United Airlines Business Card Review (2020)

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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Chase and United Airlines have had a close relationship for years. As part of that, they have several co-branded credit cards, and you can also transfer points from Ultimate Rewards to MileagePlus.

In this post I wanted to take a look at United’s newest business card — the UnitedSM Business Card — which was just recently introduced. This is a very well thought out card that many small businesses could get value out of.

United Airlines Business Card Review

The new United Airlines Business Card is a card worth considering for your small business if you fly United with any frequency. The card has a massive welcome bonus, offers some useful bonus categories, and comes with perks that can more than offset the card’s annual fee.

Let’s look at what you need to know about this card in more detail.

United Business Card 60K Miles Bonus

The United Business Card is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 MileagePlus bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Personally I value United miles at ~1.4 cents each, so to me those bonus miles are worth $840.


Redeem your United miles towards a Polaris ticket

Card Eligibility & Restrictions

The welcome bonus on this card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months.

Even though this card replaces the United Explorer Business Card, it is considered a separate product. This means you’re eligible even if you have the Explorer Card.

In addition to that, there are the typical restrictions when applying for Chase cards, including the 5/24 rule.

United Business Card $99 Annual Fee

The United Business Card has a reasonable $99 annual fee for the primary cardmember. That’s not bad at all when you consider the perks (which I’ll talk more about below), which will lead to many people coming out way ahead.

You can also add authorized users to the card at no extra cost.

United Business Card Rewards Structure: Earn Up To 2x Miles

While I wouldn’t say the bonus categories are industry leading, the United Business Card does offer bonus miles on some purchases. With the card you can earn 2x MileagePlus miles on:

  • United Airlines purchases
  • Local transit and commuting, including taxis, mass transit, tolls, and ride sharing services
  • Gas stations
  • Office supply stores
  • Restaurants

Earn 2x miles on transit

You can earn 1x miles on all other purchases.

While there are lots of cards offering bonus categories nowadays, I’d say that’s a pretty well-rounded rewards structure for an airline credit card.


Earn double miles for United purchases with the card

No Foreign Transaction Fees

This United Airlines business credit card has no foreign transaction fees, so this is a good card to use for purchases abroad. Visa has excellent global acceptance, and you may even find yourself earning bonus miles for purchases abroad, including at restaurants.

Use your card abroad with no foreign transaction fees

United Business Card Benefits

The United Airlines Business Card has an incredible welcome bonus and fairly solid rewards structure for an airline small business credit card. The good news is that the card has great perks as well.

This is true whether you’re an occasional United flyer, or whether you’re an elite member who is looking for extra perks.

Here’s what you need to know about all the benefits offered by this card.

Free First Checked Bag

The primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation receive a standard free first checked bag when flying United or United Express. In order to be eligible for this, you have to pay for your ticket with your United Airlines credit card.

United charges $30 for a first checked bag, so this is a value of up to $120 on a roundtrip ticket.

Two United Club Passes Annually

For having the card you receive two United Club passes annually. This includes when you open your card, and in any subsequent years. These will automatically be deposited into your Mileage Plus account within four weeks.

A United Club pass ordinarily costs $50, so that’s a value of up to $100.


Two annual United Club passes is a nice perk

Priority Boarding

For having the card you and your companions receive priority boarding on United and United Express flights. You can board before general boarding, after customers with Premier Access and those requiring special assistance. This would be in Group 2.

Receive priority boarding as a cardmember

25% Back On Inflight Purchases

For having the United Business Card you receive 25% back in the form of statement credits on purchases of food, beverages, and wifi, on United operated flights, when you pay with your United Business Card.

The statement credit should post within 24 hours of your eligible purchase posting to your statement.

$100 Annual United Travel Credit

Every anniversary year you can receive a $100 United Travel Credit on your United Business Card if you make at least seven United flight travel-related purchases, each totaling at least $100.

This includes purchases like seat upgrades, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages, and wifi, baggage service charges, or other United fees.

The statement credit will post to your account within 24 hours of your seventh qualifying purchase of $100 or more.

Anniversary Bonus Of 5,000 Miles

Every year on your account anniversary you receive 5,000 bonus miles if you have this card in conjunction with a personal United credit card, like the United℠ Explorer Card (review).

