Review: United Airlines Credit Cards

United Airlines offers 5 MileagePlus credit cards that may be of interest to those already racking up frequent flyer miles with United. There are 3 United consumer credit cards, and 2 United business credit cards — our overview / review of the cards is below (click on any of the links for more info and to reach the online application):

  • The United Explorer Card is the basic United credit card that offers 2 miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases, as well as 2 miles on restaurant and hotel purchases (when booked directly with the hotel), then 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. You can get 40,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $2000 within the first 3 months of having the card. Other perks: get your first bag checked for free on United flights, get priority boarding privileges, get 2 United Club airport lounge passes per year, an up to $100 credit for TSA Pre or Global Entry, and more. The annual fee is $95 but that is waived for the first year.
  • The United MileagePlus Club Card has a much bigger annual fee of $450 so you’ll need to look hard to see if the rewards and your spending habits make it worth the cost. In terms of earning miles, you get 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, and 1.5 miles per dollar on everything else. You can earn a one-time 50,000-mile bonus if you use the card for at $3000 in purchases in the first 3 months of having it. You also get a complete United Club airport lounge membership, 1st and 2nd bags checked free on United flights, and other goodies.
  • The United TravelBank Card is a no annual fee card that is very different from other United cards, but not in a good way. You earn “TravelBank Cash” based on your card purchases, earning a 2% rebate in TravelCash on your United purchases and 1.5% on any other purchases. You can also get $150 worth of TravelBank Cash if you spend $1000 with the card in the first three months. The catch here is that you can only use your TravelBank Cash toward United ticket purchases. Since there are many other credit cards on the market that give you at least 1.5% cash back and some that give 2%, it seems silly to get this card that offers nothing much more than those cards and restricts the usage of your rebates to only United purchases.


  • The United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card has no annual fee the first year, then $95 every year thereafter. In terms of miles, you’ll get 2 miles per dollar on United purchases as well as at gas stations, restaurants, and office supply stores. 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Get 50K bonus miles if you spend over $3000 in the first 3 months of having the card, plus the opportunity to get 10,000 more if you spend $25,000 with the card in a calendar year. Other perks: first bag checked free, priority boarding, two United Club passes each year.
  • The United MileagePlus Club Business Card is very similar to the consumer MileagePlus Club Card: 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, 1.5 miles per dollar on everything else, a United Club membership at airports, 1st and 2nd bags checked free on United flights, $450 annual fee. One difference between this card and the consumer version is the bonus opportunity. This business card offers a $100 statement credit after your first card purchase, while the consumer Club Card offers a 50,000-mile bonus when you spend $3000 in 90 days.