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United℠ Explorer Business Card review

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United℠ Explorer Business Card

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℠ Explorer Business Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Standard purchase APR18.24% to 25.24% variable
Intro purchase APR

N/A

Standard balance transfer APR18.24% to 25.24% variable
Intro balance transfer APR

N/A

Balance transfer fee$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate27.24% variable
Cash advance fee$15 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction feeNone
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
Welcome Offer50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards2x miles at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores, 2x miles on United and 1x miles on all other purchases
Base Rewards1x miles
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

Unlike some airline cards, the United℠ Explorer Business Card can be a versatile tool for many businesses. That’s because it offers 2x miles not only on United ticket purchases, but also on common business categories like gas stations, dining and office supply stores. 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℠ Explorer Business Card vs. United MileagePlus® Club Business Card

Chase United business credit cards compared

United℠ Explorer Business CardUnited MileagePlus® Club Business Card
Annual fee$95 starting the second year$450
Sign-up bonus50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months statement credit after your first purchase
Miles
  • 2x on gas stations, dining, office supply stores 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

 

Another airline business card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Make business travel more rewarding. Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
  • Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding and enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit when you use your American Express Delta Card.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms and limitations apply.
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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 $30. 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.

Our guide to the United MileagePlus program

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  • 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℠ 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.

How to earn United miles

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 25.24% variable. The average credit card APR is around 16%.

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

The United℠ 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 at gas stations or office supply stores. That means you don’t have to take countless business flights just to earn strong rewards.

Starting your second card year, the United℠ 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℠ 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℠ 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℠ 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℠ 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℠ 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

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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