Full Review of United Business Card
Annual miles bonus if you also own a personal United card
Annual statement credit opportunity and complimentary United Club passes
Fewer free checked bags than other airlines
- Huge Bonus: If you can afford to charge more than $3,600 a month to this card for a few months, the payoff is enormous. You receive 60,000 miles—worth $1,296, according to our valuation of United miles at 2.16 cents each—provided you spend $3,000 with the card in the first 3 months of account opening. While that’s one of the larger spending requirements for a card offer, it’s also one of the most valuable, especially for a card with a relatively modest annual fee.
- Annual Points Bonus if You Also Own a Personal United Card: If you have this card—and a personal United credit card, you get 5,000 bonus miles on your anniversary of owning both. Since these miles are worth about $100, and the United Business costs $99, this benefit can justify paying the annual fee. That’s a helpful option for employees who want to keep their business and personal spending separate, and yet be able to combine the miles earned on both cards on one MileagePlus account. If you acquire both cards, you’re even allowed to earn bonuses on each, since United doesn’t prohibit earning bonuses on both a personal card and a business one in the same year.
- Annual Statement Credit Opportunity, and Complimentary United Club Passes: After you open your account, as well as on each card anniversary, you receive two one-time passes for United Club lounges, with the passes each worth $50. With their complimentary food, drinks, and Wi-Fi, the lounges are invaluable respites for a stopover or if your flight is delayed. Provided you’ve made seven flight-related expenditures for things like seat upgrades, food, or baggage fees of $100 or more over the course of the year, you’ll also earn a $100 statement credit. That alone would also justify the card’s annual fee.
- Fewer Free Checked Bags Than Other Airline Cards: With the United Explorer card, you and one more person on your itinerary will get one free checked bag. But if you’re flying with a family of four, you’ll still end up paying $60 each way if everyone checks a bag. Many other airline credit cards offer a free checked bag for more people. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, for instance, provides one free checked bag for up to nine people on one reservation.
- Card Service May Be Below Par: Businesses don’t necessarily interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when that’s necessary, it’s often a matter of some urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, that’s less likely to be the case for businesses who deal with the issuer of this card, Chase, than with most other card issuers scored in the J.D. Power Small-Business Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. In its 2019 survey, Chase ranks in the lowest group, in a virtual tie with U.S. Bank as the least-satisfying issuer of business credit cards among nine that are scored. Chase’s score of 833 out of 1,000 was 14 points below the national average.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
This card is a great fit for businesses who have United fliers and want an inexpensive card that allows those employees to earn rewards and enjoy welcome, if modest, benefits when flying with the airline. The bonus of 60,000 miles, while requiring $3,000 in spending, delivers over a thousand dollars in value when the miles are used to buy flights. The United Business is especially well-suited to those who travel on the carrier at least every few months and who also own a personal United card. Making at least seven flight-related expenditures of $100 or more a year allows you to earn an annual $100 statement credit, which helps justify the card’s annual fee. And owning two United cards—one business, one personal—entitles you to 5,000 bonus miles, which are also worth about $100.
This card is also worth considering by businesses who frequently rent cars. When renting for business purposes with this card, you receive primary insurance coverage, a relatively unusual perk.
In contrast to the coverage on most credit cards, United pays the upfront cost of any liability you incur while at the wheel of a rental car. That spares the business from having to pony up for the bill until the rental company settles with the insurer of your cars at home, which typically covers damage to cars you rent.
United Business Card‘s Bonus
You receive 60,000 miles—worth around $1,300, according to our valuations—provided you spend $3,000 with the card in the first 3 months you own it.
After you qualify for the bonus, it may take six to eight weeks to post to your United Explorer Business card account. Your account must be active and not in default at the time of fulfillment to receive the bonus points
Rewards Earning Details
You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent with United purchases. Eligible United purchases include airline tickets, seat upgrades, Economy Plus upgrades, in-flight food and beverages (for which you also receive 25% back, if you use the card), along with Wi-Fi and baggage service charges. Ineligible United purchases include those on United Cruises and to purchases more miles.
