There are eight United credit card offers available to new applicants right now: five for personal use and three for business. Most of United’s credit cards are issued by Chase, though a pair come from First Hawaiian Bank. All of the United Airlines credit cards require good or excellent credit for approval. Below, you can see how the top options, including cards from United’s partners, compare in the most important areas.
|Credit Card||Best For||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee|
|United Quest℠ Card||United Credit Card Overall||1 - 3 miles / $1||$250|
|United Explorer Credit Card||Initial Bonus||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0 intro 1st yr, $95 after|
|United Gateway℠ Credit Card||No Annual Fee||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0|
|United Club Infinite Credit Card||Club Membership / Lounge Access||1 - 4 miles / $1||$525|
|United℠ Business Card||Business||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0 intro 1st yr, $99 after|
|United Quest℠ Card||Star Alliance Credit Card||1 - 3 miles / $1||$250|
|First Hawaiian Bank United MileagePlus Business Credit Card||Low APR||1 - 2 miles / $1||$45|
|United MileagePlus® Club Business Credit Card||United Club Membership for Business||1.5 - 2 miles / $1||$450|
United Credit Card Benefits & Key Terms
Priority Boarding. All of the United Airlines credit cards from Chase offer priority boarding on United-operated flights. So you can claim some room in the overhead compartment, get comfortable and order some refreshments quicker.
Free Checked Bags. All of the Chase-issued United credit cards give at least one free checked bag on United flights to the primary cardholder and a companion traveling on the same reservation. Some give two free checked bags each.
In-flight Offers. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card and the United TravelBank Card offer 25% back as a statement credit when you buy food, drinks or Wi-Fi on United flights.
Referral Bonus. Chase will pay 10,000 miles for every friend you invite to apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card who gets approved. You can get up to 50,000 miles this way.
Foreign Transaction Fee. The main United Airlines credit cards have $0 foreign transaction fees, which means international travel will not cost you extra. The two First Hawaiian Bank United cards add 3% to every foreign transaction.
Tap to Pay. The Chase United cards are equipped for contactless payments, making purchases on the go that much faster.
Best United Airlines Credit Card Alternatives
- Non-United Airline Credit Card: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of the best airline credit cards out right now. It offers 40,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, it gives free checked bags and more. The card charges a $69 annual fee.
- Star Alliance Alternative: The Lufthansa Credit Card allows cardholders to transfer miles to the frequent flyer programs operated by the other members of the Star Alliance, including United, and it has especially valuable miles.
- Travel Rewards Credit Card: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 75,000 miles ($750 in travel) for spending $4,000 within 3 months of opening an account. And it gives 2 - 5 miles per $1 on purchases. Its annual fee isn’t bad, either: $95.
- Initial Bonus Deal: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently offers a bonus worth up to $1,000 in travel booked through Chase (including airfare) for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. It gives 1 - 5 points per $1 on purchases. And it has an annual fee of $95.
- Rewards for Less-Than-Good Credit: The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a rare rewards card for people with limited or fair credit who aren’t in college. It gives 1.5 - 5% cash back on all purchases and has a $39 annual fee.
Methodology for Selecting the Best United Airlines Credit Cards
In order to select the best United credit cards for different types of travelers, WalletHub’s editors monitor more than 1,500 credit card offers, including all available United-branded cards, offers from United’s airline partners, and other cards with general travel rewards.
We compare these offers by calculating the expected rewards earnings – after subtracting annual fees – for frequent flyers, using spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, we include a card’s initial rewards bonus in our calculations if a cardholder would earn it by spending an average of $700 per month for up to four months. And for our heavy-spender category (10X the average person's airfare spending), we double the expected spending.
WalletHub’s editors update their favorite United credit card selections on a regular basis, as offers change and new cards are introduced.