Is the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card worth it? | October 2018

United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card review – October 2018

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An airline card for businesses that spend big on gas, dining, office supplies and United flights.

  • Get this card if you fly with United and make frequent business purchases on gas, dining and office supplies.
  • Pick something else if your business needs more varied travel rewards.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Product NameUnited MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases17.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate26.74% variable
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Cash Advance Fee$15 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 20 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $39
Returned Payment Fee$39
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Rates & FeesRates & Fees
Minimum Age18 years of age
Reward Value per Dollar1 miles
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

Unlike some airline cards, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card can be a versatile tool for many businesses. That’s because it offers 1x miles not only on United ticket purchases, but also on common business categories like gas, dining and office supplies. It also offers a good signup bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This bonus can go a long way, especially if you’re willing to wait for United’s Saver Award routes that cost fewer miles.

Compare United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card vs. United MileagePlus® Club Business Card

Chase United business credit cards compared

United MileagePlus® Explorer Business CardUnited MileagePlus® Club Business Card
Annual fee$95$450
Sign-up bonus50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months$100 statement credit after your first purchase
Miles
  • 2x on gas, dining, office supplies and United ticket purchases
  • 1x on everything else
  • 2x on United purchases
  • 1.5x on everything else
United perks
  • One free checked bag for you and one companion
  • Priority boarding
  • 2 United Club passes each year
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated flights, when available
  • Complimentary United Club membership
  • Two free checked bags for you and one companion
  • No close-in fees when booking reward flights
  • Premier Access: priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated flights, when available
Hotel benefitsYes — room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, etc.Yes — room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, etc.
Hotel loyalty program upgradeNoDiscoverist status in World of Hyatt
United Club membershipNo — 2 United Club passes each yearYes
Miles boostYes — 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 on purchases in a calendar yearNo

The perks

  • Signup bonus: 50,000 bonus miles.

    After you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, you’ll earn 50,000 miles.

    These 50,000 bonus miles can go a long way. For flights that are less than 700 miles each way in distance, you can find round-trip fares within the mainland US for as low as 20,000 miles. And for longer flights in the mainland US, you can find round-trip fares as low as 25,000 miles.

  • Rewards: Earn up to 2x miles.

    Earn 2x miles in business categories — restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores — and on tickets you purchase from United. This may be an attractive mix of rewards categories, especially as some airline cards only offer accelerated rewards on airline purchases.

    Earn 1x miles on everything else you buy.

    You can earn unlimited miles, and miles don’t expire as long as your card account is open.

  • United perks.

    On each United flight, you and one companion can each check one bag free. Normally, checking your first bag costs $25. You’ll also receive two complimentary United Club passes every year. A day pass to the United Club is worth $59.

    You and your travel companions will receive priority boarding, which lets you board in Group 2. This means you board behind the pre-boarding group and Group 1, but in front of Groups 3 to 5.

    If you’re a MileagePlus Premier® member and you’re traveling on an award ticket, you’re eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on flights operated by United.

You’ll also like …

  • Employee cards cost nothing.

    Add employees to your card account at no cost. This can be an excellent way to earn more rewards, as you’ll earn miles on your employees’ spending, too.

  • Miles boost.

    Each calendar year you spend $25,000 or more on your card, you’ll receive 10,000 bonus miles. This is enough for a One-Way Saver Award flight that’s under 700 miles in distance.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    You won’t incur fees when you use your card abroad or on foreign websites. Typically, providers charge a 3% fee each time you use your card for an international transaction. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up over a trip spanning several days.

    Since the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card comes with no foreign transaction fees, it’s an excellent choice for vacations or business trips.

  • Benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.

    When you stay at a property in The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (LHRC), you’ll receive benefits like room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout and complementary daily breakfast for two. Just book your reservation through the LHRC website or an LHRC Travel Specialist.

    There are over 900 properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, including properties under the Intercontinental Hotels, Waldorf Astoria, W Hotels, Mandarin Oriental and Park Hyatt brands.

  • Travel and purchase coverage.

    Enjoy benefits like baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay reimbursement and auto rental collision damage waivers. Also, get purchase price protection on eligible items you buy with your card.

  • Access to Visa Concierge.

    Use the 24/7 Visa Signature Concierge Service for help with dining and entertainment plans. You can also call for help finding gifts.

  • Exclusive events.

    Through Chase Inside Access, you can purchase tickets to private, exclusive events such as celebrity meet-and-greets, sporting events and culinary experiences. Also, you can use your miles to access United MileagePlus events such as winemaker dinners and golf outings, and to obtain VIP access to museum and theater events.

What to watch out for

  • Intro annual fee expires after the first year.

    You’ll pay a $0 annual fee for the first year. Starting the second year, however, you’ll pay a $95 annual fee.

  • Penalty APR.

    If you make a late or returned payment, Chase may raise your purchase, balance transfer and cash advance APR as high as 29.99% variable. This is known as a penalty APR. Chase may apply this rate to your account indefinitely.

  • Fees for late and returned payments.

    If you make a late payment, you’ll incur a fee of $15 if your balance is less than $100; $29 if your balance is between $100 and $250; and $39 if your balance is $250 or more. If you make a returned payment, you’ll incur a fee of $39.

  • Potentially high APR.

    Depending on your credit, you may receive a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 24.74% variable. The average credit card APR is around 16%.

Consider other cards if …

  • You want flexible travel rewards.

    With the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card, you’ll earn miles you can redeem for United flights. If you want rewards you can use for general travel, consider the Ink Business Preferred℠ credit card, Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Spark® Miles for Business. Each offers rewards you can redeem for flights, hotels, car rentals and more.

