United Gateway Card Review

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments we receive from our advertising partners. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.

The United Gateway Card is the newest little sibling in Chase’s family of United Airlines credit cards. It’s the only one currently offered with no annual fee, but it still manages to pack a surprising amount of value in its tiny package.

United Gateway℠ Card

Overall Rating
3.6
United Gateway℠ Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United fees. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at gas stations. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including ride share services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit. Earn 1 mile for each $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
3.3
for Rewards
3.3
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
    Brand Loyalist

If you’re finding it hard to justify an airline card with an annual fee these days (and we wouldn’t blame you), but you still want to gather frequent flier points for later, the United Gateway Card might be a good choice for you. It comes with no annual fee and many ways to earn UnitedMileage points, which are among the most valuable you can find. 

Another nice touch is that it offers a way for you to transform some of your grocery spending over the course of the next year into United MileagePlus points. That’s especially handy if you’re stuck at home with higher-than-normal grocery bills, like many of us are these days. United is also one of the largest airline carriers in the U.S. and is a member of the Star Alliance (with 25 airline partners), so you’ll have plenty of options to use your points later.

Pros
  • Good bonus for new cardholders

  • Lots of ways to earn rewards

  • 25% rebate on in-flight purchases

  • No blackout dates on rewards redemptions

Cons
  • Restaurant purchases don’t earn extra rewards

Pros Explained

  • Good bonus for new cardholders: The bonus for new cardholders is worth about twice as much as what you can expect from similar cards from other airlines. 
  • Lots of ways to earn rewards: You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations, on local transit (like Uber or mass transit), and on any purchases made with United (including baggage fees and the ticket itself). You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on your first $1,500 worth of groceries until the end of Sept. 2021.
  • 25% rebate on inflight purchases: You’ll get a statement credit for 25% back when you buy food, Wi-Fi, or beverages while on board a United Airlines flight. 
  • No blackout dates on rewards redemptions: Award flight redemptions for the primary cardholder are unlimited. As long as there’s still a seat being sold on a flight, you’ll be able to use your points to pay for it. 

Cons Explained

  • Restaurant purchases don’t earn extra rewards: Many of this card’s competitors offer extra points for purchases made at restaurants. With the United Gateway card you’ll earn extra points on grocery spending for a limited time, and for a limited amount of spending, but not on dining out. 

United Gateway Card Bonus for New Cardholders

One of the best things about the United Gateway Card is its sign-up bonus. If you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months after opening the card, you’ll earn a bonus of 10,000 MileagePlus points. 

How far that’ll take you varies, but for a rough estimate, we judge that this is worth about $219 toward airfare. That’s about twice as much as competing no-annual-fee airline credit cards are offering right now. 

Earning Points & Rewards

Compared to similar cards, the United Gateway Card offers more opportunities to earn extra points on your purchases. Typically, most other cards in this area only offer one or two bonus categories, usually on purchases you make with the airline itself and on food of some sort, whether you cook it at home or dine out. 

With the United Gateway Card, however, you can earn points by spending on the following:

  • 3 points per dollar spent on your first $1,500 worth of groceries each month, through 9/30/21
  • 2 points per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2 points per dollar spent on local transit
  • 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases 

These rewards can be well worth it, especially for a card with no annual fee. To put it into context, the average household spends $2,100 on gasoline and $4,600 on groceries per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you matched that, you’d earn 11,800 points, which may be enough for a domestic round-trip ticket. This, of course, doesn’t include any spending in the other bonus categories, so your earnings may be even better. 

Redeeming Rewards

Like many airline mileage programs, the United MileagePlus program offers a lot more ways to redeem your points than just for airfare. You can also redeem your points for:

  • Gift cards
  • Hotel stays
  • Rental cars
  • In-flight Wi-Fi
  • Merchandise
  • Ticket upgrades
  • Cruise bookings
  • Charitable donations
  • TSA Precheck application 
  • United Club lounge membership
  • Tickets to sports events, theater shows, concerts, and other entertainment

As a general rule, redeeming your frequent flier points for their original purpose—airfare—is the best way to stretch your value. 

Like many other airlines these days, United Airlines uses a dynamic pricing model where the cost of flights in points varies on the itinerary and your timing. Thus, we can’t give you a straight points value in all cases. 

But you can expect to redeem your points for about 2.19 cents each, on average, when using them to book airfare on United flights or Star Alliance member flights. And with 25 partner airlines to choose from worldwide, you have a lot of options for where to go.  

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

You’ll earn a lot of points with this card alone if you make extra sure that you use it to pay for purchases in the bonus categories: groceries, local transit, gas stations, and United purchases. 

But you can maximize your rewards even further by pairing it with a cash-back card with no annual fee to earn more rewards in other categories, such as dining out. You’ll earn cash in this way, which you can use for whatever you want—including United flights. 

United Gateway Card’s Excellent Perks

The United Gateway Card has some surprisingly good perks for a no-annual-fee card.

  • Primary rental car insurance: If you decline the rental company’s insurance, you can be covered for up to the entire rental car cost if it’s stolen or damaged
  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption: If your trip goes awry, you can file for reimbursement for up to $1,500 worth of expenses.

United Gateway Card’s Other Features

  • Extended warranties
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events

Customer Experience

Chase Bank ranks just a tad below average compared to other major card issuers according to a 2020 J.D Power survey of credit card issuer satisfaction. It offers all the customer support options you’d expect like telephone customer service and a secure messaging inbox in your online account. It also has a free tool called Credit Journey, which offers a free credit score, credit monitoring, and educational resources.

You don’t have to have a Chase credit card to use Credit Journey.

Security Features

Chase Bank’s security features for its cards are also relatively standard for a big, national issuer. You can lock your card with the Chase Bank app or in your online account in case you misplace it or if someone steals it, which is handy. The United Gateway Card also can be used with contactless readers, which might give you more peace of mind in today’s coronavirus landscape. 

United Gateway Card’s Fees

You won’t find anything alarming about the fees this card charges, and as you might expect with an airline card, there’s no fee for foreign transactions.

Next Steps
For United Gateway℠ Card
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
United Gateway℠ Card
overall rating
3.6
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United fees. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at gas stations. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including ride share services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit. Earn 1 mile for each $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Expenditures - 2019,” Page 5. Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.

  2. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.