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Earn 1.5x points per $ you can transfer to United miles using these 2 cards

by on Tue March 1, 2016 • No Comment
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Want to rack up United miles up to 50% faster than you are today via your credit card spending?

For a while, the clearest way to do that was to get a $450 a year United Club Card, which earns 1.5x United miles per dollar spent, but that’s a bigger annual fee than most people can swallow.

Soon, there will be a way to earn 1.5x points per dollar you spend on a card that you can then transfer into your United MileagePlus account any time.

It involves holding two cards:

1. The Chase Freedom Unlimited, launching in April, that will earn 1.5% cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This is a brand new card that gives new choice beyond the existing Chase Freedom that earns up to 5 points per dollar in quarterly categories with limits and an unlimited 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.

chasesapphirepreferred170May2014

2. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee the first year), which lets you transfer Ultimate Rewards points into participating frequent traveler programs, including United MileagePlus. Ultimate Rewards points you earn from any Chase account you have, including the Freedom Unlimited, can be combined together anytime.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2x points on travel and dining in restaurants, and 1x points on everything else.

So you could use the Freedom Unlimited to get 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on most of your spending, and your Sapphire Preferred for 2x on travel and dining in restaurants.

Then, you can combine the points any time, and transfer them to travel partners like United MileagePlus or Southwest Rapid Rewards.

It's easy to combine points among your Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts

It’s easy to combine points among your Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts

 

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you are eligible to transfer your points to participating frequent travel partners like United MileagePlus anytime

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you are eligible to transfer your points to participating frequent travel partners like United MileagePlus anytime

Remember, having the Chase Freedom Unlimited by itself won’t give you the option to transfer points to participating frequent travel programs.

You need to also have a qualifying card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus Business Credit Card to do that.

How does this compare to the United Explorer Card?

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card directly earns United MileagePlus miles, but only offers 2 miles per $ spent on airline tickets purchased from  United, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

There is a kicker though, because each calendar year you are eligible to receive one 10,000-mile bonus after you reach $25,000 in net purchases on your card.

That works out to 1.4 miles per dollar on $25,000 in spending, but that’s not easy for everyone to reach.

The real advantages of holding the United Explorer Card are these:

  • Getting your first standard checked bag free on United-operated flights when purchasing tickets with your card.
  • Priority boarding on United flights

You can also get extra award availability for United MileagePlus Saver level awards. This is not a published benefit, but in practice Explorer cardholders have been able to get access to extra availability for Economy Class Saver awards normally reserved for United’s Premier level frequent fliers.

But if you don’t value those benefits and just want to build your MileagePlus account balance more quickly, the combo of a Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited will be a great one.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

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