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United℠ Business Card review: United perks for small-business owners

Small-business owners who combine this card with a personal United card may benefit most

 /  7 min
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Snapshot

4.5

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This business card can offer solid value for United fans, but it may not be the most rewarding option for occasional travelers looking to maximize their earnings on everyday business purchases.

Image of United℠ Business Card
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BEST FOR FIRST-YEAR VALUE

United℠ Business Card

Rewards rate

1X - 2X
Info

Annual fee

$0 Intro for the First Year. $99 After

Intro offer

75,000 Bonus Miles
Info

Regular APR

20.74% - 27.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

United Business Card Overview

Small-business owners who tend to fly with United Airlines can find a lot of value in the United Business Card. Its welcome offer kickstarts your experience with plenty of momentum and the card’s travel perks make it one of the better airline business credit cards available.

That said, this card’s ongoing rewards rates aren’t especially impressive. It doesn’t earn much on everyday spending, so it’s not an ideal choice if you only travel occasionally or aren’t looking for United-specific perks. A general travel card may be a more practical and lucrative choice if it boasts higher rewards rates on everyday spending and more flexible point redemption options, especially if it lets you transfer points to other airlines.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    This card’s generous welcome offer compares well to cards with even higher annual fees

  • Checkmark

    Cardholders earn United miles for everyday business purchases

  • Checkmark

    Great travel benefits

Cons

  • This card’s annual fee will be difficult to offset via the card’s ongoing rewards rate

  • No intro APR on purchases or balance transfers

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards Rate: 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, dining, at gas stations, on office supplies and on local transit and commuting; 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome Offer: 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Purchase Intro APR: N/A
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 20.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable

Current welcome offer

The United Business card recently slashed its welcome offer in half: You can now earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in your first three months, down from the up to 150,000 bonus miles that came with the card’s previous offer. While this is disappointing, the bonus still offers decent value.

Rewards

This United credit card earns bonus miles on United purchases as well as in a few common spending categories. It can be great for frequent flyers, but if you’re the type of business owner who doesn’t travel much, you can also earn boosted miles from purchases at restaurants and for commuting spending. Additionally, if you have employees who travel frequently for business, you can earn rewards from their travel spending too.

Earning rewards

You’ll earn 2X miles for each dollar spent on United tickets and for select United purchases, such as in-flight food and entertainment. You’ll also earn 2X miles for restaurant purchases—including delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash. On top of this, you will earn 2X miles for office supplies, gas stations and local commuting purchases. All other purchases will earn 1X mile per dollar. 

Redeeming rewards

You can redeem your rewards through the United MileagePlus portal toward flights with United Airlines and with a number of United Airlines partners, including airlines that are part of the Star Alliance network.

 If you don’t want to redeem miles for airline travel, you can redeem them toward the cost of cruises, for gift cards, travel experiences or other gifts. As a cardmember, you’ll also have access to more rewards seats, similar to the ones Elite status members enjoy, so you could score even more deals through the rewards portal.

How much are the rewards worth?

Based on Bankrate’s latest airline mile value estimates, MileagePlus miles are worth an average value of around 1.1 cents per point. This means 50,000 United miles could be worth around $555. 

That said, the value you get for your miles will vary based on the details of your booking. To calculate your mile value, simply divide the cost of a booking in cash by its cost in miles. If you get a value of 1.1 cents or higher, you’ll be getting a good deal based on Bankrate’s valuations.

Key cardholder perks

Although this card’s rewards rates are on par  with those of other airline cards, the United Business card outshines many of its competitors with its benefits and travel perks.

First checked bag free for self and companion

When you fly United, you and a companion receive your first checked bags free (if you bought the ticket with your United Business card). Typically, the first bag you check with United has a $35 fee, so using this perk for just one round-trip flight with a companion provides a $70 value. You’ll also receive two annual passes to the United Club and lounge every year you hold the card, so you can relax and have a few snacks while you’re waiting for your next flight.

Yearly statement credit

If you make seven or more United Airlines purchases of at least $100 per year with your business card, you’ll also receive a $100 statement credit.

Seat upgrades

You’ll always be eligible for seat upgrades as a card member.
 

