Best United Airlines Credit Cards

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile at a Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. We choose our OMAAT Picks based on the combination of benefits the card provides, and the ability to earn outsized rewards. Thanks for your support!

Updated: 6 days ago

United Airlines flies to 355 different cities across the world, including 234 destinations in the United States. Their route network is bolstered by their many Star Alliance partners that can take you to nearly every corner of the globe. By knowing how to earn and redeem United MileagePlus miles, a trip that previously felt out of reach may soon become affordable!

There are a few different credit cards that exclusively earn United miles, and several more that earn points which can be transferred directly to your MileagePlus Account. We have booked hundreds of flights with United miles and we can help you guide you to the best United Credit cards for your needs!

Best United Credit Card Offers of October 2019

The four United credit cards all offer substantial welcome bonuses that can quickly boost your mileage balance and get you the miles you need for your next trip. Additionally, each card will help earn miles for your everyday spending. The annual fees associated with each card vary, and the cards with higher fees come with extra benefits.

Once you’ve earned United miles, redeeming them is quite straightforward. Unlike some other frequent flyer programs, searching on United’s website shows flight availability from all of their Star Alliance partners (with a few exceptions). Not to mention, the taxes you pay on United award tickets are minimal, and you won’t be paying the dreaded fuel surcharges that some other programs charge.

The welcome bonuses on the United cards fluctuate, but we monitor these changes diligently and will keep you informed with the best offers. Here are the best United Airlines credit card offers available today:

Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles

United℠ Explorer Business Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $95
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card is great for road warriors as you earn 2 United miles per $1 spend on categories that you tend to have the most expenses on, plus priority boarding for you and companions on the same reservation on United-operated flights, a free checked bag, and two one-time United Club℠ passes each year.

Read our Review

Current Offer

  • Earn up to 100,000 after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Plus, 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open

Card Details
Earn 2 miles per $1 at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

on Chase's secure site
Receive United Club℠ Membership

United Club℠ Business Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $450
The card details for the United Club℠ Business Card have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card is great if you fly on United quite often as you receive United Club membership, earn 1.5 United miles on everyday transactions, and receive Premier Access® benefits when traveling on United-operated flights.

Current Offer
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Card Details
Get United Club Access -- up to a $550 value per year; 2X miles per $1 spent on United purchases; 1.5X miles per $1 spent on all other purchases; Free first and second checked bags

on Chase's secure site
40,000 bonus miles

United℠ Explorer Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card comes with some worthwhile benefits for United flyers, especially the PQD waiver for $25k in annual spend.

Read our Review

Current Offer
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Card Details
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

on Chase's secure site
Enjoy United Club℠ membership

United Club℠ Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $450
The card details for the United Club℠ Card have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card is great for United flyers, as you get an included United Club membership, earn 1.5-2 miles per $1 on all transactions, and receive Premier Access® benefits when traveling on United-operated flights.

Current Offer
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Card Details
United ClubSM membership – up to a $550 value per year; Earn rewards faster with 1.5 miles per $1 spent on purchases; Earn even more miles on tickets purchased from United – 2 miles per $1 spent; Free first and second checked bags

on Chase's secure site

How To Earn The Most United Miles

The United credit cards offer great ways to earn MileagePlus miles quickly, thanks to the welcome bonuses. However, there are a few other cards from Chase that can help you earn United miles even faster.

For example, while the United Explorer cards – both business and personal – earn 2 points per dollar spent on both United Airlines purchases and restaurants, you could actually earn miles more quickly by collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio directly to your MileagePlus account, and offer bonuses on many different spending categories:

Each of these cards comes with a welcome bonus as well, and the Ultimate Rewards points you earn can be transferred to several other loyalty programs as well as United MileagePlus.

United Frequent Flyer Benefits

The United MileagePlus offers a number of benefits, whether you fly just a few times a year or fly constantly for work and are approaching Global Services level. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, here are a few of the biggest perks to your United MileagePlus membership:

  1. No fuel surcharges on award flights — As we mentioned earlier, United is unique among frequent flyer programs in that you never need to pay fuel surcharges when redeeming award flights. This can end up saving you hundreds compared to using other programs, especially when redeeming for long-haul business and first class flights. Speaking of which…
  2. Great last-minute availability to Europe — United’s Star Alliance partners Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines consistently release award space in the last few weeks before a flight, even in business class.
  3. Stopovers on roundtrip awards — Visit two cities within the same region on your trip, without spending any extra miles.
  4. For the very frequent flyers: excellent upgrade availability — For flyers who earn United 1K Status, United has Global Premier Upgrade space, even on extremely competitive routes like those between the US and Australia.

United Credit Card Benefits

The United credit cards come with a range of benefits to make your everyday spend more rewarding and your airport experience more pleasant, no matter which you choose:

  1. Free Checked Bags — You and a companion can each check a bag for free (or 2 with the United Club card).
  2. United Club Access — Earn either 2 United club passes each year with the United℠ Explorer Card or United℠ Explorer Business Card, or earn unlimited access with the United Club card.
  3. Increased Award Space — Cardmembers have access to extra economy award space on United flights, which is a unique United credit card benefit.
  4. No Foreign Transaction Fees — While you’re traveling abroad with your newly-earned miles, use your card without worrying about paying extra in exchange fees.
  5. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit — Earn a statement credit for your application fees to either Global Entry or PreCheck (only on the United Explorer Personal card).
  6. Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) Waiver — If you’re aiming for United status, spending $25,000 on a United credit card waives the spend requirement for Premier Gold or Premier Platinum.

There are a few restrictions on these cards:

  • You can only earn the welcome bonus on a card if you do not currently have that card AND you have not earned the signup bonus on that card in the last 24 months
  • However, you can earn the welcome bonuses on two separate cards; for example you could get the United Club card and the United Explorer personal card.
  • Business cards are different “card products” than their personal counterpart, so you could even get the welcome bonuses on both the United Explorer personal card and the United Explorer business card
  • These cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened 5 new credit cards in the last 24 months, you may not be approved

So, what is the best United credit card for you?

Best Overall (Plus transfer points to United)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardApply Now
Best Overall Business (Plus transfer points to United)
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardApply Now
Best for Lounge Access
United Club℠ CardApply Now
Best Business Lounge Access
United Club℠ Business CardApply Now
Best for Free Checked Bags (Ideal for occasional flyers)
United℠ Explorer CardApply Now
Best Business Benefits (Free bags & PQD waivers)
United℠ Explorer Business CardApply Now

United MileagePlus miles are easy to earn and generally quite easy to use. With the welcome bonus and extra award availability, the United credit cards can make these even easier.

For those of you who fly United just a few times a year, we can’t say enough about the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which have a great welcome bonus, a reasonable annual fee, and points that can be used for more than just United flights. You can transfer the points you need to MileagePlus for your flight, and transfer the points leftover to Hyatt so you can save on your lodging as well!

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