United Club, Ritz-Carlton, AmEx Platinum What $395 to $450 a year buys you

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This has been a strange month indeed with two new heavy hitter cards coming in the mail, the Ritz-Carlton as well as the United Club Credit card. These things don’t just come in the mail in regular envelopes, but rather giant display boxes suitable for your book shelf.

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Ritz Carlton Rewards Finally Surpasses Amex Platinum

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I’ve noticed a biding war between Amex Platnum and Chase Ritz Carlton over the past two years as the flagship wallet candy. Now they are offering 2 nights at a tier 4 hotel (valued at 60k ritz points per night), So I went ahead and got the card despite the $395 price tag. Outright the yearly cost paid for itself by reimbursing me for a $600 upgrade to business first for my wife from SFO to NRT. They paid me back $300 for the upgrade. The remaining $95 was made up for in the access to lounge club which is better than the priority pass by allowing a guest to join you in the airport lounge. (mind you less lounges). However the free gold status on Marriott and Ritz Carlton was well worth it. This gives you access to the Marriott lounge, free breakfast or additional points during any stay.

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United Club Credit Card: Waved $450 annual fee per SCRA

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I called Chase today and inquired on upgrading my Explorer card to a Club card. They first explained that I was covered under the SCRA which includes the waver of the $450 annual fee. So why would I not do it? I think they are trying to take a lot of business away from Amex Platinum by also going above and beyond the SCRA and waiving annual fees for baller credit cards. Additionally Chase prides itself in hiring veterans by advertising a tally on exactly how many veterans they hire. Maybe they read this blog and are using me as some sort of military viral marketing shill. Anyways, I’ll take it!

So I did this as a conversion of an existing account to another (a product change). This has the benefit of not hitting my credit with an inquiry as well as maintaining the age of the account. Since your credit score is based on average account age, you will not lower it with a new account. Downside is you don’t get the sign up bonus. In the case of this card, was a measly $100 statement credit. Not worth opening a new line of credit for that.

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United Mileage Explorer Card: Everybody’s First Card

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When I lived in Chicago and flew out of O’Hare it seemed like the United Credit Card was heavily advertised in the airport and in the seat back pockets of every flight. I don’t know how I ended up with it, but I’ve see many AD members with it because they never looked for another card since getting this one. The card does earn Mileage Plus Miles on United which can be used to book on many Star Alliance flight from Okinawa such as ANA and EVA Air. The card replaced the United Mileage Plus card from Chase, it now offers 2 lounges passes annually as well as a free bag to check (which military get anyways). The only bonus Mileage is that you get 2x Miles on United Airline ticket charges another plus is no foreign transaction fees. Overall this is pretty weak as compared to 3x points on Amex Business Gold or which can be used to book on United via ANA another Star Alliance Partner. Better yet you can earn 2x Ultimate reward points on Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and use those for United.

The only reason I have this card is that on its anniversary I alway negotiate for more miles by suggesting that I have no need for both the Sapphire Preferred and the united card. Usually I get the offer for $150 or 15,000 miles. Go for the miles!

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