  • You want cash back.

    Look into the Ink Business Cash℠ credit card, which offers up to 5% cash back in select business categories on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each year, then 1%. Also, consider the Spark® Cash Select for Business, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • You don’t fly with United.

    You might like another airline credit card, which will help you earn points or miles for your preferred airline. Alternatively, try a general travel card.

  • You want rewards in other spending categories.

    If your business spends heavily in certain categories, you might earn more rewards from a different card. For example, the Ink Business Preferred℠ credit card offers 3x points in categories like travel, shipping purchases and online advertising on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each card year, then 1x points. And the Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels you book through American Express Travel.

Top cash back business cards

Compare business credit cards

Updated October 16th, 2018
Name Product APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Introductory Purchase APR Annual Fee
None (Charge Card)
$450
New cardholders can earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® bonus points by spending $10,000 on purchases for the first 50,000 points and then another $10,000 for the next 25,000 points on their new card in the first 3 months.
None (Charge Card)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($250 thereafter)
This charge card gives you the option to pay in full each month or to carry a balance for up to 60 days with no interest.
20.24% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($175 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
14.24%, 19.24% or 21.24% variable
0% for the first 9 months (then 14.24%, 19.24% or 21.24% variable)
$0
Save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; after that your APR will be 14.24% - 21.24% variable.
14.99% to 20.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 20.99% variable)
$0
$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
17.74% to 22.74% variable
$95
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
75,000 Bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening with your Marriott Rewards Premier Business credit card.
24.74% variable
$0
Get the credit you want for your business, and unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase, every day.
14.74%, 18.74% or 22.74% variable
0% for the first 9 months (then 14.74%, 18.74% or 22.74% variable)
$0
Unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
18.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
14.74%, 18.74% or 22.74% variable
0% for the first 9 months (then 14.74%, 18.74% or 22.74% variable)
$0
Unlimited 1.5 cash back on every purchase, every day.
18.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Unlimited 2% cash back from Spark Cash could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business. No minimum to redeem.
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
Earn 2x points on Southwest® purchases and 1x point on all other purchases. Plus 6,000 anniversary bonus points.
17.99% to 25.99% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
For a limited time, earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

What size business is the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card good for?

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card can be a good pick for businesses of all sizes, mainly because it offers accelerated rewards in more categories than just airfare. For example, you can still earn significant miles if you often spend on gas or office supplies. That means you don’t have to take countless business flights just to earn strong rewards.

Starting your second card year, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card has a $95 annual fee. United miles are worth around 1.5 cents apiece. Given that rate, you need to earn around 6,335 miles — or spend $3,168 in the card’s 2x-miles categories — to break even on the annual fee.

What should I know before I apply?

Eligibility

To apply for the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old, or at least 19 years old if you’re a resident of Alabama or Nebraska.
  • A resident within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
  • Applying for a business that is headquartered within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.

Information you’ll need

To complete the application, you’ll need to provide information about yourself and your business, including:

  • Your name, residential status and residential address.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your email address, phone number and date of birth.
  • Financial information like your annual income and source of income.
  • The name of your business, its mailing address and its employee count.
  • Your years in business and annual business revenue.
  • Your business’s tax identification number.

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher. If you have a healthy business and excellent credit, your likelihood of approval is strong.

Here are a few other factors that might affect your odds of approval:

  • You’re a current Chase customer. Chase is reportedly more likely to approve its current banking and credit card customers. This makes sense, as it can more readily evaluate your financial stability with the data it already has. Furthermore, it has an incentive to keep you happy as a customer.
  • Hard pulls on your credit report. If you have several hard inquiries — or hard pulls — on your report, it could imply you’re having trouble managing your debt. Chase might think you’re desperate for credit and may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
  • Factors that tie into your credit score. Your credit utilization is a major factor Chase considers. The bank prefers a customer with low balances relative to their credit limit. Having many new card accounts may be a red flag too, as it could indicate you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s just hunting for signup bonuses.

What do customers say about the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card?

Cardholders are generally very pleased with the card’s rewards, though some wish the card came with no annual fee.

The JPMorgan Chase Credit Card division is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but it earns an overall A+ rating from the agency as of June 2018. Still, over 90% of its reviews are negative, with complaints of stonewalling customer support and, in some cases, of Chase not honoring signup bonuses.

Chase earns a Trustpilot score of 5.5 out of 10 at the time of this writing. Most negative reviews cite slow responses to fraud complaints and less-than-helpful customer service. Positive reviews cite the bank’s great mobile app and quick resolutions to their issues. Overall, your mileage may vary with Chase customer support.

How to apply for the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card

  1. Go to the Chase website and click Apply Now.
  2. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income, Social Security number and business information.
  3. Review your application and submit it.

How long will it take to be approved?

Because conditional approval is automated on the Chase website, you’ll often get a decision immediately. In some cases, you’ll need to wait a few days to a few weeks to receive a response.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Pay your card bill online at the Chase website, where you can enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of at least 20 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with fees of up to $39. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, and the cash advance fee is 5% or $15, whichever is greater.
  • Contact customer service. If you have questions, contact Chase Credit Cards support at 1-800-432-3117.

Bottom line

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card can be a good choice whether or not you fly United often. That’s because it offers accelerated rewards in more categories than just airline tickets. With a $95 annual fee starting the second year, it can be an accessible pick regardless of the size of your business.

Think another card might work better for your business? Compare other Chase credit cards or visit our guide to business credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

Images: chase.com

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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