If you are planning a dream getaway in the near future, now is a good time to determine your earning strategy and rack up those points and miles. As usual, one of the easiest ways to amass a large chunk of rewards is through credit card sign-up bonuses.
United loyalists are in luck because Chase and United have teamed up to offer valuable sign-up bonuses across their lineup of cobranded credit cards. However, these offers end tomorrow, Jan. 25, so you’ll want to apply now if you’re interested.
Let’s take a look at each card to see which makes the most sense for your wallet.
United Club Infinite Card
JOHN GRIBBEN/THE POINTS GUY
Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Annual fee: $525.
Earning rate: Earn 4 miles per dollar on United purchases, 2 miles per dollar on dining and all other travel, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Is it worth it?
TPG currently values United miles at 1.21 cents each, making this bonus worth $1,210. This is the highest offer we’ve seen on this card, so now is the time to apply if you’ve been considering it.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Read more: 5 trips to take with the United Club Infinite Card
The United Club Infinite Card is made for loyal United flyers who want access to United Club lounges when they travel — along with a few additional benefits that help upgrade the traveling experience.
Cardholders can enjoy United Club membership, including access for two guests or one adult and dependent children under the age of 21. It also offers the first and second checked bag free for the primary cardholder and one travel companion on United-operated flights (a savings of up to $320 per round trip), a $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit every four years, Premier Access travel services, expanded award availability and lower average award prices.
United Club Infinite cardholders enjoy complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status (worth $1,245 according to our valuations). Plus, you’ll get an up to $75 IHG statement credit, valid through Dec. 31.
Related: United Club Infinite Card review
Official application link: United Club Infinite Card
United Quest Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
Annual fee: $250.
Earning rate: Earn 3 miles per dollar on United purchases (after your $125 annual United statement credit); 2 miles per dollar on dining, all other travel and select streaming services; and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Is it worth it?
The United Quest Card is the newest card of the pack, offering premium perks for a reasonable $250 annual fee. The sign-up bonus alone is worth $847, which can justify paying the annual fee for nearly four years of cardmembership — well before considering the ongoing benefits. We’ve seen higher bonuses on this card, but this is still a good offer to take advantage of if you need those miles soon.
Cardholders will receive up to $125 in statement credits each account anniversary year for United purchases, two 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits after you redeem your miles for a United flight, first and second checked bags free and an up-to-$100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit.
Related: United Quest Card review
Official application link: United Quest Card
United Explorer Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year.
Earning rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, hotels (booked directly) and dining, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Is it worth it?
TPG values this sign-up bonus at $605, which is pretty good for a card with a waived annual fee in the first year. We recommend signing up for this card when you can get 60,000 or more miles — especially if it requires under $10,000 in spending. The current offer reflects that, so now is a good time to apply.
Aside from the sign-up bonus, United Explorer cardholders will get a nice roundup of benefits: free first checked bag, priority boarding, two one-time United Club passes each year, a 25% discount on inflight United purchases (including Wi-Fi, food and beverages), access to additional award space and less expensive award flights.
You can also earn up to 1,000 Premier qualifying points with $24,000 in annual spending on the card (500 points for every $12,000 in annual spending). If achieving United elite status is on your list in 2022, this mid-tier card could help you earn status without charging a steep annual fee.
Finally, like the Infinite and Gateway cards, you’ll get an up-to-$100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit.
Related: United Explorer Card review
Official application link: United Explorer Card
United Gateway Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
Annual fee: $0.
Earning rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, gas, local transit and commuting; and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Is it worth it?
The United Gateway is the entry-level card into the United MileagePlus program, charging no annual fee. However, it can still provide value to beginners.
In addition to the solid rewards rate, you’ll get a 25% discount on inflight United purchases and have access to up to $6,000 in trip cancellation and interruption insurance (up to $1,500 per person) if your trip is canceled or cut short by covered reasons like sickness or injury.
If you’re someone who is planning on flying with United multiple times a year, you’ll likely get better value out of the other United card options. But for beginners looking for their first cobranded airline card, the United Gateway is a solid option. The new sign-up bonus is modest compared to the other United cards (clocking in at $363 in value, according to TPG’s valuations) but it is a step above many other no-annual-fee cards.
Related: United Gateway Card review
Official application link: United Gateway Card
United Business Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
Annual fee: $99, waived the first year.
Earning rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, dining, gas, local transit, commuting and office supply stores; and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Is it worth it?
The United Business Card offers solid perks to small-business owners, freelancers and those with side gigs. Cardholders receive the first checked bag free, priority boarding, two one-time United Club passes each year, a 25% discount on inflight United purchases and a $100 United travel statement credit after seven eligible United purchases of $100 or more with the United Business Card within an account anniversary year.
TPG values this sign-up bonus at $907. Furthermore, the card’s many benefits help make it valuable enough to offset the $99 annual fee to continue to keep the card after your first year.
Related: United Business Card review
Official application link: United Business Card
Maximizing United miles
United is a solid airline to bank miles with if you’re planning a stellar redemption. It’s also a Chase transfer partner, which can help you earn United miles across multiple credit cards. And the airline’s membership in the Star Alliance means you have even more options for redeeming miles across airlines, including Lufthansa, Air New Zealand and Turkish Airlines.
While United has a dynamic award chart that can make it harder to score redemption deals on some awards, the airline does offer some solid benefits for loyal flyers. In the past couple of years, United has improved its award sales, which can provide excellent redemption options, sometimes starting at just a few thousand miles per ticket. And United does offer other benefits such as the Excursionist Perk and the fact that United doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on award tickets (which can easily save you hundreds of dollars).
By taking advantage of low-cost domestic award tickets (such as flying from Houston to Orlando for as little as 3,500 miles) and free stopovers with the Excursionist Perk, you can stretch the miles you earn with your credit cards to help you plan your post-pandemic trips. Or, go big and start saving miles toward a fancy United Polaris business-class award.
Make sure to check out our guide to maximizing the United MileagePlus program.
With these United sign-up bonuses up for grabs, you’ll be able to get closer to a trip in 2023. But remember: Since these cards are issued by Chase, they will be subject to the issuer’s 5/24 rule. If you have opened five or more accounts in the past 24 months, you may have difficulty being approved for these cards.
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Senitra Horbrook, Stella Shon, Benét J. Wilson and Christina Ly.