Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
If you are planning a dream getaway soon, 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. Despite United’s award devaluation earlier this year, these sign-up bonuses can still go a good way toward making that dream vacation a reality.
Let’s look at each card to see which makes the most sense for your wallet.
United Club Infinite Card
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Sign-up bonus: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Offer ends Jan. 24.
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?
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 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), an up to $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 $1,290 according to our valuations).
Related: United Club Infinite Card review
Official application link: United Club Infinite Card
United Quest Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. Offer ends Jan. 24.
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 points alone are worth $1,015 according to TPG valuations, which can justify paying the annual fee for over four years of card membership — 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 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. Offer ends Jan. 24.
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?
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 PQP 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 this year, 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. Offer ends Jan. 24.
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 fly with United multiple times yearly, you’ll likely get better value from the other United card options. But for beginners looking for their first cobranded airline card, the United Gateway is a solid option. The sign-up bonus is modest compared to the other United cards (clocking in at $435 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.
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 MileagePlus miles
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. United has improved its award sales in the past couple of years, 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).
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.
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 upcoming trips. Or, go big and start saving miles toward a fancy United Polaris business-class award.
With these United sign-up bonuses up for grabs, you can get closer to your next trip. But remember: Since Chase issues these cards, 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.
To learn more about how to use your United miles, check out our guide to maximizing the United MileagePlus program.