Purchase Protections

The United Quest card also helps keep you covered when things don’t go as planned by offering a solid list of travel and purchase protections.

  • Trip Delay Coverage — If your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours, or overnight, you’ll be reimbursed up to $500 towards necessary expenses like lodging and meals.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance — If you have to cut your trip short or cancel due to covered situations like severe weather, you’re covered up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip towards non-refundable expenses.
  • Lost or Delayed Baggage Insurance — If your baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours you’ll be covered up to $100 per day, for 3 days, towards essentials. You’re also covered for up to $3,000 towards luggage that is lost or damaged by the carrier.
  • Rental Car Insurance — Receive primary rental car insurance that covers theft and collision damage to your rental vehicle and kicks in prior to your personal auto insurance.
  • Purchase Protection — Purchases made with the card are covered for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year in the case of theft or accidental damage up to 120 days from the purchase date.
  • Extended Warranty Coverage — Products purchased with your card that have extended warranties of 3 years or less will be extended by 1 additional year.

Great Card If

  • You are a United frequent flyer
  • You book a couple of United award tickets each year
  • You’re looking for a card that mirrors low-level elite status with United

Don't Get If

  • You hardly ever fly United
  • You prefer a card that earns transferable rewards
  • You want a card that offers airport lounge access

United Quest Card - Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $250
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 16.49% to 23.49% Variable
  • Late fees
    • Up to $40
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Balance Transfers
    • 16.49% to 23.49% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 24.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

How To Earn More United Miles

United Airlines Plane
The United Quest card comes with multiple great bonus categories to help you earn more miles. Image Credit: United

United Purchases

With your United Quest card, you’ll earn 3x miles per $1 on all United flights, so the more you fly, the more United miles you’ll earn!

Travel Purchases

You’ll also earn 2x miles per $1 on all other general travel purchases, which includes things like hotels, car rentals, rideshare services, trains, cruises, local transit purchases, and even airfare with other airlines.

You can use your United Quest card on virtually every part of your trip and earn 2x miles per $1 when you do!

Restaurant Purchases

Your United Quest card also earns 2x miles per $1 on all restaurant purchases, including when you order takeout or delivery.

Select Streaming Service Subscriptions

Most of us have a handful of streaming subscriptions nowadays, and with your United Quest card, you’ll earn 2x miles per $1 on these streaming services each month. The following subscriptions are eligible for 2x miles per $1: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV.

All Other Purchases

You’ll also earn 1x mile per $1 on all purchases outside of the above categories. You can do a lot better than this rewards rate with other travel rewards cards, but this can still be helpful for those trying to rack up as many United miles as possible.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

Think the United Quest card would be perfect for someone you know? United credit cardholders can refer their friends and family to apply for the card — if they’re approved, you can receive up to 10,000 miles per referral (up to 50,o00 bonus miles each year).

United Shopping Portal

Shopping portals are a great way to earn additional miles, and all of the major airlines offer one — including United! Through it, you can shop through your favorite stores just like you normally would, and you’ll earn bonus miles for doing so.

The rates for each store offered through the United MileagePlus shopping portal can vary, but you’ll usually see rates anywhere from 1x to 30x miles per $1 spent.

United Dining Program

Link your United Quest card to the United MileagePlus Dining program and earn even more miles for restaurants you were planning to eat at anyway!

Basic members will earn 1 mile per $2 spent, Select members will 3 miles per $1 spent (requires opting into email communications), and VIP members will earn 5 miles per $1 spent (VIP is reached after you have 11 qualified transactions in a calendar year).

Better yet, these miles are earned in addition to the miles earned from your card. So if you’re a Select member in the United Dining program and dine at an eligible restaurant, you’ll earn 5x total miles per $1 spent — 3x from the dining program and 2x for paying with your United Quest card.

Adding More United Cards

For the most dedicated United loyalists among us, you might find it worthwhile to hold multiple United credit cards. For example, adding the United Club Infinite card would not only allow you to earn 4x miles per $1 on United purchases, instead of the 3x you’d earn with the United Quest card, but it also comes with complimentary United Club lounge access.

Adding Chase Ultimate Rewards-Earning Cards

United is a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, so points earned from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can be transferred to your United MileagePlus account whenever you wish.

This is can be especially helpful when you need to top off the miles in your United account to have enough for a certain award ticket, and also allows you to diversify your point-earning by giving you access to a program with multiple airline and hotel transfer partners.

Hot Tip: See our tips for how to earn lots of United miles and even how to earn 100k miles in 90 days!

How To Use United Points for Max Value

United Polaris 767 300
You can redeem your United miles to fly United’s Polaris business class. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Once you have a large stash of United miles, then comes the fun part — redeeming them! United gives you quite a lot of options when it comes to ways to redeem your miles, but most of them aren’t great options if you’re looking to get maximum value from your miles.

United/Star Alliance Award Tickets

By far the best way to get max value for your United miles is by using them for award tickets with United or one of United’s Star Alliance partner airlines.

You can use your United miles for luxurious redemptions like Lufthansa first class, ANA first class, Turkish business class, or United Polaris.

