United℠ Explorer Business Card
Best For: Earning miles redeemable toward United Airlines travel
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||17.49% - 24.49% Variable||$95||Good - Excellent|
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card is a solid card for frequent United Airlines’ flyers who don’t need lounge access. It offers 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, and at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores. Owners receive a free checked bag on flights, and you’ll pay as little as 17.49% APR.
The best business cards for travel pay up to 5x points on travel spending. They also offer introductory rewards worth $500 or more and travel benefits like priority boarding. This co-branded Chase business credit card offers falls a bit short when it comes to ongoing rewards, but it offers a nice sign-up bonus and excellent benefits. After assessing its costs and benefits, we give the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card 4 out of 5 stars.
Note: This card is no longer offered as of 2020
How We Evaluated the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers ongoing rewards on United Airlines purchases and at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. Its perks include free checked baggage and priority boarding, benefits that only airline-branded cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offer.
We considered the following criteria when grading this business credit card:
- Ongoing rewards: The points you’ll earn by using the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United purchases and at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores.
- Introductory rewards: The points you’ll earn by reaching minimum spending requirements over the first few months of card ownership. The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 within three months.
- Annual fee: How much you’ll pay each year to own the card. The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card charges an annual fee of $95, waived the first year.
- Additional benefits: Whether the card comes with free perks that may increase its value. The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers free perks like rental car insurance that many other cards offer, but it also comes with benefits only United-branded cards offer — a free checked bag and priority boarding on United flights.
- Introductory APR: Whether the card offers a period of no-interest financing on purchases or balance transfers. The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers no introductory APR.
- Ongoing APR: How much it will cost to finance purchases on the card. This card charges an ongoing APR as low as 17.49%, which is about five percentage points higher than the best ongoing APR among travel rewards cards.
When it comes to rewards, the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card isn’t the best credit card to pay for United flights. The American Express Business Platinum Card® offers 5x points for each dollar spent on airfare. But the Explorer card offers United-specific benefits that other credit cards don’t offer, like free passes to United Club lounges, two points per dollar spent on in-flight food and Wi-Fi, and priority boarding.
How We Evaluate Travel Rewards Business Credit Cards
When grading travel rewards small business credit cards UnitedSMExplorer Business Card, we weight ongoing rewards, introductory rewards, and additional features heaviest. We also take into account the annual fee, introductory no-interest period, and ongoing APRs. This United Airlines’ card suffers in our ratings because it offers no 0% APR period.
We graded the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card using the following methodology:
Based on our 5-star rating system where 20 points equals 1 star, the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card would need a no-interest period or improve its ongoing rewards to earn more than 4 stars. In cases where cards receive perfect scores in most categories, we may award bonus points to boost the card’s rating.
Despite the strong list of additional features and its reasonable annual fee, this grade is appropriate because the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers no introductory APR and offers relatively modest ongoing rewards. In comparison, Chase Ink Business Preferred® offers 3x points on all travel spending.
Who the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card is Right For
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card is best for owners who frequently fly United Airlines and want to use their rewards to earn free United flights. It’s also ideal for owners who regularly check bags on United flights. You and one traveling companion can check one bag for free each way. That’s worth $120 per trip.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Costs
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card charges a high ongoing APR, even for a travel rewards credit card. Such cards often charge above average APRs to help pay for rewards and perks. If you have to carry a balance, choose a travel rewards card with a significantly lower APR, like the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®, which charges an ongoing APR as low as 13.49%.
Financing costs and fees on the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card include:
- Introductory APR: None
- Ongoing APR: 17.49% to 24.49%, which will adjust with the prime rate
- Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
- Balance transfer fee: Either 5% of the amount of the transfer or $5, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Cash advance fee: 5% of the advance or $15, whichever is greater
- Late payment fee: $39
- Returned payment fee: $39
- Penalty APR: 29.99% if you fail to make a payment by the due date or make a payment that is returned. The penalty APR may apply indefinitely.
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card is good for overseas travel because it charges no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S. The annual fee is similar to what the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® charges ($99, waived the first year), but less than the $450 annual fee you’ll pay with the United MileagePlus Club Business Card.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card
Your payment due date is at least 20 days after the close of the business cycle (when you receive your bill). Pay your balance in full by the due date to avoid interest charges. This card doesn’t carry a minimum interest charge.
