October 16, 2016
When it makes sense to apply for the $450 United Club Card

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Straight to the Point

The United Club card is only worthwhile if you want United Club or Star Alliance business class lounge access because it’s the cheapest way to consistently access these lounges. There are cheaper ways to access other lounges in general, but they won’t get you into United lounges or some of the best Star Alliance business lounges out there. You can get almost all of the United specific perks of this card with the much cheaper United Explorer card.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • 50,000 United miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months

Earning Miles

  • Earn 2X United miles per dollar on all purchases through United.com
  • Earn 1.5X Miles per dollar on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees

(United Club, Newark)

(United Club, Newark)

United Club Membership

  • Cardholder and two guests can access United Club lounges with a valid United ticket for same day of travel.
  • An annual United Club membership normally costs $550, making the United Club credit card ($450/year) the cheapest way to get a membership.

(Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge, Montreal)

(Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Montreal)

Star Alliance Lounge Access

  • Present your physical United Club membership card while traveling on a partner Star Alliance flight to access Star Alliance business class lounges.
  • This unlocks hundreds of fantastic lounges around the world with some of the best airlines!

United Travel Perks

  • Premier Access
    • This puts you in boarding group two out of five
    • Priority baggage handling-Your bags are one of the first off the plane
  • No blackout days on Standard Awards tickets
  • Increased Saver Award availability
  • Two free checked bags for primary cardholder and one companion on the same reservation
  • Miles don’t expire
  • Normally you need to fly at least four flights on United metal to qualify for United status. If you have the Club card, this requirement is waived. Meaning you can earn United status just by flying on United’s Star Alliance partners.

(Grand Hyatt, New York)

(Grand Hyatt, New York)

Hotel Perks

  • Free Hyatt Discoverist status
    • Free access to rooms on higher floors or larger rooms
    • 10% Bonus Hyatt points
    • Free Premium Internet
    • 2:00 PM late checkout (based on availability)
  • Access to luxury hotel & resort collection program

Car Rental Perks

  • Hertz President’s Circle Status-(Top Hertz status available)
    • Once car class upgrades (up to full size)
    • 25% Bonus Hertz points
    • Priority car pickup lanes
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver

Travel Reimbursements

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: “If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.”
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: “If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.”
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: “If you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.”
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: “Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 3 days.”
  • Purchase Protection: “Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.”

Annual Fee

  • $450 per year

Final Thoughts

  • I’d really only recommend this premium card if you want Star Alliance business lounge access. I’m not a big fan of United’s lounges in general, and you can get most of the other United perks with the much cheaper United Explorer card.