Posted by William Charles on January 20, 2016
Credit Card Review

Published on January 20th, 2016 | by William Charles


Chase United MileagePlus Rewards No Annual Fee Card – Review

This is another post in our series on weird credit cards, this week we will be looking at the little known Chase United card with no annual fee.

Card Basics

  • Not possible to apply for this card directly
  • No annual fee
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 1x miles for every $2 spent
  • 25% bonus on the MileagePlus shopping portal
  • Increased award inventory (I originally listed this card as not receiving this benefit but lots of readers report that they do see increased award inventory)

This card does not give you access to the following benefits:

  • Free bags
  • Gives no benefits on United basic fares
no annual fee card

No annual fee card pictured at top, via krazykanuck on Flyertalk

Other United Credit Cards

There are actually other United credit cards that aren’t available for downgrades, United MileagePlus Awards Card (actually listed on the Chase website) that comes with a $60 annual fee and earns 1x miles on every $1 spent and the United Select card, with the following benefits:

  • $140 annual fee
  • 3 award miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on gas station, grocery, restaurant and home improvement store purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from other Star AllianceTM member airlines
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to 5,000 Premier® qualifying miles (PQM) each year on purchases made on
  • 5,000 bonus award miles each year on your account anniversary

Our Verdict

It doesn’t really make any sense to put any spend on this card with it only earning 1x mile per $2 spent, but it might be worth downgrading this card for three reasons:

  • Chase only lets you product change to a card in the same family (e.g United). By downgrading to this card you’ll be able to keep your average age of accounts higher in the long term (if you cancel it’ll take 7 years to fall off your report anyway), this is a scoring factor for FICO.
  • Holding a United credit card gives you a 25% bonus on their shopping portal & increased award inventory
  • Miles expire after 18 months of no activity, putting a small charge on this card would be enough to keep them active

Thanks to this reddit thread & this Flyertalk thread


33 Responses to Chase United MileagePlus Rewards No Annual Fee Card – Review

  1. Nick says:

    Does it give you access to XN fare bucket, the elite limited saver award inventory for economy?

  2. Ben says:

    I have about 87k expired M+ and I want to get it reinstated.

    Would it make sense to apply for the Mileage+ Explorer, get the mileage back, and downgrade to this non-annual before my one year expires?

    This way my mileage won’t expire since I have their credit card.

  3. Gerald says:

    The big question is whether this card triggers the expanded access to award flights that the Explorer does. Nobody on the two linked threads seems to know.

    • Ben says:

      +1 Can we call Chase/United to figure this out? I typically NEVER call for info like this….but the difference between award availability w/ & w/out the Explorer card is night & day….so I’m super interested in figuring this out.

      • Skor says:

        It does not… I did the product change from Explorer to this card and I lost the expanded access.

        • Thanks for the data point, Skor. Updated post to reflect this.

          • foobar says:

            Additional DP: I got MPE in May 2016, downgraded to this card a few months ago (just before the AF hit), and I still see XN space (including the new “Exclusively available to you as a Chase Cardmember” language).

        • Ryan says:

          Can you expand on this? Are there just a lot less flights to choose from? Or do we actually lose access to buying certain flights? Are saver awards still a thing with this downgraded MPE card?

          • Andy says:

            Data point in opposite direction. I have the no annual fee card and got access to the expanded availability. Just booked some flights with it. Never noticed this before but I may have just never noticed.

            At lest for now this card is a great partner for CSR.

  4. OK216 says:

    I also wonder if you still get the bonus miles from MileagePlus X like you do with the Explorer card.

  5. phil says:

    Would united biz card be downgradable to this?

  6. David says:

    also you forgot to mention you can keep miles from expiring by using this card for a small purchase?

  7. bigmike says:

    anyone know id united select card gives expanded access to awards?

  8. Chris says:

    So I know I can downgrade to this from theMileage Plus Explorer, but can I do that, keep it for a year or so, and then ask for it to be upgraded back to the Mileage Plus Explorer product when I convert a bunch of UR into MP and want the expanded rewarded access benefit again for a booking? I imagine this might entail paying the annual fee upfront with no possibility of pro-rating it after a quick downgrade, but it might still be worth it to get access to that XN fare bucket…

  9. Chris says:

    I have United MileagePlus Explorer. Chase told me today that I need to wait until after the full 1 year anniversary date, but before the AF posts, in order to downgrade to this no-AF version of the card. I’ve read some reports online that people have been having difficulty downgrading; waiting until after 1 full year is apparently the key.

  10. Will confirm with Chase directly.

  11. Rick says:

    I’ve had this Chase United “no AF” card for several years, it’s the oldest card I have. I’ve done very light spend on it just to maintain it and keep my FICO up. Recently I got a notice from Chase that they are changing my account terms so that on 8/21 they will start charging me a $65 fee. Nothing about a PC. Does this make any sense?

    1) Is there anything I can do before the deadline?
    2) Could they be forcibly PC’ing me to the Explorer card?
    3) Is there anything worthwhile I can PC it to?

    • Morty says:

      That blows chunks. I’ve had the no-AF Chase United Mileage Plus since 2003 and I haven’t received any such threats.

      If push comes to shove, I would threaten to cancel and see what happens. Chase would much rather have your business as a no-AF cardholder than none at all.

    • Charlie says:

      This is a huge issue for many of us who have to make a decision soon on whether or not to downgrade our Explorer cards to the Rewards card. The DAD CC Cards review says that the Rewards card is no-fee, but these last few posts indicate that Chase is now adding a $65 fee. What’s the current state of play?

    • Can you send me a copy of the letter?

  12. Charlie says:

    I didn’t receive the letter because I have the Explorer, not the no-fee card. I read about the letter in the other comments, and found it of interest because my $95 annual fee on the Explorer will be billed in a few days.

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