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Credit Card Reviews by Chris Dong

About the Author

Chris Dong is a travel, loyalty, and credit cards reporter. He has covered travel and personal finance content for national print and digital publications including The Washington Post, Business Insider, The Points Guy, Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, Robb Report, and more. When he’s not on the road, Chris calls Los Angeles home after nearly 10 years in New York City.

United Quest℠ Credit Card

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(4.3) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Min Credit Score:
Good (670-739) *
Annual Fee:
$250

Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Bonus points for spend in the following bonus categories:

3 x
Airfare
Estimated Rewards Value: 3.6%
2 x
Transit
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Car Rentals
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Dining Out / Food Delivery
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Hotels
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Streaming Services
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
1 x
Everything Else
Estimated Rewards Value: 1.2%
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  • Generous United-specific perks (and unique among airline credit cards) including a $125 annual credit on United purchases, two free checked bags, and up to 10,000 miles back on award tickets.
  • Spending on the card helps you earn towards United elite status.
  • Long list of travel and purchase protections.

Pros

  • $125 annual United purchase statement credit that will help offset the $250 annual fee.
  • Up to 10,000 miles back: Automatically get 5,000 United miles back into your account after taking a United award flight -- up to two times per anniversary year.
  • Priority boarding and complimentary space-available upgrades when flying on award tickets if you have United elite status.

Cons

  • No airport lounge access
  • $250 annual fee is steep at first glance, but easy to maximize for semi-frequent United flyers
  • United miles are not transferable and its best uses are for United, Star Alliance, and partner flight redemptions.
Annual Fee: $250
Foreign
Transaction Fee:
0%
Min Credit
Score:
Good (670-739) *
Point
Value:
$0.012

They have a similar network to AA in terms of reach via the Star Alliance and also (unlike Delta) allow for booking First Class international awards in the Star Alliance network, but they charge noticeably more for Partner Awards and the rates keep (stealthily) rising. United partner Lufthansa tends to have good availability to Europe making it somewhat easier to use to Europe than American, which relies heavily on British Airways and BA charges incredibly steep surcharges on those awards.

APR: 21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance
transfer fees:
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Author: Chris Dong
Editor: Dave Grossman
Total Rating:
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Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Last Updated: May 26, 2024
Intro bonus:
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Annual Fee:
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Benefits:
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Multipliers:
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United℠ Explorer Card

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(4.1) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Min Credit Score:
Good (670-739) *
Annual Fee:
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Bonus points for spend in the following bonus categories:

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2 x
Airfare
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Dining Out / Food Delivery
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
2 x
Hotels
Estimated Rewards Value: 2.4%
1 x
Everything Else
Estimated Rewards Value: 1.2%
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 more
  • Stellar United-specific perks including a free checked bag, priority boarding privileges, and two one-time United Club passes per cardmember year.
  • First year annual fee waived, then just $95.
  • Long list of travel and purchase protections.

Pros

  • First free checked bag for the card holder and a companion on United Airlines flights when you pay with the card.
  • United miles can open the door to a wide array of United, Star Alliance, and partner flights.
  • Expanded access to United's lowest-priced economy award flights.

Cons

  • Not ideal for regular access to United Clubs.
  • Has a $95 annual fee after the first year.
  • Miles are not transferable and its best uses are for United, Star Alliance, and partner flight redemptions.
Annual Fee: $0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Foreign
Transaction Fee:
0%
Min Credit
Score:
Good (670-739) *
Point
Value:
$0.012

They have a similar network to AA in terms of reach via the Star Alliance and also (unlike Delta) allow for booking First Class international awards in the Star Alliance network, but they charge noticeably more for Partner Awards and the rates keep (stealthily) rising. United partner Lufthansa tends to have good availability to Europe making it somewhat easier to use to Europe than American, which relies heavily on British Airways and BA charges incredibly steep surcharges on those awards.

APR: 21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance
transfer fees:
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Author: Chris Dong
Editor: Dave Grossman
Total Rating:
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Last Updated: May 26, 2024
Intro bonus:
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Annual Fee:
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Benefits:
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Multipliers:
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Notify me of bonus offer changes
American Express is an Advertising Partner

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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(4.3) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Min Credit Score:
Good (670-739) *
Annual Fee:

Bonus Offer

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.

Bonus points for spend in the following bonus categories:

Earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare (booked directly with the airline or via AmexTravel.com and on prepaid hotels when booked via AmexTravel.com), up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.

5 x
Airfare
Estimated Rewards Value: 8.5%

Only when booked via AmexTravel.com; Otherwise, hotels will earn 1X points per dollar spent

5 x
Hotels
Estimated Rewards Value: 8.5%
1 x
Everything Else
Estimated Rewards Value: 1.7%
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 more
  • With over $1,800 in available statement credits, this is a premium travel rewards card with benefits galore. (Terms apply.) Note: Aside from the listed bonus categories, earn 1X on all other eligible purchases.
  • The Platinum card hasn't shed its travel roots, but it’s expanded beyond to become a lifestyle card with perks like Uber, Saks Fifth Avenue, Equinox, and more. (Enrollment required)
  • Amex Membership Rewards points are extremely flexible, with the option to redeem for travel directly through Amex Travel or transfer to a wide range of airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • A wide array of travel and lifestyle credits and exclusive access that can enhance your life.
  • There is no better card for the breadth and variety of airport lounge access worldwide. Plus, the Centurion Lounge network is the largest amongst credit card issuers.
  • One of the best cards to earn points on airfare: 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly with airlines or through the Amex Travel portal (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year).

Cons

  • High annual fee that will require a bit of work to fully maximize.
  • Besides airfare and select hotels, it's not the best card to use for other purchases as it only earns 1X on categories outside of flights booked directly with the airlines (5X) or through the Amex Travel portal (5X on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year) and 5X points for prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel.
  • Car rental insurance is only secondary, not primary as it is with premium cards from Chase and Capital One.
Annual Fee: $695
Foreign
Transaction Fee:
0%
Min Credit
Score:
Good (670-739) *
Point
Value:
$0.017

Instant Transfers as well as solid transfer partners. The value would go up if they had any hotel partners with a fair exchange rate. ANA (an exception to instant transfers), Virgin, Air Canada and Avianca are top airline partners for maximizing your points. They can also transfer to Delta if you wish and while the rates aren't ideal, they can transfer to Marriott and Hilton as well.  ANA provides almost unbeatable value for booking a Round the World flight all in Business Class. The stated value also assumes you will take advantage of transfer partners rather than book via their booking portal, where they are only worth between 1 and 1.5 cents. We've also created a Guide to American Express Membership Rewards.

Author: Chris Dong
Editor: Dave Grossman
Total Rating:
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Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Last Updated: May 26, 2024
Intro bonus:
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YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
Annual Fee:
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YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
Benefits:
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YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
Multipliers:
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YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
Notify me of bonus offer changes
American Express is an Advertising Partner

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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(4.4) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.