Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card Review

"A business card with all of the United benefits."

A sign-up bonus, free first bags, 2 Club Passes, and 10k mile bonus for those who spend the minimum make this airline card popular with business owners!

Card Summary Table

The Ideal Cardholder

A good business credit card makes life that much easier for business owners. Why not earn benefits for purchasing the airline tickets and office supplies you already buy?

If you are a business owner who already flies on United or you’ve thought about switching, the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card can help you earn miles quickly.

Factor in the free employee cards, and you can earn travel rewards faster than ever!

Best of all, because the miles you accumulate are based on expenses you already have, there is very little effort required. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Business Owners or Travelers Will Like the MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card
Business owners and frequent business travelers will like the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card!

Sign-Up Bonus, Earning Categories, and Points

On-the-go business owners will enjoy the many sign-up bonuses that come with the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card.

First, earn sign up bonus miles after you spend the required amount in the allotted timeframe. To qualify for the bonus offer, you must be a new cardmember and not have received the bonus for the card in the past 24 months.

Then, get 2 miles for every $1 spent on selected business expenses. This includes purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. You also get 2 miles for every $1 spent on United Airlines tickets.

All other purchases are worth 1 mile per $1 spent.

Remember that as a business owner you get free employee cards, so their purchases count too. Set individual spending limits and earn rewards faster. What a great way to boost your total points!

Bottom Line: Use the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card to earn 2x miles for purchases at United, restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores, and 1x miles everywhere else.

Extra Bonus Miles and More

Spend over $25k in the calendar year, and you’ll receive 10,000 additional points in your Ultimate Rewards account. That can mean a free one-way domestic ticket!

Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

You also qualify for a host of other benefits as an airline cardmember, such as priority boarding ahead of non-status members for you and companions on the same reservation. Simply add your MileagePlus number to your reservation.

Airline benefits with the card also include a free first checked bag for you and a companion. This alone is worth up to $100 on round-trip travel.

You also get 2 United Club passes per year, so you’ll be able to enjoy complimentary snack and beverages as well as free Wi-Fi and more.

Bottom Line: 10,000 bonus points after spending 25k, annual fee waived the first year, and airline benefits make the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card an attractive card for business owners.

International Travel Benefits of the United Business Credit Card

The card offers a couple of pluses for those doing international travel that will serve its holders well!

For instance, there are no foreign transaction fees. Spend $5,000, and you can save $150 just by avoiding these fees.

The card is also chip-enabled, making it easier for merchants to process charges abroad. Don’t forget that you will still get bonus points at gas stations, restaurants, and office supply stores even though you are overseas!

Of course, there are other business cards without foreign transaction fees that may be more appealing. The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is one example.

You’ll 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.

Neither of these cards offer any premium travel benefits, however, which are great for longer trips. If you are looking for those, you could try The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

While there are many benefits to this luxury travel card, the most notable are the $200 airline fee credits, the Global Entry credit, and unlimited airport lounge access across the world in select lounges!

Bottom Line: The Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card may not be the ideal card for foreign travelers, but you’ll still earn 2x points without transaction fees. If you travel internationally, compare card options for the best deal.

United MileagePlus Premier Tiers

In addition to earning miles with your card, you can rack up additional miles just for being a United frequent flyer member.

With the United MileagePlus program, you earn award miles based on the amount of dollars you pay for your ticket and your elite status. See the elite status tiers on the table below.

Premier Tier

Fare Pts

Chase United Pts

Total Pts

Premier Silver (30 PQS and $3,000)*7x2x9x
Premier Gold (60 PQS and $6,000)*8x2x10x
Premier Platinum (90 PQS and $9,000)*9x2x11x
Premier 1K (120 PQS and $120,000)*11x2x13x

* To qualify for a Premier tier, you must have a certain number of Premier Qualifying Segments (PQS) and meet an annual spending level.

Each tier also includes a ton of benefits including discounts, waivers, and complimentary upgrades.

Bottom Line: Combining Premier tiers with Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card miles can make a big difference in earning!

Comparing to Other Cards

While there is no question that the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card is a good card, you may find more overall benefits from other cards.

For instance, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card earns 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year: travel, cable, shipping, Internet, phone, and advertising (on social media and search engines).

Unfortunately, this card does not have a specific focus on office supply stores.

On another note, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard allows you to check up to 4 travel companion bags free instead of 1, which adds up at $25 a bag.

Another card worth comparing is The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, which gives you airport lounge access, a $200 airline fee credit, and complimentary Global Entry membership!

Final Thoughts on the Card

The Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card is a great choice for business travelers who fly United on a frequent basis and will take advantage of the card benefits.

