Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you don’t fly predominantly with United — or any other airline specifically — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be a better fit. The card offers greater earning in the dining category and additional bonus categories, including online groceries and streaming services. Its earning rate on general travel is the same 2X as the United Explorer card, although it will earn 5X points for any travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The annual fee is the same at $95. Additional perks include an annual $50 hotel credit and the ability to use your points to book travel with any airline, or transfer them to an array or partner loyalty programs – including United Airlines. Not to mention you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
United Quest℠ Card
For those who regularly fly United Airlines and are looking for an even nicer suite of benefits, consider the United Quest℠ Card. Its annual fee is steeper at $250, but the benefits can make up for it. The card provides two free checked bags for the cardholder and companion — one more than what the United℠ Explorer Card gives you. This is a potential savings of $320 on a single round-trip flight. The United Quest℠ Card also provides the same 25% back in-flight purchases, trusted traveler program credit, priority boarding and priority boarding benefits.
Beyond the additional checked bag, the card provides a $125 annual statement credit for United purchases, two 5,000-mile award flight rebates and increased earning rates. Spending on the card can also help you earn United Premier qualifying points, which can push you to a higher level of elite status. If you fly with United routinely, this card is worth having in your wallet.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is likely a better option for those who want a general travel credit card and not one locked into a specific airline. The card’s earning structure is simple — you earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
You can redeem Capital One Venture miles in a variety of ways, including to directly offset the cost of travel purchases. You can also transfer your miles to more than 15 airline and hotel loyalty programs, which often yields the best value.
Similar to the United℠ Explorer Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Its fee is equivalent — $95 per year. What it’s missing is any airline-specific benefits, making it ideal for those who are more interested in scoring award flights than airline perks.