I recently added a few new credit cards to my portfolio, and one of those additions was the United Club Card. It has a pretty hefty annual fee of $395 (though, you might be able to get it waived… do some reading here), but it is a great card for everyday spending because it gets 1.5 United Miles back per dollar on all purchases. It also comes with unlimited United Club Lounge access, which is a pretty decent thing if you travel frequently. I also discovered a United Club Card benefit you probably don’t know about… I didn’t!

The welcome package for the credit card is pretty impressive, it comes in a pretty big and fairly heavy box. In the box there is a welcome letter, membership guide, and a guide to the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection…

I grabbed my membership guide and starting flipping through. Most things I was expecting. Nothing stood out initially. I had a friend coming over for the weekend and we did plenty of talking about miles and points. One thing that we discussed for a while was close-in ticketing fees, or booking award tickets within 3 weeks of travel. Some airlines, like Delta, don’t charge extra, but American and United both do.

Did I remember reading correctly that the United Club Card waives close-in ticketing fees?! Sort of. Per the fine print (bolding mine):

The primary cardmember will receive a close-in booking fee waiver on award tickets booked less than 21 days before departure. To receive a close-in booking fee waiver, be sure to provide the primary cardmember’s MileagePlus number before you start the award booking process. Authorized users are only eligible if they are traveling on an award ticket issued from the primary cardmember’s MileagePlus account. Close-in booking fee waiver is only available on United- and United Express- operated flights; codeshare partner-operated flights are not eligible. Chase is not responsible for the provision of, or failure to provide, close-in booking fee waivers. Please visit www.united.com/awards for award travel detail.

So, yes, there is a close-in booking fee waiver, but it is only available for United operated flights not parter flights. This can still be a pretty valuable benefit for those of you that do not have status. I personally think that this will be very useful to me, not having anything but low-tier status with any airline. Whenever I am looking to travel at the last minute I look at Delta availability, since they don’t charge close-in booking fees… and we all know how hard it can be to find low level availability on Delta!

Some other United Club Card benefits are:

  • United Club Membership
  • First and Second Checked Bags Free
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Complimentary Hyatt Platinum and Avis First
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance Coverage