Best United Credit Cards

As one of the world’s largest airlines, United can take you all over the world for business or pleasure. Its rewards program, MileagePlus, is your ticket to free airfare. Sure, you can earn miles the old-fashioned way by buying tickets on United flights until you finally earn enough for a freebie. Or, you can let your everyday spending with a United credit card do the work for you. With one of the best United cards, you’ll earn miles with every purchase and enjoy perks that make flying with United more rewarding.

Here’s a closer look at the best United credit cards.

Best United credit card for travel rewards: United Explorer Card

Why it’s the best

The United Explorer Card is the perfect go-to travel rewards card. A valuable sign up bonus and great rewards on more than just United Airlines purchases let you take full advantage of the $0 introductory fee before the regular $95 fee kicks in. You’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend on United purchases and at restaurants and hotels, then one mile for every dollar on everything else you buy.

Bonus points:

  • First checked bag is free: No more wondering if the zipper on your carry-on will hold because you refuse to pay a checked-baggage fee. With the Explorer Card, you and one companion (as long as you’re on the same reservation) can check your first bags for free.
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit: If you’re tired of waiting in a massively long line to empty your pockets and take off your belt and shoes for a security checkpoint, this perk will really help you out. If you pay for your fee with your Explorer Card, you’ll receive a statement credit up to $100 to cover the cost so you can limit the hassle of security as much as possible.

Best United credit card for no annual fee: United TravelBank Card

Why it’s the best

Sometimes paying an annual fee for a credit card just doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up great rewards. The United TravelBank Card earns 2% back in TravelBank cash on United purchases and 1.5% back on everything else. The TravelBank card works like a cash back credit card exclusively for United, so you know that every time you buy, you’re working your way toward flying off on a new adventure.

Bonus points

  • No foreign transaction fees: United can take you all over the world, and you can take your United TravelBank Card with you without being slapped with a fee every time you use it outside of the U.S.
  • 25% in-flight purchases: That means that drinks are basically buy three, get one free — not that we advise you try it. You will get a nice little statement credit worth 25% of everything you purchase while you’re on a United flight, though.

Best United credit card for travel perks: United Club Card

Why it’s the best

The United Club Card is teeming with perks that make its $450 annual fee look much less intimidating. You’ll have access to United Club locations and Star Alliance-affiliated lounges around the world so you can relax and enjoy a drink or snack out of the chaos of the terminal.

You can also pack your just-in-case clothes because you and one companion (as long as you’re both on the same reservation) can check your first two bags for free. Also, don’t worry about the security line because you’ll have United Premier Access travel services at your fingertips, which include priority check-in and security screening (if it’s available at your airport) as well as priority boarding and baggage handling.

Bonus points:

  • 75,000 bonus miles: The United Club Card comes with the highest new cardmember bonus for United personal cards. You can earn a whopping 75,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months as a cardmember.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Losing your luggage stinks; that’s why United will reimburse you up to $3,000 per passenger if United loses or damages your luggage.

Best United credit card for business travelers: United Club Business Card

Why it’s the best

Like its personal card counterpart, the United Club Card, the United Club Business Card is full of perks to make traveling for business much more enjoyable. You’ll have access to the United Club and other Star Alliance-affiliated lounges and be able to check your first two bags for free. If you have other people working for your business, you can get employee cards at no extra charge, allowing you to earn rewards from their business spending as well. 

Bonus points:

  • Premier Access: With the United Club Business Card, you can take advantage of priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling as well as an exclusive security line for United Club members.
  • 100,000 bonus miles: if your business spends $10,000 on your United Club Business Card in the first three months after opening your account, you’ll earn a 100,000-mile sign up bonus. 

Best United credit card for anniversary bonus: United Business Card

Why it’s the best

The United Business Card is the newest addition to the family of United credit cards, filling an important gap for small businesses. You now have an option for a low-cost rewards credit card for your small business. You’ll earn rewards on all of your purchases and a 5,000-mile anniversary bonus when you pair the United Business Card with one of United’s personal credit cards. 

Bonus points:

  • United travel credit: Each anniversary year that you make seven travel-related purchases of at least $100 each with your United Business Card, you’ll receive a $100 travel credit on your account.
  • United Club Passes: You can get a sneak peek into the United Club with two free passes each year. Use them wisely. 

Trevor Wallis

Contributing Writer

Trevor Wallis is a St. Louis-based personal finance writer who teaches people how to achieve freedom through good money practices. He’s written for The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Rewards Credit Cards and Online Loans. When he isn’t writing, he’s roasting specialty coffee and planning new ways to use credit card rewards to explore the world with his wife and newborn son.