2021 Review: United Business Card – Great Overall Value
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The United Business Card provides a solid value for its annual fee. Along with the typical miles at United, cardholders get limited access to United Clubs and a variety of other valuable airline perks.
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Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We give the United℠ Business Card 5 out of 5 Stars. It offers plenty of perks that get you on the plane faster and enhance your flight while you’re there.
Why We Like It
- 2X miles per dollar for United purchases, plus other bonus categories
- First checked bag free for you and a companion
- Priority boarding
- 25% in-flight discount
- Two United Club one-time passes
- 5,000 bonus miles per year if you also have a personal United credit card
- No foreign transaction fee
Why It Could Be Better
- Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
If you’re a small business owner who flies with United Airlines, there’s no doubt this card would enhance your business trips. The benefits alone can be worth the annual fee, and the rewards are attractive as well.
You’ll get the most out of the United Business card if you’re flying relatively often, but even the occasional traveling businessperson would likely find value here as well. If you do book with United more often than not, there’s also the United Club℠ Business Card, United’s high-end travel card for business. It offers more benefits at the cost of a higher annual fee.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Stack miles with United: The United Business card provides 2X miles per dollar for United flights on top of any miles you’d earn from your regular member status. You’ll get that same rate in a number of other handy business categories, too, like office supplies and transit.
- Stand in line? Not today: Cardholders get free Priority Boarding (and so does everyone else on the same reservation), a perk that usually isn’t available for Basic Economy and, as of publication, usually costs $15 per person.
- Take a load off: If you’ve ever had airport lounge envy, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about with two United Club passes each year. United Clubs offer a relaxing place to work, with high-speed internet access and private phone booths, beverages (including alcohol) and snacks, and assistance with reservations. Lounge access is nice to have on a credit card; see the best cards for lounge access here.
- Save before you board and in the air: You’ll save money on every flight by getting your first checked bag free, for both you and a companion. During the flight you’ll get 25% off food, beverages, and WiFi, making long hauls a bit more tolerable.
- More than the sum of their parts: You’ll get 5,000 bonus miles every year after your cardmember anniversary if you have any of the personal United credit cards as well, like the United℠ Explorer Card (Review). That’s like getting an easy $50–$100 per year.
- If something goes wrong, check your card benefits: The United Business card comes with a nice set of travel and shopping protections, like trip delay and baggage delay reimbursement. Eligible car rentals even get primary coverage when renting for business purposes, as long as you decline the agency’s own insurance.
As long as you’re redeeming miles for United flights, they’ll likely be worth 1–2 cents. At that rate, you’d see a cash back equivalent of 7%–14% for United tickets and other purchases.
In addition to the rewards from the card, you’ll also earn at least 5X MileagePlus miles per dollar for United flights from the basic MileagePlus membership. If you were to increase your Premier status levels, you could earn 7X or even 11X miles per dollar on United flights.
In order to move through the ranks, you’ll need to earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) and fly a certain number of Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) in a calendar year. You’ll earn PQPs from most United flights and from a number of airlines United is partnered with. A PQF is a single United flight from takeoff to landing.
There are four membership tiers beyond the basic level and each one provides more amenities and bonus miles for United flights.
- Premier Silver status (7X bonus miles): 8 PQFs and 3,000 PQPs, or 3,500 PQPs
- Premier Gold (8X bonus miles): 16 PQFs and 6,000 PQPs, or 7,000 PQPs
- Premier Platinum (9X bonus miles): 24 PQFs and 9,000 PQPs, or 10,000 PQPs
- Premier 1K status (11X bonus miles): 36 PQFs and 13,500 PQPs, or 15,000 PQPs
Ready to book your next trip? Here are your options when it comes time to redeem your United miles.
- United award flights (Best value)
- Hotel stays, rental cars, or cruises
- United Club membership or in-flight WiFi
- Merchandise or gift cards
- Experiences and events
You can also buy, transfer, or donate your miles.
While there are plenty of choices, you’ll find the best value by redeeming miles for United award flights.
How Do I Redeem Miles for United Award Flights?
Just head to United’s website and search for your desired flight in the hard-to-miss box. Check the appropriate option to indicate you’d like to use your miles instead of money, and you’re good to go.
We’ve run through a selection of one-way United flights to give you an idea of what your miles could be worth:
|Flight||Mile Cost||Dollar Cost||Mile Value|
|PHX to ROC||24,800 + $5.60||$265.00||1.07 cents|
|PHL to IAH||14,500 + $5.60||$161.00||1.11 cents|
|JFK to LAX||14,500 + $5.60||$119.00||0.82 cents|
|SYR to SEA||34,700 + $5.60||$473.00||1.36 cents|
|CVG to MCO||14,500 + $5.60||$278.00||1.92 cents|
Keep in mind your mile values will look different based on when you’re flying and where you’re flying to and from. But from these examples, you can see there’s a lot of fluctuation in mile value, which is pretty standard.
