MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card – Earns Travel Rewards

Prepaid cards keep getting more advanced and the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card is a perfect example. If you want a way to earn travel rewards without getting another credit card, this may be for you. Here’s our full review.

MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card

Chris Muller's rating
8.7
MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card
Fees 7.5
Mobile App 9.0
Customer Service 8.5
Rewards 9.0
Additional Features 9.5

Pros

  • Mobile app
  • Offers rewards
  • Easy to load money
  • Usage alerts
  • Virtual account numbers

Cons

  • Pricing
  • Highest rewards come with an annual fee
  • Fees can negate rewards
  • Rewards are capped
  • Limited customer support options

Table of Contents

When prepaid cards first came out, we didn’t see them coming with many benefits. You paid the fee to get the card and used it like a reloadable gift card.

But now they’re coming out with rewards and rivaling some credit cards.

Enter the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card. This card earns you substantial travel rewards for all of your purchases while maintaining the benefits of a prepaid card. In this article, I’ll review the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card so you can determine if its the right fit for your wallet or not.

Related: Why are Millennials Using Prepaid Credit Cards?

What Is the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card?

Mileage Plus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card

Mileage Plus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card

Sign Up Now
  • Earn miles on qualifying signature purchases, up to 2,500 miles each month.
  • No Credit Check
  • No interest payments
  • Use Anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted
  • Reload money for repeat use
  • Great option to manage expenses and spending
  • *Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. "Apply Now" for full details.


The MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card is a prepaid debit card offering you the ability to earn United MileagePlus® award miles, much like a credit card. You can use your card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, and you’ll earn miles on qualifying purchases in-store as well as shopping online. The nice thing about this card is that it offers many of the same benefits and features as a traditional bank account–only you earn miles on qualifying purchases instead of nothing.

It’s not a credit card, so there won’t be any credit check to get the card. That also means there are no late fees or interest charges to worry about. Also, the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card isn’t a gift card, meaning you can load and re-load money onto it whenever you want. Finally, there’s protection with the card–it’s FDIC insured through Republic Bank & Trust Company.

How Does It Work?

Getting started with the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card is honestly pretty easy. Here’s how it works:

1. Order a card

Ordering a card is pretty simple. All you need to do is fill out a few basic fields to start:

United Mileage Plus

2. Choose a design

You also get to pick a card design and color that suits your style before placing your order:

United Mileage Plus

3. Activate it and verify your identity

After you get your card in the mail (it usually takes about 7 to 10 business days), you’ll need to activate the card. This is done by simply clicking the link on the website or calling the 800 number listed. Before finalizing the activation, the law requires that your identity is verified.

According to their website:

“When you open a Card Account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and your government ID number. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying information.”

One thing to also note is that your usage may be restricted if you don’t verify your identity, including “no ATM withdrawals, international transactions, account-to-account transfers and additional loads.” Residents of Vermont are not eligible to open one of these accounts, based on state laws.

4. Choose a plan option

From here, you can choose a plan option that suits you best. Currently, the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card has two plans: Annual and Monthly (more on these below). The main difference is the amount you pay in fees and the number of miles you get in return.

5. Load it with money

After you activate the card, verify your identity, and choose a plan, you can load your card with cash to be able to make purchases immediately. One option is to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck to automatically fund the card. This is a great feature if you’re looking to use your prepaid card for daily purchases and don’t want to worry about constant re-loading. You can also transfer money from other accounts via ACH, or load money onto it at any one of the 130,000 Netspend Reload Network locations.

6. Start earning miles

Once there’s money loaded, you can start using your card anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted. This means you can use it online, in a physical store, or over the phone. Two very important things to note here:

  1. Your mileage earn is limited to 2,500 miles per month. Even if you spend more money and technically earn more miles, you’ll be capped at 2,500.
  2. If you use your card in a store, you have to select “credit” and process the transaction as a credit card. If you process it as a debit card (i.e., using a PIN) you won’t earn miles.

Key Features

For something that isn’t a credit card, it sure acts like one. This thing is loaded with features:

Anytime Alerts

One of my favorite features on my Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that I can set up alerts to notify me any time the card is used. To some, this can become very annoying, but I love knowing exactly when my card is being swiped or charged so I can monitor for fraudulent activity. The MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card has this feature (don’t worry, you can turn it on and off) that allows you to get texts or emails each time a transaction goes onto your card.

Online Account Center

Okay, bear with me. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. Many prepaid cards offer a barebones experience when you’re looking to manage your account online. In fact, I just drained one of my prepaid cards (it shall remain nameless–and don’t worry, it’s not one we recommend) because of how terrible the online experience was. All I could do was see transactions, and the site looked like it was from 1995. Not good.

Here, you’ll get an online dashboard where you can not only see transactions, but view miles earned, manage your preferences for the account, and even set up budgets. It’s awesome.

Competitive Savings Rate

On balances up to $1,000, you’ll earn a super-competitive rate of 5.00% APY. Because of the fees, some of these earnings will be wiped out, but it’s an excellent bonus feature to have, knowing that your money isn’t sitting stale.

Virtual Card Numbers

Virtual card numbers is a feature that my old Bank of America credit card had, but I haven’t seen it much since. It’s a very secure way of shopping online because you essentially create a fake credit card number that connects to your account on the backend. The frontend (where you input your card and the merchant sees your number) will completely hide your real account number. So if the number is stolen, you don’t have to worry.

Related: Should You Use a Masked Credit Card for Online Shopping?

Deposit Options

One of the nice things about this card is how simple it is to add funds. You can go to a Netspend Reload Network location (of which there are 130,000) and load money onto the card via cash or check. You can also set up direct deposit from your paycheck, transfer funds from another account, or snap a picture of a check using the mobile app.

Pricing/Fees

The pricing for the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card is pretty straightforward and transparent. You have two pricing options, which I’ll break down below:

Monthly Plan

  • Fee: $5.95 per month
  • Miles Earning: Earn one (1) mile for each $2.00 of an eligible qualifying activity
  • Signature Purchase Transaction Fee: Included in the plan
  • PIN Purchase Transaction Fee: Included in the plan
  • Foreign Transaction Surcharge: 3.5% of the U.S. dollar amount of the purchase transaction

Annual Plan

  • Fee: $85 per year
  • Miles Earning: Earn one (1) mile for each $1.00 of an eligible qualifying activity
  • Signature Purchase Transaction Fee: Included in the plan
  • PIN Purchase Transaction Fee: Included in the plan
  • Foreign Transaction Surcharge: 3.5% of the U.S. dollar amount of the purchase transaction

So the main difference is the annual plan gives you 1 mile for every dollar spent, whereas the monthly plan gives you 1 mile for every two dollars you spend. With the annual plan, they say this about closure:

“If you decide to close your Card Account at any point during the first three (3) calendar months following your first $85.00 Annual Plan Fee payment, the Plan Fee will be prorated over a twelve (12) month period and any unused portion of the Plan Fee will be refunded to you as part of the account closure process (excluding the portion of the fee corresponding to the first calendar month).”

So you’re not married to keeping the card open if you decide to close it out before three months.

There are other specific account stipulations around pricing you’ll want to be aware of, so just make sure you read the fine print around all the fees on the account.

Security

Both the website and app are secure. In addition, your money is FDIC insured. Once you activate your account and verify your identity, your funds become FDIC-insured “up to the standard maximum deposit limit by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC.” If you have other money with Republic Bank & Trust Company, the funds on your card will be considered combined with those funds.

Mobile Accessibility

The MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card comes with an accompanying mobile app that allows you to monitor your spending, keep tabs on the miles you’ve earned, locate spots to add cash to the card, deposit checks, or transfer money to someone else.

Customer Service/Support

Customer service is available through email, phone, or regular old mail. For email support, you can send a secure message after you log into your account–either online or through the app–or you can send an email directly to customerservice@netspend.com (the card is managed by Netspend). Alternatively, you can call their customer support 8am-10pm Central, Monday through Friday, or 8am-8pm Central on Saturday and Sunday. Finally, if you want to send a letter to Netspend (though I can’t imagine why you would for support), you can.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Mobile App: With extra features such as budgeting.
  • Offers rewards: One of the few prepaid cards that actually offers rewards. Rewards are excellent, even compared to some credit cards.
  • Easy to load money: There are multiple options for loading and reloading your balance.
  • Usage alerts: This is helpful in case your card is stolen.
  • Virtual account numbers: Makes online shopping easy and safe.
  • Customer support: Accessible via email and phone. Though 24-hour assistance isn’t available, there’s a full 12 hours on Saturdays and Sundays where you can get a hold of someone.

Cons:

  • Pricing: It’s a little higher than we would like.
  • Highest rewards come with an annual fee: You have to sign up for an annual fee if you want the best rewards.
  • Fees can negate rewards: Unless you use the card enough.
  • Rewards are capped: You won’t be able to earn more than 2,500 miles per month.
  • Limited customer support options: No text or chat support.

Alternatives

The Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card is a good comparable card, and it doesn’t come with the same fees that this card does. One thing you won’t get is the rewards, but if you’re just using the card for budgeting it might be a better pick. Another great card is the Walmart MoneyCard® Visa® with Cash-Back Rewards, which comes with excellent rewards: you earn 3% cash-back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Murphy USA and Walmart Fuel Stations, and 1% cash-back at Walmart, up to $75 in cash-back rewards per year. Check out our full list of best prepaid cards for more information.

Related: Best Prepaid Cards for Traveling

Who Is It For?

The MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card is definitely for someone who wants to earn travel rewards but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of a credit card (i.e., credit checks, bills, and interest charges). If you’re looking to earn rewards to put toward travel in a simple and straightforward way, without draining your wallet, this is a great choice.

Also Read: 8 Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a prepaid card that earns rewards, this is one to look at. The MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card comes with similar rewards to that of a credit card and, while there are fees, they aren’t outrageous if you use the card enough. We highly recommend the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card for travelers and anyone looking to better manage their spending on a day to day basis.

Topics: Credit CardsReviewsTravel

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