United℠ Explorer Business Card review: Rewards for business trips

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In a Nutshell

If you travel for business, the United℠ Explorer Business Card could save you money on your next flight. You could redeem the bonus miles you earn from the sign-up bonus to cover the cost of some flights, and you’ll be able to earn bonus rewards in several categories. Plus, you’ll score a free checked bag and priority boarding. But keep in mind that these perks aren’t necessarily valuable to every traveler, and you might be able to get higher rewards rates from another card.

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Pros Cons
Good sign-up bonus that can be redeemed for rewards flights Other rewards programs may offer higher rewards rates
Two United Club passes each year No United Club membership
Priority boarding and first checked bag free Value of these perks depends on how you travel
No foreign transaction fees $95 annual fee could cut into rewards earnings
Employee cards at no additional cost

 

From our partner

United℠ Explorer Business Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

4 things to know about the United℠ Explorer Business Card

1. You can turn the sign-up bonus into flights

The United℠ Explorer Business Card offers new cardholders up to 100,000 bonus miles. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after account opening. And you’ll earn an additional 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases within the first six months your account is open.

With one-way United flights starting at 12,500 miles, that might be enough miles to redeem for up to four round-trip flights.

While the exact value of your miles depends on your specific flight, Credit Karma’s point valuations estimates the value of United MileagePlus® miles at 1.21 cents each.

2. Earn more miles on common business expenses

When you make United Airlines purchases, you’ll earn two miles for every $1 you spend on the United℠ Explorer Business Card.

You’ll also earn two miles for every $1 you spend on purchases at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores. And you’ll earn one mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Depending on your business expenses, you might find you can earn miles fairly quickly. Just consider whether these bonus categories match your business needs, or if you could get better rewards rates from another card.

3. There’s an annual fee

The United℠ Explorer Business Card charges card members a $95 annual fee. Depending on the perks you use and the amount you charge to the card, you might be able to make up for this cost fairly quickly.

4. Save with checked bags and priority boarding

If you’re looking for perks on your flight, the United℠ Explorer Business Card brings them with free checked bags and priority boarding.

Whenever you fly with your card, you and a companion on the same reservation will be able to check one bag free. United charges $30 each way for a checked bag on roundtrip domestic flights, so this benefit could be worth as much as $120 on one round-trip flight.

The United℠ Explorer Business Card also includes priority boarding, so you can find your seat and settle in before it gets crowded. Without the card or accompanying airline status, priority boarding isn’t available unless you pay a premium on your ticket. 

Just keep in mind that these benefits are only worth something if you intend to use them. If you don’t check bags or don’t mind boarding a little later, the true value of these perks might not be worth much to you.

Other features of the United℠ Explorer Business Card

  • Employee cards at no charge — The United℠ Explorer Business Card offers $0 employee cards. Your account will earn the same rewards rate on these purchases, too.
  • Two United Club lounge passes per year — Each year, the United℠ Explorer Business Card also comes with two one-time passes to the United Club airport lounge. Individual visits cost $59, so this benefit is worth $108. But not every airport has a United Club, and the card only provides the two passes, so you’ll have to pay to gain entry after that.
  • No foreign transaction fees — The United℠ Explorer Business Card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, which could save your business money when you travel overseas.
  • No introductory APR offer Some business credit cards can help your company finance big purchases with an intro 0% purchase APR — but not the United℠ Explorer Business Card. If you’re looking to build a business without paying interest right away, you might want to look elsewhere.

What qualifies you for a business credit card?

The United℠ Explorer Business Card is intended for business owners, but that doesn’t mean you have to run a Fortune 500 company to qualify.

In fact, many people who work for themselves may not realize they qualify for a business credit card. Whether you freelance, drive for Uber or are starting a side hustle, if you’re self-employed or a sole proprietor, you might be eligible to apply for a business credit card.

This could help you keep your business and personal expenses separate while earning rewards for your professional spending.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If the United℠ Explorer Business Card isn’t the right credit card for you, you might want to consider one of these other credit cards instead.