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New United credit card launches with huge 100k-mile sign-up bonus & unique perks

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 4/9/2021 The Points Guy
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Like Goldilocks’ dilemma when looking for the perfect bed to borrow for a short nap, sometimes the cobranded travel credit cards out there are a little too basic or far too pricey. It can be hard to find that one that fits … just right.

Luckily, there has been an emergence of more middle-of-the-road options for those who want more perks and rewards than you’ll get with an entry-level airline credit card, but without the $500-plus annual fees you encounter with the high-end options.

Now United Airlines and Chase have rolled out an all-new credit card option that may strike that just-right balance between entry-level and premium for some semi-frequent United travelers.

The New United Quest Card enters the scene today with a big sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles, with a $250 annual fee. That positions it squarely between the United Explorer Card ($95 annual fee) and the United Club Infinite Card ($525 annual fee) with some unique perks all its own.

Application link: United Quest Credit Card — now available with up to 100,000 bonus United miles 

Here’s what you need to know about the all-new United Quest Card to decide if it is the perfect fit for you.

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In This Post

Sign-up bonus

The United Quest Card’s launch offer comes in hot with a total of up to 100,000 bonus United miles.

The card awards 80,000 bonus United miles after $5,000 in spending in the first three months and then another 20,000 miles after a total of $10,000 in spending in the first six months of account opening. You can earn all or part of the bonus. Even if you “only” earn 80,000 miles with $5,000 in spending, that is still an exceptional bonus for a mid-tier card and is higher than the other increased United credit card bonus offers.

If you earn the full 100,000 miles, TPG values that bonus at $1,300, which is one of the top offers on the market.

Related: These are the best credit cards for flying United

graphical user interface: (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The terms of this offer indicate that the welcome bonus is not available to current cardmembers or previous cardmembers of this card who received a new cardmember bonus in the last 24 months. This seems to indicate that those with a different United credit card should still be eligible for this card and bonus. The terms also indicate that the miles may be deducted if your account is not kept open for at least six months.

Earning structure

This card doesn’t just come with a big sign-up bonus; it also offers ways to earn up to 3x United miles per dollar spent on purchases.

The United Quest Card awards:

  • 3x miles on United purchases
  • 2x miles on all other travel — including other airlines, hotels, car rentals and more
  • 2x miles on dining, including takeout and delivery
  • 2x miles on select streaming services
  • 1x on other purchases

This isn’t a bad list of bonus categories, but it isn’t necessarily completely groundbreaking either.

Those who have the Chase Sapphire Reserve would still be better off earning 3x fully transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel and dining charges. You could choose to transfer those points from Ultimate Rewards to United or you could use them in a variety of other ways, which would afford more flexibility.

But the Sapphire Reserve is a $550-per-year card, so in some ways that is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

a close up of a car: A seat in United’s international business Polaris class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy A seat in United’s international business Polaris class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It’s perhaps more appropriate to compare it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s earning, which offers 2x on travel and dining and 1x elsewhere.

On top of the bonus miles, what may make shifting spending to this card more enticing for large spenders who are also chasing United elite status is that you can earn up to 3,000 United Premier qualifying points each year with spending on the card. This is nearly enough to get to United Silver status just with your card spending, whereas some other United-issued credit cards offer a max of 1,000 PQPs each year via spending. These PQPs are awarded in batches of 500 PQPs for every $12,000 you spend on purchases with your card.

Built-in perks

The United Quest Card has some pretty cool perks for regular United flyers who don’t necessarily want or need the United Club access that comes with the top-tier United Club Infinite Card.

First, you’ll get a $125 annual purchase credit that you can use toward United flights. This credit is automatically applied as a statement credit when United purchases are charged on your card. Assuming you will put that to use, that effectively drops the annual fee’s true hit to your wallet from $250 to $125. That’s just $30 more per year than with the Explorer Card.

Additionally, the card comes with two 5,000-mile flight credits per year as a reward for redeeming miles, starting with your first cardmember anniversary. These 5,000-mile credits will be put into your MileagePlus account after you take a United or United Express-operated award flight booked with your miles, up to twice per anniversary year.

TPG values United miles at 1.3 cents each, which means that each of these 5,000-mile reward flight credits is worth $65 in miles.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac at an airport: (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On top of those unique perks, the card offers:

  • Two free checked bags for the cardholder and a companion on the reservation (the United Explorer Card just offers one checked bag)
  • $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases (includes Wi-Fi, food and beverages)
  • Priority boarding
  • Travel and purchase protection
  • The cardholder is eligible for complimentary space-available upgrades when flying on award tickets if they have United elite status

Bottom line

An all-new airline credit card that debuts with up to 100,000 bonus miles is very exciting news.

It’s extra interesting to me as a regular United flyer because of the unique perks — such as the annual $125 United credit and the two annual 5,000-mile awards that are worth $130 by TPG valuations.

Together, those two perks alone more than offset the card’s $250 annual fee on an ongoing basis. And in the first year, those up to 100,000 bonus United miles are clearly a headlining feature of the offer.

For those who will use those perks, want the increased earning bonuses above what the entry-level Explorer Card offers and who may benefit from the additional included checked bags and/or PQP earning opportunities over the Explorer Card, the United Quest Card may fill the gap that had been left between the entry-level United Explorer Card and the high-end United Club Infinite Card.

Application link: United Quest Credit Card — now available with up to 100,000 bonus United miles 

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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