United Gateway Card Benefits & Review (September 2022)
The United Gateway Card provides several entry-level benefits for United Airlines passengers. Of the airline’s four credit cards, it’s the only one with no annual fee. In addition, each purchase earns United MileagePlus awards. However, you won’t get free checked bags or other perks you may expect from an airline credit card.
Here is an in-depth look at what the United Gateway Card offers and if it’s worth using.
Who Is the United Gateway Card For?
You should consider the United Gateway Card if you’re an infrequent United Airlines customer that primarily wants a card to earn frequent flyer miles and enjoy in-flight purchase savings.
This card can also be effective if you solely bring carry-ons as you still pay to check your bags. See our guide on United Airlines baggage fees for more details.
As this is an airline credit card for beginners, you may choose this offering to help build credit without paying an annual fee. It can also be easier to qualify for this card instead of the other United Airlines credit cards as you only need a good credit score in the mid to high-600s.
|Benefits at a Glance|
|Annual Fee: $0|
Current Bonus: 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
2x on United Airlines purchases
2x on gas stations and local transit
1x on all remaining purchases
25% back on in-flight United purchases
Travel Insurance benefits
No Foreign Transaction Fee
APR: 16.49% to 23.49% variable APR
Good or Excellent Credit required (670+)
Featured United Gateway Card Benefits
Here are some of the most valuable perks of the United Gateway Card.
No Annual Fee
This is the only co-brand United Airlines credit card without an annual fee.
Not paying an annual fee makes this card a good option if you want a no-annual-fee travel credit card. You may also decide to keep this card for many years to extend your credit history, even if it’s no longer your preferred rewards card for daily spending.
20,000 United Miles Signup Bonus
New cardmembers can receive 20,000 bonus United MileagePlus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
This bonus can be enough to book a one-way domestic award flight within the continental United States and Canada.
Several Ways to Earn Double Miles
Three permanent bonus categories earn unlimited 2 miles per $1:
- United Airlines purchases
- Gas stations
- Local transit (include ride shares, tolls, and mass transit)
All non-bonus purchases earn 1 mile per $1.
25% Back on In-Flight Purchases
You receive a 25% cash statement credit for in-flight purchases. Food, beverages, and WiFi purchases on United-operated flights qualify.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
This card is international travel-friendly as you won’t encounter foreign transaction fees. This benefit can be valuable as United serves many nearby and distant foreign destinations.
Additional United Gateway Card Benefits
These benefits provide additional value and peace of mind.
MileagePlus Program Benefits
You may be eligible for additional MileagePlus benefits as long as you’re a United Airlines cardholder.
For example, you may have better award availability than basic members and may not encounter blackout dates.
It’s also possible to pay for a flight with cash using your Chase United Gateway Card, earn 2x miles, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits
You can enjoy complimentary on-site amenities like daily breakfast for two and early check-in when booking stays at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
Your non-refundable travel purchases are eligible for trip cancellation and interruption benefits for covered reasons like personal illness or extreme weather.
The coverage limits are $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Most domestic and international car rentals are eligible for secondary collision and theft coverage. Read more about rental car insurance.
Eligible purchases can have purchase protection for the first 120 days. The coverage limits are $500 per claim and $50,000 per account for accidental damage and theft.
Extended Warranty Protection
Products with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less can receive a 12-month warranty extension.
Complimentary DoorDash DashPass
You can receive 12 months of DoorDash DashPass when you enroll before December 31, 2021. Benefits include $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders above $12 through DoorDash and Caviar.
Redeeming United MileagePlus Miles
You have a variety of ways to use your United MileagePlus miles with award flights being the most valuable option.
Banking up your miles for award flights with United Airlines and the Star Alliance partners is your best redemption option. One-way flights in economy within the mainland United States and Canada start at 12,500 miles plus $5.60 in fees and taxes.
If your travel schedule is flexible, you can browse the flight award deals to find bargains. For example, it’s possible to see one-way domestic routes as low as 5,000 miles.
Your points are worth approximately 1 cent for main cabin itineraries and up to 3 cents for business class or first class bookings.
Travel and Experiences
You can also use miles to book hotel nights, car rentals, cruises, and experiences. These awards can help you avoid spending cash on a trip. However, if you’re saving your miles for travel, looking for United-operated and Star Alliance award flights can be worth the wait.
You can also redeem your miles for digital gift cards or pay for purchases at stores or restaurants.
This redemption might be worth it when the loyalty program offers limited-time promotions.
