United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card
If you own a business, value airline rewards and live near a United Airlines hub, then the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card is a solid choice for a rewards credit card. United belongs to the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, which means MileagePlus miles can take you almost anywhere.
You can redeem MileagePlus miles for flights on United and its partners, and the card’s generous 50,000 miles sign-up bonus has excellent potential when it comes to award travel. Knowing redemption rules and maximizing your points can yield great rewards.
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card comes with a few perks for United passengers, including free checked bags, priority boarding and increased award availability. It’s a great option to help turn your business expenses into vacations.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card offers and the value of the Chase MileagePlus® miles you earn.
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card offers card members 50,000 United miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening an account. Additionally, the card offers an anniversary bonus of 10,000 United miles after cardholders spend at least $25,000 each calendar year.
What You Get
- Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- An annual 10,000 miles bonus after spending $25,000 in a calendar year
- 2 complimentary United Club lounge passes annually
- Free checked bags and priority boarding on United flights
- 2 miles per dollar spent with United and at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores
United miles do not expire as long as the card is active and not in default. The airline itself allows an 18-month window for mileage expiration. As long as there’s at least one qualifying activity on the account within 18 months, the miles remain untouched. Flying, redeeming, shopping at MileagePlus Shopping or in the MileagePlus X app, participating in MileagePlus Dining rewards and, of course, using your co-branded credit card will keep your miles alive.
What is the value of the MileagePlus® Miles?
The United Explorer rewards card earns MileagePlus miles that are redeemable for flights on United Airlines and its many partner airlines in the Star Alliance. United uses zone-based award charts, and the value of your miles will vary from redemption to redemption. The best value can be achieved by redeeming for Saver awards when they’re available. Standard awards typically cost double the miles for the same class of service, which is why having access to additional Saver space on United flights is important. Thankfully that perk is extended to all cardholders.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem MileagePlus® Miles
Redeeming United miles for international flights will present the best value. Passengers can book a one-way flight, a round-trip journey or a multi-city trip. United allows one free stopover, which they call the Excursionist Perk, on international itineraries as long as the stopover is in the same region. So it’s possible to book flights to two cities or countries for the price of one.
For example, a round-trip flight to Europe in business class on a partner airline comes to 140,000 MileagePlus miles. Let’s say you want to travel from Houston to Frankfurt and back from Zurich. With most frequent flyer programs you’d have to find your own way between Frankfurt and Zurich. However, it’s possible to include that flight in the same journey at no additional cost. Scheduling is flexible, and the only restriction is that both cities have to be in the same region. For me, being able to stopover somewhere for a few days increases the value of United miles.
Detroit–Las VegasEconomy class
Miles price25,000miles+$80.6 fee
Miles price25,000miles+$80.6 fee
Miles price25,000miles+$80.6 fee
Fort Lauderdale–NassauEconomy class
Miles price35,000miles+$182.12 fee
New York–BermudaEconomy class
Miles price35,000miles+$199.9 fee
Miles price75,000miles+$11.2 fee
Miles price50,000miles+$80.6 fee
New Orleans–BostonBusiness class
Miles price50,000miles+$80.6 fee
Miles price50,000miles+$80.6 fee
San Francisco–Hong KongBusiness class
Miles price140,000miles+$122.06 fee
Miles price50,000miles+$56.6 fee
Los Angeles–MexicoBusiness class
Miles price60,000miles+$93 fee
Other ways you can redeem miles
Hotel Stays84 partners84 part.
MileagePlus members can use their miles to book rooms at a wide variety of hotels and resorts, but the value of your miles decreases.
Car Rental8 partners8 part.
It is also possible to redeem miles toward a car rental with select partners, but as with hotels, this isn’t where the best value lies.
Gift Cards270 partners270 part.
Card members have the option to redeem their miles for popular merchant gift cards, but again, I recommend using your miles toward flights if you can.
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card earns two miles per dollar spent with United Airlines and at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores. The card earns one mile per dollar for everything else. As far as co-branded airline credit cards go, the earning structure on the United business card is rather generous. There’s no cap on how many miles you can earn, and earning miles at least once a month extends their expiration indefinitely.
Your Monthly Charges
Rewards You Will Earn Annually34,000miles$551in dollar value
- Car Rental
- United Airlines Purchases
- All Other Purchases
Free Checked Bag
First free checked bag is offered to the primary cardholder and one companion traveling on the same reservation. The potential savings here add up to $100 per roundtrip, which covers the annual fee if you and a plus one travel with United Airlines at least once per year.
Anniversary United Club Passes
The primary card member will receive two free United Club passes for use during travel on a United issued ticket. The passes grant access to domestic lounges. United Club passes are issued upon card opening and then every year upon card renewal.
