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On the heels of the terrible United passenger removal incident, I recently shared things you can do with your United miles other than actually flying United…without just letting the miles expire or redeeming them for something uninspiring like a microwave . Either because of being wary of the in-flight experience, or to be a part of a wallet driven protest, there are those who are stating they don’t want to fly United ever again. As part of that protest, some are also cutting up their co-branded United credit cards since they are done with the airline and its frequent flyer program.
I actually think this event may be a tipping point for passenger treatment on United and other airlines, so while I am beyond horrified at what happened on United flight 3411, I’m not cutting up anything at this point. However, even if you are truly done with using your United credit card, I actually advise against just “cutting it up” (or canceling it) right this second for a few reasons.
- If you cancel the card you lose the flight protection benefits for future flights. If you used your United card to book upcoming travel on United or elsewhere you likely have built-in protections in the event you get sick and have to cancel your travels, your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled, or your bags are lost or damaged. It is probably worth it to hold onto the card until those trips that were paid for with the card are in the rearview mirror.
- You will lose your United priority boarding and checked bag benefits without the United card. The United Explorer Card awards the primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation a first free checked bag, as well as priority Zone 2 boarding. If you are in need of the checked bag benefit it can otherwise cost you $25 for a first checked bag of up to 50 lbs for each direction of travel without the car. If you are traveling on a United Basic Economy fare these perks can be even more important since even a full sized carry-on will cost extra on those fares!
- The United MileagePlus Explorer Card provides primary rental auto coverage for damage due to collision or theft. This primary coverage is still relatively rare in the credit card world, so if you ever rent cars, make sure you have another credit card that provides that coverage before dumping your United card.
- Don’t lose extended warranty and purchase protections. Similarly to how the United card has some built-in protections for trips you charged to the card, it does the same for many of your everyday purchases. The Purchase Protection benefit covers eligible purchased items against theft, damage or loss for 120 days up to $10,000. This can be very handy if you damage or loss a new electronic like a phone! Additionally, the card provides an year of an extended warranty on many items and price purchase protection for 90 days on many items. I have used almost all of these benefits at some point to save my family real money and stress.
Whenever I decide I want to cancel a credit card for whatever reason I try to stop using it for a while before I actually cancel so that I don’t lose travel and purchase protections I otherwise would have had. If you have been actively using your United credit card or have any upcoming United trips you may want to hold off canceling until you are sure you don’t need any of the built-in protections.
If you do decide you want to close your account and be done with it, remember to actually call Chase to cancel the card and/or request the account be closed via secure message online so you don’t get hit with another annual fee when your anniversary date comes around.
I’m curious if the events surrounding United 3411 caused you to re-evaluate any of your future dealings with United?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.