I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.
During the early part of the pandemic both banks and customers stopped opening new credit cards. People weren’t spending as much, an household balance sheets were flush. They also weren’t traveling so travel cards were lower in priority. Banks didn’t know who was going to be a good credit risk.
While banks did all they could to retain existing cardmembers, they still had normal attrition. Portfolios shrank since they weren’t refilling the funnel. Then the world began returning to normal, and banks needed to aggressively acquire customers. Interest rates were low, and they began spending on acquisition bonuses. Low rates meant money was cheap but also that the discount rate on investment was low – you could afford to spend more up front for a customer who would pay off years into the future.
I’ve expected higher interest rates to slow down new card bonuses, but I’m not sure we’re seeing that, at least not yet. Chase has just introduced aggressive new offers for their United consumer card portfolio. They’re very tempting for anyone below ‘5/24’ (fewer than 5 new cards in the past 24 months) who might be approved for a new Chase card.
- United ClubSM Infinite Card comes with United Club access as the biggest benefit of its $525 annual fee. The big offer is to earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
You get a free first and second checked bag on United; Premier Access like priority check-in, security, boarding; eligibility for elite upgrades on award tickets, including for companions; a 10% discount on certain economy award tickets; IHG One Rewards Platinum status; and a 10,000 mile bonus with joining CLEAR.
- UnitedSM Explorer Card, the primary consumer card, has an offer to earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
What’s great about this $0 intro annual fee the first year then $95 annual fee card is the travel benefits when flying United. You get free first checked bag – a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply. You get priority boarding (avoid having to gate check your carry on, and indeed on a Basic Economy fare you can still bring on a full-sized carry-on bag).
You’ll get 2 one-time United Club passes each year for your account anniversary as well. And the card offers up to $100 Global Entry, TSA Precheck ® or NEXUS fee Credit. As with other United co-brands, wardmembers get access to extra award availability at lower mileage prices that general members don’t have. Elites with the card can receive complimentary domestic upgrades on award tickets.
- United QuestSM Card is the mid-tier card and has an offer to earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Each year, receive a $125 United® purchase credit and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. For those who fly United, the United QuestSM Card will provide real value taking advantage of both the annual credit towards spend with the airline and earning 10,000 miles back on redemptions.
- Even the no annual fee United GatewaySM Card has an offer that hasn’t been exceeded before as far as I am aware, to earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
I wonder whether Chase’s revised co-brand agreement with United sets minimum floors for new cardmember acquisition, and therefore we benefit in the form of aggressive offers even with rising interest rates. I hope so! But in the current environment, given recession risk, I might be uniquely primed to leap with offers like this.