United Gateway℠ Credit Card Review — No Annual Fee & More


The information related to the United Gateway Credit Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Earning frequent flyer miles from your credit card usually requires paying for a premium product, and there aren’t too many airline credit cards that have no annual fee. 

The United Gateway Credit Card is one of those rare airline cards that has no annual fee. But as you might expect, it comes with fewer benefits than its more expensive competitors. That may or may not be a dealbreaker for you — read on to find out.


What Is the United Gateway Credit Card?

The United Gateway Card is offered by Chase as a way to earn United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier miles, with no annual fee. 

You start out with a modest sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

From there, you earn 2x miles on United purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting expenses. Those expenses include rideshare services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit. As with most cards, you only earn one mile per dollar spent on other transactions. 

Beyond the rewards program, the United Gateway Card has few benefits, but they can be valuable. 

First, you receive additional access to award seats at the lowest, “Saver” level, an important benefit reserved for United MileagePlus cardholders and United customers with elite status. You also receive 25% back on food, beverages, and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights. And you get up to $1,500 in trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, an auto rental collision damage waiver policy, extended warranties on select items, and purchase protection coverage on select purchases.

There’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees. This makes it a great choice for international travel. Finally, you enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on new purchases after account opening.


What Sets the United Gateway Credit Card Apart?

The United Gateway Credit Card is different not just because it has no annual fee, but also because it provides a few significant benefits and multiple opportunities to earn bonus miles. 

  • Double miles. You earn 2x miles on United purchases, at gas stations, and on local transit and commuting expenses.
  • Travel insurance protections. These include rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption coverage. 
  • Purchase protections. These include theft and damage coverage and extended warranty protection. 
  • Low fees. This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. 
  • Introductory financing. You enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, though not balance transfers. 

Key Features of the United Gateway Credit Card

The most important features of this card are low fees, bonus miles and cardholder benefits. 

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Earning Rewards

This card offers plenty of opportunities to earn bonus miles:

  • 2x miles for United purchases
  • 2x miles at gas stations 
  • 2x miles  on local transit and commuting expenses 
  • 1x mile on all other eligible purchases.

“Local transit and commuting expenses” covers a wide range of purchases, including: 

  • Rideshare services
  • Taxicabs
  • Train tickets
  • Tolls
  • Mass transit

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem your accumulated miles for award flights operated by United and its partners. 

Exactly how much value you get from them is a moving target. That’s because United no longer publishes an award chart and has been known to change how much it charges for particular flights without notifying anyone. But in general, you need 80,000 to 100,000 miles for a one-way, business class ticket to Europe. You can get by with about half that if you travel in economy. 

0% Intro APR Promotion

This card offers 12 months of 0% APR introductory financing on new purchases. After that, variable regular APR applies.

Important Fees

There’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees imposed on charges processed outside of the United States. 

Credit Required

This card requires good or better credit to qualify. If your FICO score is much below 700, then you’ll likely have trouble being approved. 


Advantages

This card’s advantages are designed for occasional United flyers rather than frequent travelers who care about high-end perks. 

  • Expanded access to the United Saver award level. This is a key benefit that allows you to get much more from your miles when you redeem for award flights. 
  • No annual fee an foreign transaction fees. This card’s biggest claim to fame is that it has neither of these fees. 
  • Good bonus categories. There’s a lot of ways to earn double miles with this card. That isn’t what you’d normally expect from a no-fee card. 
  • Good travel insurance and purchase protection benefits. Many credit card issuers aren’t offering benefits any more, so this is especially nice to see. 
  • MileagePlus partners and policies. You can redeem your United miles for flights on its numerous Star Alliance and non-alliance partners. United also eliminated change and cancellation fees on awards, so you’re free to book a ticket when you find a good deal and cancel it later if it doesn’t work out. 
  • 0% APR introductory financing on purchases.  Very few airline cards come with 0% intro APR financing, so this counts as a win for those planning big purchases (including vacations) soon after account opening. 

Disadvantages

This card lacks many of the features that you might expect from a rewards card. 

  • United devalues its miles. United eliminated its award charts several years ago, which means that it can always charge more miles for awards whenever it feels like it. For example, United recently started charging up to 50% more miles for many of its award flights to Europe without any prior notice. Unfortunately, you can’t count on the price you see now being available when it comes time to redeem your miles. 
  • No free checked bags. Pretty much all airline credit cards with an annual fee offer a free checked bag, but not this one. 
  • Low sign-up bonus. Most airline credit cards with an annual fee offer at least 50,000 miles as a sign-up bonus. The Gateway Card’s bonus is worth less than half that amount.

How the United Gateway Credit Card Stacks Up

The closest competitor to the United Gateway Card is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card from Citi. See how they compare before you apply for either.

United Gateway Credit Card American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Mastercard®
Annual Fee $0 $0
Sign-Up Bonus 20,000 miles 10,000 miles
Rewards Rate Up to 2x miles Up to 2x miles
0% Intro APR 12 months on purchases None
Foreign Transaction Fee None 3%
Credit Needed Good or better Good or better

Final Word

The United Gateway Card is a basic airline credit card, but it still manages to give you more than you would expect from a stripped down version of the more premium cards. It does this by offering expanded award availability, decent travel insurance and purchase protection and many opportunities to earn bonus points. And if you can take advantage of the 0% APR offer, then it’s really worth considering. 

At the same time, you’ll get a less valuable sign-up bonus and no free checked bags. Both of those are perks you should reasonably expect from any airline credit card with an annual fee. 

What you’re left with is a card that’s well suited for someone who flies United a few times a year. But if you find yourself flying the friendly skies more often than that, then you should look into the United Explorer, Quest, or Club Cards, all of which have annual fees. 



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