United Club passes, potential 10,000 bonus points a year, and complimentary upgrades may just be worth the $95 annual fee!

Great Card If

  • You fly United or Star Alliance airlines often
  • You are a business owner who will authorize employees to use the card
  • You enjoy frills like complimentary United Club passes each year
  • You will spend at least $25k a year on the card

Don't Get If

  • You don’t have a United or Star Alliance hub nearby
  • You don’t spend a lot of money on office supplies
  • You aren’t a frequent foreign traveler

U.P. Pro Tips

Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card members can reach 25k miles (and 10k bonus points!) quicker by connecting the card to the MileagePlus Dining Program.

In addition to earning 5 miles per dollar spent at participating restaurants, you’ll have access to periodic bonuses that really stockpile points.

Sign Up for the MileagePlus Dining Program to Maximize Points
Combining the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card with the United MileagePlus Dining Program is a powerful way to earn lots of points!

How To Use the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card: The Upgraded Way™

Best Way To Maximize Points

If you want to maximize your Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card points, it’s important to use it whenever possible, especially for business expenses. The quicker you reach $25k, the sooner you will qualify for the 10k bonus miles.

But using the card for all of your regular purchases isn’t the only opportunity you have to build miles! Combining your earning strategy with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, a transfer partner, can be very effective.

Consider these actionable tips for maximizing your United MileagePlus miles.

Tip #1: Authorize your employees to use the card so you can benefit from their purchases too. It’s important to note that you will be responsible for any charges they make, so it’s not a decision to take lightly.

Tip #2: Once you reach the $25k threshold, keep using the card for United flights because you’ll continue to earn points at a great rate. But use another card with better earning potential for other purchases.

Tip #3: Book hotel stays with United MileagePlus travel partners. A list of hotel partners is available on United.com, but here’s a small sample.

Hotels

Offer

Clarion250 miles per stay
Comfort Inn250 miles per stay
Days Inn2 miles per $1 spent
Fairmont500 miles per stay
Marriott2 miles per $1 spent
Radisson500 miles per stay

Tip #4: Shop on the MileagePlus Shopping portal to earn extra points. With over 850 participating MileagePlus retailers, there are plenty of opportunities!

Sign into your United MileagePlus account and check out the bonus miles offered for each store. Here are some of the deals you can discover:

Store

Offer

American Eagle1 miles/$1
Dell2 miles/$1
Finish Line3 miles/$1
RosettaStone6 miles/$1
The Economist12 miles/$1
Zulily0.5 miles/$1

Tip #5: Take advantage of other United travel partners. You can earn miles on car rentals (50 miles per day with Thrifty), train tickets (250-750 miles with Amtrak), and shuttle transportation (50 miles one way with SuperShuttle).

Those are just a few of your options. Find a full list at the MileagePlus website

Tip #6: Combine strategies when you get other Chase cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Freedom® Card, and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. That way you can earn United miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Earn 5x points on specific categories when you use the Chase Freedom®, 3x points in business categories when you use the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, and 2x points on travel and restaurants when you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Then transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus with a 1:1 ratio.

Points are a Big Puzzle and Powerful when Combined
Think of the points world like a big puzzle: the more of these tips you put together, the bigger the rewards!

Best Way To Redeem Points

When redeeming your United miles, the key to success is getting the highest value possible. Here are some options for redeeming points earned on the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card!

Tip #1: International travel is the best way to redeem miles. For instance, an international economy class ticket on United starts at 30,000 miles one-way.

Tip #2: You can also get great value for domestic travel with your United miles.

Depending on the destination, redemption rates for domestic travel start between 10k-12.5k miles. This is a much better deal than the up to 25k miles required for many domestic tickets!

Tip #3: Check the MileagePlus Monthly Saver Awards for special deals. Saver Awards can be used to travel almost anywhere United, United Express, and their partners fly. Type in your departure city for a list of flights.

Tip #4: Look for complimentary upgrades. United offers upgrades regardless of whether you book your trip with an award ticket.

Tip #5: Don’t forget about United Airlines’ Star Alliance airline partners. Your miles are good with all airline partners, giving you more opportunities to find flights to where you want to travel.

Tip #6: Of course, you’re not limited to airline partners. There are also many hotels, car rental companies, and cruise partners that offer redemption opportunities.

Tip #7: MileagePlus cardmembers have a number of unique redemption options, too. Redeem for airfare statement credit, annual fee reimbursement, merchandise, gifts, and more.

While you have many redemption options, flights usually offer the best value. Therefore, our recommendation is to stick to airline awards when possible.

