United Introduces No-Annual-Fee Gateway Card
Even as the travel industry continues to strain under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines, hotel chains, and credit card issuers are preparing would-be travelers for future adventures. In recent weeks, Emirates launched a pair of co-branded credit cards for U.S. consumers, Hotels.com unveiled new rewards cards, and Wyndham refreshed their card offerings to appeal to travelers of all stripes. Now, another airline is rolling out a new credit card, with United and Chase announcing the United Gateway card.
The new Gateway card earns United MileagePlus miles, with multipliers in several travel-related categories. First, cardholders can earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases. Additionally, the card also rewards users with 2x miles on gas as well as on local transit and commuting (including rideshare, taxis, train tickets, tolls, and more). All other purchases will earn 1 mile per dollar spent. Additional benefits include 25% off in-flight purchases on United, no foreign transaction fees, and more.
Currently, the United Gateway card offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in your first three months. On top of that, cardholders will earn 3x miles on grocery store purchases through September 30th, 2021. However, this enhanced category is limited to $1,500 in category spending per month.
The Gateway card joins the Explorer card and Club Infinite card in United and Chase’s consumer card lineup. Both of those options carry annual fees — $95 for the Explorer and $525 for the Club Infinite — although each does currently waive those fees for the first year. In addition to multipliers on dining and travel, some other perks include free checked bags, priority boarding, United Club access, and more. Meanwhile, on the business side, there’s the United Business card (which replaced the United Explorer Business card earlier this year) and the United Club Business card. At this time, the former carries a $99 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, while the latter comes at a cost of $450 a year.
As its name implies, the new United Gateway card could very well serve as a good introduction for those infrequent fliers looking to try a travel credit card on for size. Akin to the recently-announced Wyndham Earner cards, the Gateway card also rewards various aspects of travel — including road trips and other forms of transportation — which could make it a winner for some. With no annual fee, the card also may look more attractive to potential cardholders who may not want to pay an upfront fee when the fate of future travel is unclear. With all of that in mind, the United Gateway card may be worth exploring.