Here are the current United Gateway Card fees:
- Annual Fee: $0
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Late Payment: Up to $40
- Purchase APR: 16.49% to 23.49% variable APR
- Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable APR
- My Chase Plan Fee: 1.72% monthly fee
United Gateway Card Compared to Similar Cards
If this entry-level United Airlines credit card isn’t a good match for your spending and travel needs, consider these cards instead.
United Explorer Card:
The United Explorer Card is the most budget-friendly of the United cards with an annual fee. Its annual fee is $0 for the first year and then $95.
You should consider getting this card instead to get these benefits instantly:
- The first checked bag is free for the primary cardholder and one companion
- Priority boarding on United-operated flights
- Two one-time United Club passes each year
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
You will also earn up to 2x miles on United Airlines, dining, and hotel reservations.
It can be easy to offset the annual fee if you fly several times each year and check your luggage. The priority boarding and one-time United Club passes can also give you a taste of luxury travel.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card:
The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card is also fee-free.
Each purchase earns 1.5 points per $1 and travel purchases through the Bank of America travel portal earn 3x points. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn 25% to 75% more points on each purchase.
Your points are worth 1 cent for travel and dining statement credits.
Capital One VentureOne:
The Capital One VentureOne is a flexible travel rewards card without an annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
Each purchase earns 1.25 points. Each point is worth 1 cent for travel statement credits for flights, hotels, car rentals.
You can also transfer your points to several airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio. Unfortunately, United Airlines is only a transfer partner with the Chase Sapphire cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to United Airlines or other participating airlines and hotels in 1,000-point increments.
When you don’t want to transfer points, each point receives a 25% redemption bonus when booking award travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Each point is worth 1.25 cents for travel instead of the standard 1 cent for cash and gift cards.
Other card benefits include:
- Earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards on purchases
- Annual $50 hotel statement credit
- Receive 10% bonus points of your total year purchases each card anniversary
- Trip protection benefits
- Primary car rental coverage
If you don’t want a co-brand United Airlines credit card for airline-specific benefits, the Sapphire Preferred can be the best alternative. You can use the 1:1 transfer relationship or the Chase Ultimate Rewards 25% award travel redemption bonus to secure the best redemption value.
The annual fee is $95.
Chase Freedom Unlimited:
Unless you want a United Airlines credit card for the MileagePlus benefits, you might be able to earn more points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
You can earn up to 5% on purchases:
- 5% on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% on dining and drugstore purchases
- 1.5% for remaining purchases
If you book your United and Star Alliance-operated flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal you earn 5x points instead of 1.5x. However, travel reservations directly from the carrier only earn 1.5x.
Each point is competitively worth 1 cent for award travel, cash redemptions, and gift cards.
The annual fee is $0 but the foreign transaction fee is 3%.
The annual fee is $0 for primary and additional cards.
The foreign transaction fee is 0%.
United Airlines, gas station, and local transit purchases earn unlimited 2x miles.
Rideshare services, taxis, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit spending qualify as local transit and commuting. These purchases earn 2x United MileagePlus miles with the Gateway Card.
Unfortunately, the United Gateway Card doesn’t offer free checked bags as the card doesn’t charge an annual fee. The other United Airlines credit cards (Explorer Card, Quest Card, and United Club Infinite Card) waive the checked baggage fees.
Food, beverage, and wifi purchases on United-operated flights receive a 25% statement credit when you pay with the United Gateway Card.
If you have a Chase United credit card or MileagePlus elite status, you can find exclusive award flight discounts unavailable to general members. These discounts can be available when the low-price Saver Award seats are no longer available.
Chase Bank provides the consumer and small business United Airlines credit cards. As a result, the cards may be subject to the “5/24” application guidelines.
You will need good or excellent credit with a minimum 670 credit score to have the best approval odds.
The current bonus is 20,000 United miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Yes, earning the United Gateway Card signup bonus is possible if you currently have another consumer co-brand credit card. The only restriction is if you have received a previous Gateway Card bonus in the last 24 months.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
This entry-level airline credit card can be a good option if you only want to earn United miles and save money on in-flight purchases.
However, it can be easy to outgrow this card. Applying for the United Explorer Card right away means you get free checked bags and other travel benefits for a reasonable $95 annual fee.
If you don’t want to restrict yourself to only earning United miles but want a $0 annual fee, competing travel credit cards that let you redeem your points for more travel purchases. The redemption value can be competitive with United award flights too.
You may also consider getting a cash rewards credit card as they can have better rewards programs than $0 annual fee travel credit cards.
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