Comparing the New United and Delta No Annual Fee Credit Cards

United and Delta have recently introduced $0 annual fee credit cards. Many are wondering how these cards stack up against each other. If both credit cards earned airline miles, it would be a no-brainer: The United card would win. However, since the United card is actually more of a cash back card, it gets a little tricky. Here’s a breakdown of how the two cards stack up against each other:

Sign-up Bonus

The sign-up bonus is where the comparison gets interesting. The United TravelBank Card offers $150 in TravelBank credit after spending $1,000 within three months. What is TravelBank Credit? It’s cash towards flights booked on united.com. The great thing about this is that you’re not restricted to award space – book a flight and redeem whatever travel cash you have towards it. Consider it your personal travel piggy bank – except the funds can only be applied towards United flights.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles Card offers 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 within three months. These are straight airline miles. Sound good? Remember that we’re talking about Delta SkyMiles here. Award availability (and redemption rates) can be unpredictable. But if you can deal with that, then you might value 10,000 SkyMiles over $150 cash back.

Earnings Rate

The United TravelBank Card earns 1.5% in TravelBank cash on all purchases. The Blue Delta SkyMiles Card earns 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on everything. If you want a no-annual fee card that earns SkyMiles, then the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card is a good option. However, if you value the ability to earn travel cash for United flights, then the United TravelBank Card may be a better option.

I personally don’t see the appeal of the United card when it comes to regular spending. It’s no better than the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which also earns 1.5% cash back. Except, Freedom Unlimited rewards can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you have another UR-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. So those rewards could be potentially more valuable than the 1.5% TravelBank cash from the United card.

But how does it stack up against the SkyMiles card? It’s hard to say. I didn’t think I’d give the SkyMiles card the advantage over a United card, but I do think miles will come in handy more than cash back rewards. Besides, there are better alternatives than the United card if you just want 1.5% cash back.

Category Bonus

When it comes to category bonuses, the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card has the advantage yet again. The card earns 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on restaurant and Delta purchases. Meanwhile, the United TravelBank Card earns 2% in TravelBank cash on United airfare purchases. Clearly, the Delta card bonus is way more valuable and lucrative. This round goes to the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card.

Travel Benefits

The Blue Delta SkyMiles Card offers a 20% discount on in-flight purchases via statement credits, while the United TravelBank Card offers 25% back. These are pretty valuable benefits, but I’m calling this round a tie. After all, the winner depends entirely on which airline you personally fly most often. While the United card’s 25% discount is higher, it won’t be useful to those who fly Delta.

It’s difficult to compare two airline cards when both of them aren’t really airline miles. In the sense that one earns actual (Delta) SkyMiles and the other earns the equivalent of cash back. But if you’re looking for a card that earns airline miles and you’re somewhat flexible with your travel dates, then I would go with the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card. I don’t really see a reason to get the United Card, since it’s basically a 1.5% cash back card and the Freedom Unlimited is a better alternative.

But I want to hear from you: Which of these cards would you choose?

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a travel hacker and travel rewards expert who earns over 1.5 million miles every year. When she’s not contributing to Frugal Travel Guy, she publishes her own points and miles blog, PointChaser.com. You can connect…
All Articles | Follow on Google+

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank

Apply Now
Add to Favorites

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

Powered by WPeMatico

AdSense

Best Deals