The United Airlines credit card, issued by MBNA, has historically been fundamentally ignored. There was no sign-up bonus (once a year they offered a whopping 5,000 miles!) and it wasn’t even mentioned on the MBNA website.
The card has now been revamped and relaunched. As is now the model with MBNA cards (Lufthansa, American, Etihad, Emirates etc) it comes as a double-pack with an American Express and a Visa.
Here are the core facts:
Generous (by United standards) sign-up bonus of 12,000 United MileagePlus miles
No annual fee
Acceptable earning rate of 1.25 miles per £1 on the American Express and 0.625 miles on the Visa
To qualify for the sign-up bonus, you must apply by December 4th and spend £1,000 within 90 days.
It is worth noting that United is the only airline to enforce a particularly poor exchange rate with Starwood Preferred Guest in order to protect its own credit card. Whilst almost all other airlines transfer at 1:1 from Starwood, United transfers at an amazingly poor 2:1. This means that these cards are the only realistic way to earn decent levels of United miles on credit card spend.
However, United recently announced an incredibly bad devaluation of MileagePlus. This particularly impacts people outside the USA, since the hardest hit awards were Business Class and First Class redemptions on Star Alliance partners. There are over 40 articles on the devaluation listed here if you need to know more.
It is very unlikely, therefore, that you would use this credit card as a good excuse to start building up United MileagePlus miles, especially as most people are trying to spend them as quickly as possible before the devaluation kicks in.
However, if you want to top-up an existing balance then this is an easy way to earn 12,000 MileagePlus miles quickly and cheaply.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – February 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.