Cardholders and all companions booked on the same reservation automatically receive priority boarding on United operated flights. Codeshare flights are not eligible for this perk.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Use this card wherever you are in the world and never pay an additional transaction fee.
Earn Elite Status Fast
United passengers who fly frequently can qualify for elite status by completing certain requirements within a calendar year. To qualify for status, program members have to fly a certain number of miles or a certain number of segments and spend a certain amount of money. For example, qualifying for Premier Silver requires flying at least 25,000 miles or 30 individual segments and spending $3,000 on base airfare. However, putting at least $25,000 on the United business card annually will waive the spending requirements and earn cardholders an additional 10,000 redeemable miles.
- Receive a Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver after spending $25,000 in a year
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card waives the annual fee of $95 for the first year, which means trying out the card and redeeming its 50,000-miles bonus will cost nothing to business owners. If you value MileagePlus miles at 1.62 cents apiece, you’d have to spend $5,864 annually to justify the annual fee after the introductory year, which is quite manageable for a business. Of course that amount drops dramatically if you spend in bonus categories and if you use the card’s perks, like the free checked bags.
This card’s annual fee is $0 first year $95 after that. If you make $5,864 in purchases a year, you’ll cover the cost of the card. That’s because you’ll earn at least 5,864 miles, and they’re worth at least 1.62 cents each. If you spend about $2,000 a month, you’ll pay off the card in 3 months.
- Annual Fee
- $0 first year $95, after that
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Late Payment Fee
- $15 if the balance is less than $100; $29 if the balance is $100 or more, but less than $250; and $39 if the balance is $250 or more
- Foreign Transaction Fee
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
Your Average Monthly Spend
Months to Cover Annual Fee
Get anniversary bonus: 10,000 miles
You will receive 10,000 bonus points each anniversary year – enough to cover more than a half of the annual fee.
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $1,955 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card offers some enticing benefits to small business owners who want to exchange the cost of doing business for rewards. Below are the top five perks of this credit card.
- Sign-Up Bonus: The card’s sizeable sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles is enough for two round-trip domestic tickets in economy class, which could be worth around $1,000, depending on the flight.
- Free Checked Bags: Most co-branded airline cards offer this perk, and the United Explorer rewards card is no exception. Check a bag for yourself and a travel companion and save $100 per roundtrip.
- Great Return on Spending: Most airline cards only offer a bonus on spending with that airline, but the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card also earns double points on spending at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores, which is hard to find.
- United Club Passes: Every account anniversary, cardholders receive two one-time United Club passes for use within the next year. The passes normally cost $59 each, so the benefit is worth $118.
- Extra Saver Space: Passengers can save half of their hard-earned miles by booking Saver level awards compared to Standard awards. Cardholders have access to additional Saver inventory when redeeming miles on United.com, which can come in handy when travel dates aren’t flexible.
Should You Get the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card?
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card offers a lot of value to business owners who frequently fly with United. The 50,000 miles sign-up bonus alone can justify getting the card. It’s enough for two free round-trip flights within the United States.
All the expected airline perks are there, and so is the incentive to spend a lot. Because of its annual spending bonus of 10,000 miles, it’s a good card for a business that spends at least $25,000 per year. Additionally, employee cards are free, allowing business owners to earn rewards even faster.
However, the downside is that the rewards are somewhat limited. The points can be redeemed for flights available on United.com only. The good news is that United partners with dozens of international airlines, and there are plenty of great options when it comes to award flights almost anywhere in the world.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
Yes, passengers without elite status who would like to take advantage of the free checked bags on United flights have to use their card to purchase airfare directly from the airline. Simply having the MileagePlus number attached to the reservation is not enough. Each card member gets his or her own bag covered plus another checked bag if they’re traveling with a companion. The bag fees are also waived on award tickets as long as the taxes and fees are paid with the United MileagePlus Explorer card. Each round-trip flight can save up to $100.
No, the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card does not charge foreign transaction fees, which makes this card a great option for international business travelers. Foreign transaction fees apply to purchases made at merchants and restaurants outside of the United States. Depending on the card issuer and the card network, foreign transaction fees can be as high as three percent per transaction. Carrying a card that waives foreign transaction fees can help save a substantial amount of money on purchases made overseas. The card is also a Visa, so you can rest assured that you can swipe it almost anywhere in the world.
- How does the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card compare to the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card?
