Like many folks (ie, in this list of affiliate links…er best cards for travelers…I Kid!) I’ve used the Starwood Preferred Amex as my everyday card. Effectively 1.25 points per dollar and lots of flexibility on transfers (plus some other stuff that’s not really important to this conversation).
But I recently moved my Continental Presidential Plus card over to the new United MileagePlus Club card (no credit pull – if you have the CO PP card, they’ll just switch you to the Club card) for one reason: the new card offers 1.5 miles for every dollar spent. Don’t get me wrong, that Starwood card is great – I’ve used it for years. But I realized that with my travel patterns I redeem almost exclusively on Star Alliance carriers (plus I’ve got plenty of miles on Delta, American and British Airways if I need miles there).
Continental had waived the first year fee on the PP card, so I wasn’t paying the $395 annual fee in my first year. The United Club card public deal is to pay the $395 fee but get a $95 credit on your first statement (affiliate link here). However, if you walk into a United Club location they’ll give you a code for the card to get the first year free. That’s an amazing deal, since you get United Club access with that. Add to that the 1.5 miles per dollar, and it’s become my go-to card.
Sort of – I put dining and non-air travel on the Sapphire Preferred card because I get 2x points for that, and those can be transferred into United. And air goes on the Amex PRG because of the 3X bonus. But everything else goes on the United Club card.
Given how much everyone talks about the SPG and Sapphire cards as the seemingly only go-to options, I wanted to share that there are other options out there, especially if you had gotten the Amex Platinum card as a way to get club access. Given how much less valuable Membership Rewards points have become (plus the 50% points bonus with the United card), if I had a Platinum card I would seriously consider switching to this card.
(Yes, I know I made a joke about a list of affiliate links and then I included affiliate links. I’m a terrible person. Carry on.)