That’s a pretty awesome incentive to keep both a personal and business card, and frankly, it’s a really smart incentive for United to offer, given that many personal and business cards have overlapping benefits.

Premier Upgrades On Award Tickets

All United MileagePlus elite members ordinarily receive complimentary upgrades on domestic flights, though this only applies on cash tickets. However, if you have the United Business Card, you also receive Premier upgrades on award tickets.

This applies to the primary cardmember on United and United Express flights. Travel companions and authorized users aren’t eligible for this benefit.

Receive Premier upgrades on award tickets if you have this card

Expanded Award Availability

For having a United co-branded credit card you get access to expanded award availability. Just log into your MileagePlus account, and you should have access to more EveryDay Award level tickets, with no blackout dates.

Obviously the value of this varies depending on where you’re trying to go.

Get access to more award availability as a cardmember

Earn Premier Qualifying Points Towards Status

Spending money on the United Business Card can help you earn MileagePlus status, even with the recent changes to the program:

  • Earn 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 spent in a calendar year
  • Earn up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year through the credit card
  • The PQPs can be applied up to Premier Platinum status (though not to Premier 1K status)

Ultimately this won’t get you that far towards status, but is better than nothing. As a reminder, here are United’s elite requirements as of 2020:

Trip Delays & Lost Luggage Protection

The United Business Card offers a variety of protection benefits when traveling, assuming you pay for purchases with your card. These features include the following:

  • Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance — be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip when your trip is canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather, etc.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger if you or your immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by an airline
  • Baggage Delay Insurance — be reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours

Make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.

Primary Car Rental Coverage

The United Business Card offers a primary collision damage waiver benefit. Just decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.

Coverage is primary when renting for business purposes and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most cars in the US and abroad.

Is The United Business Card Worth It?

In general, I don’t recommend using airline credit cards for everyday spending, unless you have a specific reason to do so.

In the case of the United Airlines Business Card, I think this is a card that’s worth getting for the solid bonus it offers and the long-term perks, which can more than offset the annual fee. That being said, I don’t think this card is worth spending money on:

  • The ability to earn PQPs is fairly limited with this card, and doesn’t justify the spending requirement
  • While the card has some bonus categories, there are ultimately better credit cards for airfare purchases, gas stations, restaurants, etc.

What perks make this card worthwhile? For non-elite members, the priority boarding and first checked bag free could really come in handy.

For elite members, the upgrades on award tickets and the ability to earn PQPs could come in handy.

Then for everyone, the United Club passes, 25% inflight savings, expanded award availability, 5,000 bonus miles for having two United cards, and more, could come in handy.

This really is quite a perks-rich card, in my opinion.

Other Ways To Earn United Miles

The one thing I’d note is that while this is a great card for the perks, if you actually want to earn MileagePlus miles through spending, remember that MileagePlus is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so you can convert Ultimate Rewards points into United miles at a 1:1 ratio.

There are so many great Ultimate Rewards cards that earn points at a potentially faster rate than you’d earn directly through United, so that’s something worth considering.

See this post for the best credit cards for earning United miles.

There are lots of credit cards that can earn you United miles

What Happened To The United Explorer Business Card?

The new United Airlines Business Card can potentially be confusing, because up until recently there was the $95 annual fee United Explorer Business Card. What’s going on here? Is this simply an update to that card?

Sort of, but not really, it would seem.

The United Explorer Business Card seems to have stopped accepting applications, and at least for the time being, those with the Explorer Business Card won’t automatically be converted to the United Business Card.

However, existing Explorer Business Card customers can call Chase and should be able to product change to the new card if they’d like.

On top of that, it would appear to me that people would be eligible for both cards as well, so if you already have the Explorer Business Card, you could also apply outright for the United Business Card.

United Business Card Summary

The United Airlines Business Card has a solid welcome bonus, which many small business owners might find useful.

I love seeing card issuers get more creative with benefits, especially for loyal customers. For example, I think it’s innovative how they’re offering bonus miles if you have both a personal and business United credit card, and how they’re offering a $100 United credit if you make seven purchases of select United products for $100 each.

If you don’t yet have this card and are eligible, I’d highly recommend prioritizing it.

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Comments
  1. The T&C defines the $100 travel credit as:

    $100 United Annual Travel Credit
    Each anniversary year that you make seven (7) United flight travel-related purchases, each totaling $100 or more, with your UnitedSM Business Card, you will receive a $100 statement credit. United flight travel-related purchases include seat upgrades; Economy Plus®; inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi; baggage service charges or other United fees.

    Seems like it doesn’t include airfare?

  2. As @Igloo mentioned, if the $100 credit is dependent on spending a minimum of $700 in non-airfare purchases in 7 transactions, that is a VERY HUGE restriction, especially for United loyalists. I’m assuming most loyalists would have some status (otherwise there is NO value in being “loyal” to any particular airline) and if you have status (even Silver status), then baggage chargers, food, beverage and Wi-Fi would not hit the $100 mark so they wouldn’t count. Which just leaves seat selection (so no use for Gold or higher).

    This just sounds like a trap. Why would you even list food, beverage and Wi-Fi if they are never going to reach the $100 threshold in a single transaction ?

  3. Anybody know if this card also gives access to better award availability? Usually United cards seem to advertise this is a benefit, but I glanced through the Chase webpage for the card and didn’t see this listed…

    Thanks!

  4. Bait and switch. Don’t get your hopes up for a international flat bed seat on United. A study found that saver awards only appeared on 4% of United’s searches. “Consulting firm IdeaWorks did 3,600 searches for two business- or first-class awards on 18 different airlines.United had two seats available at the Saver level on only 4% of the queries made. Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks, calls that result “a heart-stopping statistic.” Delta was only slightly better, at 14%, while American came in at a somewhat more respectable 28%.” United wants the credit card promotions and the big bucks for the lay flat seats from the big spenders not the award seekers.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-seats-airlines-hold-back-from-frequent-fliers-11579694401

  5. Their miles are junk now. If you have $10k to spend in 3 months and no better card to get go for it. Their $100 credit is even worse than other airline credits as it’s making manufacture $700 in QUALIFIED spending to get it. Definitely good for someone who travels a lot and on US.

  6. “Their miles are junk now.” quoting EC2 above post. – Not quite junk but severely devalued.

    Why would any person want this card or any other United/Chase card after what United did to its frequent flier program last November?

    For years I was able to get international business saver awards for 60,000 miles each way. After United gutted its mileage plus program, those same flights are now 240,000 miles each way. Yes, four times as much as they cost just prior to the gutting.

    Saying it another way, the remaining hundreds of thousands of United miles I had in my MileagePlus account became devalued to about one/fourth their value with United’s recent slaughtering of its frequent flier program.

    “arshi008” (above) pointed out United’s not-so easily achievable “benefits” of the credits and the related restrictions associated with the new business card.

    Even though I still retain United/Chase credit cards, I no longer spend on those cards for anything except for a United ticket.

    What would have been good six months ago (the large 100,000 miles credit card sign-up bonus) now would not pay even one-half of what formerly cost me to obtain an international saver ticket on United.

    It is no wonder that the sign-up bonuses are getting larger. Even with a larger bonus, it does not make up for the severe devaluation of the United miles.

  7. @Ed A:
    Anybody who’s been in the points and miles game for more than 5 minutes could tell you the value of United miles doesn’t come from redeeming them on United metal.

  8. “On top of that, it would appear to me that people would be eligible for both cards as well, so if you already have the Explorer Business Card, you could also apply outright for the United Business Card.“

    Any data points out there to confirm this?

  9. Lucky, trying to use your referral link right now for this card and it seems like your link is broken. Can you check it and email me back the correct one?

  10. wish they had made the $100 credit somewhat more usable for elites. Instead of $100 x 7, i wouldn’t mind even having a higher spend requirement if they would include airfare or alternately not require $100 min for a single purchase

  11. ‘All United MileagePlus elite members ordinarily receive complimentary upgrades on domestic flights, though this only applies on cash tickets. However, if you have the United Business Card, you also receive Premier upgrades on award tickets.”

    Ha! It’s damn near impossible to score the upgrade as a 1K on a purchased ticket. Good luck using this to get an upgrade on an award ticket.

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