United℠ Explorer Business Card review

Published: March 19, 2019

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Published: March 19, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
3.8 rating
3.8 rating
3.8 / 5
Rewards Value 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate 1.5
Rewards Flexibility 3.9
Features 3.0
Customer Experience 3.6

In a Nutshell:

Business owners who frequently fly United have a lot to gain from the United Explorer Business Card’s generous sign-up bonus and competitive rewards rate.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores
  • 2 miles per dollar on United purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

Introductory Bonus
50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$95, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$1,053

APR
18.24-25.24% (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

Cons

  • Saver Awards are capacity-controlled
  • High fees on award charges
  • $25 booking fee for booking by phone
  • $75 booking fee if you book an award less than 21 days before departure

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, no charge for employee cards, no foreign transaction fee

If you are a business owner and frequent flyer of United, the new United Explorer Business Card offers competitive rewards on dining, gas and office supply purchases. Plus, it comes with a hefty sign-up bonus – 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Generous sign-up bonus

While it is not the highest sign-up offer you’ll find on a business card, the United Explorer Business Card is offering a generous introductory bonus. Cardholders who spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening will earn 50,000 bonus miles. Since one-way Saver Awards can be booked for as little as 10,000 miles, the intro bonus alone can take you a long way.

Annual bonus for heavy spenders

As an additional bonus, cardholders who spend at least $25,000 in a calendar year will earn 10,000 bonus miles. While this is a relatively high spend threshold to reach, heavy spenders who charge all or most of their business expenses to their United Explorer Business Card can enjoy a few extra miles each year.

Decent rewards rate

Unlike many airline rewards card, the United Explorer Business Card awards bonus miles on more than just United purchases. Cardholders can enjoy 2 miles per dollar on purchases at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores. This is a huge perk for business owners who only travel a moderate amount, as everyday purchases can still rack up great rewards.

Average annual fee

The annual fee on the United Explorer Business Card is average – at $95 a year. However, it is waived the first year and additional employee cards come at no extra cost.

While it is true that many business cards don’t come with an annual fee, the additional airline perks that come with the United Explorer Business Card help offset the cost.

Valuable airline and hotel perks

United Explorer Business Card holders can also enjoy a wide variety of airline and hotel perks, including a free checked bag. You’ll also get priority boarding for everyone on your reservation. In addition, cardholders earn two United Club one-time passes per year. Since each pass costs $59, this more than makes up for the annual fee.

On top of United perks, United Explorer Business Card holders also have access to room upgrades, complimentary breakfast for two people, free Wi-Fi and other benefits at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.

Flexible redemption options

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. That being said, you get the most value for your miles when you use them on United airfare.

If you choose to use your miles for an award flight, check out United’s interactive award chart to find the best deal. It shows going rates for Saver and Everyday Awards based on your destination. Saver Awards are usually your best bet — giving you the highest overall value for your miles. However, this type of award is capacity-controlled, so availability might be limited.

Since United is a part of the Star Alliance, you can also use miles to book with one of 28 alliance partners, for added flexibility.

Other benefits

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver – Primary rental coverage when renting a car for business purposes and reimbursement up to cash value of vehicle in both 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 (toiletries/clothing).
  • Lost luggage reimbursement – Coverage up to $3,000 per passenger (cardholder and immediate family) for luggage that is lost or damaged by the carrier.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance – Get reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for non-refundable travel expenses cancelled due to illness or severe weather.
  • Purchase protection – Up to $10,000 in coverage per claim ($50,000 per account) for 120 days after purchase.

Why get the United Explorer 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.

How to use the United Explorer Business Card

  • Spend $3,000 in the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus.
  • Spend $25,000 per year to earn annual bonus.
  • Compare deals across partner airlines and award levels to get more out of your miles.

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