The Ink Business Preferred℠credit card earns a flexible currency in the Ultimate Rewards program. Although the points can be transferred to United Airlines, they can also be transferred to other carriers, such as Southwest Airlines, Air France KLM and Singapore Airlines. Although miles earned with the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card can be used to book flights on other airlines, they cannot be transferred to their respective frequent flyer programs. Still, the United rewards card offers airline benefits that cards with flexible points do not, so it’s a better option for those who fly United often.
Compare MileagePlus® Cards
Other MileagePlus® cards
Chase offers a few other co-branded United credit cards to consumers: the United MileagePlus Club Business card, the United MileagePlus Explorer card and the no-fee United MileagePlus card. Let’s take a look at their main differences.
|United MileagePlus® Explorer Card||United MileagePlus® Club Card|
|40,000 miles||50,000 miles||0 miles||50,000 miles|
|$95||$0 first year $95, after that||$450||$450|
APR On Purchases
|16.99% to 23.99% Variable±||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±||16.99% to 23.99% Variable±|
Second Year Value
The United MileagePlus Club Business card is a premium business rewards credit card that comes with a sizeable annual fee of $450 . This card offers 1.5 miles per dollar for all purchases and comes with a $100 statement credit, United Club membership and two free checked bags for the card member and a travel companion. This card is best for a hardcore United business traveler who would frequent the lounges.
The United MileagePlus Explorer card is a personal version of the card covered in this post. It offers the same benefits as the business version of the card and charges the same annual fee. The main difference is that the earning structure on the personal card isn’t as generous. It earns two miles per dollar spent with United and one mile per dollar for all other purchases. There are no other bonus categories.
The United MileagePlus card is a no-fee co-branded United Airlines card. It’s not possible to apply for it directly, but it is possible to downgrade the United MileagePlus Explorer Card to this card if you do not want to pay a fee but would like to keep the credit limit and extend the account’s age. The card earns just one mile per dollar on United purchases and one mile per $2 spent elsewhere. Additionally, this card doesn’t offer free bags or expanded Saver inventory.
Compare United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card to Other Cards
Most airlines offer business versions of their co-branded credit cards. Let’s take a look at a few options available for business owners.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card from Bank of America is a great choice for business owners who fly Alaska or Virgin America. It earns triple miles with both airlines, which is above average when it comes to co-branded cards. Additionally, the card offers its famous Companion Fare, which allows primary cardholders to buy an additional ticket for the same journey for just $99 plus taxes.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card from American Express is obviously targeted toward those who prefer flying with Delta Air Lines. The card offers a $50 statement to be used on Delta in the first three months, free checked bags for the cardholder and up to eight companions, and Zone 1 boarding.
The Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard offers business owners bonus miles based on their annual spending—20,000 if the yearly spending is between $50,000 and $99,999, and 40,000 miles for anything above $100,000. Additionally, a companion discount benefit allows the primary cardholder to book a flight between North America and Hawaii in economy class with a 50 percent discount.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Excellent credit score
IssuerJPMorgan Chase & Co.
Pay with pointsNo
Available airlineUnited Airlines
Flights TypeDomestic and International
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Visa card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 20 days
- Purchase Protection:
- Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Price Protection:
- If a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference for up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 25.99% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Chase offers great security features, such as transaction alerts, chip technology, easy access to your account via a mobile banking app and identity theft protection. As a card member, you can rest assured that you will not be responsible for any unauthorized transactions on your card.
- Account Alerts:
- Set up alerts to get notified when a large transaction posts to your account, there is an unauthorized withdrawal, or if your bill is due.
- Banking On the Go:
- Track all your Chase accounts with Chase Mobile app.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Credit Score Reports:
- Monitor your credit history for unusual activity, including recently opened accounts and inquiries made on your history.
Mobile wallet options, which are safe and secure payment options, have become increasingly popular among cardholders. The United MileagePlus Explorer rewards card works with Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Visa Checkout.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- When renting a car for business purposes, Chase offers primary coverage when the entire rental cost is charged to your card. Simply decline the rental company’s collision insurance.
- Baggage Delay Insurance:
- Any time baggage is delayed by six hours or more, cardholders can get reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days for buying essentials, such as toiletries and clothing.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- The cardholder and immediate family members traveling on the same travel itinerary are covered for up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags.
- Roadside Dispatch:
- Call 1-800- 847-2869 for roadside assistance that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For a flat fee per call, you can receive towing, tire changes, a jump start, lockout service, fuel delivery (up to 5 gallons) and winching.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Passengers can receive up to $500,000 for losing limbs, sight or hearing, or for accidental death during travel on any air, bus, train or cruise ship paid for with your card.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services:
- The service can help you find medical help, legal help emergency messaging, emergency transportation or cash advances. Cardholder is still required to cover the cost of the actual services.