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United MileagePlus MasterCards will switch to Visa this year – lock in these benefits

by on Thu February 26, 2015 • 17 Comments


Update: It appears Chase is sending replacement EMV enabled cards to MasterCard holders.

If you have a United MileagePlus credit card that’s a MasterCard, get ready to have your account number changed.

Later this year as part of Chase’s switch to EMV Chip + Signature technology across its card portfolio all United MileagePlus branded MasterCards will switch to Visa cards.

There aren’t many of them, as most are legacy cards from Continental Airlines and it’s been several years since those were issued.

If you have one it means you’ll have a new account number to use for purchases. And your annual fee won’t change, but you might lose a few MasterCard specific perks.

For example if you hold a United Presidential Plus card, you won’t have MasterCard World Elite benefits.

There aren’t many unique ones to worry about, but if you haven’t already you should register to get a year’s worth of National Rental Car Executive Status for free.

That gets you upgrades on every rental with National, or access to the ‘Executive Selection’ for the midsize price.

Once you’re registered the status will be valid regardless of what kind of card you have.

You’ll also miss out on the World Elite airfare program, which gets you some discounts on international First and Business Class fares, which is useful if you tend to buy expensive fares for work.

There’s also a $300 discount on most Air New Zealand Premium Economy fares or 20% off many Air China Economy class fares from Houston.

But you will gain Apple Pay benefits once you’re switched to Visa. Chase doesn’t support Apple Pay with its United branded MasterCards.

If you really want World Elite benefits, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers them, though you’ll be stuck carrying another card with an annual fee.


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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


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Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

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17 thoughts on United MileagePlus MasterCards will switch to Visa this year – lock in these benefits

  1. Harriet Pepe

    I booked my flight for March 1st with my MILEAGE PLUS explorer MasterCard. Upon checking my itinerary it is saying I have to pay for my 1st piece of luggage. I thought first bag was free with MILEAGE PLUS explorer cards.


      @Harriet – It is – best to call the number on the back of your card to check up on it. They might transfer you to United to sort it out.

  2. Eric

    Thank you for the information. I just called Chase United MileagePlus, and the representative told me there has been no talk there about the change from MC to Vias. Is there someone at Chase United MileagePlus that will confirm this who can be contacted? If not, how did you come by this information? Thanks!


      @Eric – Looks like there may have been a change in plans. Just had luck getting an EMV chip Presidential Plus MasterCard requested for immediate shipment.

  3. Maureen

    What about declining the CDW insurance? This was a feature I loved with World MasterCard. Pretty sure that this will not be available with Visa. My travel is mainly to Ireland and I know that it is one of the few countries that Visa will not cover. Your thoughts are appreciated. Any particular card you would recommend?


      @Maureen – You can still do that. The Chase MileagePlus cards let you decline CDW in all countries now.

  4. John

    If I have a presidential plus card, will I keep the presidential plus perks/status after switching to visa? Or will I simultaneously be switched to mileageplus? I read an article comparing presidential plus and mileageplus and I prefer the presidential plus benefits


      @John – You’ll stay in the Presidential Plus unless you explicitly ask for a change to a different product type.

  5. michael kerner

    I have a Presidential Plus Master card. Will I still be able to obtain Flexible Miles where I receive 20% of my purchases on the credit card toward Elite Miles. Thank you.


      @Michael – Yes you can still earn the flexible elite miles as you used to. The only catch is they only count toward Premier Platinum status or lower. You can’t use the elite miles from the card to qualify for Premier 1K status.

  6. Kevin

    Do you know if you can proactively get the VISA card now? I want to start using ApplePay. Do i need to wait for Chase to contact me?
    Also, am i correct in assuming that FF miles will accrue the same on the VISA card as with Mastercard?
    Thanks for any help


      @Kevin – No difference in mile accrual for a Visa vs Mastercard, and it can’t hurt to call and check whether they will change yet.


      @Nick – Not unless they send you disclosure that it is changing. The underlying network doesn’t have much to do with the rate as the bank is the same.


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