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Practicing Prudence in Picking Travel Cards
10 Apr 2012 EDT - The New York Times
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Naomi Matusow said she called about the card and “was very disappointed to learn that the annual fee is $395, not the very enticing $95 stated in your column.” She said she was told that $95 of that $395 fee would be waived for the first year.

Bad information? No. As I replied to Ms. Matusow, she was evidently being sold another card. The day after I mentioned United’s Explorer card, United and Chase introduced a new higher-end Visa card called MileagePlus Club. That one costs $395 a year, with $95 credited for the first year. It has the same benefits as the Explorer card, but also offers many extras, including a year of full membership to United Club airport lounges. The usual general membership in United Club is $475 a year.

The various credit card offers, which seem to come every day, are aimed at increasing airline revenue and building loyalty or, for the higher-level cards, to compete with industry giants like the American Express Platinum Card. That card costs $450 a year, but offers a wide range of benefits including free access to the airport clubs of Delta , American and US Airways (but not United), $200 in annual reimbursements for various airline fees and elite-status membership in various car rental companies.

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