- Finance your next trip with a large signup bonus
- Travel in style with lounge access and other flight perks
- Travel abroad without the stress of foreign transaction fees
- Free first checked bag for you and a traveling companion
- 2 United Club passes each year
- Priority boarding and inflight discounts
- It's not a great card unless you fly United often
- The card charges an annual fee after the first year
- Other airline cards offer more generous checked bag perks
If you are a frequent flyer and prefer United Airlines, you should consider the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card from Chase. This credit card offers valuable rewards to make your United travel more comfortable, cheaper, and occasionally pick up a free flight through the United rewards program.
The card starts you out with a valuable 40,000-point signup bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. You also get a $100 statement credit after your first purchase. But wait, there’s more! Follow along to learn about the full benefits, costs, and important details of the United MileagePlus Explorer card.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card review
The United MileagePlus Explorer card is one of the better airline rewards credit cards available today. While it does not offer benefits quite as compelling as some of the top general travel rewards cards, among airlines it is one of the best.
The card charges a $95 annual fee, waived the first year. It is easy to offset the cost, however. You’ll start out with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, then earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, hotels, and United, receiving 1 mile per dollar everywhere else.
This card was recently upgraded to offer some premium features including a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit up to $100 every four years. That is a great value. If you do decide to use this benefit, go for the more expensive Global Entry program. It includes PreCheck in the same fee.
The card also offers a first checked bag free for the primary cardholder and one companion on the same reservation. That is up to $100 in free bags per trip, enough to cover the $95 fee right there in one trip per year.
The card comes with valuable Visa Signature benefits, two complimentary United Club lounge passes each year, no foreign transaction fees, and a range of travel and purchase protections.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card rewards and perks
The primary rewards from this credit card come in the form of United Airlines miles in the MileagePlus program. When you book with Saver awards, you can book economy one-way tickets starting at 10,000 points and Europe one-ways starting at 30,000. The typical domestic round-trip is 25,000 miles at the Saver level.
That means the 40,000 miles sign-up bonus alone is worth almost enough for two domestic round-trips. There is an additional 5,000-mile bonus after an authorized user makes the first purchase in the same three month period after opening a new account. From there, a round-trip for two is just around the corner with regular purchase activity.
You earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, hotel accomodations purchased directly from the hotel, and purchases at United. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar with no limit. Miles do not expire as long as your card is open. If you close your United card, you will have to follow United’s activity requirements to keep your MileagePlus account active.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card credit card benefits
In addition to miles, this card is packed with useful benefits. The first, as we discussed above, is the $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every four years. You also get a 25% statement credit for in-flight purchases on United and a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
Your first checked bag is free for you and one companion when booked on the same reservation. That is worth $25 per bag each way or up to $100 per trip. You also get priority boarding so you don’t have to fight for overhead bin space.
When you are on your journey, you can hang out at the United airport lounge with two free one-time passes. That is good for free drinks, snacks, and a much more comfortable airport experience.
When traveling, the card offers auto rental collision damage insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
When making purchases at your favorite store on or offline, you’ll get an automatic extended warranty and purchase protection benefits. For booking tickets, trips, or reservations, you can also call into the complementary Visa Signature® Concierge Service.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card costs and fees
This card charges $95 per year as an annual fee, waived the first year. Other fees can be avoided depending on your account activity.
The card charges variable rate 17.74% to 24.74% APR, based on your credit score, for purchases and balance transfers. The current cash advance APR is 26.74%. Rates can change at any time with market interest rates.
Balance transfers require a 5% fee ($5 minimum) and cash advances charge 5% ($10 minimum). There is no foreign transaction fee. For late or returned payments, you will pay up to $37 per occurrence.
Does the United MileagePlus Explorer Card make sense for me?
If you hate to travel or never fly on United, this card does not make sense. But if you are a frequent flyer and United regularly makes it into your travel plans, or at least once per year, this card is worthwhile. If you are not a United fan, check out these other airline credit cards and general travel rewards cards that may be a better fit for your needs.
The valuable signup bonus can get you up in the air quickly and the benefits easily outweigh the annual fee. Your biggest problem after signing up will be deciding where you want to visit next!
Application Process: Online, through Chase.
Rewards: Earn 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on purchases from United; 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else.
Bonus Offers: Limited time offer - ends 7/16/18. 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open plus $100 statement credit after your first purchase..
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.
- Limited time offer - ends 7/16/18. 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open plus $100 statement credit after your first purchase
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
- New! Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
- New! Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
- New! 25% back on United inflight purchases
- Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases