United Business Card: Rewards, Perks Make Up for Fee

Cardholders get a checked-bag benefit and limited airport lounge access, plus bonus spending categories that are useful to small-business owners.
Gregory KarpSep 24, 2021

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Our Take

4.1

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Business owners who fly United frequently can save money with this card. And unlike many airline cards, it’s useful for everyday spending. But it ties you to a single airline.

Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Business Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free checked bag
  • Lounge membership
  • Anniversary perk

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Rewards have limited flexibility

Alternate Pick: Greater flexibility

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Transfer points to United, or use elsewhere

Earn 3 points per dollar on up to $150,000 a year in combined spending on travel; shipping; Internet, cable and telephone service; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. You can transfer points to several airline and hotel loyalty programs, including United. But you won't get airline-specific perks. Annual fee: $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual fee

$525

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

For business owners who fly United Airlines, the can be a practical, helpful travel companion with benefits that easily outstrip the cost of its annual fee.

The card can help ease common business-travel headaches while flying United. That, perhaps, is most important when it comes to your luggage, whether you check it or take it aboard. And compared with other airline credit cards, its bonus-rewards categories are highly useful, not only for business travel but for everyday use. That makes it practical for entrepreneurial types with side hustles.

Still, its flexibility for redeeming rewards is limited compared with a general travel card that’s untethered to a single airline.

Card type: and .

Annual fee: .

Sign-up bonus:

Rewards:

United miles at each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer or more in value from your United miles.

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Interest rate: .

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits: 

Unlike some other airline credit cards, the earns double miles on more than just purchases with the airline. You'll also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on other spending categories relevant to business owners:

That can make the card more valuable for everyday spending. It just might be the most useful compilation of bonus categories you’ll find on a business credit card for a major airline.

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The offers a first checked bag free for you and a companion on your reservation. That can save as much as $140 on a round-trip flight for you and a traveling partner ($35 per person each way when you don’t prepay bag fees.) Terms apply. That's more than enough to cover the cost of the card's annual fee.

Note: You get this perk only if you paid for the airfare with the .

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The can get you on the plane earlier thanks to its priority boarding benefit. So even if you don't have bags to check, you can get on the plane sooner while there’s still space in the overhead bin for your carry-on.

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Sign-up bonuses can change but typically give you at least enough miles for a free domestic flight in economy class.

The current bonus:

The comes with a few other notable perks:

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It's hard to find a co-branded airline credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee,. With the , the annual fee is .

An option with a annual fee is the . It gets you 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases and 3 points per dollar on travel purchases booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center. Points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed to cover travel purchases made on the card. And if you're enrolled in the issuer's Preferred Rewards for Business program — which you can qualify for if you keep enough money with the bank — you can earn up to 2.62 points per dollar spent.

While you'll get free checked bags with the , it's stingier than business credit cards from other large airlines; you'll get only two bag-fee waivers. The, for comparison, offers the first bag free for you and up to eight other passengers on your reservation (see ).

General travel business credit cards — the kind that don’t have an airline name on them — let you redeem rewards for a variety of different travel expenses. With the , your best redemption options are award flights and seat upgrades on United and its Star Alliance partners.

If you don't fly exclusively with United, a general travel card could work better. A good choice for small businesses is the. And if you want a luxury card option, a great general travel card for business is the , with an annual fee of (see ).

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If you don’t necessarily need a business credit card, you might consider the similar personal version of the mainstream United Airlines card, the. It also earns double points on United purchases but has slightly different additional double-points categories — restaurants and hotel stays. It has an annual fee of .

It also has a few more perks than checked bags and early boarding. For example, it offers a credit of up to $100 for applying to airport security programs Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years. The business version does not include those perks, and more generally, personal cards offer more consumer protections than business credit cards. On the other hand, while sign-up bonuses can change often, they tend to be higher on the business version of the card, along with a higher amount of required spending. That could be a reason to hold both a personal and business card. Another reason: 5,000 bonus miles each anniversary when you have a personal United credit card as well as the .

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The offers useful rewards and perks for United business flyers who can quickly make up for the annual fee.

To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of , see .