Designing a Credit Card for United Elites

Old Jun 11, 17, 6:27 am
  #1  
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Designing a Credit Card for United Elites

Today, the biggest upside Elites get with the Explorer card is upgrades on award tickets. That's a material benefit and is why I keep my card year after year. The 10,000 mile bonus for spend at $25,000 is good too. The bag fee waivers and expanded award availability is great for non-elites but elites get these benefits from their status anyway. The Club card does waive the close in mileage fee for lower elite tiers, and that can add up.

That said, United has seemed to have removed itself from offering a credit card product for United road warriors and/or high spenders. The Mileage Plus select card I still carry (pre merger, no longer offered) remains compelling to me.

3x points: united.com purchases
2x points: restaurants, gas, groceries, home improvement, star alliance
1x: everything else

Up to $5000 PQMs, 1 PQM per dollar spent on United.com. Treated as true PQM (unlike presidential plus).

Annual fee $95, 5000 bonus miles every account aniversary.

Why do you think United hasn't re-offered a card like this? Less focused on offering costly waivers but instead is designed for the 100K/ year flier? What would you like to see?

My wishlist: PQM for $ spent on United.com up to $5000 but also a 5000 PQM bonus for hitting $50K spend.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 7:13 am
  #2  
 
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Had both the select and explorer.
Once the Sapphire Reserve came along, I canceled the explorer but kept the select.
Would've used the select more, but there's a foreign transaction fee and at most 2X for star alliance purchase.
On the Sapphire you get 3X for ALL transportations, dining, hotels, and that 100,000 bonus (now only 50,000). I use this card for all Non-United purchases, using the select for only gas, groceries, and home improvement in the US.
Oh, and the AMEX SPG for staying at SPG properties, using the Sapphire for non-SPG.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 7:14 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Today, the biggest upside Elites get with the Explorer card is upgrades on award tickets. That's a material benefit and is why I keep my card year after year. The 10,000 mile bonus for spend at $25,000 is good too. The bag fee waivers and expanded award availability is great for non-elites but elites get these benefits from their status anyway. The Club card does waive the close in mileage fee for lower elite tiers, and that can add up.

That said, United has seemed to have removed itself from offering a credit card product for United road warriors and/or high spenders. The Mileage Plus select card I still carry (pre merger, no longer offered) remains compelling to me.

3x points: united.com purchases
2x points: restaurants, gas, groceries, home improvement, star alliance
1x: everything else

Up to $5000 PQMs, 1 PQM per dollar spent on United.com. Treated as true PQM (unlike presidential plus).

Annual fee $95, 5000 bonus miles every account aniversary.

Why do you think United hasn't re-offered a card like this? Less focused on offering costly waivers but instead is designed for the 100K/ year flier? What would you like to see?

My wishlist: PQM for $ spent on United.com up to $5000 but also a 5000 PQM bonus for hitting $50K spend.
a modification on the select card would be good for me. It's for great benefits like PQM for UA purchases, but IMO, really. falls short in travel instill Iran remains benefits. The PQM has helped me to get to the next level of status a couple of years. I would keep the same benefits, but add things like foreign transaction fees waived, and better trave insurance benefits - there is baggage delay benefits, IIRC, but no trip delay/cancel benefit, for example. That last part is key for me, especially now, traveling with a toddler, so at the moment, for booking tickets I end up using my CSR. I use my MP select for other UA travel purchases (onboard, etc.) and to hit the PQM waiver.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 7:29 am
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I have the CSR, Explorer and SPG Amex as well. It would be nice for the Explorer to have a 3x multiplier on United purchases, but I'm close to the $25,000 threshold so I suppose I'll be using the CSR exclusively (except when I'm at a SPG property) through the end of the year.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 7:44 am
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I still have an old MP Select card too. It's my backup card. To me, the United cards offer very little value, compared to other cards, such as my Marriott card.

I don't need more RDM's, which would be the main benefit for me.

However, my Marriott card gives me 15 free nights toward status each year (which ensured Gold before the UA matching program, and occasionally platinum). But the main benefit is that not only are the earned points available for booking rooms, they also count toward lifetime status. And points are more difficult to get than nights when you're staying at Courtyards for work. I'll make LT Gold at Marriott long before I make 1MM on UA, largely because of my spend on the card (I've already satisfied the nights component).

