As you get deeper into the points-and-miles hobby, you’ll notice that credit cards with the most valuable perks also come with the highest annual fees. In most cases, though, you can offset the fees by using these benefits, and earning miles becomes a side perk.

Having said that, padding your United mileage balance isn’t where the United Club℠ Infinite Card shines. Any United Infinite Club cardholder knows that the most exciting draw of holding the card is having access to United Clubs for the primary cardholder and eligible travel companions. The more airport lounge visits you record on your travels, the more treasured this credit card becomes.

So, let’s take a look at what exactly you get with the United Club℠ Infinite Card and how much it’s going to cost you per year.

United Club membershipHigh annual fee
Expanded award space availabilityEveryday Awards require too many miles
Two checked bags for free per person for main traveler and one companionHave to use the card for airfare to get the checked bag benefit

Welcome Bonus

In the past, welcome offers on the United Club℠ Infinite Card have ranged from no sign-up bonus at all to 100,000 United miles after meeting minimum-spending requirements of $3,000 to $5,000 within the first three months.


Earning Structure

Swiping your United Club Card for purchases won’t get you to a reward flight quickly, but you’ll earn miles at the following rates:

  • 4X United miles per dollar spent directly with United Airlines
  • 2X United miles per dollar spent at restaurants (including delivery services, such as Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub and Seamless) and all other travel
  • 1X United mile per dollar spent on all other purchases

United Infinite Club Card Benefits

The United Club Card’s fee is a bit steep at $525 per year, but it comes with plenty of perks. Let’s take a look at all the possible ways to offset that fee.

United Club Membership

Frequent United flyers will be most excited for this perk as those who hold the United Infinite Club Card also hold a ticket to about 45 United Clubs and participating Star Alliance airport lounges worldwide.

Depending on your elite status tier with United Airlines, United Club membership costs between $550 to $650 per year. When you think about it, paying the $525 annual fee on the United Club Card offers you a discounted lounge membership and you still get all the other perks of the credit card.

Let’s do a little more math (your favorite, right?) to justify the cost of keeping the card long-term. A one-time United Club pass normally costs $59. As long as you visit United Club airport lounges at least nine times per year, you break even with the card’s annual fee.

The value increases if you fly with companions. The club membership covers you and up to two adult guests or you, one adult guest and any children younger than 21.

Expanded Saver Award Availability

Perhaps one of the most underrated perks of holding a co-branded United credit card is the access you get to more award space.

As a cardholder, you get to see more flights that are bookable with MileagePlus miles. The benefit applies to United-operated flights only. Still, being able to pick a more convenient departure time or book a domestic connection for an international flight is a neat perk.

Free Checked Bags When Flying United Airlines

United Club card members can check up to two pieces of luggage for free when flying with United, and this benefit covers one other travel companion booked on the same reservation.

United charges $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second when you prepay for checked baggage in advance. Both costs go up by $5 per piece of luggage when you pay at the airport. With the United Club℠ Infinite Card, you and a plus one will save $70 to $80 per person per direction you fly. The more you fly, the more money the card saves you on luggage fees.

It’s worth noting that you must cover your airfare (or taxes on an award ticket) with the United Club℠ Infinite Card for the benefit to apply.

TSA Precheck/Global Entry Enrollment Fee Statement Credit

Want to breeze through airport security and immigration but don’t want to pay for the privilege? Don’t worry. The United Club Card has got you covered there, too.

The card comes with a TSA Precheck or Global Entry program enrollment fee credit. Pay for either membership for you or someone else and receive up to $100 back as a statement credit once per four-year period. You’ll never have to take off those shoes again (at U.S. airports at least).

25% Bonus on Purchases Made with MileagePlus X

Travelers eager to accelerate their mileage earning potential probably know about MileagePlus X, a phone application that sells merchant gift cards. When you’re shopping online or at a brick-and-mortar store, simply purchase gift cards for a participating retailer and earn a rewards multiplier.

The benefit of linking a United℠ Explorer Card with the MileagePlus X app is you earn another 25% bonus on top of the bonus miles earned. You don’t even have to use the United Club℠ Infinite Card to get the 25% bonus to pay for a gift card, so you can use any other card that earns more miles with that retailer.

Priority Boarding

As a United Club Infinite credit card holder, you’re eligible to board a United Airlines-operated flight in a preferred group after elite MileagePlus members and those who require special assistance.

This can be a big benefit for passengers who don’t like to check bags. Having an opportunity to board a plane early on allows you to store a carry-on bag in an overhead compartment before other travelers, which can prevent having to gate-check a bag.

united premier access

Premier Access

In addition to priority boarding, cardmembers can use priority check-in and security screening lines at the airport as well as qualify for luggage handling privileges.

25% Discount on In-Flight Purchases

If you decide to purchase a snack, a premium beverage or access to Wi-Fi aboard a United plane, make sure to swipe your United Infinite Club Card and receive 25% back on your card as a statement credit.

