United Credit Cards Will Count More For Status This Year, And The Cards Have Bigger Offers

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. 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). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.


United announced today that spend on their co-brand credit cards will contribute more towards elite status this year. Coinciding with that announcement, there are new improved initial bonus offers for several of their cards.

  • UnitedSM Explorer Card earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. The card has a $0 intro annual fee the first year then $95 annual fee. Cardmembers get access to extra award availability at lower mileage prices that general members don’t have. Elites with the card can receive complimentary domestic upgrades on award tickets.

  • United ClubSM Infinite Card earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    The $525 annual fee card is the best way to gain access to United Clubs and gets you a 10% United Economy Saver Award discount within the continental U.S. and Canada.

  • United QuestSM Card earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

    Each year, receive Up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits each year – terms apply. For those who fly United, the United QuestSM Card will provide real value taking advantage of both the annual credit towards spend with the airline and earning 10,000 miles back on redemptions.

Starting next year you’ll earn 25 Premier qualifying points for every $500 in purchases – that’s 20% faster earning than before and you don’t have to reach $12,000 spend thresholds to benefit.

Card-earned qualifying points will count towards 1K status in 2024, too. In the past they haven’t.

Moreover, in 2024 the cap on qualifying points earned from the Club Infinite card goes up from 8,000 to 10,000 and the 15,000 qualifying point cap on earning across all cards goes away. That’s a strong incentive to have and spend on more than one United card.

My starting assumption is that ‘5/24’ applies to these cards, which is to say that Chase usually won’t approve new cardmembers who have had 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months. And it’s generally best not to apply for more than one Chase card in 30 days.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. I find it quite ironic that there is a positive spin on these changes compared to delta. I’m no delta fanboy (most of my flying recently has been with AA )but if you compare delta silver to united silver it’s the same 5000 “points “ to achieve status vis cc spend alone. So if one compares the delta reserve to united club infinite card it will take $100k in spend to achieve silver on UA but on reserve it will take only 25k to get delta silver since you get a $2500 mqd head start. United is de facto the worst of the big 3 but somehow no backlash. I guess some of it is psychological since pdq is a little easier to earn now.

  2. Who cares if the cards have an increased offer when they’ve increased mileage award requirements by 30-100%? They’re sky pesos now. I will never care about united miles again. I was already going in the direction of cash gang but this is the end of mileage programs.

  3. United has counted qualifying points towards 1k status this year and last year, but only for the points+segments option. This introduced the segment run at the end of the year instead of the mileage run. How many segments can one fly in a day without missing a connection? The WW 2 museum in New Orleans makes a nice one day trip.

  4. United is de facto the worst of the big 3 but somehow no backlash. I guess some of it is psychological since pdq is a little easier to earn now.

    — John

    @John: You simply cherry-picked to make a point — a straw man argument.

    Neither UA Silver nor DL Silver offers any valuable benefits, so that it would be stupid to chase either program’s Silver status through CC spend.

    The huge difference is at the top.

    Before to DL backtracked as a result of the ensuing uproar, the cost to earn Diamond Medallion was hiked to 35,000 MQDs, essentially $35K. Because of the uproar DL decreased the requirement to 28K MQDs ($28K).

    By comparison, UA requires 24K PQPs or $24K for 1K, meaning that DL “wins” the award for the most expensive top elite status…

    Even UA’s $24K requirement for 1K was a bridge too far for me. For the first time in a very long (over a decade), I am not chasing the UA 1K status. After this year, I will get a soft landing as a Lifetime Premier Gold courtesy of my UA Million Miler status.

    As a Lifetime UA Premier Gold/*A Gold and a Lifetime Hilton Honors Diamond, I am off, respectively, of both airline and hotel status hamster wheels and it feels great.

