I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
$450 annual fee cards are a decision and it’s important to do the math on how much value the benefits will get you before taking the plunge.
- Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending and 2 miles per dollar on United spend. This is a great card for unbonused spend, although if you pair a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a Freedom Unlimited you earn 1.5 transferrable Chase points per dollar on unbonused spend.
And of course the The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2 points per dollar on all spend for your first $50,000 in purchases per year (1 point thereafter).
Even though it’s a no annual fee card, the points still transfer to miles (it’s a full, real Membership Rewards-earning card). At two points per dollar on all spend this the best most rewarding card for otherwise-unbonused spend.
So if you follow either of these strategies, 1.5x from the card doesn’t get you anything.
- United Club membership. Everyone below United’s 1K status saves money compared to buying a membership from United. United 1Ks face the same price for membership. If you value United Club membership this card saves you money.
And of course United Club members comes with access to Star Alliance business class lounges as well when flying a Star Alliance carrier same day. (Star Alliance Gold members get this, but if you don’t have United Gold this is an incremental benefit, many of these lounges are far nicer.)
Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Outdoor Deck, LAX
- 50,000 bonus miles. Chase is offering 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spend within 3 months. Now is the only time I’ve seen a mileage signup bonus publicly offered for this card in the past 5 years. I value 50,000 United miles at $750.
- Hertz Presidents Club and Hyatt Discoverist status. Worth something, more than a hole in the head as they say. And Hyatt status gets you MGM Pearl status too.
- United benefits and fee waivers. Elites get upgrades on domestic award tickets. The card waives close-in booking fees for award tickets which can be $75 a pop. You get first and second checked bag free for you and a travel companion on the same reservation when using your card to purchase your United ticket. Multiply that out and a couple of roundtrips pay for the card. More and you’re in the money.
- Primary car rental collision damage waiver. Adult bumper cars! Not really, but if you ding your bumper car and you’re paying with this card your insurance company may not even need to know. And you save paying the rental company for collision damage waiver, but of course that’s something Chase Sapphire Preferred offers as well — so before you value it you need to determine if the benefit is something you don’t already get.
Ultimately it comes down to — if you want the United Club membership the card is a no brainer. If you don’t value club membership, get out your pencil and figure out whether things like second checked bag fees waived saves you more than the cost of the card.
The card is generally subject to Chase’s 5/24 limits, so get this card if you haven’t signed up for 5 or more new credit card accounts (excluding business cards from some issuers like American Express and Citibank) in the last 24 months.