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Chase and United Airlines launched the United Gateway℠ Card in October 2020, a no-annual-fee card replacing the United℠ TravelBank Card. Unlike the old card, the United Gateway℠ Card allows cardholders to earn miles within the MileagePlus rewards program. As the only United card available to new applicants with no annual fee, the new card is perfect for occasional travelers who want an airline card affiliated with United Airlines.
Existing United℠ TravelBank Card cardholders, as well as those with a legacy United MileagePlus® card, were transitioned to the United Gateway℠ Card in September 2020. Cardholders who previously had the United℠ TravelBank Card will retain any rewards earned on that card.
We’ll break down the pros and cons of the United Gateway℠ Card, and compare it with another United Airlines credit card so you can decide which card is best for your travel needs.
- United Gateway℠ Card pros
- United Gateway℠ Card cons
- Compare it with the United℠ Explorer Card
- Is the United Gateway℠ Card right for you?
United Gateway℠ Card pros
Sign-up bonus. New cardmembers can earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Rewards. 2X miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, 3X miles on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.
Redemption options for United MileagePlus miles include the following:
- For flights on United and Star Alliance partner airlines
- To upgrade your seat or a friend’s seat when flying
- For cruises on more than 24 cruise lines
- Hotel stays
- Car rentals
- To buy merchandise such as electronics and jewelry
- Gift cards
- To book “experiences” like concerts and sporting events
You can also redeem 11,000 miles to apply for TSA Precheck, which normally costs $85. And you can transfer anywhere from 500 to 100,000 miles to another MileagePlus member.
No annual fee. If you fly United frequently enough to want an airline card, but not so often that it makes sense to pay for a more premium card, you’ll like the United Gateway℠ Card’s annual fee of $0.
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short for a covered reason like sickness or injury, this benefit may cover up to $1,500 per person (maximum of $6,000 reimbursement per trip).
Concierge service. Get assistance 24/7 with travel-related needs, ranging from restaurant recommendations to arranging gifts, when you call 1-800-953-7392.
No foreign transaction fee. When traveling outside the United States with this card, you don’t have to worry about being charged a fee on each transaction — the foreign transaction fee is $0.
25% back on United in-flight purchases. Get a statement credit when you use your United Gateway℠ Card to purchase food, beverages or Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights.
United Gateway℠ Card cons
No priority boarding. Many airline credit cards offer priority boarding as a benefit, but the United Gateway℠ Card does not.
No waived checked bag fees. Your first checked bag costs $35 when flying United in economy class, or $30 if you buy the checked bag online at least 24 hours in advance of the flight. Many airline cards offer your first checked bag for free, which can result in substantial savings for frequent travelers. The United Gateway℠ Card does not come with that benefit, however.
No airport lounge access. If you need airport lounge access, don’t expect to find it on a no-annual-fee card. Travelers hoping to relax at United Club lounges during layovers should look at the United℠ Explorer Card (two one-time passes), which has a $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee, or the United Club℠ Infinite Card (unlimited access), which has a $0 intro annual fee, then $525 annual fee, instead.
$0 intro annual fee, then $525
Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
- $0 intro annual fee, then $525
- Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ fee credit
- Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
- 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flight when you pay with your Club Card
See additional details for United Club℠ Infinite Card
Compare it with the United℠ Explorer Card
Both the United Gateway℠ Card and United℠ Explorer Card earn United MileagePlus miles. However, the United℠ Explorer Card offers more benefits in exchange for an annual fee. Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other:
United Gateway℠ Card vs. United℠ Explorer Card
|United Gateway℠ Card||United℠ Explorer Card|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.||40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open|
|Rewards||Earn 2X miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, 3X miles on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.||Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Annual fee||$0||$0 intro for the first year, then $95.|
|Foreign transaction fee||$0||$0|
|Free checked bags||None||One each for cardholder and companion on same reservation.|
|Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit||None||Up to $100 every 4 years.|
|Priority boarding||No||Yes, for cardholder and companions traveling on same itinerary.|
|Regular purchase APR||16.49% - 23.49% variable||16.49% to 23.49% variable|
Is the United Gateway℠ Card right for you?
Occasional travelers who enjoy flying on United or with partner airlines in the Star Alliance will find value in this card — it earns miles in useful, everyday spending categories and charges a $0 annual fee.
However, more frequent travelers looking for valuable benefits may benefit from considering the United℠ Explorer Card instead.
While it does charge an annual fee ($0 intro for the first year, then $95), benefits including a free checked bag for you and one companion and reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years help you recoup that cost.
Meanwhile, travelers who aren’t regular United flyers should check out our list of best airline credit cards to find a card that fits their travel habits. And those who like flexibility in earning travel rewards may prefer a travel card not tied to any specific airline.