Hot Tip: Need some ideas to inspire your next trip? Here are the best ways to redeem your United miles for max value

United Seat Upgrades

United also allows you to use your miles to upgrade your seat to the next cabin of service. The number of miles you’ll need will vary based on where you’re traveling, seat type, fare class, and your United Premier status. Additionally, you might also need to pay a cash copay unless you’ve booked a ticket in O, Y, or B class.

Using your miles to upgrade might make sense if you’ve scored an exceptionally great cash fare on an Economy Plus ticket, and the mileage cost to upgrade to business class is much less than just booking a standard award ticket outright.

These instances are few and far between, though, so you’re almost always better off just using your miles for award tickets.

United Club Membership

Want a United Club membership to enjoy airport lounge access before your flights? United will allow you to purchase a 1-year membership starting at 85,000 miles. However, the cash charge to purchase a 1-year membership is $650, giving you a value of just 0.7 cents per mile — much lower than the 1.6 cents that we value United miles at.

Further, you could always add a card like the United Club Infinite card to your wallet, which comes with a complimentary United Club membership, or even a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express which offers access to 6 different airport lounge networks and over 1,300+ lounges worldwide.

United Wi-Fi

United gives you the option to purchase a monthly or yearly Wi-Fi pass using your miles, but you should probably think twice before doing so.

Monthly North American Wi-Fi passes start at 7,500 miles or $49, and 80,000 miles or $539 for an entire year — giving you a value of just 0.6 cents per mile.

Monthly Global Wi-Fi passes start at 10,500 miles or $69, and 100,000 miles or $689 for an entire year — again giving you a value of only 0.6 cents per mile.

Hotels, Rental Cars, and Cruises

If you so choose, you can use your United miles to book award nights with hotel partners, rental car reservations, and cruises, but each of these options will give you significantly less value from a cents per mile perspective than redeeming for United award tickets or one of its partner airlines.

MileagePlus Awards Products

You can use your United miles to shop for products from retailers like Apple, Bose, and Tumi through the United Merchandise Award portal, but when you do so you’ll get a pretty abysmal value for your miles at just 0.3 cents per mile.

Gift Cards

You can also use your miles to purchase gift cards with over 270 select merchants like Walmart, Starbucks, or Uber, but again, this redemption method will give you a value of just 0.3 cents per mile — so we highly advise against it.

MileagePlus Experiences

Lastly, you can use your United miles for unique experiences, along with tickets to live sporting events, concerts, or Broadway shows. The value for these redemptions can vary based on which you select, but it will almost always be worth less than 1 cent per mile.

This might be worthwhile if this is your only way to score tickets to an exclusive event or an experience you’ve always wanted to try, but it won’t offer maximum value for your miles.

Bottom Line: Our favorite way to use United miles, and what we strongly suggest you use them for, is for award tickets with United or one of its Star Alliance airline partners. This allows you to book premium cabin award tickets that can cost thousands of dollars for pennies on the dollar. 

Alternative Cards to the United Quest Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

If you prefer a card with a lower annual fee that earns flexible rewards, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would be a great option. With it, you’ll earn bonus points on all travel and dining purchases, plus 5x points per $1 on Lyft rides.

The card also includes perks like a 3-month DoorDash DashPass subscription, multiple travel insurance coverages, and access to all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners.

United℠ Explorer Card

For those that want a United co-brand credit card but feel the annual fee on the United Quest card is too steep, the United Explorer card is a great alternative.

Plus you’ll get perks like 2 United Club passes each year, free checked bags, priority boarding, 25% back on United inflight purchases, and expanded United award availability.


Frequently asked questions

What credit score do I need for the United Quest card?

There is no set credit score that you’ll need in order to get approved for the United Quest card. Your credit score is just one of the many factors that Chase will use when determining whether to approve you for the card. But all things considered, if you have a credit score higher than 700, you should feel pretty confident about your approval odds.

Is the United Quest card worth it?

If you are a frequent United flyer, and/or are someone who can easily take advantage of the cards many benefits like annual United credit, the 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits, free checked baggage, priority boarding, etc., then yes, the United Quest card would most definitely be worth it to you.

What is the best United Airlines credit card?

That really depends on what you’re looking for out of a United credit card. If you want a low annual fee card that mirrors low-level elite status within the United program, perhaps the United Explorer card would be the best fit for you.

If you’re okay with paying a higher annual fee in order to earn more points and receive significantly more benefits, you should consider the United Quest card.

If you want a premium card that includes United Club access as a perk of card membership, the United Club Infinite card is probably for you.

How many miles does it take to get a free flight on United?

United no longer publishes an award chart, so award prices can vary depending on the route, season, and other factors. But generally, award flights start at 12,500 miles per direction on domestic economy tickets.

Is the United Quest card metal?

No, the United Quest card is plastic and purple in color.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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2 comments

  1. Can I upgrade from United Explorer Mileage plus to Quest?

    Reply

    • Hi Joseph,

      Yes, you should be able to call and request an upgrade. But keep in mind that you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus if you upgrade as opposed to applying for the card outright.

      Reply

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