United Airline Partners

free first checked bag for Star Alliance:  TAP Portugal, Singapore Airlines, Brussels Airlines, South African Airways, Air Canada, Air India, Air China, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Air New ZealandLufthansa, Shenzhen Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Avianca (and Avianca Brazil), Egyptair, Swiss, THAI, Turkish Airlines, Austrian, Adria, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Aegean Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, and Ethiopian Airlines

Other Airline Partners: The following are the other airline partners available through United.

Cape Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Aer Lingus, Great Lakes Airlines, Aeromar, AirDolomiti, Azul, Edelweiss, Germanwings, Jet Airways, Island Air, Silver Airways, and Eurowings

Other United Travel Partners

Hotel Partners: Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Wyndham, IHG, Starwood, Choice, Golden Circle, and Club Carlson; Rocketmiles booking.

Car Rental Partners: Thrifty, Hertz, and Dollar rental agencies. Ground transportation includes Bandwagon, SuperShuttle, Carmel, GroundLink, and ExecuCar.

Cruise and Vacation Partners

Non-Travel Partners

Shopping & Digital Media Partners: There are too many partners that it is impossible to mention each one individually. Click on the link for a complete list.

Dining Partners: Restaurant.com, Lettuce Entertain You, select Newark Airport restaurants

Subscriptions Partners: Magazine awards, Newspaper awards

Card Math

In this United Airlines credit card review, we’ve examined the benefits and drawbacks of the card. Now let’s focus on the value of the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card from a monetary standpoint to look at the cost and benefits.

A Quick Card Recap

We’ll start with a summary of the cost and earning potential of the card:

Annual FeePoints Earned on Flights and Select Business ExpensesPoints Earned Everywhere ElseBig Spend Bonus
$0 first year, then $95/yr2x1x10,000 pts after $25k spending/yr

Just like most loyalty programs, your miles earned on the card do not count toward Elite status with the airline. However, you should continue to strive for Elite status to maximize your miles!

As we discussed earlier, the United MileagePlus Elite status is based on the minimum number of miles flown (Premier Qualifying Miles or PQM) and amount spent on flights (Premier Qualifying Dollars or PQD).

You have to fly at least 4 paid flight segments to maintain your status.

You can fly on United or partner airlines to earn PQM and (sometimes) PQD. The chart below provides more detail.

United_Mileage_Plus_Elite_Matrix
Courtesy of United.com

Our Business Example: A Consulting Agency

In this sample table, we’ll look at the business expenses of a consulting agency. We will assume the agency has several full-time employees who fly to consult throughout the country.

Spending CategoriesAmountOtherAmount
Office Supply$12,000Conferences/Networking$2,000
Shipping$4,000Airline Expenses related to above$1,000
Cell Phone$2,400Hotel Expenses related to above$1,000
Landline$  –Legal Fees$10,000
Internet$1,800Advertising/Marketing$10,000
Cable$  –Web Expenses (including dev)$12,100
Gas Station$5,200Other Transportation$500
Restaurants$2,600Accounting Fees$10,000
Insurance$1,200
Total$28,000 Office Rent$60,000
Total$107,800
TOTAL BUSINESS SPEND$135,800

Next, we’ll break down the expenses into rewards categories:

CategorySpendPoints
2x Airline Tickets$1,0002,000
2x Restaurants$2,6005,200
2x Gas Stations$5,20010,400
2x Office Supplies$12,00024,000
1x Everything Else$115,000115,000
Grand Total$135,800154,600

Add the 10,000 bonus miles from spending $25k and you have 164,600 miles to use!Based on these expenses, it’s possible to earn 154,600 miles, assuming you put all of your business expenses on your card.

Use Your Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
Using the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card you can earn almost 220,000 miles at the spending levels of our example small business!

Math Conclusions

We’ve determined the value of each United mile to be between $0.01 and $0.02.

Based on the example above, that makes the total monetary value of the miles $1,646 – $3,292. For a business owner paying $95/year for the card, not bad at all!

Combine the card with other Chase cards and the value just keeps increasing.

Of course, as always, do your own calculations for your level of spending–and always spend wisely!

Bottom Line:  Using the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card could earn you almost $3,300 in value each year per our calculations!

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

Because there aren’t a lot of details involved with using the card, it’s pretty easy to understand how it works.

Employee cards are available at no extra cost, and you can set individual spending limits.

You are responsible for any charges made by authorized users. All statements and notifications will be sent directly to you.

Though you can have as many Chase cards as you’d like, the sign-up bonus is only offered to cardmembers who haven’t earned it in the past 24 months.