The same 2-miles-per-dollar-spent rate also applies to expenditures on transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services, as well as purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. The card earns 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
There are also two annual rewards, albeit with conditions. You earn 5,000 bonus miles every year in which you own this United business card one and a United personal credit card. And you receive a $100 statement credit at the end of every year in which you’ve made 7 United flight purchases over $100.
United miles don’t expire.
Rewards Redemption Details
Your United miles can be redeemed in many ways, but you usually get the highest value by redeeming miles for premium air travel. Using United miles for business and first class tickets, we estimate, may earn you up to two-and-a-half times what you’d make when redeeming them for economy air travel. The airline can impose blackout dates and limit award seat availability at any time.
If you prefer not to redeem miles for airfare, you can instead use them (typically at lower value per mile) to book hotels, cruises, and rental cars or to buy merchandise from Apple and other retailers, and to obtain gift cards or experiences. You can also choose to donate them to a charity.
If you have MileagePlus Premier Gold elite status or higher, you can sign up for RewardsPlus. This program allows you to transfer your United miles to Marriott Bonvoy points at a one mile to one point ratio. Despite this, such transfers remain poor value. We value Marriott points at just 1.43 cents when redeemed for hotel stays, which is considerably less than the estimated average worth of of 2.16 cents when United miles are redeemed for flights.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Making the most of this card begins by ensuring you charge $3,000 to it within the first 3 months of membership. That entitles you to earn an extra 60,000 miles. That bonus is so valuable—at an estimated $1,296 when used for flights—that it’s probably worth diverting purchases from other cards you use in order to earn it.
Indeed, even after the bonus is earned, continue to put all qualifying United, restaurant, gas station, and office supply store purchases on this card, unless you have other cards that offer richer rewards in these spending categories. Once you’re ready to redeem miles, the most lucrative option is typically to use them for premium award flights. However good a value these are, though, they of course demand a far higher number of miles per flight than redemptions for economy award flights.
United Business Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Primary auto-rental coverage: When renting for business purposes with this card, you receive primary insurance coverage. That means, in contrast to most credit-card coverage, United pays the cost of any liability you incur while at the wheel of a rental car, rather than you having to do so. As is customary, you must decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental to your card.
- Baggage delay and lost-luggage reimbursement: Baggage delay covers reimbursement for essential purchases for delays over six hours, up to $100 a day for three days. Lost luggage reimbursement covers up to $3,000 per passenger when you or an immediate family member have luggage damaged or lost by the carrier.
- Trip-delay reimbursement and trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Trip delay reimbursement covers costs such as meals and lodging for delays of more than 12 hours or that require an overnight stay for you and your family up to $500 per ticket. Trip cancellation or interruption insurance covers up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid and non-refundable travel expenses for covered situations such as sickness or severe weather.
- Two one-time United Club passes: The carrier has more than 45 lounges in airports around the world.
- 25% back on in-flight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases: On United and United Express operated flights.
- Free standard checked bag: For the primary cardmember and one companion.
- Priority boarding: The primary cardmember and companions on the same reservation board United operated flights prior to general boarding.
- Concierge services
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
- Return protection
J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study awarded Chase, the issuer of this card, with a score of 833. That score is 16 points below the industry average of 849.
You can access your account through the Chase mobile app or call 800-888-8756 to reach a customer service specialist 24/7.
If your card is lost or stolen, you can quickly get a replacement. Within the United States and Canada, a replacement will arrive within 24 hours. Outside of these areas, you should get a replacement within one business day.
Fees to Watch Out For
The United Business card charges a $99 annual fee which, unlike some other credit cards, isn’t waived during the first year. Also, a cash advance will cost you more than some competing cards at $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
The United Business card offers significant value to travelers who fly United at least every few months. The annual bonuses of 5,000 miles for taking seven or more flights within a calendar year and of two complimentary United Club passes are together worth roughly double the card’s $99 annual fee. And the bonus of 60,000 miles for spending $3,000 within three months could alone justify the card’s cost for years to come, provided the miles were used to buy flights.
It's also an unusually good card with which to rent a car. That’s because for business rentals, it offers primary coverage. That is, United/Chase pay the cost of damage for you and then pursue your car-insurance company for reimbursement.