From the best mile value, the flight from Cincinnati to Orlando, assuming you’re only a base MileagePlus member (2X miles from the card + 5X member miles = 7X miles per dollar), you’d get a cash back equivalent of 13.38%, which is pretty good.
For the lowest mile value, the flight from New York to L.A., you’d get a cash back equivalent of 5.73% which is significantly lower but still not a bad return on your spending. Yet, given how valuable a United mile can be, it’d be wise to wait until you can redeem for a better value — if it’s not a good deal, just pay as normal and earn more miles for next time.
The benefits are where the United Business card really shines. A lot of them will save you either time or money, and it’s pretty rare to see airport lounge access on a card like this.
- Free first checked bag: You and one companion get your first standard checked bags free on United flights.
- Priority Boarding: Include your MileagePlus number on your reservation to get primary boarding for you and all of your companions on your reservation, for United and United Express-operated flights.
- 25% in-flight discount: Get 25% back (in the form of a statement credit) for eligible purchases on United and United Express-operated flights. Eligible purchases include food, beverages, and WiFi.
- Two United Club passes: Each year you’ll get two United Club passes, which can be accessed via the United app or printed from United.com. Passes must be presented for entry.
- $100 United travel-related purchase credit: For each year that you make seven or more United travel-related purchases (each totaling $100 or more), you’ll earn a $100 United travel credit on your cardmember anniversary. Flight-related purchases include seat upgrades, in-flight food, beverages, and WiFi, baggage service charges, and other United fees.
- 5,000 mile better-together anniversary bonus: If you have a personal United credit card as well, you’ll automatically get 5,000 bonus miles every year after your cardmember anniversary.
- Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Reserve through the LHRC to get perks at eligible properties like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, early check-in/late checkout, and a benefit worth up to $100.
- Free employee cards: Get cards for your employees at no additional cost. Rewards are attributed to your account and individual spending limits can be set.
- Visa Signature Concierge: Call your concierge anytime for non-emergency help with tasks like finding good travel deals, trip research, and making reservations.
- Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance: Get up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip if your plans are canceled or cut short by covered situations, such as sickness or severe weather.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you can get up to $500 per ticket for unreimbursed expenses like meals and lodging.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If your checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you can be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Baggage Delay Insurance: If your bags don’t arrive when you do, you can be reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days for essential items like toiletries and clothing.
- Travel Accident Insurance: You’re covered up to $500,000 for accidental death and dismemberment when traveling by air, bus, train, or cruise.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Get coverage for theft and collision damage of rental cars if you decline the agency’s own coverage and pay for the entire rental with the card. This coverage is primary when renting for business purposes.
- Roadside Assistance: You’re covered up to $50 per incident, four times per year, in the event of an eligible roadside emergency (towing, jumpstarts, tire changes, locksmith, gas, etc.).
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Call for legal and medical referrals when away from home, or if you need emergency assistance.
- Purchase Protection: Eligible new purchases are covered for 120 days against damage and theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Extended Warranty Protection: Get up to one year added to eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|16.49% - 23.49% Variable||16.49% - 23.49% Variable||24.99% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99||$0|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater||Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Up to 29.99%||See Terms||See Terms|
The Bottom Line
You could certainly do worse than the United℠ Business Card. The benefits package is almost abnormally strong for a card at its level, and the rewards aren’t too shabby either.
Access to United Clubs is a nice touch and can provide some extra comfort if you find yourself in airports often. The added amenities like priority boarding and your first checked bag free are also solid time and money savers.
If you prefer to fly with United there’s plenty of value to be had here, particularly if you find yourself in the skies often.
If you don’t fly with United very much, or you have other travel expenses in mind too, check some of the other best credit cards for traveling business owners.
How Do I Apply for the United Business Card?
Follow the link below to learn more about how to apply.
Most applicants will get a decision right away, but in some cases Chase, the credit card issuer, may request more information.
What Credit Scores Do You Need to Get the United Business Card?
The United Business card is rated for excellent credit, which usually refers to FICO scores of at least 800, or VantageScores of at least 750.
But you don’t necessarily need scores like that to get approved; factors like business revenue and personal income play a role, along with others. So you may be approved with lower scores, or denied with higher scores.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal information: Name, date of birth, address, Social Security number or Employer Identification Number, personal income
- Business information: Authorizing officer title, business name, business financials
- United MileagePlus number (optional)
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the United Business Card and the United Explorer Business Card?
The United℠ Explorer Business Card was discontinued and replaced by the United Business Card.
What benefits come with the United Business Card?
You’ll get quite a nice selection of benefits with your card. Aside from the typical free employee cards perk, you’ll get a few more lucrative and useful benefits like priority boarding, your first checked bag free, a 25% in-flight discount, and two annual United Club passes.
Check out all the benefits you can expect with your card.
Alternatives to the United Business Card
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Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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