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United℠ Explorer Business Card — Full Review [2024]

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Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

297 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

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Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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United℠ Explorer Business Card

United℠ Explorer Business Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
3.5
  • $95

  • 17.49% - 24.49% Variable

United℠ Explorer Business Card

A sign-up bonus, free first bags, and 2 Club Passes make this airline card popular with business owners!

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
3.5

The United℠ Explorer Business Card is no longer available as of January 22, 2019. 

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 United℠ Explorer Business Card can help you earn miles quickly.

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!

Card Snapshot

Welcome Bonus & Info

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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 $25,000 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

Welcome Bonus, Earning Categories, and Points

On-the-go business owners will enjoy the many sign-up bonuses that come with the United 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 United 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

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: The a lower annual fee, and airline benefits make the United 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.

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 United 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.

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Premier Tier

Fare Pts

Chase United Pts

Total Pts

Premier Silver (30 PQS and $3,000)*

7x

2x

9x

Premier Gold (60 PQS and $6,000)*

8x

2x

10x

Premier Platinum (90 PQS and $9,000)*

9x

2x

11x

Premier 1K (120 PQS and $120,000)*

11x

2x

13x

* 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 United Explorer Business card miles can make a big difference in earning!

Best Way To Redeem United Miles

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 United 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, 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.

Best Way To Maximize United Miles

If you want to maximize your United Explorer Business card points, it’s important to use it whenever possible, especially for business expenses.

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 the Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, 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 $25,000 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.

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Hotels

Offer

Clarion

250 miles per stay

Comfort Inn

250 miles per stay

Days Inn

2 miles per $1 spent

Fairmont

500 miles per stay

Marriott

2 miles per $1 spent

Radisson

500 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:

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Store

Offer

American Eagle

1 miles/$1

Dell

2 miles/$1

Finish Line

3 miles/$1

RosettaStone

6 miles/$1

The Economist

12 miles/$1

Zulily

0.5 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 Ink Business Preferred Card, Chase Freedom® Card, and Chase Sapphire Preferred. 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 points to United MileagePlus with a 1:1 ratio.

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, Choice, Golden Circle, and Club Carlson; Rocketmiles booking. (more hotel partner info)

Car Rental Partners: Thrifty, Hertz, and Dollar rental agencies. Ground transportation includes Bandwagon, SuperShuttle, Carmel, GroundLink, and ExecuCar. (more car partner info)

Cruise and Vacation Partners: find more info

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

Alternatives to the United Explorer Business Card

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

For instance, the Ink Business Preferred 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).

100K-POINT OFFER
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.
Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel
100,000 points
$2,000
$95
21.24%-26.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a powerhouse for earning lots of points from your business purchases, especially for business owners that spend regularly on ads.

Plus the card offers flexible redemption options, including access to Chase airline and hotel transfer partners where you can achieve outsized value.

Business owners will also love the protections the card provides like excellent cell phone insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, and more.

Pros
  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services, shipping expenses, travel, and ads purchased with search engines or social media sites
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection
Cons
    • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

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

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

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Status lovers will enjoy the variety of benefits that come with this card. From free bags to reduced-price inflight beverages, AA still flies in style.

Status lovers will enjoy the variety of benefits that come with this card. From free bags to reduced-price inflight beverages, AA still flies in style.
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
50,000 miles
$700
$99, waived for first 12 months
21.24% - 29.99% Variable

Blue skies and fair winds make for a good day to fly! Choosing your airline can be difficult, since factors like location, time, and destination all go into whether or not you can fly somewhere.

An easy choice for many people is American Airlines, because they’re the largest airline in the world. If you’re an American, you’ve probably flown American Airlines at least once.

Frequent fliers tend to enjoy the treatment they can get, from boarding privileges to free bags to lounge access. There’s many reasons to fly with AA, and if so then getting a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® could be for you.

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 0%
Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Program

Another card worth comparing is The Amex Business Platinum, which gives you airport lounge access, a $200 airline fee credit, and complimentary Global Entry membership!

150K OFFER
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)
This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!
Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
150,000 points
$3,300
$695
19.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card tailored toward business owners who are frequent travelers with a high number of annual expenses.

When you factor in the large number of perks that the card offers like the best airport lounge access at over 1,400 lounges, along with tons of annual credits, it’s easy to see why this card can is a top option for frequent traveling business owners.

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 170,000 points with the Amex Business Platinum. The current public offer is 150,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Pros
  • 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels at Amex Travel
  • Access to over 1,400 worldwide airport lounges as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards points (1.5 points per $1) on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more (cap applies)
Cons
  • High annual fee of $695 (rates & fees)
  • Airline fee credit does not cover airfare, only incidentals like checked bags
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting and wireless in the first year of membership with the Business Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. See how you can unlock over $1,000 annually in credits on select purchases with the Business Platinum Card®, here.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to the Card.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use the Business Platinum Card®.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

The information regarding the United℠ Explorer Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I get a United Explorer Business card? Is it worth it?

The card has a $95 annual fee. 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 United 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 annual fee is $95.

Which card is better, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or United 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 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.

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

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 United Explorer Business 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 United 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 United Explorer Business card miles expire?

As long as your account is active and in good standing, the points will not expire.

Does the United 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.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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