The potential due date on this Chase business credit card could be shorter than other cards, like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, which has a payment due date at least 25 days after the close of the business cycle.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Rewards
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers bonus category rewards on United purchases and on restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. It also offers an introductory sign-up bonus that could be worth several domestic round-trip tickets. Use a card like the Chase Ink Business CashSM for purchasing office supplies; it pays 5% cash back.
You’ll earn 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within the first three months after account opening. The introductory rewards on the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card are identical to what you’d earn with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, which offers 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
You will earn the following ongoing rewards when using your card:
- 2 miles for every dollar spent on United purchases, including tickets and in-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi
- 2 miles at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores
- 2 miles on Inside Access from Chase purchases. This is a program that offers access to exclusive culinary and cultural events
- 1 mile on all other purchases
- 10,000 bonus miles when you make at least $25,000 in purchases each calendar year
You’ll earn higher rewards on airfare purchases with the Chase Ink Business Preferred® card (3x points). Those points are directly transferable to United’s frequent flyer program or can be used to book flights on other airlines through the Chase travel portal.
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card won’t pay rewards for the following:
- Balance transfers
- Cash advances, traveler’s checks, foreign currency, or money orders
- Wire transfers
- Lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers, or similar betting transactions
- Interest and fees of any kind, including an annual fee
- Unauthorized or fraudulent charges
Chase will transfer miles from your credit card account to your United MileagePlus account monthly. Your miles will not expire as long as your credit card account is open. If your credit card account is closed, or if you change your account to another co-branded Chase credit card that does not have an annual fee, your miles will expire.
Rewards accrual works a bit differently with this card than with other travel rewards credit cards, like the American Express Business Platinum Card®. American Express points remain in your card account, while your United miles are tied to the airline’s loyalty program.
How To Redeem Your Rewards
You can redeem your miles by booking travel on United flights or United partner airlines. One-way Saver Award travel starts as low as 12,500 miles for flights within the U.S. and Canada. Although there are no blackout dates, there’s no guarantee award seats will be available for every flight. You’ll be responsible for paying all taxes and fees levied by the government on plane tickets.
Frequent flyer programs and redeeming airline miles can be confusing. The J.D. Power 2018 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study measured program member satisfaction based on earning and redeeming rewards, program benefits, account management, and member communication. United’s program ranked last among six airlines ranked. JetBlue’s Always TrueBlue program and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards are the highest ranked loyalty programs.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Additional Features
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers several travel and purchase protections common to small business credit cards, like extended warranty protection. It also offers coverage a smaller number of cards offer, like baggage delay insurance and priority boarding.
You’ll receive the following free additional benefits with the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card:
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card United Club Passes
On each account anniversary, you’ll earn two one-time passes to the airline’s lounges. You can enjoy complimentary beverages, snacks, and free Wi-Fi while you wait for your departure. Other airline credit cards, like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, only offers reduced prices on single-day passes at $29.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card First Free Checked Bag
You and one companion traveling on the same reservation can check one bag for free each way. Since United charges $30 per checked bag, this benefit is worth up to $120 per round-trip flight. Several other airline co-branded credit cards offer this same benefit, including the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®; cards not affiliated with airlines do not.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Priority Boarding
You and companions on the same reservation will be able to board United-operated flights prior to general boarding. Priority boarding follows boarding by groups including members of the military, families with children under the age of 2 and those with elite status in the airline’s frequent flyer program. This benefit is common among airline-branded credit cards.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
This benefit will compensate you for trips canceled or interrupted due to a covered condition when you pay for at least a portion of your trip with your Chase business credit card. This protection is also available on the Chase Ink Business Preferred® card.
What’s Covered with UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
If you, your immediate family or employee credit card holders book a pre-paid tour, trip, or vacation that you or the travel operator cancel, you are eligible for up to $10,000 in coverage per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.
The following covered conditions apply:
- If you die, fall ill, or suffer injury
- Severe weather, “which prevents a reasonable and prudent person” from traveling
- Change in military orders
- A terrorist action or hijacking
- A call to jury duty or receiving a subpoena from the courts
- An insured person finding their home or another covered person’s home to be uninhabitable
- Quarantine imposed by a doctor for health reasons
- Financial insolvency of the travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier
The covered conditions available with this card are similar to what other cards with trip cancellation insurance cover.
