Chase relaunched its United Club Infinite credit card today — with a fairly generous welcome offer and new bonus categories.
The card’s substantial $525 annual fee will be waived the first year for new approvals (existing cardholders aren’t eligible — but a retention call come annual fee renewal time might be a good idea).
There is a tradeoff, though: the card does not offer any welcome bonus miles. (i.e. spend $X,000 and receive YY,000 points).
Annual fees waived for the first year of card membership certainly isn’t new. The Infinite’s cheaper sibling — the United Explorer Card — comps the $95 annual fee during the first year. Similarly, the personal Delta Gold Amex and business Delta Gold Amex both waive their respective $99 annual fees during a cardholder’s first year. But all three of those cards don’t carry a torch to the perks — or annual fee — of the United Club Infinite credit card.
There’s a lot of benefit for what amounts to just over $260 for the first two years of card membership.
Here’s a quick look at what comes with the United Club Infinite credit card:
United Club Membership
The primary cardholder and up to two guests can enjoy entrance to United Clubs when traveling on a United, Star Alliance, or a contracted partner operated flight.
Admittance to United Club locations may be enjoyed at departure and arrival airports for United, Star Alliance, or a contracted partner-operated flights.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit
The cardholder receives up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years when the application fee for either program is charged to his or her United Club Infinite credit card.
25% Statement Credit for Onboard Purchases
Cardholders receive a 25% statement credit for purchases of food, beverages, and WiFi onboard United-operated flights. It’s great that WiFi counts as an onboard purchase! (Looking at you, Delta and Amex.)
Free First and Second Checked Bags
The cardholder and one companion on the same United-operated reservation each receive their first and second checked bags free. But here’s the catch: the United tickets must be purchased with the United Club Infinite credit card.
That’s different from the Delta credit card benefit, which allows cardholders and up to eight others on the same reservation to check their first bags for free, regardless of how they paid for their ticket.
Chase and United apparently want cardholders to actually use their cards for everyday spending. (Unlike, say, American Express and the Delta Reserve products.) What a radical concept!
- 4X on United Airlines purchases such as tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages, and WiFi. Again, Chase and United understand want people to purchase WiFi — and actually want passengers to use their card.
- 2X on all other travel purchases (think hotels, rideshare, parking, tolls, other airlines, etc).
- 2X at restaurants and eligible delivery services such as GrubHub, Seamless, and DoorDash.
- 1X on all other purchases.
If you’ll travel United with any regularity during the next two years, this is a good offer. The lounge perk, 25% onboard purchase credit, Global Entry credit (well, when applications are accepted again), and checked bag perk can easily pay for the $525 annual fee over two years. And if you’re a United frequent flyer, then I think this card is seriously worth considering while the annual fee is waived for the first year.
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