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UPDATE: THE PRICES BELOW ARE NO LONGER VALID – AND YOU CAN PAY FOR CLUB MEMBERSHIP WITH MILES AT THIS LINK
Annual fees on credit cards are a drag. No one likes paying them, and it’s easy to get enticed by no annual fee introductory offers that turn into a hefty fee the following year.
But Chase and United have a rarely publicized way for you to avoid shelling out cash for annual fees altogether.
It’s called the MileagePlus Choices program, and it was something started several years ago by United before its merger with Continental.
Choices lets you use miles you earn via United credit card spending to be used for statement credits off United airfare and paying the annual fee on any Chase United credit card you hold.
Here’s how to pay your annual fee with miles
1. Log into MileagePlus Choices at this link within 90 days of your annual fee posting to your statement
2. Look up the date your annual fee posted on your statement (unfortunately Chase doesn’t automate this)
3. Enter the date of the fee and the amount on the MileagePlus Choices form
4. You’ll see how many miles you have to pay, and you can redeem the miles for a statement credit against the annual fee
The going rate isn’t great – it works out to less than $1 in annual fee value credit per 1,000 miles. But it’s a good way to make your card effectively have no annual fee each year. Here’s how many miles you will need for each card:
That’s not all though. You can take advantage of this to get a better deal for United Club membership with miles.
2 ways to use miles to pay for United Club access
United Club membership costs as much as $500 a year but you can pay for United Club membership with miles at any time – regardless of whether you hold a Chase credit card or not. You might not realize that it’s actually a better deal to get a United Club credit card, which includes full United Club membership, and then use miles to pay for its annual fee each year, than it is to use miles to pay for a standalone club membership.
You need just 49,375 miles to cover the $450 annual fee of the United MileagePlus® Club Card. That’s less than the 50,000 – 65,000 miles you need to pay if you want a standalone club membership (see link). So you could save over 15,000 miles by getting the credit card and paying its fee with miles instead of paying for club membership by itself with miles.
The catch is you can only use miles that you’ve earned via spending on your United credit card for annual fee credits so miles that you earned from flying and other sources can’t be used. The good news is the spending from all of your United credit cards count, both personal and business, so if you’re a big spender this is a nice way to erase club membership fees and enjoy the benefits of the club for a full year.
*The information related to the United MileagePlus® Club Card and United℠ Explorer Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.