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United launches a new and improved MileagePlus UK credit card

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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.

Full details can be found here.

United credit card

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • James67 says:

    Might also be worth noting that MBNA might not give the bonus if we were a previous MP card holder. I may be tempted to give it a try though as miles still usefull for intra north american flights on united or short hops in Asia with partners.

    • Simon says:

      The Terms and Conditions for the 12,000 mile bonus does say previous and existing Cardmembers are not eligible,

      • James67 says:

        Yes but MBNA T&Cs always said that. Despite this you could churn cards such as BMI card in the past and get multiple bonuses. It is only in the past 18-24 months in my experience that they have started refusing me multiple bonuses. What I am unsure of is whether they have become more diligent in general or whether they are redflagging some customers on basis of their previous behaviour.

  • John says:

    Still trying to get exactly 5000 UA miles, which is hard as I don’t travel to the US and crediting to A3 / TK is better value for me. 10000 SPG is not worth it, so I probably have to use e-rewards…

    • James67 says:

      Until 19th there is 1500 MP signup bonus at Gilt if there is anything useful for you to buy there. Aome of online shopping potals also had Gilt as partner but I cannot recall which.

    • Simon says:

      You can earn a bonus 3k of MP with Rocket Miles on your first booking at the moment.

  • Shane says:

    Unless you’re after the bonus, I think a more efficient way of collecting Star Alliance points is by accumulating SPG and transfering those to Air Canada Aeroplan at 1:1+25% bonus. Redemptions can be on United so it works out cheaper.

    • Rob says:

      Depends who are redeeming with, though. I think (although not certain) that United does not charge fuel surcharges on some airlines where Aeroplan does.

      • Shane says:

        Ah I thought United was ditching that policy with the latest devaluation. I could be wrong though.

        • Alan says:

          No I don’t think they are, they did significantly raise premium cabin prices on partner airlines though.

  • Michael says:

    Do people think it is worth signing up to the to transfer to SPG to top up a balance. Iam currently not entitled to any Amex amex bonus. With the signup bonus that still would be 6000 SPG points + points for the actual spend. Would that also likely exclude me from future sign up bonuses on other MBNA cards?

    • Michael says:

      I guess I got this wrong. You can only transfer from SPG but not to them with this card right?

      • Rob says:

        Yes, sorry if I phrased that badly.

        You can, of course, transfer TO SPG from Amex Membership Rewards.

        • Michael says:

          …might be an idea to try to get the card. Good earnings rate in year one.

  • Simon says:

    MBNA have now updated the closing date for this offer, it runs for applications up to December 31st

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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