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Yesterday I wrote about a recent rash of mid-year credit card devaluations.
The Chase IHG one was simply cost control: reduce the value of the annual free night certificate.
The Marriott-SPG Chase-Amex ones, Chase is the winner, Amex is the loser. No surprise, then, that the current Chase offerings stay more or less the same, while the Amex ones see big changes that some see as positive, some see as negative.
What About the United Card?
The Chase MileagePlus Explorer personal card changes are more intriguing to me. Several new bonus spend categories and benefits have been added. Of the two negative changes, the removal of return protection/price protection is happening on all Chase cards, so not specific to United.
The only card-specific negative change is removal of the 10,000-mile bonus for $25,000 annual spend (calendar year). This bonus is valued by United elites who spend $25,000 to earn a status Premier Qualification Dollar (PQD) waiver for MileagePlus Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
A 10,000-mile bonus spread among $25,000 spend on a card that until June 1 has no bonus categories other than United shouldn’t be costing too much. Even with the new 2x on hotels and restaurants, the bonus still wouldn’t be all that costly. Why remove it?
The card will now be more like the Amex Delta Gold cards: $25,000 earns a MQD waiver for Silver, Gold, and Platinum, but no bonus miles for hitting that target. Unlike…
If the revamped Explorer card is like the Delta Gold, and United already has the lounge access Club Card like the Delta Reserve, and last year launched the no annual fee TravelBank card like the Delta Blue, we are only missing one thing:
Where’s the United copycat of the Delta Platinum card?
Delta and American both have $195 annual fee cards that help earn elite status with big spend.
The Delta Platinum earns 10,000 MQMs for $25,000 spend, another 10,000 MQMs for $50,000 spend.
The American Aviator Silver earns 5,000 EQMs for $20,000 spend, another 5,000 EQMs for $40,000 spend.
Both the Delta and American lounge access cards also have elite status boosts.
Will United launch a $195 annual fee credit card with an elite status component?
This would put in context the removal of the Explorer card’s big spend bonus.
Arguing against this is that it would have been good to make this announcement at the same time as the Explorer card changes, and that the United Club Card has been around for years without any elite status qualification element.
Readers, is a 4th Chase United card on the way in 2018?