Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

United Gateway Card Review

overall rating
4.3

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The United Gateway Card doesn’t charge an annual fee and earns MileagePlus miles, which don’t expire. You can build your miles balance with the one-time 20,000 miles bonus for spending $1,000 within the first three months from account opening, along with 3 miles per dollar on up to $1,500 per month of grocery purchases through Sept. 30, 2021.

United Gateway℠ Card

Overall Rating
4.3
United Gateway℠ Card
On Chase's Secured Site.
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United fees. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at gas stations. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including ride share services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit. Earn 1 mile for each $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The United Gateway Card is not one of our top-rated airline credit cards. You can review our list of the best airline credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of United Gateway Card

Pros
  • 3 miles per dollar on some grocery purchases

  • MileagePlus miles have a relatively high value per mile

  • No annual fee

  • Valuable one-time bonus

Cons
  • No elite status or priority boarding with card membership

  • No free checked bags

  • Permanent bonus mile categories are of limited value

Pros Explained

  • 3 Miles Per Dollar on Some Grocery Purchases: This card offers 3 miles per dollar spent on up to $1,500 of grocery purchases per month through Sept. 30, 2021. Purchases above $1,500 per month only earn 1 mile per dollar. The 3 miles earning rate is equivalent to 6.57 cents per dollar spent, based on our valuation of 2.19 cents per mile.
  • MileagePlus Miles Have a Relatively High Value Per Mile: United’s MileagePlus miles earned with this card are worth 2.19 cents per mile, according to our valuations. This is one of the highest mile valuations we’ve seen for hotel and airline loyalty programs. When you combine that with multiple miles per dollar spent in certain categories, it adds even more value. 
  • No Annual Fee: Many airline cards charge annual fees, but this one does not. While this card doesn’t come with premium benefits, the earning rates are decent considering the MileagePlus miles’ value.
  • Valuable One-Time Bonus: You can earn 20,000 bonus miles, worth $438, when you make $1,000 in purchases on this card within the first three months from account opening. This bonus is relatively robust for a no-annual-fee credit card that requires only $1,000 in spending to earn it.

Cons Explained

  • No Elite Status or Priority Boarding With Card Membership: The only airline-specific benefit you get with this card is a 25% discount on certain in-flight purchases. It won’t help you earn elite status or other benefits, such as priority boarding. These features are typically reserved for cards with annual fees which this card does not have.
  • No Free Checked Bags: This card doesn’t offer a free checked bag, either. Again, this benefit is more common on credit cards with annual fees.
  • Permanent Bonus Mile Categories Are of Limited Value: While grocery store purchases are a great bonus miles category, that category is set to expire at the end of September 2021. The ongoing bonus mile categories, including select United purchases, gas, local transit, and commuting, won’t add up to a lot of spending for many people.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Loyalty Status Seeker Persona
    Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
    Loyalty Status Seeker
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer

Who This Card Is For

The United Gateway Card is one of several United credit card offerings. United fliers who want to earn miles for award flights but don’t travel frequently or don’t care about United perks might find this card attractive, especially because it doesn’t charge an annual fee. Its 20,000 miles one-time bonus is relatively generous, and it should be possible to earn an award flight in a fairly short period.

United Gateway Card One-Time Bonus

You can earn 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 or more in purchases within the first three months from opening your account. According to our valuations of 2.19 cents per mile when redeemed for airline awards, this one-time bonus is worth up to $438. Compared with other no-annual-fee cards, that's a relatively good bonus with a reasonable spending requirement. 


To earn the bonus, you can’t currently have this credit card or have had it and received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. The bonus miles may take six to eight weeks to post to your account. 


For the bonus miles to post, your account must be open and not in default. To keep the bonus, your account must remain open for at least six months. Otherwise, Chase and United reserve the right to deduct the miles from your MileagePlus Program account. 

Rewards Earning Details

The United Gateway Card offers several spending categories that earn more than the base 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Until Sept. 30, 2021, you earn 3 miles per dollar on up to $1,500 per month in grocery store purchases. Purchases above that limit earn 1 mile per dollar.


You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on airline tickets, seat upgrades, EconomyPlus seating, inflight food and beverages, inflight Wi-Fi, baggage service charges, and other United fees when purchased through United. The card also offers 2 miles per dollar spent on United Card Events from Chase, gas, local transit, and commuting. That includes rideshare services, taxicabs, tolls, train tickets, and other mass transit.


Chase automatically transfers miles earned to United at the end of each billing cycle. You can lose any miles that haven’t yet been transferred if your card account status changes or your card is closed due to fraud, program misuse, failure to pay, bankruptcy, or certain other reasons. 


Currently, United MileagePlus miles do not expire. United says there are no blackout dates or other award restrictions, but seats must be available for sale on a flight to book an award flight. That said, awards on partner-operated flights may have limitations and restrictions.

Rewards Redemption Details

United allows you to redeem your MileagePlus miles in many ways, including:

  • Air awards
  • Upgrade awards
  • Hotel awards
  • Cruise awards
  • Car awards
  • Merchandise awards
  • Apple products
  • Gift cards
  • Experiences
  • United Club membership
  • United Wi-Fi
  • TSA PreCheck
  • Donation of miles to partner charities


Overall, you’ll get the best value by redeeming your miles for air awards that provide the highest value per mile. We found redeeming miles in this way results in a typical value of 2.19 cents per mile. You can redeem your MileagePlus miles for flights on more than 35 airlines worldwide in addition to United.


Non-flight redemption options normally result in a lower value per mile. Even so, redeeming your miles in that way may make sense if you don’t plan to fly United in the near future and you want to unlock the value of your miles.

Transferring Miles

The MileagePlus program allows members of MileagePlus Premier or higher status levels to transfer up to 50,000 MileagePlus miles per calendar year to the Marriott Bonvoy program on a 1 mile to 1 point basis. We value Marriott Bonvoy points at 1.43 cents per mile, so this transfer generally isn’t a good value unless you’re topping off your Marriott Bonvoy points or don’t plan to fly anytime soon.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

At 2.19 cents per mile, United’s MileagePlus miles are one of the more valuable reward currencies. Even if you’re just getting 1 mile per dollar spent, this card outearns a simple 2% cash back credit card—as long as you use your miles to book air award tickets that provide that much value or more per mile. 


When you earn 2 or 3 miles per dollar spent, the value increases that much more. For these reasons, it would make sense to put all of your purchases on this card unless you have a premium rewards credit card that offers an even higher value per dollar spent. 


When redeeming your rewards, you can generally get the most value by booking premium award tickets, such as business class awards. These tickets typically cost much more when paying with cash, resulting in a better value per mile in many cases.


For example, a round-trip flight from Indianapolis, Ind., to Panama City, Fla., in economy class would cost 25,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes and fees, or $197.20 in cash, a value of 0.744 cents per mile. However, a round-trip flight from Indianapolis to Paris, France, in business class would cost 120,000 miles plus $160.85 in taxes and fees, or $6,312.35 in cash, a value of 5.126 cents per mile.

United Gateway Card’s Outstanding Benefits

Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you charge the entire rental cost to this card and decline the rental company’s collision insurance, the card will provide primary coverage.

Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance: You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares if your trip is canceled or shortened by covered situations, such as sickness or injury.

Standard Benefits

  • 24/7 Visa concierge
  • 25% back as a statement credit on food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases on United-operated flights when paying with your card
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection

Cardholder Experience

Chase, which issues the United Gateway Card, scored 809 out of 1,000 points in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The national issuer average was 810.


Chase offers a mobile app that you can use to manage your credit card account. You can also call 800-537-7783 to reach the dedicated customer service representatives for this card.

Security Features

This credit card offers a secure, contactless payment option. It also provides the ability to lock and unlock your card within the Chase mobile app in case you misplace the card. Otherwise, the security features on this card are standard for the industry.

Fees to Watch Out For

If you plan to transfer a balance or use the cash advance feature, watch out for the related fees. Cash advances cost $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. Balance transfers cost $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Our Verdict

The United Gateway Card won’t appeal to frequent United fliers who are looking for a card with a lot of benefits. However, infrequent United fliers who want to earn miles toward award flights can find value in the one-time bonus and MileagePlus’ fairly high value per mile. Since this card doesn’t charge an annual fee and MileagePlus miles don’t expire, you can build your miles over time until you have enough for the flights you want.

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For United Gateway℠ Card
on Chase's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
United Gateway℠ Card
overall rating
4.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United fees. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at gas stations. Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including ride share services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit. Earn 1 mile for each $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through 9/30/2021.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.