Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

United Club Business Card Review

overall rating
3

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The United Club Business card includes United Club airport-lounge membership, a bonus of 50,000 miles for spending $10,000 on purchases in the first three months, and United's Premier Access travel benefits. But with its $450 annual fee, the card aims at companies whose employees fly United frequently rather than occasionally.

United Club Business Card

overall rating
3
United Club Business Card
On Chase's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible United purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Cash Advance APR (%) 24.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
how this card stacks up
When compared among all business cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of United Club Business Card Review

Pros
  • Includes membership in United Club lounges

  • Rich benefits on United travel

Cons
  • High annual fee

  • Rewards and bonus not commensurate with cost

  • The card issuer’s service to businesses is below par

Pros Explained

  • Includes Membership in United Club Lounges: This card's premier feature is its included United Club membership, which grants you and up to two guests access to 45 United Club locations worldwide that offer complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wi-Fi. Depending on your status with the airline—higher status reduces the cost—United Club membership costs between $550 and $650, which is more than this card’s $450 annual fee.
  • Rich Travel Benefits: You and companions traveling on the same reservation get Premier Access travel services on United-operated flights. This benefit offers designated check-in lines, priority security lanes, priority boarding. and priority baggage handling where available. You get your first and second standard checked bags for free on United-operated flights as long as you purchase tickets with your United Club Business card. This benefit applies to you as the primary cardmember as well as one companion traveling on the same reservation.

Cons Explained

  • High Annual Fee: The annual purchases needed to potentially justify this card’s $450 annual fee are fairly substantial. Assuming you used your rewards to purchase more flights, rationalizing the fee would require spending approximately $20,833 per year ($450 divided by our estimated United miles value of $0.0216). Put another way, justifying the fee on this card over a year requires charging roughly $1,736 a month in purchases and using the miles for their maximum redemption value of $0.216 per mile by redeeming for United travel.
  • Rewards and Bonus Not Commensurate With Fee: This card’s rewards and bonus barely, if at all, match those for cards with a much lower annual fee. United purchases earn the same 2 miles per dollar spent as other United credit cards with lower annual fees. Also, unlike some of those, no other categories, such as office supply store purchases, also earn that 2-per-dollar rate. The card offers an underwhelming bonus 50,000 miles—worth just over $1,000 when used for flights, according to our valuation—for spending $10,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. 
  • 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

  • Avatar for Loyalty Status Seeker Persona
    Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
    Loyalty Status Seeker
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer
  • Avatar for International Traveler Persona
    Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
    International Traveler
  • Avatar for Business Owner Persona
    Earning a primary or side income from a small business
    Business Owner

This card is for frequent United fliers who are prepared to pay to enjoy its key benefit, the free use of United Club lounges in 45 airports around the world. It’s also suitable for those who want to skip having to earn status with United to enjoy such perks as free standard first and second checked bags and Premier Access travel services. 

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 covers the cost of any damage you might incur while renting a car for business purposes. That spares the business owner or employee from having to deal with their personal auto insurance company in order to take care of any rental car damage, which is what is required with secondary rental car insurance coverage.

United Club Business Card's Bonus

This card offers a bonus of 50,000 miles for spending $10,000 or more with the card within the first 3 months of opening an account. Based on our valuation of United miles at an average of 2.16 cents each, we estimate this bonus is worth $1,080 if used to redeem for United flights. You can expect to see the bonus miles post to your account within 6 to 8 weeks after qualifying. 

Rewards Earning Details

The United Club Business card gives you the opportunity to earn 2 miles per dollar spent on the following purchases from United:

  • Airline tickets 
  • Seat upgrades 
  • Economy Plus
  • In-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi
  • Baggage service charges 
  • Other United fees 

You also earn the 2-miles-per-dollar rate for purchases of event tickets and experiences from Inside Access from Chase. These purchases range, as examples, from $150 for tickets to Hadestown on Broadway to $7,000 for a three-day insider visit to Paris Fashion Week. All other purchases with the card earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent.

United’s MileagePlus miles never expire but, as with many such programs, the airline can limit the number of award seats and may enforce blackout dates.

Rewards Redemption Details

You can redeem your miles in a number of ways. The most obvious choice (and generally the most lucrative, too) is to do so is to obtain flights with United or its Star Alliance partners. You can also use your miles to book upgrades. 

If you prefer not to redeem miles for airfare, you can instead use them (usually at lower value) 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.

Transferring Miles

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 a poor value, since we value Marriott points at just 1.43 cents when redeemed for hotel stays, which is considerably less than of the estimated 2.16 cents value of United miles when used for flights.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The United Club Business card’s straightforward miles earning structure makes it easy to maximize your rewards. You only earn 2 miles per dollar spent on select United purchases, so make sure to put those purchases on your card. If you don’t have cards that provide a higher value for all other purchases, you can put those on your United Club Business card to earn additional miles.

To maximize the value of your rewards when redeeming miles, you’re often best off booking travel. Our research suggests miles earn you more when used for premium-cabin tickets—close to five times as much per mile in some cases. For example, we found a one-way ticket from New York to Frankfurt on Lufthansa (a United partner) in the Business Saver award category for 73,500 miles plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. Since a business class ticket on the same flight cost $7,101 including taxes and fees, the award redemption would provide an outstanding value per mile of approximately 9.7 cents.

But as the example shows, premium tickets also require redeeming a lot more miles. If you don’t value premium travel, you can still normally get a decent value by using your miles to book economy award flights.

United Club Business Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • United Club membership: Grants free access for cardholder and up to two companions to 45 lounge locations around the world.
  • 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 covers the cost of any damage you may 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.
  • Free standard first and second checked bags: For the cardholder and one other companion on the same reservation. 
  • Premier Access travel benefits: Designated check-in lines, exclusive security lanes, and priority security boarding and baggage handling. 
  • 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.

Standard Benefits

  • Concierge services
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Return protection
  • Travel and emergency assistance services

Cardholder Experience

The United Club Business card is issued by Chase, which scored an 833 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study. This score is below the industry average of 849.

Anytime you need help with your card, you can call 800-999-6977 to speak to a customer service specialist. You can also access your card via the Chase mobile app.

Security Features

If your card is lost or stolen, you can get a replacement within 24 hours in the U.S. and Canada. Outside of these areas, one business day is required to receive a replacement. Otherwise, this card’s security features are standard for the industry.

Fees to Watch Out For

With a notable exception of its $450 annual fee, the major fees for the United Club Business are generally in line with industry standards. The cash advance fee ($15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater) is higher than some competing cards. 

Our Verdict

Unusually, the value proposition for the United Club Business is based less on its rewards, which are unremarkable, than its opportunity for access to the carrier’s 45 United Club lounges for a $450 annual card fee. Pricey as that fee is, it’s $100 to $200 less than the cost of purchasing membership in the club.If paying to enjoy free food, drinks, and Wi-Fi in exclusive lounges isn’t worth hundreds a year to you and your business, there’s not a lot to recommend the United Club Business card. The card does offer a number of other welcome United benefits, such as fast-track Premier Access for security and boarding. But some of these features are available in other ways at less cost, including with other United credit cards with lower annual fees—some of which even offer bigger bonuses. 

If you don't care about United Club membership, strongly consider other United credit card options instead of this card.

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For United Club Business Card
on Chase's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
United Club Business Card
overall rating
3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible United purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.