United℠ Business Card review

United℠ Business Card review

Published: April 29, 2020
Published: April 29, 2020
Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value 4.3
Annual Percentage Rate 0.3
Rewards Flexibility 4.4
Features 3.0
Customer Experience 3.6

In a Nutshell:

Even occasional United flyers should rack up miles quickly thanks to the United Business Card’s competitive rewards rate on travel and everyday purchases. Plus, you have a chance at even more miles when you pair it with a personal Chase United card.

*The information for the United℠ Business Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Rewards Rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on local transit and commuting, including train tickets, taxi cabs, mass transit, tolls and ride share services
  • 2 miles per dollar at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores
  • 2 miles per dollar on United purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
100,000 bonus miles if you spend $10,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$99

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$1,405

APR
16.49%-23.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros

  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates, book any available seat at any time
  • Use miles to book United airfare, hotel stays, rental cars or redeem for gift cards
  • You get 5,000 bonus miles if you also have a personal Chase United card
  • You get a $100 travel credit each year you make 7 United flight travel-related purchases of $100 or more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No charge for employee cards

Cons

  • Saver Awards are capacity-controlled
  • Doesn’t offer credits for expedited airport security
  • Doesn’t offer ongoing lounge access
  • Can only transfer miles to United partner airlines

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: First checked bag free, priority boarding for you and companions on same reservation, 2 United Club one-time passes per year, room upgrades and free Wi-Fi at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, roadside assistance, extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance services, purchase protection, no charge for employee cards, no foreign transaction fee, 25% back on in-flight United purchases

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Best suited to occasional business travelers, the United Business Card offers a terrific sign-up bonus and a solid rewards rate in practical spending categories. Add in extra bonuses designed to reward United loyalists and you shouldn’t have much trouble stockpiling United miles.

That said, the card’s bonus categories may not fit with your business’ spending habits, and if you’re looking for luxury perks, you may need to shell out a higher annual fee or stick with a personal travel credit card.

Huge sign-up bonus

The United Business Card is starting off on the right foot by offering a gigantic sign-up bonus of 100,000 miles if you spend $10,000 in the first three months. We currently value United miles at 1.5 cents per mile, which makes this bonus worth around $1,500 when redeemed for airfare with United. While this spend requirement is fairly high, the variety offered by the card’s bonus categories should make it easy to reach for most small-business owners.

That said, United Saver awards – which tend to offer the greatest mileage value – can have limited availability, and since United recently did away with its interactive award chart in favor of dynamic award pricing, it’s harder to tell in advance how far your miles will take you.

Still, if you’re looking to snag a ton of United miles, now’s the time to apply.

Tip: The United Business card is distinct from the United Explorer Business Card, so even if you already have that card, you can still apply for the new United Business Card and get the sign-up bonus. Current United Explorer Business cardholders won’t be transferred over to the new product, but you can request a product change by calling Chase.

Extra bonuses for United loyalists

The United Business Card comes with a nice incentive for cardholders who add a personal United credit card to their wallet. You’ll earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles each year on your account anniversary if you also have both a United Business Card and a personal United card like the United Explorer Card, United MileagePlus Club Card or United TravelBank Card. If you book with United frequently enough to justify having a personal United card, this is a valuable benefit.

Keep in mind, however, that both the United Explorer Card and United Club Card carry annual fees that are unlikely to be offset long term by an annual 5,000-point bonus, which is worth around $75 (the Explorer card carries a $95 annual fee that’s waived in the first year and the Club Card carries a $495 annual fee).

You can also get a $100 travel credit each year you make seven United flight travel-related purchases of $100 or more. Flight travel-related purchases include seat upgrades, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi and baggage service charges and other United fees. This credit can be used to cover airfare, among other United purchases.

Solid rewards rate on everyday purchases

The United Business Card is one of only a few airline cards that offer bonuses on spending outside of purchases made directly with the airline. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar in a wide variety of spending categories, including United purchases, local transit and commuting (such as train tickets, taxi cabs, mass transit, tolls and ride share services), gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores. You’ll also earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.

These bonus categories are impressive for their variety and practicality, allowing you to earn bonus miles on a chunk of your business spending. Plus, there’s no additional cost for employee cards, so employees can easily add to your earnings via travel spending, business lunches and more.

That said, we estimate that the average business doesn’t spend enough in these categories to significantly boost the card’s overall rewards rate. A general business card that offers travel rewards like the American Express® Business Gold Card may offer more value per dollar, along with flexible points that can be used with other airlines.

United MileagePlus miles are fairly flexible, and you have the option to redeem your rewards for purchases such as car rentals, hotel stays or gift cards, though you’ll get the most value for your miles when you use them on United airfare. You can also use miles to book with one of 28 Star Alliance partners.

See related: United Airlines partners

Easy-to-offset annual fee

Like most co-branded airline cards, the United Business Card carries an annual fee. You’ll pay $99 a year to own the card, which is about average for a travel card. Considering the card’s sign-up bonus, annual travel credit, ongoing rewards rate and other perks, this is a relatively small price to pay.

Respectable United perks

Along with a terrific sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards, the United Business Card gets you a number of compelling travel perks, including:

  • First checked bag free – You and a companion traveling on the same reservation can each check your first bag for free. Since this is a $30 value each way, per person, this could save you as much as $120 per roundtrip. You must include your United MileagePlus number in your reservation.
  • Priority boarding – You and any companions on the same reservation will be able to board United flights prior to general boarding.
  • Two one-time United Club passes per yearUnited Club lounges feature complimentary beverages and snacks, free Wi-Fi and more. Day passes usually cost $59 each, so this more than makes up for the annual fee. Note, however, that to be admitted to the more exclusive Polaris Lounges, you must meet additional requirements.
  • 25% back on in-flight United purchases, including Wi-Fi, food and beverages.