What’s Excluded from UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
The following coverage exclusions apply:
- Travel arrangements canceled by the travel operator that don’t involve severe weather or a labor strike
- Any change in your plans, financial circumstances, or obligations
- Pre-existing conditions
- Traveling in a rocket-propelled or rocket-launched aircraft
- Self-inflicted injury
- Traveling against the advice of a doctor
- Traveling while on a waiting list for specified medical treatment
The trip cancellation/interruption insurance exclusions are similar to what other cards that offer this coverage exclude.
Trip Delay Reimbursement
If your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours or an overnight stay by equipment failure, bad weather, labor strikes, or a hijacking, you’re eligible for a reimbursement of expenses up to $500 with your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card. Covered expenses include meals, lodging, toiletries, and medication.
Coverage up to $500 each is available for the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse and dependent children under 22 years of age. You must have paid for at least a portion of the delayed trip with your Chase card to be eligible. This type of coverage is most often found on personal travel credit cards. But it’s also offered by the Chase Ink Business Preferred® card.
Baggage Delay Protection
If your checked baggage is delayed or misdirected by a carrier for more than six hours, you’re eligible for a $100 per day benefit for up to three days with your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card. The coverage is limited to purchases of essential items like clothing, toiletries, and charging cables for cell phones.
The cardholder and the cardholder’s immediate family are eligible for coverage. This benefit is found most often on personal travel rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
What’s Excluded from UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Baggage Delay Protection
The following coverage exclusions apply:
- Contact lenses, eyeglasses, or hearing aids
- Artificial teeth, dental bridges, or prosthetic devices
- Tickets, documents, money, securities, checks, traveler’s checks, and valuable papers
- Jewelry and watches
- Cameras, video recorders, cellular telephones, and other electronic equipment
The exclusions on this card’s baggage delay protection are similar to what other cards with this type of coverage exclude.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost or damaged while on a flight or traveling with another covered carrier, like a passenger train, you’re eligible for reimbursement of up to $3,000 for each covered person with your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card. That coverage includes a $500 maximum benefit for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders, and other electronic equipment. Loss of papers, money, or tickets aren’t covered. The cardholder and immediate family members are eligible for coverage.
This type of coverage is nearly identical to what the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® offers, although that card’s benefit is capped at $10,000 per trip, regardless of how many covered travelers file claims.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
When you rent a car using your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card, you’re covered in case of accident or theft. Coverage is primary if the vehicle rental is for business purposes, which means you won’t need to use your personal auto insurance or accept insurance offered by the rental agency. You may be reimbursed for up to the cash value of the vehicle.
What’s Covered with UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Rental Insurance
The auto rental collision damage waiver covers damage due to collision or theft. Both the cardholder and any additional drivers permitted by the rental agreement are covered. Rentals of 31 consecutive days or less are eligible. You’ll also be covered for “reasonable and customary towing charges” and loss-of-use charges incurred by the rental car company.
This coverage is similar to what other cards that offer primary rental car insurance cover. Some cards also may place a monetary cap on the coverage. The American Express Business Platinum Card®, for example, caps coverage at $75,000.
What’s Excluded from UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Rental Insurance
The following auto rental collision damage waiver coverage limits apply:
- Expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles
- Vans designed to carry more than eight people
- Trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, limousines, and recreational vehicles
- Expenses reimbursed under your personal auto insurance policy, your employer or your employer’s insurance
- Injury of anyone or anything inside or outside of the vehicle
- Leases and mini leases
- Loss or theft of personal belongings
The exclusions are similar to what other small business cards that offer primary rental card insurance exclude.
Chase may repair, replace, or reimburse for items purchased with your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card that are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per item, up to $50,000 per year.
What Purchases UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Covers
Purchase protection covers items stolen or damaged or that “in which the item’s location is known but recovery is impractical to complete.” This coverage is similar to what other small business credit cards that offer purchase protection cover.
What Purchases UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Excludes
The following purchases are not covered:
- Animals and living plants
- Antiques or collectible items
- Boats, aircraft, automobiles, and any other motorized vehicles
- Computer software
- Items purchased for resale
- Items that are lost or that vanish in an unexplained manner without evidence of a wrongful act
- Items under the care and control of a common carrier like the U.S. Postal Service or an airline
- Jewelry and watches stored in checked baggage
- Theft or damage resulting from abuse, fraud, hostilities of any kind, confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects
- Medical equipment
- Perishables or consumables
- Real estate
- Rented or leased items
- Traveler’s checks, cash, tickets, credit or debit cards, and any other negotiable instruments
- Used or preowned items
Business credit cards that offer this coverage typically limit coverage to either 90 or 120 days after purchase. UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers a longer coverage window than Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Exclusions here are common across small business credit cards.
