How to Get United Club Access Free for the First Year

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The regular Chase United Club Credit Card carries $395 annual fee with a $100 statement credit. As I mentioned in my yesterday Definitive Guide to Free or Cheap access to Airport Lounges, it is possible to get this card with the annual fee waived for the first year, although this won’t work for everyone. Out of three people in my family it worked for two–me included. The good news is, none of us is an elite or a frequent traveler, so who Chase targets this card to–is everyone guess. And as long as it remains this way, there is a hope for everyone.

First, let’s just clarify that while this credit card does not offer any sign up bonus, its appeal lies far beyond free access to airport lounges.

TRAVEL BENEFITS

 (I’ve bolded the really good benefits and omitted the ones that are just meh)

Airport Club Access

Relax or work comfortably before your flight. As the primary MileagePlus Club Card member, you and your eligible travel companions have access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance® affiliated lounges worldwide. (NB–for United lounges you can bring one guest or your immediate family, for Star lounges, you’re limited to 1 guest and you need a boarding pass for the same-day travel).

Premier Access

Enjoy preferential treatment from the moment you arrive at the airport with priority check-in, security lanes (where available), boarding and baggage handling.

Free First and Second Checked Bags

The primary Cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first and second standard checked bags free on United-operated flights — a savings of up to $240 per round trip.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

As a MileagePlus Club Card member, you pay no foreign transaction fees on Card purchases outside the U.S. This benefit of MileagePlus Club Card membership is sure to make international travel even more enjoyable.

The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

Stay in style with room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and other special Cardmember-only amenities at more than 700 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas in the United States and around the world. To make a reservation, visit LHRCollection.com

Hyatt Gold Passport® Platinum Membership

As the primary MileagePlus Club Card member, you will enjoy automatic Platinum membership in the Hyatt Gold Passport global loyalty program. With Hyatt Gold Passport, you’ll experience a premium level of benefits to make you feel more than welcome every time you stay at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® worldwide (NB–especially valuable if you’re planning to apply for Chase Hyatt card and get these two free nights in a suite).

Avis First®

As the primary MileagePlus Club Card member, you are invited to join Avis First. You’ll enjoy complimentary one car-class upgrades (when available), Weekend Rental Awards with no blackout restrictions, exclusive offers right to your inbox, and access to a member-only website to track rewards. Visit avis.com/uaclubcard to learn more and enroll in the Avis First program.

50% Mileage Bonus on Your Purchases

With the United MileagePlus Club Card, you earn a 50% bonus in addition to the 1 mile that you already earn per $1 dollar spent — and even more on United tickets. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Complimentary Upgrades on Award Tickets for Premier Members

The primary Cardmember who is also a MileagePlus Premier member traveling on a domestic MileagePlus award ticket will be eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on eligible United- and Copa-operated flights (when available). (NB—here is the upgrade priority list for award tickets: United MileagePlus Explorer Card, United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card, United MileagePlus Club Card, United MileagePlus Club Business Card, United MileagePlus Presidential PlusSM Card, United MileagePlus Presidential Plus Business Card)

No Close-in Award Travel Booking Fees (NB—that’s $75)

As the primary MileagePlus Club Card member, you have the freedom to book award tickets for close-in dates without having to pay a close-in award booking fee.

Any Seat, Any Time, With Your Miles 

The primary Cardmember can use miles to book any available seat, any time, on any United-operated flight when redeeming miles at the MileagePlus Standard Award level. No Limitations, no restrictions and no blackout dates on available seats if you provide your MileagePlus number before starting the booking process. For more information, please visit united.com/awards

So, if I’ve managed to convince you that this card is worth getting (for free), then here is what you can do in order to trigger the bonus. I can’t even call it a trick, it was so easy.

I logged on to my United account and clicked on a credit card offer. As soon as I did that, two offers appeared, one for the MileagePlus card, and another for the MileagePlus Club, and here it was:

MyFreeUnitedClub_Offer

Then I clicked at Are You a Business Owner and received the same offer for the Club business card. Remember that if you are interested in an upgrade, then the Club business card gives you a higher priority than the personal one.

MyBusinessFreeUnitedClub_Offer

So it was working fine for me, but when I attempted to get the same offer for my wife I hit the brick wall. No matter what I did, I always got the $395 offer with $100 credit. I tried Incognito, and it didn’t work either.

Inna-United-Fourth-Screen-395

Then out of desperation (LOL) I decided to click at Are You a Business Owner and hit the jackpot

Inna-Free-United-Business-Screen

So it might be as easy for as just log on and check it out, or you might have to do a few clicks. This is a great card, and for free–it ‘s worth every penny! 🙂

As you know or should know by now there is nothing at all that could prevent you from applying for a business credit card even if you’re not running an official business. Everyone is doing something besides their day-job, and even a hobby that you expect to profit from one day (wink-wink) does qualify.

Then it was my cousin’s turn. Unfortunately, I hit a brick wall with him. Nothing I tried would bring a desired screen. Could it be because he just received a business United Explorer card a week ago? I have no idea.

So, it’s obviously not for everyone, but with two hits out of three, I’d say there are a lot of people who could trigger that offer but don’t know about it. And it doesn’t hurt to try anyway. Sure as hell beats paying $700 for Delta clubs. If all else fails, try your local Chase branch. There have been reports that some branches have the applications and will fill them out for you even if you’re not a customer.

Good luck  and please share your experiences here.

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4 Responses to How to Get United Club Access Free for the First Year

  1. Ivan says:

    How about if you want to cancel or change your award ticket at the last moment… Does it help with the charge they give for that?

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for this great tip. We’re you approved for the business card instantly or did you get the “we’ll contact you in X days” message? If so, did you call their reconsideration line?

    Thanks–

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Dan, I did not apply for this card at the time, but to answer your question more generally, I have not received instant approvals from Chase in a very long time. Yet, I’ve been always approved eventually. I usually don’t bother and just get the card in the mail. Rarely do I have to call, but it does happen.

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