While these benefits should make business travel more pleasant and productive, they pale in comparison to the exclusive perks offered by many luxury travel cards. If you place a high priority on lounge access, expedited security screening or other elite perks, you may want to consider shelling out a higher annual fee or looking for a personal travel credit card.

Tip: If you don’t need a business credit card, consider the United Explorer card, which offers a credit of up to $100 toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years..

No automatic elite status

Like its predecessor, the United Explorer Business Card, the United Business Card does not offer automatic elite status in the United MileagePlus program.

In order to get United elite status, you must reach a certain number of PQPs (Premier qualifying points) and PQFs (Premier qualifying flights). Depending on how many you earn, you can qualify for elite status by combining PQPs and PQFs or based on PQPs alone. United Business cardholders earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 spent, up to a maximum of 1,000 PQP in a calendar year.

See related: United Airlines elite status benefits

Other benefits

In addition to the card’s United-specific travel perks, you’ll enjoy a number of other benefits and consumer protections, including travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

Some of the card’s benefits worthy of special mention include:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver – When renting for business purposes, you’ll be reimbursed up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage both in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Baggage delay insurance – If your bag is delayed more than six hours, you can be reimbursed up to $100 a day for three days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement – You get coverage up to $3,000 per passenger if you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is lost or damaged by the carrier.
  • Trip delay reimbursement – If your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you’re covered for unreimbursed expenses like meals and lodging (up to $500 per ticket).
  • Roadside assistance – You can call for a tow, jumpstart, tire change, locksmith or gas if you have a roadside emergency. You’re covered up to $50 per incident, 4 times a year.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection perks – Make a reservation with your card at one of over 900 hotels, resorts, lodges and spas and you can enjoy room upgrades, complimentary breakfast for two people, free Wi-Fi and other benefits.
  • No foreign transaction fee – You won’t be charged any additional fees for purchases made abroad, which is good news if business often takes you overseas.

See related: Credit cards with the best extended warranties and shopping protections

How does the United Business Card compare to other rewards cards?

While the United Business Card lets you earn bonus miles in varied and practical spending categories, you’re limited to United and its partner network. You’ll also have to spend a lot of money to earn the card’s welcome bonus.

If you’re open to a general business card that offers travel rewards, you may be able to enjoy added benefits and more flexibility. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business*
Business Platinum from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card*
Rewards rate

  • 5:1 on hotels and rental cards booked through Capital One Travel℠
  • 2:1 all other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 5:1 flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com
  • 5:1 qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 2:1 travel purchases made on amextravel.com
  • 1:1 general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 3:1 travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases ($150,000 combined purchases yearly)
  • 1:1 general purchases
Welcome bonus

50,000 miles if you spend $4,500 in first 3 months

Welcome bonus

  • 75,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply
Welcome bonus

100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95, $0 first year

Annual fee

$595 (see rates and fees)

Annual fee

$95

Other things to know

  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years
  • Free employee cards
  • No foreign transaction fee
Other things to know

  • Offers access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide, including Centurion lounges
  • Includes $200 airline fee credit, up to $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA PreCheck every 5 years and more
  • Get a 35% of your points back when you redeem them for a flight on a qualifying airline booked through amextravel.com
  • Can set limits on employee cards
Other things to know

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Free employee cards
  • $600 cellphone protection ($100 deductible, 3 times per year)

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

A smart choice for business owners who want to earn miles at a flat rate, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card offers 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, regardless of where or what you buy. It also makes sense if you spend frequently on hotels and rental cars, carrying a 5-mile-per-dollar rate on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel. Even better, the annual fee is waived for the first year and your mileage redemption value is the same whether you redeem for travel in the Capital One Travel Center or for outside travel purchases using the Purchase Eraser.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Don’t be scared off by this card’s high annual fee, as the Business Platinum Card’s bonuses and perks go a long way toward making up that cost. Along with a great welcome bonus for big spenders, you’ll get an outsized rewards rate on travel purchases made through amextravel.com and on purchases over $5,000, making the card an ideal choice for businesses that spend more on travel and large purchases. You’ll also enjoy a slew of luxury perks like credits for expedited airport security and exclusive lounge access.

Ink Business Preferred Card

The Ink Business Preferred card offers a huge sign-up bonus and great value and flexibility as part of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases on your first $150,000 in combined spend per year, plus 1 point per dollar on everything else. Best of all, you can transfer points to one of Chase’s many airline partners or can redeem through the Ultimate Rewards portal for a 25% bonus.

Why get the United Business Card?

  • You are a frequent flyer of United.
  • You want to save money on checked bags or United Club access.
  • You want to earn miles on more than airline purchases.
  • You’ll make use of the two one-time United Club passes you get each year.
  • You want a card that carries no foreign transaction fee.

How to use the United Business Card

  • Spend $10,000 in the first three months to earn the full sign-up bonus.
  • Make seven United purchases of $100 or more per year to earn the $100 travel credit.
  • Pair with a personal United card to earn 5,000 bonus points per year.
  • Use the card for all United in-flight purchases.
  • Request employee cards at no additional cost to make it easier to earn rewards on business spending.

Is the United Business Card worth it?

If you’re an occasional business flyer and don’t mind limiting yourself to United and its airline partners, the United Business Card offers good value via its generous sign-up bonus, varied and practical bonus categories and annual bonuses and credits.

*The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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