So, for all that explanation, I'd say that if UA added some type of lifetime earning component, or something that helps me make status each year, I'd consider getting the new UA card and making Marriott my backup.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 8:24 am
  #6  
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What UA needs is a card for those who do not care about PQD or PQM because they have more than enough. They ought to have enough 1K/GS where a specific product makes sense that offers things 1K/GS do not already get anyway.
My UA purchases go to Amex for 5x MR points ... unless UA brings a card product that matches that and offers additional perks ... I see no reason to get a UA card.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Today, the biggest upside Elites get with the Explorer card is upgrades on award tickets. That's a material benefit and is why I keep my card year after year.
That's the only reason I and probably most high elites keep the card but I don't think it's a published benefit.

Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
The Club card does waive the close in mileage fee for lower elite tiers, and that can add up.
IMO the club card is aimed at 2 types of people <1K and very frequent domestic flyers. Next year I have no intention of being a member of UA club (50% of the reason I used them was the showers) but will have a couple of 'emergency' one day passes if needed.

Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
That said, United has seemed to have removed itself from offering a credit card product for United road warriors and/or high spenders. The Mileage Plus select card I still carry (pre merger, no longer offered) remains compelling to me.

3x points: united.com purchases
2x points: restaurants, gas, groceries, home improvement, star alliance
1x: everything else

Up to $5000 PQMs, 1 PQM per dollar spent on United.com. Treated as true PQM (unlike presidential plus).

Annual fee $95, 5000 bonus miles every account aniversary.

Why do you think United hasn't re-offered a card like this? Less focused on offering costly waivers but instead is designed for the 100K/ year flier? What would you like to see?

My wishlist: PQM for $ spent on United.com up to $5000 but also a 5000 PQM bonus for hitting $50K spend.
The main card I use at the moment is SPG as it effectively gives me 3X points on everything for Marriott. Not sure what I want from a UA card (that they would provide) other than the availability to get upgraded on award flights - but GS gets that anyway - If UA gave 1Ks that benefit I would dump my explorer card. The Mileage Plus select card wouldn't attract me now either.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by kittiyut View Post
Had both the select and explorer.
Once the Sapphire Reserve came along, I canceled the explorer but kept the select.
Would've used the select more, but there's a foreign transaction fee and at most 2X for star alliance purchase.
I did exactly what you did.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 8:36 am
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I don’t think they need a new card, just add a few extra benefits to the Club Card for 1k/GS. A few ideas: reduced change fees, 2 RPU - 1 GPU conversion, middle seat blocking when available…
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Old Jun 11, 17, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
The 10,000 mile bonus for spend at $25,000 is good too.
No, it's not.
Freedom Unlimited gives 1.5x everywhere.
CSR gives 3x on travel.

In general the co-brand cards have been outclassed by the escalating bank card wars.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 10:29 am
  #11  
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I think the Club card and the Presidential Plus fall way short for the VFF.

UA Club Access
3x miles on UA Purchases
2X Other Travel and Dining
1.5 on everything else.

No-FX
Primary auto insurance

And Threshold benefits e.g. RPU/GPU for each 50k spend.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 11:13 am
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Isnt that what the club card is for?
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Old Jun 11, 17, 11:33 am
  #13  
Ari
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As a reminder, the Select still offers 10,000 PQM/year (5,000 for united.com purchases and 5,000 PQM for the $35,000 purchase threshold), so it is a good card for those who are dollar-rich but PQM-poor. And those are unrestricted PQMs (i.e. they count toward 1K).

But the card is, of course, only for those grandfathered in.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 11:34 am
  #14  
Ari
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Originally Posted by getagb View Post
I don’t think they need a new card, just add a few extra benefits to the Club Card for 1k/GS. A few ideas: reduced change fees, 2 RPU - 1 GPU conversion, middle seat blocking when available…

You get middle seat blocking when available now. See another thread for details.
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Old Jun 11, 17, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by kittiyut View Post
Oh, and the AMEX SPG for staying at SPG properties, using the Sapphire for non-SPG.
Originally Posted by 764toHI View Post
I suppose I'll be using the CSR exclusively (except when I'm at a SPG property) through the end of the year.
Why bother using the SPG Amex at SPG properties? CSR gives 3x points on SPG hotel spend vs SPG Amex only gives 2x.
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