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United and Chase have announced the introduction of a new co-branded credit card — the United℠ TravelBank Card, which is the only United co-brand credit card that has no annual fee. The new card will be a departure from most airline cards, in that it earns cash back, that gets automatically deposited into your United TravelBank. The United℠ TravelBank Card does not earn United MileagePlus miles.
Cash Back Not Miles
Where this card changes things up with United and Chase, is that you do not earn MileagePlus miles with the card, but instead you earn cash back towards future United travel. Effectively this card provides rebates on your usage towards future purchases from your United Travel Bank (Terms of United Travel Bank program). You'll earn:
- 2% to your United Travel Bank on every $1 spent with United Airlines
- 1.5% on every $1 spent on all other purchases towards your United Travel Bank
Once deposited into your Travel Bank you can then redeem for United flights, with $1 in your Travel Bank equivalent to $1 of the ticket price. You can use your Travel Bank funds to pay for all (if you have a large enough balance) or part of a purchase at United.com
Other Card Benefits
The card comes with other benefits including:
- No Annual Fee – the only United credit card with no annual fee
- $150 deposited into your Travel Bank after you make $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months (Details on the Travel Bank agreement with Chase/United)
- 25% back as a Statement Credit for food and beverage purchases while aboard United flights (this 25% is not deposited into your Travel Back; it is a pure statement credit)
- No foreign transaction fees
We don't have a complete guide to benefits, but we're guessing it'll look something like this. Long story short, nothing to write home about.
Who Is The Card For?
Initially, we're really not sure. We're guessing this card is primarily designed for younger consumers, or those who don’t travel often enough to justify an airline card with a fee, since they will never accrue enough miles to hit status, but are loyal to United.
Maybe the move will open a whole new avenue of passengers for United who would normally have been floating passengers just choosing the cheapest airline.
One thing to remember though is that if you are after straight cash back, you're likely better off with the Citi® Double Cash Card, which pays out a straight 2% cashback on all purchases. You can then use that for anything you want, and not just United tickets. Although you don’t get the other benefits like discounts, and it has foreign transaction fees.
We're not sure how popular this will be, but if it offers another option — we'd still go with something that earns miles or flexible travel rewards if we had the choice.
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