In addition, you must make at least $1,000 in purchases to qualify for the bonus.

“Purchases” do not include cash advances, balance transfers, and money orders. The sign up bonus will post to your MileagePlus account 6 to 8 weeks after you qualify.

Your bonus of 10,000 miles for spending $25k is calculated for each calendar year. Note that bonus miles earned don’t count toward Premier status.

Only the cardmember and travel companion on the same reservation can take advantage of the free first checked bag and priority boarding benefits. Oversized, overweight, and extra baggage fees may apply.

The 2 Anniversary United Club passes are not good for the United Arrivals Lounge, United Global First, or Star Alliance Lounges. The passes cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

United MilieagePlus miles do not expire. However, you must keep your account open and in good standing.

Other Unique Features

The Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card also comes with a wide range of travel and shopping insurances, which add to its value. Below are the primary and secondary benefits offered by the card when you purchase the applicable travel.

United MileagePlus any seat, any time Unlike loyalty programs that block access to seats and dates, United makes booking an award with your miles easy. 

You have access to any available seat, any time on United-operated flights with no restrictions, limitations, or blackout dates.

Complimentary Premier upgradesPremier members flying on an award ticket may be upgraded on select domestic United-operated flights depending on available space.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection privilegesAccess to a travel portal that includes more than 900 luxury hotels and resorts around the world.

Book through the portal to receive a complimentary breakfast for 2, possible room upgrade upon arrival, early check-in/late check-out, and a special benefit based on the property.

Visa Concierge – Who wouldn’t love to have a personal assistant available on call?  Receive assistance booking dinner reservations, tickets for shows and sporting events, and hundreds of other tasks with the concierge services benefit.

Trip cancellation insurance – If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to severe weather or sickness, get reimbursed up to $10k for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses.

Trip delay reimbursement – Receive up to $500 per ticket for unreimbursed expenses like meals and lodging when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an extra overnight stay.

Baggage delay insurance – Receive up to $100 per day for 3 days for essential purchases when your baggage is delayed by 6 hours or more by a passenger carrier.

Lost luggage reimbursement – Get up to $3k per passenger when checked or carry-on bags belonging to you or immediate family members are damaged or lost by the carrier.

Auto rental collision damage waiver – Charge your rental to your card and receive primary coverage when renting for business purposes. The coverage provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

Purchase protection – Get up to $10k per claim, $50k per account for new purchases in cases of theft or damage within 120 days.

Price protection – Get reimbursed up to $500 per item, $2500 per year when an item you purchase in the U.S. is advertised for less online or in print within 90 days.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Business Team Shaking Hands: ASDF_MEDIA/Shutterstock
Chopsticks in a Bowl: Kzenon/Shutterstock
Puzzle Pieces: Gajus/Shutterstock
Businessman at Desk: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Apply Now

FAQ

Why should I get a Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card? Is it worth it?
The card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). In return, you get 2 United Club lounge passes per year and your first checked bag is free.

You also get a sign-up bonus, priority boarding, and 2x points on United flights and selected business expenses. Overall, the benefits outweigh the cost of the card if you travel United on a frequent basis.

Can I use the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card for personal use?
Yes. While the card is tailored toward business travelers, it can be used for other expenses. Plus, you get 1x miles on all expenses (and 2x points for United flights, office supplies, and restaurants).

Is there an annual fee?
Yes. The first year is waived, but after that, the annual fee is $95.

Which card is better, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card?
The card allows you to earn 2x miles for United flights, office supplies, and restaurants–and 1x the miles for everything else.

On the other hand, with the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you earn 3x points (not miles) for travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines .

Both cards have an annual fee of $95, but Chase waives the fee for the first year on the United business card.

The main difference is that Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card miles provide the best value when you use them for airline travel.

Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card points can be used in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel, shopping, or transfer to loyalty programs.

Does the card have a foreign transaction fee?
No. There are no foreign transaction fees with the Chase United card.

How long does it take for United MileagePlus points to post?
It can take up to 6-8 weeks for United miles to post to your account.

How do I redeem Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card miles?
Once the miles are deposited into your MileagePlus account, you can redeem them for awards flights on United and other Star Alliance partners. You can also redeem them for merchandise and other awards.

See the United site for more details.

When do Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card miles expire?
As long as your account is active and in good standing, the points will not expire.

Does the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card offer purchase protection?
Yes. There are many traveler and shopping benefits with the card, including purchase protection. You can find a complete list in the Gritty Details section.

Which credit cards can I use to earn more United miles?
Not only can you use the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card and Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card, but you can also use the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to transfer points to United Airlines:

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