Chase has released a new United co-branded credit card with a unique rewards earning structure. Instead of earning miles, the United TravelBank Card earns cash back good for United purchases. While not as lucrative as United mile earning cards, the TravelBank Card could be a good option for someone who doesn’t want to bother with earning and redeeming miles.
What’s more interesting about this card to the majority of you guys is its possibility of being a new downgrade option for a premium United Card like the United MileagePlus Explorer or the United MileagePlus Club Card.
- Sign Up Bonus: $150 in TravelBank cash after spending $1,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening
- Category Bonuses: 2% TravelBank cash back per dollar spent on flights bought through United, 1.5% TravelBank cash back per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Discount on In-flight Purchases: 25% back in the form of a statement credit on all food and drinks bought onboard United flights
- Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
- No Annual Fee
- Eligibility: see below
This card also comes with a touch of travel and purchase protection benefits…
How TravelBank Cash Works
Every time you spend a dollar on the United TravelBank Card, you’ll earn at least 1.5 cent that can be applied as a statement credit towards future United purchases. If you use your United TravelBank Card on United purchases, you’ll earn two cents that can be applied as a statement credit on future United purchases.
The minimum amount of TravelBank Cash you can redeem at one time is $1 worth (the earnings from about $66.67 in non-bonused spending). In other words, you don’t have to have enough TravelBank Cash to fully cover a ticket–you could apply whatever TravelBank Cash you had, as long as it was $1 worth of more, and then pay for the rest however you please.
Does 5/24 Apply?
For newbies: Chase will deny applicants for their the majority of the cards (with the exception of these cards) who have opened five new credit card accounts within the last 24 months. This is where the title “5/24 rule” comes from. Most business credit cards do not count towards your total for the purpose of the 5/24 rule.
We’re not sure yet whether or not the 5/24 rule applies to the United TravelBank Card, but I would imagine it does. If you’re interested but over 5/24, keep an eye on this Reddit thread for new data points. And if you decide to apply over 5/24, comment here and/or on that Reddit thread to help out the community!
Solid No Annual Fee Downgrade Option
If we decide a card isn’t worth paying another annual fee on, many of us like to downgrade our credit cards as an alternative to closing them to keep that account open and aging for the since the length of account histories is a factor in determining your credit score. Keeping an account open can also help your credit utilization ratio (how much you owe versus how much you spend), another factor that affects your credit score.
It looks like some people are already able to downgrade their more premium United co-branded cards to the United TravelBank, and some are being told the product is too new and that they’ll have to wait. I imagine after enough time has passed anyone will be able to downgrade their MileagePlus Explorer or MileagePlus Club to a United TravelBank Card.
If you don’t feel like dealing with earning and redeeming miles and are a big United patron, the United TravelBank Card may deserve your interest. It’s also cool that it does not charge foreign transaction fees. That is not typical of a no annual fee credit card.
I honestly think you’d be better of with a card that earns cash back not limited to spending just on United, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus that earns (essentially) 2.1% back on travel purchases or the Citi Double Cash Card which earns 1% back when you buy, and another 1% back when you make a payment (ultimately 2% cash back on all purchases).
What’s more pertinent to you all with the release of the United TravelBank Card is the availability/soon to be availability of a new downgrade option for Chase’s United cards with annual fees.