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Compare United Airlines credit cards

Get your first checked bag free or board your plane sooner with the right credit card.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Our pick for a United card: United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card logo

40,000-mile

Signup bonus after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Get 2x miles at restaurants, hotels and on United Airlines
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $95
See offer

If United is your preferred airline, getting one of their cobranded credit cards could be worthwhile. You could easily earn a flight ticket or an upgrade just by using your card every time you make a purchase. Frequent flyers might want to consider a card with an annual fee as those cards tend to come with additional perks, such as United Club lounge passes or a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit.

Compare United Airlines credit cards

Want a side-by-side comparison of United Chase cards? Select your credit range and click Show cards to start your search.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
United℠ Explorer Card
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($525 thereafter)
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.
United℠ Business Card
2x miles on United, restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores, local transit and commuting, and 1x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 75,000 miles once after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months.
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Quick look at United Airlines cards

Foreign transaction feeFirst checked bag freeSecond checked bag freePriority boardingTSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee creditEarn companion certificateUnited Club passes
United℠ Explorer Card0%
checkmark
x
Group 2
checkmark
x
2 one-time passes
United Club℠ Infinite Card0%
checkmark
checkmark
Group 2
checkmark
x
United Club membership
United℠ Business Card0%
checkmark
x
Group 2
x
x
2 one-time passes

Which United Airlines credit card should I pick?

Best Chase United card for the occasional traveler
United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Miles
40,000
Miles welcome offer
Frequent United Airlines flyers that want to get a good value for their card but aren't necessarily power-travelers should consider the United℠ Explorer Card. You get a host of United Airlines perks, including accelerated miles on select categories, a generous signup bonus, first checked bag free, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit and two United Club passes each year after your card anniversary.
  • United miles. Earn 2x miles on your United Airlines purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and hotels stays, and 1.5x miles on everything else you buy.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. Get up to $100 in statement credit once every four years as reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • United Club passes. Get two United Club one-time passes once you open your account and then on each card anniversary. Relax before your flight and enjoy complimentary beverages, snacks, free Wi-Fi and more.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Purchase APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Balance transfer APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Welcome offer 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases

Best Chase United card for travel perk
United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$525 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 4x
Miles
n/a
Welcome offer
Consider this card if you want to get the ultimate perks and benefits available from the five United credit cards. Aside from the highest mile earning potential and a generous signup bonus, you get complimentary United Club membership, first and second checked bags free and complimentary upgrades.
  • United Club membership. Get access to all United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide simply by being a cardmember. Without the card, you would pay $650 for the membership.
  • First two checked bags free. Get your first and second checked bag free, which saves up to $700 in five roundtrips if you travel alone. That is double value if you travel with a companion.
  • United miles. Earn 4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining purchases and 1x miles on everything else you buy.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($525 thereafter)
Purchase APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Balance transfer APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases

How we selected our top cards

When choosing our United Airlines credit card picks, we looked at a few features, including rewards rate, signup bonuses, free checked bagsand any other United travel perks that a consumer might want from a cobranded card. Those cards that outperformed the others in a given category were chosen for our list.

What’s changed in 2020

With just a few United Airlines cards to choose from, the cards on our list have kept their positions for 2020 thanks to their varied utility and the niche each card covers.

Other cards you can use to earn United Airlines miles

United Airlines cobranded cards aren’t the only cards that can help you stack up miles. One alternative worth considering is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. For a $95 annual fee you earn 2x points on travel and dining purchases, and you get to earn a generous signup bonus worth up to $1,000 in travel redemption.

This may not compare well with the similarly-priced United Explorer card, but you get better point redemption flexibility with other airlines, hotels, cruise lines and car rental companies. And should you wish to fly United, you can always transfer points in a 1:1 ratio to United miles.

Should I pick a United Airlines credit card or a general travel card?

Frequent United Airlines flyers who want to get the best perks and deals may find a United Airlines card to be a better option.

But those who travel United once or twice a year — but still travel often — a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may offer a better value for the money.

Typical features of a United Airlines credit card

You get valuable card-specific perks depending on the card’s annual fee. But some features are shared by all United Airlines credit cards, including:

  • United miles.
    All United credit cards let you earn miles that you can redeem for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards and more.
  • Signup bonus.
    Whichever card you choose, you’ll earn a signup bonus. The higher the card’s annual fee, the higher the bonus reward.
  • In-flight discounts.
    All personal United Airlines cards come with a 25% discount on in-flight purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
    When you travel abroad, use your United Airlines credit cards freely and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees.
  • First checked bag free.
    All United Airlines credit cards let you save money on your first checked bag. That’s $30 saved per person, per flight.
  • Priority boarding.
    All United Airlines credit cards come with a Group 2 priority boarding.

How much are United miles worth?

The exact mile value depends on the fare and the flight. Typically, the value varies between 1.5 cents and up to 2.4 cents per mile. This is way above competitors where the value of miles roughly stands at 1.5 cents per mile.

For example, a roundtrip flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) on Economy (lowest) costs $614 if you pay cash or 25,000 miles plus $11.2 if you redeem your miles. This translates to 2.4 cents per mile.

How to find the best deal?

The only way to find the best deal for your miles is to do the calculations yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Find the flight.
  2. Find out how many miles you need to redeem.
  3. Find out how much it costs in cash.
  4. Divide the cash amount with the miles: $614/25,000 = 0.024, or 2.4 cents per mile.

The higher the number you get, the higher the value for your miles.

How to compare United Airlines Chase cards

With several strong card choices to choose from, making your final choice can be tricky. Here are a few items to consider:

  • How often do you travel? If you travel often, you’ll want a card that can offer the most value on your flights and hotel stays, such as the United Club℠ Infinite Card.
  • Do you want free checked bags? All three cards offer this perk, but with the United Club℠ Infinite Card you’ll get your first and second checked bag free for you and a companion.
  • Do you want to pay an annual fee? Both the United℠ Explorer Card and the United℠ Business Card waive your annual fee for the first year, after which you’ll pay $95 and $99 respectively.

Can you have more than one United credit card?

It depends. For example, you can get the high-end United Club℠ Infinite Card only if you don’t have a United Club credit card and have not received a United Club card signup bonus in the past two years. However, you can get the business card or the United℠ Explorer Card even if you have another United card.

Do United cards count toward the 5/24 rule?

Yes. All United credit cards are part of the Chase 5/24 rule. This means, if you have opened five credit cards in the past 24 months, your United card application will be automatically denied.

Bottom line

United Airlines frequent flyers will enjoy the perks and benefits of any of these cards. Whichever card you go with, you can earn miles and a signup bonus. And if you’re willing to pay an annual fee, expect additional perks such as priority boarding, free checked bags and United Club passes.

But if you think there could be a better card for you, compare other airline credit cards until you find the right card for your needs.

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