How to Earn Award Flights with United Airlines Business Credit Cards

If you’re a frequent flyer on United Airlines, signing up for a United Airlines business credit card will allow you to earn valuable rewards and enjoy premium benefits.
Last updated Dec 6, 2019 | By Kat Tretina
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If you’re a business owner, you likely have to travel often to meet with clients or vendors. United Airlines is a common choice for business owners looking for a budget-friendly carrier. United boasts the world’s most comprehensive route network, with 356 destinations all over the globe.

If you fly frequently with United, it may make sense to sign up for a United Airlines business credit card. You’ll earn valuable airline miles and rewards, and you’ll get perks like free checked bags, airport lounge access, and priority boarding.

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What United Airlines Business credit cards offer

There are two United Airlines business credit cards to choose from: the United Explorer Business card and the United Club Business card. These cards don’t help you earn United status, but they do offer other perks and rewards.

1. United Explorer Business

With the United Explorer Business card, you’ll earn 2X miles per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases, plus 1X miles per $1 spent on everything else.

The card does have a small annual fee of $95, but there are no blackout dates on award travel.

You can redeem your miles with as few as 12,500 miles for one-way travel within the continental United States and Canada.

2. United Club Business

As a United Club Business cardmember, you’ll earn 2X miles on United purchases, plus 1.5X miles on all other purchases.

The card has a much larger annual fee than the United Explorer Business card, but that’s because it comes with premium benefits and perks. It also has no foreign transaction fees, and there are no blackout dates for award flights.

How to earn United Airlines miles

If you apply for a United Airlines business credit card and approved, you can maximize your rewards by using your card whenever you make a purchase through the airline.

With the United Airlines Explorer Business card, you can earn 2X miles per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases, plus 1X miles per $1 spent on everything else.

With the United Airlines Club Business card, you’ll earn 2X miles on United purchases, plus 1.5X miles on all other purchases. If you sign up for automatic payments on your recurring expenses and use the card for routine purchases like office supplies, you can rack up rewards quickly.

Welcome offer

As a cardmember, it’s a good idea to spend enough money to earn the welcome offer. With the United Explorer Business card, you’ll earn up to 100,000 bonus miles: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 miles after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

The United Club Business card’s welcome bonus is even easier to earn. You’ll get 100,000 bonus miles if you spend just $10,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account. If you use your card to pay for essentials like office supplies, telephone and internet services, and advertising, you can easily hit that threshold and earn the bonus.

Perks available with United Airlines business credit cards

While both United Airlines business credit cards offer valuable rewards, frequent travelers will enjoy their benefits even more.


United Explorer Business card United Club Business card
Annual fee $95 $450
Welcome offer Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 miles after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first three months (limited-time offer)
Earning rate Earn 2X miles per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases, plus 1X miles per $1 spent on everything else Earn 2X miles on United purchases, plus 1.5X miles on all other purchases
Free bags? Free first checked bag Free first and second checked bags
Priority boarding? Board United-operated flights prior to general boarding Receive priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling
Lounge access? 2 United Club one-time passes United Club membership
Other perks
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • Travel insurance
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status
  • Premier upgrades on award tickets
  • Travel insurance

United Explorer Business

The United Explorer Business card offers some valuable benefits, including:

  • Free employee cards: Get cards for your employees at no additional cost. Miles earned from their purchases accrue on your account.
  • 2 United Club passes: You’ll receive two one-time United Club passes, a $100 value per year.
  • Free first checked bag: You’ll get your first checked bag for free, saving you up to $120 per roundtrip.
  • Priority boarding: You’ll be able to board the flight before the general population, helping you score valuable carry-on space.
  • Trip cancellation insurance: If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to illness or weather, you’ll receive coverage up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip to cover non-refundable travel expenses.
  • Baggage delay insurance: If your flight is delayed by six hours or more, you’ll get up to $100 a day for up to three days to cover essential purchases, such as toiletries or clothing.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: If your luggage is lost or stolen, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, you are covered for expenses like hotel stays or meals, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Auto rental damage collision waiver: Decline the car rental company’s insurance and use your card to pay for your rental and you’ll get primary coverage against theft or damage.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Make a reservation at a participating hotel with your credit card to enjoy perks like complimentary breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, and room upgrades (when available).

United Club Business

The United Club Business card offers premium-type benefits that are particularly useful for frequent travelers. Perks include:

  • Free employee cards: You can get additional cards for your employees at no cost.
  • United Club membership: As a cardmember, get airport lounge access with a United Club membership — a $650 value.
  • Two free checked bags: Your first two checked bags are free, allowing you to save up to $280 per round trip.
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle: As a cardmember, you can enroll in the Hertz rewards program and automatically earn President’s Circle status. You’ll get benefits like car upgrades, access to exclusive vehicles, and a 50 percent bonus when you earn points.
  • Premier Access travel services: You’ll get priority check-in, security screening (where available) priority boarding, and baggage handling.
  • Baggage delay insurance: If your baggage is delayed by six hours or more, you’ll get up to $100 per day for up to three days to reimburse you for toiletries or clothing you purchase.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: If your luggage is lost or stolen, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, you can get reimbursed by up to $500 per ticket for meals and lodging.
  • Trip cancellation insurance: If your trip is cancelled or cut short, you can be reimbursed by up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation: If you’re injured or sick when traveling, you can be covered for emergency medical services and transportation.
  • Travel accident insurance: You’ll receive up to $500,000 in coverage in cases of death or dismemberment when traveling.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: If you need medical or legal referrals while traveling, you can get emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Auto rental damage collision waiver: You’ll get primary car rental insurance when you decline the car rental company’s policy and use your card to pay for your rental.

Which card is right for you?

Both United Airlines-branded credit cards offer valuable rewards and benefits. When deciding which is best for you, consider your own travel habits and what is most important to you. If you need help, consider these common scenarios:

  • If you travel light: If you tend to only bring a carry-on bag with you, getting free checked bags isn’t a big perk. If that’s the case, you may be better off with the United Explorer Business card than the United Club Business card since it has a lower annual fee.
  • If you travel internationally: If you regularly travel long distances, you’ll enjoy extra perks to streamline your trip, like priority security screenings, boarding, and baggage handling. If you frequently travel outside of the country, the United Club Business card is a wise choice.
  • If you need airport lounge access: If you often need a quiet space to work or unwind at the airport, the United Club Business card is an excellent option. You’ll get a complimentary United Club membership, giving you access to airport lounges all over the globe.

Applying for a new credit card

As a business traveler, the right credit card can streamline and enhance your trips. The United Airlines business credit cards allow you to earn rewards on your purchases while giving you perks like airport lounge access, travel insurance, and free checked luggage.

If you travel at least a couple of times a year on United, applying for one of the United Airlines credit cards could be a smart choice.

Valuable Business Rewards

United Explorer Business Card

United Explorer Business Card

United Explorer Business Card

Benefits

  • Up to 100,000 mile sign-up bonus
  • 2X miles per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores, and on United purchases
  • Free first checked bag
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates