Chase woos jet set with United MileagePlus Club Card
On Mar. 27, Chase unveiled a new addition to its lineup of airline credit cards. The United MileagePlus Club Card from Chase comes laden with so many perks and rewards that, if you fly at all, I'm pretty sure you're going to want one at least until you hear about the annual fee. At $395 per year (with $95 credit the first year), that's likely to put off many casual travelers, though frequent fliers could well still find it an irresistible deal.
Best airline credit cards
There's nothing unique or even unusual about this. The best airline credit cards (the ones that give you the most perks and rewards) tend to charge the highest annual fees. The trick is to match the cost to your flying and spending patterns so that you optimize your return on the fees you pay.
Here's some of what you get as a United MileagePlus Club cardholder:
- Full membership in the United Club, which provides free access both to United lounges (with complimentary wi-fi, breakfast and booze) and those of its partner airlines around the world.
- Premier Access travel services, including priority check-in, security screening (where possible), boarding and baggage handling.
- First two checked bags fly free.
- Elite Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program
- Special rental deals with Avis.
There are also various other goodies on offer, including exclusive access to various Chase events. But what many may prize most are the rewards. Here are the highlights:
- Two miles per dollar spent on United tickets
- All other spending earns 1.5 miles per dollar
- No blackout dates or other booking restrictions
- Unlimited upgrade eligibility
- Points don't expire so long as you remain a cardholder
In a press release, Chase Card Services general manager David Gold remarked:
Our best customers place tremendous value on premium travel benefits. The United MileagePlus Club Card is the only card to offer unparalleled privileges including membership to the United Club, Premier Access, the first two checked bags free and no foreign transaction fees. The benefits continue outside the airport, where cardmembers have access to a variety of unique, exclusive events and complimentary services.
Rewarding others in airport lounges
The day before Chase introduced its new card, The Huffington Post carried an interview with a bartender who works in an airport lounge. In those lounges where the airline has outsourced the provision of services (you can tell you're in one if staff members aren't wearing airline uniforms), the barkeeps earn minimum wage, and rely on tips to make a decent living.
Who knew? If you're lucky enough to spend extended periods relaxing in airport lounges, drinking free soft drinks, wine, beer and spirits, and eating free breakfasts and snacks, you might want to up your tipping habits.
Published 03/30/12 (Modified 10/14/12)