Review: The new United business card has some standout benefits - and a welcome bonus of 100,000 miles
- United launched a new co-branded business credit card with Chase in January.
- Until April 2, the United Business Card is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in the first three months.
- Among its unique benefits are a $100 annual travel credit and 5,000 anniversary bonus miles.
- See Business Insider's list of the best small-business credit cards »
Perhaps feeling the heat from the recent relaunch of American Express and Delta's co-branded credit cards, United and Chase debuted the new United Business Card in January with a splashy 100,000-mile sign-up bonus.
While the card features the usual array of travel benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding, and in-flight purchase discounts, it also offers some interesting new benefits that are contingent on spending and, interestingly enough, the other cards you carry. Here are the details, along with info on whom this new product might be right for.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
United Business card details
Annual fee: $99
Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases within the first three months.
Earning: Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, at gas stations, restaurants, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1x on everything else.
Travel benefits: First checked bag free, priority boarding, 25% back on in-flight purchases, two one-time United Club passes.
Other benefits: Get a $100 annual United travel credit after qualifying purchases, 5,000 anniversary bonus miles when you have a personal Chase United card, no foreign transaction fees, primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and delay coverage.
Here are the details on each of the card's specific benefits
The first standout feature of the new United Business card is its incredible welcome offer. Successful applicants can earn 100,000 bonus miles after they use their card to spend $10,000 or more on purchases within the first three months.
While United has taken down its award charts and transitioned into a dynamic pricing model for award tickets, this is typically still enough miles for four round-trip domestic economy flights. It's also more than enough for a one-way business-class award on United or its partners to other regions like Europe or Asia, which can cost thousands of dollars otherwise.
This is as high as the bonus on this card's predecessor, the United Business Explorer, ever got. Not to mention, this new offer is a lot easier to earn since it only requires spending $10,000 in three months rather than $25,000 in six months like with the former card.
Earning and category bonuses
One of the other things that sets the United Business card apart, not only from other airline credit cards, but also travel rewards credit cards in general, is just how many bonus categories it fields.
Cardholders can earn 2 United miles per dollar on United purchases like they can with the airline's other co-branded cards. However, the United Business card also earns 2x miles at an assortment of additional merchants including restaurants, office supply stores. and gas stations, much like the old United Explorer Business card did.
More unusually, the card also racks up 2x miles on a range of local transportation and commuting purchases including ride shares, taxis, tolls and mass transit systems.
Chase clearly wants this to be the card business owners use for the majority of their day-to-day purchases. In fact, the one major category that seems to be missing is groceries, which is typically not a business-related expense.
Cardholders are entitled to myriad benefits related to travel on United itself. They receive two United Club one-time passes after each account anniversary and paying the annual fee. These passes normally cost $59 each, so this perk is worth $108 every year.
Cardholders can claim a free checked bag for themselves and up to one companion traveling on the same reservation when they use their card to purchase the tickets. Since checked bags cost $30 each, this adds up to a potential $120 in value per round-trip reservation. Cardmembers are also eligible for priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases on United and United Express flights.
Finally, carrying this card opens up expanded award space on United flights that is not available to non-cardholders and can bring down the number of miles you need for redemptions dramatically.
Among the new United Business card's fresher perks is the fact that each account year you make seven United flight travel-related purchases totaling $100 or more each using your card, you receive a $100 statement credit. These purchases include seat upgrades, Economy Plus seat assignments, in-flight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi, baggage charges, and a few other fees.
Another never-before-seen perk: If you have this card plus one of United's personal credit cards like the United Explorer Card, you will receive 5,000 bonus points each account anniversary. This is an intriguing play to get flyers to move their business to United and double down with both personal and business credit cards.
Aside from United-specific benefits, this card confers several other travel perks and protections. As you might expect from a mid-range travel credit card, this one waives foreign transaction fees, so it's a solid choice for making purchases abroad.
Cardholders can also count on primary insurance when renting cars for business purposes, which can be a lifesaver when things go wrong on the road. Its trip cancellation and interruption coverage tops out at $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip, while trip delays starting at 12 hours are reimbursed up to $500 per ticket. The baggage delay insurance kicks in at six hours and covers up to $100 per day for three days while lost luggage is insured for up to $3,000 per passengers. Purchase protection must be claimed against damaged or stolen items within 120 days and maxes out at $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Overall, these purchase and travel protections are quite comprehensive and make the United Business card a solid choice for travel and other expenses.
Is the new United Business Card right for you?
If you're thinking about getting this card, you should ask yourself a few questions. First, do you want a business card versus a personal one? Carrying a business credit card is a great way to separate your personal and work expenses, and can even help raise your personal credit score, and you don't necessarily have to have your own business to qualify for one.
The second question is, will you be able to take advantage of this card's benefits versus those of another United credit card? For example, the United Club Business card costs $450 per year and comes with United Club access, which might come in handy for those who spend a lot of time in airports. It earns 2x miles on United purchases and 1.5x on everything, which means you don't have to think about bonus categories or using the card only in certain places. It, too, is currently offering new cardholders 100,000 bonus miles for spending $10,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
On the personal side, the United Explorer card is offering a sign-up bonus of just 60,000 miles, but you only need to spend $3,000 in the first three months to earn it. The card's bonus categories overlap with those of the United Business card and include 2x miles on United purchase and at restaurants, but also at hotels, which makes it a better choice for booking accommodations. Its travel benefits are mostly the same, but it has one perk the United Business Card does not - every four years, cardholders are eligible a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee refund.
That said, you might want to carry both the United Business card and the United Explorer card so you can earn 5,000 bonus miles each year. And if you regularly make United purchases of $100 or more anyway, earning a $100 statement credit each year is a no-brainer and basically wipes out the United Business Card's annual fee.
Although it joins a crowded field of excellent United credit cards, the new United Business card has several standout benefits and an excellent sign-up bonus that make it well worth considering for both frequent and occasional United flyers.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
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