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If you’re looking to add some United MileagePlus frequent flyer miles to your account, now’s a great time to take a look at the airline’s family of credit cards. United has four personal credit cards on the market, all with generous sign-up bonuses, but it’s actually the carrier’s business credit card that currently features the highest bonus of all.
Right now, the United Business Card is offering up to 150,000 bonus miles, broken down into two tiers: 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account, plus an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first six months.
Or, if you’re looking for a personal credit cards, the relatively new United Quest Card currently comes with up to 100,000 bonus miles in two tiers: 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account, plus an additional 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first six months. The card has a $250 annual fee, but also comes with several credits and elite perks — more on that below.
The United Explorer Card has no annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee starting the second year you have it, and new card holders can earn up to 70,000 bonus miles, also broken down into two tiers: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first six months.
Or, for those who only fly United once in a while even when travel is at normal levels, the no-annual-fee United Gateway Card currently offers new card holders an increased 30,000 bonus miles — 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first six months.
And if you’re a United road warrior, the luxury United Club Infinite Card is offering an impressive 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This card sports a pricey $525 annual fee but features complimentary access to the worldwide United Club lounge network, along with a number of other high-end perks.
All five of these cards earn United MileagePlus miles, which are easily redeemed on United as well as for flights on the airline’s 20-plus Star Alliance partners. While United uses a dynamic pricing structure instead of a fixed award chart to price award tickets, the airline’s website is adept at finding partner airline inventory, which makes it easy to see route options, find seats and confirm your next award trip.
It’s fair to say that 150,000-mile airline credit card sign-up offers are rare, which makes the bonus on the United Business Card rather alluring. But the catch to scoring such a large mileage haul is how much your business will have to spend in a short time.
Given the high $20,000 bar you’ll need to meet in the first six months after applying for the United Business Card to get the entire bonus, you should do a bit of forecasting and see if your business has enough upcoming expenses to cover it. Remember, CNN Underscored recommends that you only make purchases you would make otherwise with cash, checks or a debit card. Don’t find yourself in debt paying credit card interest.
Beyond the sign-up offer, the United Business Card earns 2 miles for every dollar you spend on local transit and commuting, including train tickets, taxis, mass transit, tolls and ride-share services. It also earns 2 miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations, restaurants and at office supply stores, and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Earn 2 miles per dollar when you fill up your tank and pay with the United Business Card.
In comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points for every dollar you spend on all travel, and you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United at a 1-to-1 ratio. However, both of those cards carry extremely high annual fees. In other words, you pay more for the privilege of earning more.
With the United Business Card, you’ll also get a free checked bag when you fly United (and one for a companion on the same reservation), a pair of one-time United Club lounge passes each year (which would cost you $59 each otherwise), 25% back on United inflight purchases, and priority boarding on United-operated flights.
And for avid United flyers, there’s a single perk that essentially cancels out this credit card’s already-low $99 annual fee: After seven United flight purchases of $100 or more charged to the card, cardholders receive a $100 annual United travel credit.
Also, here’s a key element important for business owners: You can add employee cards at no additional cost and set individual spending limits on a per-card basis. This allows owners to personally accrue miles from employee spending (though be aware that savvy employees may push to use their own cards, where they earn points and miles themselves, and expense the purchases instead). The United Business Card also has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s safe to use on overseas purchases.
If you already hold a personal Chase-issued United credit card, or if you’re intrigued by one of the personal United credit card offers below, here’s another new perk that may interest you. United will hand over 5,000 additional miles each year as a “better together” bonus when you have both the United Business Card and a personal Chase United credit card.
Speaking of personal credit cards, while the 100,000 bonus miles is the first thing most people will notice about this relatively new credit card, the United Quest Card also comes with a number of perks that can be rewarding if you’re a regular United flyer.
First, every year you have the card (including the first year) you can get up to $125 in statement credits for United purchases that you charge to your card. This can even include tickets, so it’s easy to use this entire credit each year just by buying one flight that costs $125 or more. And if you can use the entire credit, you’re effectively only paying $125 annually for the card.
Then, starting with the second year you have the United Quest Card, whenever you take a United or United Express flight that you book with United miles, you’ll get 5,000 miles back in your account, up to two times each year you have the card. The award flight doesn’t even have to cost 5,000 miles to get the 5,000 miles back, so if you book United awards even twice a year, you can benefit from this perk.
You can also rack up even more United miles just by using the card. The United Quest Card earns 3 miles for every dollar you spend on United purchases; 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, on select streaming services and all other travel; and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
And when you’re traveling on a United-operated flight, you’ll be able to check both a first and second bag for free when you have the United Quest Card. This perk even extends to a companion traveling with you on the same reservation, which can mean a substantial savings.
Other perks of the United Quest Card include a fee credit of up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, priority boarding when flying United, 25% back on United in-flight purchases, the ability to earn 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases with the card (up to 3,000 PQPs in a calendar year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Overall, it’s a decent package for people who are relatively loyal to United but aren’t road warriors who expect to fly constantly once the pandemic winds down and travel resumes. Those who do plan to be on a United plane at least once a month should probably consider the United Club Infinite Card instead, while casual travelers who just want to earn United miles should take a look at this next option…
With domestic United award tickets starting as low as 5,000 miles one-way, 70,000 bonus miles from the personal United Explorer Card could cover 14
Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles with these United Airlines credit cards
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