United Club Card Review
March 10, 2020
Best for: United Airlines loyalists who value lounge access and free checked bags
For frequent travelers and United Airlines loyalists, the United Club Card offers premium advantages, like airport lounge access through United and its travel partners, free checked bags and priority boarding. Not sure if this card’s $450 annual fee is right for you? By crunching the numbers to see how frequently you’ll use the United lounge or fly with checked bags, you can easily figure out how to overcome this cost.
Best way to use this card
To get the most value out of the United Club Card, it’s important to put your miles toward booking award travel on United or partner airlines. Why? This strategy is the best way to take advantage of the 2X earning rate for flights purchased on United and its travel partners. If you’re a frequent flier, you can easily start to build up points and award travel. This card also provides earning potential beyond travel if you use it for your everyday expenses; the 1.5X earning rate can put you on the fast track to your next vacation.
In addition, if you prefer the peace and quiet of airport lounges as a respite from travel stress or a workplace haven, this card pays for itself. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to use the United lounges at least seven times to cancel out the card’s annual fee.
Another smart way to make the most of the card is if you and a travel companion plan to check two bags on multiple round trip flights. The first checked bag costs $30 and the second costs $40, so between two people, that’s $280 in baggage fees for each round trip. If you fly with family or friends and take at least two round trips in the year, you’ve already saved yourself $560 and made up for that annual fee.
Of course, the less flashy suite of perks the United Club Card offers is also incredibly important to savvy travelers. Card members who use their card to book flights, travel and rental cars enjoy comprehensive protection should travel plans go awry. As any experienced traveler knows, airports and airlines are notoriously unpredictable, especially when bad weather strikes. But luckily, card members are protected from these inevitable travel hiccups in the form of travel delay and cancellation insurance. Was your bag lost or trapped in another state for the day? The United Club Card offers you insurance for those instances, too.
In a nutshell
If you have an excellent credit score and you’d like to make the most of your travel experience, the United Club Card might be a good choice. In order to extract the most value from this card, you’ll need to be a frequent United Airlines flyer and want access to United lounges more than seven times per year.
If you prefer a lower annual fee, you might like the United Explorer Card, which offers one free checked bag for the cardholder and one travel companion on the same reservation. In addition, you’ll get the same earning rate of 2X per dollar spent on United and 1X on all other purchases. For $95, this card pays for itself in one fell swoop by offering travelers up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit once every four years, plus 25% back on in-flight purchases on United flights.
If your lifestyle, desired travel perks and flying frequency match up with the prestigious advantages of the United Club Card, it can be a worthwhile card to keep in your wallet.