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The United℠ Business Card is one of the best airline business cards out there, ideal for business owners who frequently travel with United Airlines or its Star Alliance partners. This card provides plenty of opportunities to earn bonus miles through everyday business purchases, not to mention its outstanding United perks — such as free United Club passes and waived checked bag fees. All of these benefits come with an introductory annual fee of $99.
However, if you value flexibility in your rewards over loyalty to United, you will likely get a better value out of generic travel rewards or cashback business cards. If you have no particular loyalty to United or don’t care about earning any airline-specific benefits, we recommend going with a card like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
United℠ Business Card
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
- Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles
- Earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.
- Receive a 5,000-mile "better together" bonus each anniversary when you have both the UnitedSM Business Card and a personal United credit card.
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants (including eligible delivery services), gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting.
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, employee cards at no additional cost - miles earned from their purchases accrue in your account so you can earn rewards faster.
- Enjoy a free first checked bag - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip (terms apply), 2 United ClubSM one-time passes per year, and priority boarding privileges.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash's membership service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- $100 United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year.
United℠ Business Card benefits and features
The United℠ Business Card comes with a long list of benefits, from priority boarding and the potential to earn bonus miles and a $100 annual United credit. We'll dive into each of these features and explain how you can take advantage of them.
The United℠ Business Card currently offers a chance to Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months your account is open. For most small businesses, hitting this spending minimum shouldn't be a difficult feat. Keep in mind that transactions such as cash advances or balance transfers do not count toward the minimum.
Since we value United MileagePlus miles at 1.6 cents each, this sign-up bonus is worth approximately $1,200. Depending on how you redeem your miles, you can gain even more value than this — not a bad offer for a card with an annual fee.
United Airlines guides
The United℠ Business Card provides the ability to Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Note that the miles you receive for United purchases are added on top of any miles you’d usually receive for booking a ticket, so this card is advantageous for frequent travelers.
We compare similar business cards' earning rates to the United℠ Business Card . This will help you see if the United℠ Business Card offers the most useful rewards rate for your ongoing business purchases.
|United℠ Business Card||Introductory annual fee of $99||Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 after||Earn 2 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. shipping purchases, on every eligible dollar spent on dining at restaurants. Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.|
|CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®||$99, waived for first 12 months||Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.|
|JetBlue Business Card||$99||6X points on eligible JetBlue purchases, 2X points at restaurants and office supply stores, and 1X points on all other purchases.|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card||$99||2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||$95||Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.|
|The Capital One Spark Miles for Business||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that||2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere with your business credit card with no blackouts or seat restrictions and no minimum to redeem.|
All airline business cards will be most rewarding for airline-affiliated purchases. But with the United℠ Business Card , you'll earn miles on a wide variety of everyday purchase categories — better than what other airline business cards can offer. However, United℠ Business Card is outdone by the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and The Capital One Spark Miles for Business, which offer more flexibility and a higher rewards rate.
What are United MileagePlus miles worth?
We estimate United MileagePlus miles to be worth approximately 1.6 cents each. This value will vary based on the itinerary, destination, fare class and more. Compared to other airline loyalty programs, MileagePlus miles tend to be worth more, as the average airline mile is worth 1.3 cents each.
Redeeming United miles is also a breeze. You can book award travel on any Star Alliance airlines, such as Lufthansa Airlines and Singapore Airlines. There are also no blackout dates or restrictions when booking award travel. This increases the flexibility of your MileagePlus miles — mostly favorable for international travelers.
Value: Above average
Ease of redeeming: Above average
Like most airlines, United Airlines no longer offers an award chart and offers dynamic pricing. This means that your redemption value will vary greatly. The chart below details sample one-way tickets to illustrate how you can redeem your hard-earned miles:
Mileage value (in cents)
|Chicago to San Francisco||Economy Saver award||$99||8,000 miles + $5.60||1.17|
|Business Everyday award||$342||34,000 miles + $5.60||0.99|
|Washington, D.C. to Seattle||Economy Saver award||$168||12,500 miles + $5.60||1.3|
|First Everyday award||$407||39,500 miles + $5.60||1.02|
|Denver to Tokyo||Economy Saver award||$1,216||35,000 miles + $5.60||3.46|
|Business Everyday award||$6,603||175,000 miles + $5.60||3.77|
|Newark, N.J. to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic||Economy Saver award||$136||17,500 miles + $46.90||0.51|
|Business Saver award||$279||30,000 miles + $46.90||0.77|
The itineraries listed above all show the huge variation of United MileagePlus miles. You'll typically get the best value for your MileagePlus miles with United Saver awards, which is meant to offer the cheapest award ticket available.
Based on our small sample above, a long-haul international ticket — such as a flight from Denver to Tokyo — offers the best value for your rewards, as high as 3.77 cents per mile. However, the flight from Newark to Punta Cana offered a poor value for your miles, as low as 0.51 cents per mile.
To determine whether to use your MileagePlus miles or cash to pay for your ticket, you should calculate its mileage value. Anything equal to or above the average value of 1.6 cents per mile is an excellent deal and worth using your miles for.
Free checked bags and priority boarding
The primary cardholder and one traveling companion on the same itinerary are entitled to have their first standard checked bag fee waived. On many itineraries, the first checked bag costs between $30 to $35. Therefore, those traveling with another person can save up to $140 per round-trip flight. The savings add up the more you fly, outweighing the annual fee each year.
Additionally, United℠ Business Card users receive a priority boarding benefit, so long as you include your MileagePlus number on your reservation. This applies to the cardholder and any travelers on the same reservation. You'll board the plane before general boarding but after MileagePlus Premier members, customers with Premier Access and travelers requiring special assistance.
Both of these benefits are available only on United- and United Express-operated flights. Codeshare flights are not eligible for the free checked bag or priority boarding benefits.
2 annual United Club passes
Each time you renew your card every year, you'll receive two United Club passes, granting you access to airport lounges. This can be beneficial for business travelers as you can enjoy the lounge amenities like complimentary food and drinks or personalized travel assistance. Each pass only admits one attendee — so if you're traveling with a co-worker, they will need their own pass to get in. You can use both passes during the same trip so that the two of you may enter at the same time. Since each pass normally costs $59 each, this benefit is worth $118.
Potential to earn bonus miles and a $100 annual United travel credit
When credit cards have annual fees, it can be hard to justify keeping them year after year if the ongoing benefits are mediocre — but the United℠ Business Card offers plenty of reasons to continue card membership past the first year.
You can earn a $100 statement credit by making seven United flight-related purchases each cardmember year. Eligible purchases include:
- Seat upgrades
- Economy Plus purchases
- In-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi purchases
- Baggage charges
These ancillary charges should be easy to achieve. The United℠ Business Card comes with the added benefit of a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, so coupling these discounts can quickly unlock this $100 statement credit each year — effectively erasing these charges on your account.
If you're also a cardholder of any personal United credit card, you'll earn 5,000 bonus miles posted to your account each cardmember anniversary. United Airlines offers the following personal credit cards if you're interested in earning more MileagePlus miles:
|United Gateway℠ Card||$0||Earn up to 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months.||2X miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|United℠ Explorer Card||$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95||Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months||Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases|
|United Club℠ Infinite Card||$525||Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
If you take advantage of all of the benefits that the United℠ Business Card has to offer, you're looking at a minimum of $438 in savings from these benefits alone.
- Annual United statement credit: $100
- Bonus miles: $80 (5,000 miles * 1.6 cents)
- United Club passes: $118 ($59 * 2 passes)
- Checked bags: $140 (If cardholder and one travel companion fly round trip)
In conjunction with the large sign-up bonus, this business card offers an unbeatable proposition for United travelers.
How does the United℠ Business Card compare to other credit cards?
To give you a better idea of the United℠ Business Card 's value, we compared it across other small business credit cards. When shopping for a card, you should always consider multiple options to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
United℠ Business Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card comes with the same annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 after. As a competing airline card, it offers similar travel benefits, such as priority boarding. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card offers a free first checked bag benefit for the cardholder and up to eight passengers on the same reservation. Therefore, this card may be a better pick than the United℠ Business Card for business travelers that fly in groups.
You'll receive a $100 Delta flight voucher each year you spend more than $10,000 on purchases with this card.
Ultimately, the best business card for you will depend on which airline you prefer flying. Both cards come with generous welcome offers and ongoing benefits, so it's up to you to decide which airline aligns better with your travel habits.
United℠ Business Card vs. Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is the better card for businesses that aren’t loyal to one particular airline. The card lets you Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. This reward structure provides you a significantly higher rewards rate than what you get with the United℠ Business Card , all while charging you a similar annual fee ($95).
However, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is missing many United benefits, including free first checked bags, priority boarding and United Club passes. This may be a big deal if your company exclusively travels with United.
If you're merely interested in free travel, you'll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which can be transferred to Chase's hotel and airline partners, including the United MileagePlus program. Businesses that value flexibility should opt for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card for a greater variety of redemption options.
United℠ Business Card vs. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
If your business makes a ton of purchases each year or travels often, you may want to consider a luxury business card like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It comes with a high annual fee of $595, but it has many benefits that cater to frequent travelers.
Finally, when booking travel with your Membership Rewards points, you'll receive 35% of your points back on a designated airline (enrollment required), which will extend the value of your rewards. More travel benefits come with this card, so business owners that can afford this annual fee should apply for this card instead.
Is the United℠ Business Card worth it?
The United℠ Business Card is an impressive option for small businesses. At the bare minimum, the benefits that come with this card will grant you huge savings on United travel. Those looking for more award flexibility or for the option to transfer your points and miles to other loyalty programs should opt for a general travel business card instead. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if this credit card will best align with your spending habits and travel needs.
The information related to JetBlue Business Card , Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card , The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. See americanexpress.com for more information.