Extended Warranty Protection
With the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card, Chase will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on warranties of three years or less up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account. You must have charged some portion of the purchase to your card or used reward points to make the purchase.
What UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Extended Warranty Protection Covers
Extended warranty protection covers eligible items with a valid original manufacturer-written U.S. repair warranty of three years or less. This is a smaller window of additional coverage than some other small business credit cards offer. American Express Blue Business® Plus, for example, offers two years’ extra warranty protection if the original manufacturer’s warranty is between two and five years.
What UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Extended Warranty Protection Excludes
The following purchases are not covered by extended warranty protection:
- Boats, automobiles, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicles
- Any costs other than those specifically covered under the terms of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty
- Items purchased for resale
- Computer software
- Medical equipment
- Real estate
- Rented or leased items
- Used or preowned items
These exclusions to this card’s extended warranty protection are similar to what other cards that offer warranty protection exclude.
Adding UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Employee Credit Cards
Although the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card charges a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), you may add as many employee credit cards as you want at no cost. Most small business credit card issuers (with the exception of American Express) charge no fee on employee credit cards, even if the primary card carries an annual fee. Chase does not limit the number of employee cards you can get, but says you should consider a corporate credit card if you need more than 100.
What the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card is Missing
The UnitedSM Explorer Business Card offers lower rewards on airfare than other small business credit cards, such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred®. That card offers 3x points on all travel. This also isn’t a good card if you carry a balance because the ongoing APR is quite high. If you think you won’t be able to pay your bill off in full each month consider a 0% APR business credit card.
UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Reviews
The United MileagePlus Explorer Business Credit Card was rebranded the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card in 2018. Most of the online reviews we found, which are generally positive, predate the name change, although the card benefits are relatively unchanged.
Reviewers said they liked being able to use the card to save for free trips. Some were unimpressed that this card doesn’t offer the opportunity to receive a free companion fare, such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers.
How to Apply for the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card
Before opening a business credit card, learn what you need to do to prepare. Apply for the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card online either through Chase or United Airlines by filling out a basic application. You’ll need to provide both business and personal information, like your Social Security number and business address.
You may be approved instantly. If you’re not, check your application status online if you’re an existing Chase customer; otherwise call 800-453-9719. If you’re approved, you’ll receive your card in the mail within seven to 10 days.
How to Log in To Your UnitedSM Explorer Business Card Account
Other Chase Business Credit Cards
Chase offers five other business credit cards, all of which offer rewards. Some cards are partner cards that reward you for airline travel expenses. The others offer points or cash back on all purchases. You may want to consider another Chase card if you don’t fly United frequently or have expenses more aligned with those cards’ rewards programs.
The other Chase business credit cards include the:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred®: This card is best for businesses with large travel budgets. You’ll earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases each account anniversary year. You’ll pay a $95 annual fee.
- Chase Ink Business CashSM: This card is best for owners with big office supply expenses. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, cellular phone, and landline services each account anniversary year. You’ll pay no annual fee.
- Chase Ink Business UnlimitedSM: This card is best for owners who don’t want to track bonus category spending. You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You’ll pay no annual fee.
- United MileagePlus Club Business Card: This card is best for heavy travelers who primarily fly United Airlines. It pays 2x miles on United purchases and 1.5x miles on everything else. The annual fee is $450.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card: This card is best for businesses that frequently use Southwest Airlines for travel. It pays 2x points on Southwest purchases and 6,000 bonus points on each cardmember anniversary. You’ll pay a $99 annual fee.
Alternatives to the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card
Some small business travel rewards cards may offer better rewards or perks than the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card. If you travel frequently, consider a card that offers free airport lounge access or the ability to earn a companion pass.
3 Alternatives to the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card
The information related to the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card and the United MileagePlus Club Business Card has been collected by fitsmallbusiness.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.
For rates and fees on the American Express Blue Business® Plus, please click here.
For rates and fees on the American Express Business Platinum Card®, please click here.
For rates and fees on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please click here.