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Best United Credit Cards

These airline credit cards will make your United flights more comfortable and rewarding.

There are a number of good co-branded credit card options for those who fly United. The best choice will depend on your travel habits: Do you always check a bag, or do you prefer to avoid baggage claim? Do you love the serenity of a lounge or prefer to rub elbows with the masses before a flight? And of course, how frequently do you fly?

Some of these cards offer some valuable credits, as well as perks like free checked bags and United Club membership, which offers airport lounge access across the world. They also offer decent rewards on spending, but we view those rewards as more of a way to earn some extra miles when buying tickets. For most other purchases, more general credit cards for everyday use offer better overall value than airline credit cards.

If you fly United at least a few times a year, there's most likely a Chase co-branded card that offers additional comfort and net savings through your travels.

Best overall United credit card

9/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases.
  • Earn 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services, select streaming services, and all other travel
  • 1X on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$250
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases.
  • Earn 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services, select streaming services, and all other travel
  • 1X on all other purchases.

Our Take

For those who fly United at least a few times a year, the United Quest℠ Card offers the best value for the broadest group of people. Though it has a $250 annual fee, there are some annual credits that help offset it -- a $125 United purchase credit that's applied automatically toward the first $125 of United spending each year, and two 5,000-mile annual credits you'll receive after booking a United flight. 

Add on top four free checked bags (two for the primary cardholder and two for a travel companion on the same reservation) each trip, 3x miles on United purchases, and a 70,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months, and you've got a lot of potential value.

Best United card with no annual fee

5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

If you balk at the idea of paying for a credit card, the Gateway offers United fliers a means of boosting their miles when buying United tickets, without the hassle of an annual fee. You won't get the perks and credits of the other Chase United credit cards, but the welcome offer of 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months is all upside. 

Remember to pay it off every month so you're not paying interest fees, and otherwise you can take advantage of the discounted United in-flight purchases (25% back as a statement credit), and 2x miles on United purchases.

Best for United Club access

8.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee$525
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

There are more than 45 United Club airport lounge locations across the globe, and a standard annual membership costs $650. So if you typically purchase an annual membership or would like to, the Chase United Club credit card offers United Club membership. Note that a onetime pass costs $59 per person, so make sure to think about how often you plan on visiting a lounge if that's your primary motivation for signing up for the Chase United Club card.

On top of Club membership, cardholders get 4x Miles on United purchases and an 80,000-mile welcome offer after spending $5,000 in the first three months. 

For solo or partnered travelers who check bags

6/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Good, Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0 Intro for First Year, then $95.
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

The Explorer is a bit of an awkward middle child in Chase's United lineup, but it does offer particular value for solo travelers or those traveling with one other person. If two people on the same reservation both check a bag, you could save up to $140 each round-trip ticket given United's typical $35 checked-bag fee.

Explorer cardholders also get two United Club onetime passes each year, so if you like United Clubs but don't use them enough to justify a Chase United Club credit card, that could be a valuable perk. 

Best for United business travelers

8/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn up to 150,000 bonus miles. Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining (including eligible delivery services), at gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$99
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining (including eligible delivery services), at gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Chase United Business credit card is good for people who fly United on business trips. You'll get one free checked bag each flight (two if you're traveling with a companion on the same reservation), and the welcome bonus is 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months, plus an additional 75,000 miles after spending $20,000 total in the first six months. You also get two United Club onetime passes each year, and if you have a personal United card, you get a 5,000-mile anniversary bonus. 

However, there are a few things to keep an eye out for. There's a $100 annual credit, but it requires seven separate United travel-related purchases of $100 or more each account anniversary year, so don't count that as value unless you fly United seven times a year.

FAQs

When does it make sense to use an airline co-branded credit card vs. another rewards credit card?

Our general recommendation is to use an airline co-branded credit card (like a Chase United card) as a supplemental card to a travel rewards credit card and/or a flat-rate cash back credit card. In most cases, it doesn't make sense to use one as your primary rewards credit card or to put most of your spending on one. 

The best travel rewards credit cards offer more versatile rewards points and better rewards, in most cases, so they're usually the best for most travel purchases.

But adding an airline co-branded credit card could still provide value, when considering the annual credits and free checked bags. That's why it's usually best to think about your airline credit card as a "free bag pass" or "lounge membership" more than a typical rewards credit card.

How does Chase define 'local transit and commuting'?

Several of the Chase United credit cards offer spending rewards for "local transit and commuting," which Chase defines as "passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, rideshare, ferries, toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages."

As a general rule, we don't recommend using your Chase United credit card for much spending outside of United flights, since other rewards credit cards tend to offer better overall value. But if you do decide to use it for transit or commuting, understanding those purchase categories is helpful. 

What is the definition of a travel companion?

A travel companion is defined as someone who's traveling with you on the same reservation. 

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.