Travel protection and insurances

You have plenty of extra coverage if you hit a snag while you’re traveling. For starters, you have up to $6,000 in reimbursements for trip cancellations. If your baggage is delayed for six or more hours by the airlines, you’ll receive up to $100 per day (up to three days) for reimbursement and up to $3,000 if your baggage is lost. Other benefits include travel accident insurance, roadside assistance, trip delay insurance and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

Luxury hotel perks

There are over 1,000 properties included in the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection (LHRC), and you’ll receive several extras if you book with your United Business card. Perks include daily breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi and complimentary room upgrades (if available).

Annual 5,000-mile credit

If you happen to also have a personal United credit card, you can earn a 5,000-mile credit every year on your card anniversary as long as both accounts are open.

Rates and fees

The card comes with a $99 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year. That’s about average for a travel card annual fee. However, some other travel cards (especially personal travel cards) may offer better rewards at the same or a lower cost. 

For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit card carries a comparable annual fee ($95), but earns 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel as well as 2X miles on all other purchases (not just the few categories eligible for 2X rewards on the United Business Card). 

On the plus side, the card carries no foreign transaction fees and a decent APR of 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent (variable), the low-end of which is only slightly above the current average credit card interest rate.

How the United Business Card compares to other business cards

There are many business credit cards available and some are great all-around choices. However, the right card for you will depend on variables like how much you’re willing to spend on an annual fee, your travel habits, biggest spending categories and airline, hotel or credit card issuer preferences. 

Here’s a look at some great alternatives to the United Business card: 

Image of United℠ Business Card
Bankrate Score
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On Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$0 Intro for the First Year. $99 After

Intro offer

75,000 Bonus Miles
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of American Express® Business Gold Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
On American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$295

Intro offer

70,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 25%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

100,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 3X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

The United Business Card vs. the American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card is a popular business card that offers 70,000 points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in your first three months of card membership (terms apply). Although this is a hefty spending requirement relative to the United card, American Express points carry a potentially higher value than United Miles.

You’ll also earn 4X points on up to $150,000 per calendar year in combined purchases in two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle (including airfare purchased directly from airlines, advertising purchased in the U.S. to promote your business online, on TV or on the radio, U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. shipping and U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers).

Unlike the United Business Card, the Amex Business Gold offers a customized rewards program that adapts to your spending. Although you’ll only earn boosted rewards in two choice categories, rewards rates in those categories are twice as high as the rates you’ll earn with the United Business Card. 

Assuming you can spend enough to offset the card’s $295 annual fee with rewards earnings,  the Amex Business Gold could be a great choice if your expenses consistently fall into two of the card’s bonus categories. Plus, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to several different domestic and international airlines, giving them potentially more value than United miles if you pick the right Amex transfer partner.

United Business Card vs. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Another business card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees is the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Although there is a $95 annual fee, it’s hard to beat the initial 100,000 reward points in Chase Ultimate Rewards you earn if you spend $15,000 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 3X points for the first $150,000 you spend annually on travel and select business purchases.

This card occupies a nice middle ground between the United Business Card and the Amex Business Gold: It earns slightly more miles in its bonus categories than the United card, earns rewards in a more flexible rewards program and doesn’t cost nearly as much as the Amex Business Gold.

You can also redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at a 25 percent higher value (1.25 cents per point), beating out both the estimated average value of United miles and the base value of Amex points.

Best cards to pair with the United Business Card

If you want a separate United card for your personal travel, the United Gateway Card would be a great choice for pairing with this card. Along with similar rewards rates, the card offers a 0 percent introductory APR period for 12 months on new purchases (20.24 percent to 27.24 percent after), which could help you chip away at the cost of a large purchase while avoiding interest.

You’ll also benefit from a unique United offer: Combining a personal and business United credit card qualifies you to earn an extra 5,000 bonus miles per year. The United Gateway Card comes with no annual fee, so you won’t need to spend another dime out of pocket to be eligible for this benefit worth an average of $55 each year (based on a 1.1-cent-per-mile valuation).

Bankrate's Take — Is the United Business Card worth it?

If you’re a fan of United Airlines and are looking for a new business credit card, then the United Business card may be worth adding to your portfolio. Between the card’s welcome bonus, ongoing rewards and travel perks, it could make your business (or personal) travel easier to manage.

But if you aren’t looking for United-specific perks, want the flexibility to redeem rewards with any airline or don’t spend much in the card’s bonus categories, then you should consider other options. 

For rates and fees of the American Express Business Gold card, please click here.

Information about the United Gateway Card was collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.