Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Is the No-Fee United TravelBank Card Right for You?


PHOTO: The new United TravelBank card offers two percent back on all purchases made with United Airlines. (photo via Flickr/Bernal Saborio)

While new credit cards hit the market all the time, it’s fairly unusual for a no-fee airline credit card to make an appearance.

However, Chase recently came up with a new offering that could very well change the way some consumers earn airline rewards—at least with one airline loyalty program.

The new United TravelBank Card gives consumers the opportunity to earn two percent on United Airlines purchases and 1.5 percent back on all other purchases made with the card. Once users start racking up points, they can redeem them toward United Airlines flights.

“Cash-back credit cards continue to rise in popularity, and we noticed an opportunity in this space for United customers—a no annual fee card with compelling travel benefits that rewards in TravelBank cash,” said Leslie Gillin, President of Co-Brand Cards at Chase in a press release.

“Our research shows that leisure travelers are looking for the simplicity of a cash-back card coupled with the ability to redeem seamlessly for travel.”

While the card lets you earn rewards specifically for United Airlines flights, it doesn’t let you earn miles for the United MileagePlus loyalty program. Instead, you’ll earn actual cash back you can use toward the cost of United flights.

“The United TravelBank Card introduces a new way for customers to save on United flights by putting the TravelBank cash they’ve earned toward the cost of a ticket,” said Praveen Sharma, Vice President of Loyalty at United in the airline’s official press release.

“We are celebrating 30 years of partnership on our co-brand card program with Chase and are thrilled to add a card for cash-back enthusiasts to our portfolio of industry-leading United MileagePlus cards.”

In addition to cash back for United flights, consumers who sign up for this card will qualify for other benefits such as no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental coverage and 25 percent back as a statement credit on food and beverage purchases onboard United-operated flights.

The card will also let users pay for their flights with points and cash, instead of requiring a full redemption at a time. If someone wants to book a United flight for $400 and they only have $75 in cash back built up with their card, for example, they can redeem their points as a $75 discount.

READ MORE: Refer Chase Sapphire Reserve, Earn up to 50K Points

Here are some details to note:

—No annual fee

—Two percent in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on United purchases, such as airline tickets, seat upgrades and bag fees

—Five percent in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on all other purchases

—25 percent back as a statement credit on food and beverage purchases onboard United-operated flights

—No foreign transaction fees

—Redeem starting with $1 in TravelBank cash

—Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

—Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

While it’s always nice to see new rewards credit cards offering competition in the market, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this card would leave frequent travelers better off. It does offer some consumer protections, but most would benefit more from a flat-rate cash back credit card that lets you redeem points however you want—and not just for United flights.

READ MORE: Navigating Chase’s Secret ‘5/24 Rule’

The Citi Double Cash Card, for example, offers two percent back on all purchases—one percent when you make a purchase and another percent when you pay it off—with no annual fee.



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