  5. I agree with Ford and others. WHO CARES anymore what United offers??
    I just used my old (depreciated) miles that took me 3+ years to accumulate to book one business class ticket from Europe to the US for 245k in miles. Some seats with shorter flight duration are 345,000 miles.
    WTF- go to H$!^

  6. John and Ford I couldn’t agree with your points more. Both qualification for United’s “elite” status and getting a card entirely tied to United MilePesos just don’t make any more sense.

    The US frequent flyer programs have become so gutted that they just don’t make sense anymore unless you are transferring points to them because you happened to have found an unusually good redemption for a flight and can transfer miles to them from another program.

  7. Hey Gary,

    You mention the cap going from 8,000 to 10,000 on the Club Infinite card, but it might be helpful (both here and in the post on the UA changes) to state what the existing, unchanged caps are for the Explorer and Quest cards (1,000 and 6,000).

  8. @ DCS — Your comments are not accurate. You can carry 1-4 DL credit cards and knock off $2,500-$10,000 from the status requirements, leaving $18,000 – $25,500 for Diamond in 2024. For a renewing 1K, UA will require $22,750 PQP for 2024. A DL Medallion carrying two cards would be required to earn $23,000 MQDs. The cost to earn the two statuses is not that different, and DL is potentially less costly to earn. Remember, even though you would be out of pocket $1,100 for two Reserve Cards, they would come with 20 SkyClub day passes and two First Class Companion certificates, so the cards do have valuable perks. Furthermore, the DL Reserve cards earn 10 MQD per $ spent, while the UA cards earn a pitiful 20 PQP per $ spent.

    Regardless of the exact cost, UA has far better premium aircraft for international and transcon flights and true premium lounges, so at a similar cost, UA is the better choice overall.

  9. @Gene — even with gymnastics, you cannot possibly believe your own fuzzy math. The most straightforward comparisons are usually those that are valid. Once you start trying to find loopholes to make your point stick, you lose.

    G’day.

  10. @ DCS — My credit card math is backwards, as it should be 1 UA PQP per $20 spend on UA cards vs 1 MQD per $10 spend on DL Reserve cards. Regarding your ludicrous loophole comment, qualifying consists of multiple components, and none of them are loopholes. Each generate profits for UA and DL, and the airlines know how much each activity is worth to them. By your apparent definition, AA’s entire program is a collection of loopholes.

  11. @ DCS — Join SkMiles? Did that 30 years ago. 2 MM DL, 1 MM UA, 2 MM AA (seemingly eternally stuck at 2.95 MM, but 3 MM some day). As usual, when wrong, change the subject. Classic DCS.

  12. And even if you do achieve 1K on United, what you get for your loyalty has been diminishing over the past few years to the point you have to question if it is worthwhile.

  13. Gary
    Recycled post – at least do not begin with United announced changes “today” when they did them a month ago.
    Second as a longtime DL and UA flyer, DL status with 2-3 cards is ridiculously easy under new system- 2 DL Plat cards and a reserve gets 7500 MQD leaving 20k to get DM.
    The combination of better earn on cards and better operations make DL better
    The only thing going for UA is star alliance status and awards and they have gutted that by mostly blocking partner award space

  14. I think the general public is realizing that the big 3 legacy carriers miles are worth less and less and constantly devaluing, so not worth getting vs casback or transferable points..

  15. @John H. Credit card spend counts to pure PQP qualification for 1k. From the UA website:

    Co-brand PQP will count toward Premier 1K status whether you earn via combined PQP and PQF or PQP-only requirements.

  16. Delta Reserve Card: 15 Sky Club visits for you and no one else (please…don’t bore me with the two friggin guest passes). No Sky Priority until you hit Gold.

    United Infinite Card: Unlimited United Club access for you and a guest. Premier Access (that’s Sky Priority for you DL snobs) just for having the card.

    If you’ve got TSA Pre/Global Entry please explain for what other reason I would need status? Upgrades? Few and far between on both airlines. You want First Class…just buy the damn ticket.

    But United wins hands down on this comparison…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *