I stumbled across the best perk of my United MileagePlus card, and I can't figure out why Chase doesn't shout it from the rooftops
Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network if you apply for a credit card, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- One of the best perks anyone with a United card issued by Chase can use is expanded access to economy class saver awards on flights operated by United and United Express carriers.
- Cardholders must log in to their United account before searching for flights with their miles, and will be prompted with the text. "Exclusively available to you as a MileagePlus Chase Cardmember."
- Without this benefit, it can be extremely difficult to redeem points on United flights for the lowest mileage levels.
- Chase cardmembers who have cards like the United Explorer Card or the United Explorer Business card can take advantage of this perk.
There are few things that can be more frustrating than trying to redeem your airline miles for an award flight.Sure, most airlines claim that you can now use your miles for any flight, but they leave out the fact that you might have to pay at least twice as much as the "Saver" rates for the vast majority of them.
But I've stumbled across a strategy anyone with a United card issued by Chase can use to open up a substantial amount of low-priced awards.
United credit cards have a hidden feature
When you have a United MileagePlus credit card from Chase like the United Explorer card or the United Explorer Business card, you'll receive expanded access to saver awards in economy class on flights operated by United and United Express carriers. And in my experience, you won't have just a little bit better chance of finding an award at the lowest mileage level - it will pretty much be your only chance.
And better yet, it's not uncommon to find up to nine available awards on a single flight, so long as you're a Chase cardholder. In contrast, it's normally extremely difficult to find just one or two available saver-level award seats.
You can read everything Chase publishes about its United Explorer and United Club cards, and still not learn about these cards' most valuable feature. But once you have the card, and you start looking to use your miles, you'll often see a little note next to the best priced flights saying that it's "Exclusively available to you as a MileagePlus Chase Cardmember."
Just be sure to log in to your United account before searching for an award reservation.
Which cards are eligible for this benefit?Chase currently offers four different versions of its United MileagePlus card to new applicants. First, there's the personal and small business versions of the Explorer card, both with annual fees of $95. Then there's the personal and small business versions of the MileagePlus Club card, which both have annual fees of $450.
However, what's even less well-known is that United offers the expanded economy-class saver award availability benefit to all Chase MileagePlus credit cards holders, not just to those who hold one of these four cards currently offered to new applicants.
For example, when I called to cancel my Explorer card, I was offered a no-fee version of this card simply called the MileagePlus card. The basic MileagePlus card has very few features compared to the MileagePlus Explorer card, but it still retains the critical access to expanded saver award availability in economy class. With no annual fee, I will continue to hold this card indefinitely, while rarely using it for purchases.
I'm not aware of any other credit card that offers customers expanded access to award seats at the lowest mileage levels. Chase and United have done a brilliant thing by making their frequent flyer miles far more valuable to those who also have a United MileagePlus credit card, but it's baffling that these companies barely lift a finger to let anyone know about it.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.