Award Ticket Upgrades

MileagePlus Premier members who hold the United Club℠ Infinite Card are eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades on award tickets on United-operated flights. The benefit applies to primary cardholders only, not authorized users or travel companions.

The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection

Cardmembers who make a reservation at a Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection property receive complimentary breakfast for two, room upgrades (when available), food and beverage credits, as well as late checkout.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle

United Club Card holders are eligible to enroll in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program at the highest level and receive upgrades and earn a 50% bonus on rewards. The benefit is offered to a primary cardmember only.

Travel Protection

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

The United Club℠ Infinite Card comes with a primary auto rental collision damage waiver. To use the benefit, decline the rental car company’s collision insurance, pay for the entire cost of the rental with your card, and it’s covered for theft or damage.

Baggage Delay Insurance

If your checked luggage is delayed by at least six hours, you’re eligible for reimbursement of essential purchases, such as clothes or toiletries, for up to $100 per day for three days.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If your baggage is damaged or lost in transit, you qualify for up to $3,000 in reimbursements per eligible passenger.

baggage delay insurance

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If your flight is delayed by at least 12 hours or overnight, you and your family are eligible for meals and lodging reimbursement of up to $500 per traveler.

Trip Cancelation or Interruption Insurance

If you cancel a trip for an illness or severe weather, you’re covered for up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip) for prepaid nonrefundable expenses, such as tours, hotels and train/boat/plane fares.

Travel Protection Benefits

Cards to Pair with the United Club℠ Infinite Card

Because United is part of the Chase ecosystem, it’s best to pair it with one of the Sapphire-branded cards: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card.

Ultimate Rewards points earned with either card can be transferred to 10 airline loyalty programs, including United MileagePlus, and three hotel programs. If you’re in a hurry and need to top up your United mileage balance, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

The card you pick to supplement your United miles earnings depends on how much you travel and how big of an annual fee you can afford.

For a casual traveler, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a better option. With this card, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar spent on travel, 3x on dining and receive a number of trip protections for a $95 annual fee. If you choose to redeem points via the Chase Travel portal, they’re worth 1.25 cents apiece.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll earn 3X points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed through the travel portal.

You’ll also receive access to some of the best perks in travel, such as airport lounge access, complimentary TSA Precheck/Global Entry membership, Lyft Pink and DoorDash DashPass memberships (must activate by March 31, 2022). The card’s annual fee of $550 is difficult to swallow, but it’s easy to offset it with a $300 travel credit and a $60 DoorDash credit (available through December 2021).

United Club℠ Infinite CardChase Sapphire Reserve®
4X per dollar spent with United Airlines
2X per dollar spent at restaurants and on all travel
3X per dollar on travel and dining
United Club membershipPriority Pass Select membership
First two checked bags free$300 travel credit
Expanded award availabilityLyft Pink membership
TSA Precheck/Global Entry enrollment fee reimbursementTSA Precheck/Global Entry enrollment fee reimbursement
25% back on in-flight purchases13 transfer partners
Luxury Hotel & Resort CollectionLuxury Hotel & Resort Collection
Primary car rental insurancePrimary car rental insurance
No foreign transaction feesNo foreign transaction fees
Annual fee: $525Annual fee: $550

When you’re paying a high annual fee on a rewards credit card, you want to consider the benefits that come with a particular card. Also, take into account your travel patterns and decide which perks would benefit you the most.

If you fly with United Airlines a lot, a co-branded United credit card will do. If you’re a free agent, then a Sapphire-branded card might suit you better.

Is the United Club℠ Infinite Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The United Club℠ Infinite Card’s annual fee is $525, which is on the high end. Consider whether the following benefits are worth the cost of keeping the card long-term.

For starters, you and two companions or you and your family traveling together can access United Clubs and participating Star Alliance lounges across airports worldwide. Without a membership, each day pass costs $59. All you have to do to break even with the card’s annual fee is visit United Clubs nine times alone or five times when traveling with a plus one.

A cardmember and one travel companion can check up to two bags per person when flying on a United flight. If packing light isn’t your thing, you can save up to $320 per round-trip flight you take with another person. Taking two return trips will also erase the cost of the annual card membership.

Once you start adding all the other perks, such as TSA Precheck/Global Entry enrollment fee credit and expanded award flight availability, applying for the card starts to make sense for frequent United flyers.

Final Thoughts

In the normal travel times, an avid United Airlines flyer can really benefit from holding the United Club℠ Infinite Card. The lounge access alone is enough to erase the annual fee. If you plan to join anyway, it’s less expensive to get with this card, and you receive other benefits, such as free baggage and the trusted-traveler program credit.

Just make sure to take the Chase 5/24 rule and the Chase bonus restrictions into account before applying for the card.