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2021 Review: United Business Card – Great Overall Value

Updated Sep 09, 2021 | Published Mar 29, 202111 min read

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United℠ Business Card

Min Credit Level Excellent
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Regular APR 16.49% - 23.49% Variable
At a glance

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
United℠ Business Card
  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
  • Purchase APR16.49% - 23.49% Variable

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.

The Rewards

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.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 2X miles per dollar on:
    • United purchases
    • Local transit, commuting, and rideshare services
    • Gas stations
    • Office supply stores
    • Restaurants
  • 1X mile per dollar on every other purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 75,000 bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

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

Redeeming

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

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.

Insider tip

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)
United℠ Business Card
  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
  • Purchase APR16.49% - 23.49% Variable

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.

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Alternatives to the United Business Card

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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR18.24%–25.24% Variable
  • 2X miles per dollar spent on United Airlines purchases
  • 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 100,000 bonus miles for spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • First and second checked bags are free for you and one companion
  • MileagePlus Premier® members may receive free upgrades when traveling on an award ticket
  • Current United Club members can apply and be reimbursed for the unused portion of your membership once approved
  • No close-in awards booking fees on United tickets
  • Unlimited miles that never expire
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates
  • $450 annual fee
Why We Picked It

The United Club℠ Business Card is the high-end business travel card offered by United.

The fee is substantially higher than that of the United Business card, but you’ll get more from the benefits, especially the United Club membership. Whereas with the United Business card you’re limited to two passes a year, with this card you’ll enjoy full access as long as you have a same-day United boarding pass (or a pass for another eligible flight).

If you’re often traveling for business, this card could make it a little easier on you.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 2X miles per dollar spent on United Airlines purchases
  • 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 100,000 bonus miles for spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Key Features
  • United Club membership: The primary cardholder and eligible companions can access United Clubs and Star Alliance-affiliated lounges around the world.
  • Free first and second checked bags: You and one traveling companion on the same reservation won’t have to worry about checked bag fees for two of your bags.
  • Premier upgrades on award tickets: If you’re traveling on an award flight and are a MileagePlus Premier member, you can take advantage of complimentary premier upgrades for your flight (when available).
  • Premier Access travel services: Expedite your airport experience with priority check-in, security screening (where available), and boarding and baggage handling privileges.
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle: You can enroll in the top tier of the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Program for a 50% bonus to Gold Plus Reward Points, exclusive offers, upgrades, and more.
  • Free employee cards: You can add employees as authorized users for no additional charge.
  • Travel protections: Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, and primary rental car insurance
  • Shopping protections: Purchase protection, price protection, return protection, and extended warranty protection
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$199
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • NEW! Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • NEW! Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
Why We Picked It

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card (Review) is one of many cards offered by Southwest, and likely the better business credit card.

You could probably get a better value here than with the United card, if Southwest is your airline of choice. Depending on the level of airfare you buy, you could see cash back equivalents of at least 13.5%–22.5%. However, the benefits that come with the Southwest card aren’t as impressive as what the United card offers, despite the annual fee being higher.

On the plus side you’ll get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit and four upgraded boardings each year. In exchange, you’ll lose an in-flight discount, priority boarding, airport lounge access, and the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. So if you prefer Southwest over United, you could potentially earn more rewards at the cost of a bit of comfort.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 4X points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 3X points per dollar for Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
  • 2X points per dollar on:
    • Social media and search engine advertising
    • Internet/cable/phone services
    • Local transit/commuting/rideshares
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Key Features
  • 9,000 anniversary bonus points: Each year after your cardmember anniversary you’ll get 9,000 bonus points.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Every four years you can be reimbursed for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Four upgraded boardings: Every year you can be reimbursed for four upgraded boardings (A1–A15) on your card. They must be purchased at the departure gate or ticket counter on the day of your trip.
  • In-flight WiFi credits: Buy WiFi access on your Southwest flights and you’ll be reimbursed in the form of statement credits. You’ll get 365 individual $8 in-flight WiFi credits per year.
  • Travel protections: Travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, rental car insurance, roadside dispatch, lost luggage reimbursement, and travel and emergency assistance services
  • Shopping protections: Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $199
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$99, waived for first 12 months
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
Why We Picked It

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® (Review) is a good choice for small business owners who fly with American Airlines.

This card is akin to the United Business card. They have similar fees, and the rewards are pretty close at the basic membership levels, but the United card does have the advantage when it comes to the benefits.

The CitiBusiness card offers a 24/7 personal business assistant for help with hotel, travel, and dining arrangements, but there aren’t any travel protections, and you won’t have airport lounge access like the two annual passes the United card offers.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on:
    • American Airlines
    • Cable and satellite providers
    • Gas stations
    • Select telecommunications merchants
    • Car rentals
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 65,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $4,000 within the first 4 months of account opening

You’ll also earn 5X miles from your basic AA membership, bringing the total number of miles you’ll earn per flight to 7X. If your miles are worth 1–2 cents, you’re looking at a cash back equivalent of 7%–14%.

Key Features
  • Free first checked bag: You and four companions won’t have to worry about any fees for your first checked bags on domestic flights.
  • 25% in-flight discount: In-flight food, drinks, and WiFi will cost you 25% less.
  • Preferred boarding: You’ll receive preferred boarding on AA flights, which comes after priority boarding; applies to up to four companions as well.
  • Companion ticket: You can earn a companion ticket any year you spend $30,000 or more with your card.
  • Personal business assistant: Gain access to a 24/7 on-call business assistant to help make dining, travel, and hotel arrangements. Call 1-800-301-5584 to access.
  • Free employee cards: You can add employees as authorized users for no additional charge.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 20.99% Variable
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
  • With Zero Liability you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more – your points don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Why We Picked It

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review) is best suited for traveling business owners who don’t feel tied to one airline.

This credit card offers a 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners (United is one of them) and a 25% bonus when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Both of those features make this a versatile and rewarding card to choose.

While it will likely end up being less rewarding than the United card for United flights, it’ll give you the flexibility to earn solid rewards from all types of travel purchases, including local transit, not only from airlines.

The benefits don’t include priority boarding, in-flight discounts, airport lounge access, or free checked bags like many airline credit cards. Instead, the focus is on the card’s rewards and redemption options. It does still offer a nice selection of shopping and travel protections, including the handy cell phone protection.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year on:
    • Travel
    • Shipping
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 100,000 bonus points for spending $15,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

You can get a higher cash back equivalent by transferring your points to Chase’s travel partners, where they could be worth more. If you find a per-point value of 2 cents or more, you’d see cash back equivalents of at least 2% and 6% for the 1X and 3X bonus categories.

Key Features
  • 25% redemption bonus: Points are worth 25% more when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards, making them worth 1.25 cents each.
  • Point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, including British Airways, United, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hyatt.
  • Cell phone protection: Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Ink Business Preferred for coverage against theft and damage, up to $600 per claim with a $100 deductible.
  • Travel protections: Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and travel and emergency assistance services
  • Shopping protections: Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Annual fee: 95
United℠ Business Card
  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
  • Purchase APR16.49% - 23.49% Variable

Do you have the United Business Card? Has it made your business trips more enjoyable? Let us know how you like it in the comments!

Written by

Evan Zimmer

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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