There are seven United credit card offers available to new applicants right now: five for personal use and two for business. Most of United’s credit cards are issued by Chase, though one of them comes 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℠ Business Card||Business||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0 intro 1st yr, $99 after|
|United Gateway℠ Card||No Annual Fee||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0|
|United℠ Explorer Card||Initial Bonus||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0 intro 1st yr, $95 after|
|United Quest℠ Card||United Credit Card Overall||1 - 3 miles / $1||$250|
|United MileagePlus® Club Business Credit Card||United Club Membership for Business||1.5 - 2 miles / $1||$450|
|United Club℠ Infinite Card||Club Membership / Lounge Access||1 - 4 miles / $1||$525|
|First Hawaiian Bank United MileagePlus Credit Card||Gas & Groceries||1 - 2 miles / $1||$0 intro for 1st year, $99 after|
Priority Boarding. All of the United Airlines credit cards from Chase offer priority boarding on United-operated flights except for the United Gateway℠ Card. 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 except the United Gateway℠ Card 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. All of the United Airlines credit cards from Chase 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 Cards who gets approved. You can get up to 100,000 miles per year 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.
MileagePlus Program benefits: All of the United credit cards from Chase offer cardmembers MileagePlus benefits, including no blackout dates. Some cards also provide the opportunity to earn Premier® qualifying points.
Travel Protections: All of the United Airlines Credit Cards from Chase offer trip cancellation/ interruption insurance and an auto rental collision damage waiver. The coverage levels and amounts vary by card.
Tap to Pay. The Chase United cards are equipped for contactless payments, making purchases on the go that much faster.
- 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 50,000 points after 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 $750 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 purchases and has a $39 annual fee.
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 cards with general travel rewards. These cards are selected based on their credit score requirements, rewards, rates, annual fees and initial bonuses. Final picks are then made based on the lowest two-year cost.
How Two-Year Cost Is Calculated
Two-year cost is used to approximate the monetary value of cards for better comparison and is calculated by combining annual and monthly membership fees over two years, adding any one-time fees or other fees (like balance transfer fees), adding any interest costs, and subtracting rewards. Negative amounts indicate savings. When fees or other terms are presented as a range, we use the midpoint for scoring purposes.
Rewards bonuses and credits have been taken into account for two-year cost calculations. However, bonuses applicable to only a very small portion of cardholders are not considered. For example, credits and bonuses awarded for spending or redeeming rewards through a company portal with non-co-branded cards have not been taken into account. Similarly, bonuses and credits related to spending with specific merchants using a non-co-branded card have not been taken into account (for example, if Card A offers credits with DoorDash, this feature would not be factored into calculations because it is hard to assess how many cardholders would use the benefit or exactly how much value they'd get from it).
Cardholder Spending Profiles
Given that different users have different goals and are likely to use their credit cards differently, we identified spending profiles that are representative of different users’ financial priorities and behaviors. For each cardholder type, we have assumed a specific amount of monthly spending by purchase type (e.g., groceries, gas, etc.), as well as an average balance, balance transfer amount, amount spent on large purchases and average monthly payment. Spending assumptions are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for consumers and PEX data for businesses.
WalletHub’s editors update their favorite United credit card selections on a regular basis, as offers change and new cards are introduced. If you don’t want to be tied to a particular airline brand, you can check out our latest picks for the best airline credit cards overall. Our best airlines report also has a detailed evaluation of major airlines based on metrics such as safety, inflight comfort, delay/cancellation policies, etc.
WalletHub actively maintains a database of 1,500+ credit card offers, from which we select the best United Airlines credit cards for different applicants as well as derive market-wide takeaways and trends. The underlying data is compiled from credit card company websites or provided directly by the credit card issuers. We also leverage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop cardholder profiles, used to estimate cards’ potential savings.