The UnitedSM Explorer Card has some great perks and benefits, especially for those who frequently fly United.
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
With a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, this credit card is best suited toward flyers that spend a lot.
Nonetheless, this card’s valuable benefits, like free bags and limited lounge access, and expanded bonus categories can easily make up for its annual fee, even if you don’t fly United regularly.
The card is practical. It helps with common hassles while flying United, especially dealing with luggage, whether you check it in or carry it aboard. Plus, its ability to earn 2X miles on restaurant purchases and hotel stays makes it an ideal everyday credit card, not just when you’re flying United.
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United Explorer Card Summary
Earning 40K United Explorer Bonus Miles
Take advantage of the 40,000 MileagePlus bonus miles promotion. Compare this with other card bonuses.
To get the 40,000 bonus miles, charge at least $2,000 to your card within the first 3 months of opening your account.
Here are some ideas to meet the spending requirement:
|• Plastiq: Plastiq allows you to pay for expenses that you generally won’t be able to with your card like rent, tuition, auto lease, mortgage payment, and more. There’s a 2.5% processing fee for using your credit card. However, this’ll be worth the card bonus you’ll get. There’s also a referral program where you can earn “Fee-Free Dollars” to use towards processing fees. See our Plastiq review.|
|• Fund Checking accounts with your card: Many banks will allow you to fund the opening deposit with a credit card. Consider opening Checking accounts that also offer a sign-up bonus. This way, you can work towards bonuses from two different sources. Big banks like Chase, HSBC, Huntington, and TD Bank have great offers and allow credit card funding. You can generally fund anywhere from $50 to $1,000 towards the opening deposit with a credit card, depending on the bank.|
|• Buy gift cards: Consider buying gift cards with your credit card that you can then spend later at your leisure. Individual merchant cards (restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, etc.) generally don’t have purchase fees, so this is a plus. On the other hand, American Express and Visa gift cards will have purchase fees. Amazon gift cards are a great idea as you can shop for almost anything there with no purchase fees either. Unfortunately, Citi credit cards tend to code gift card purchases as Cash Advances and there’ll be a fee. Call in to customer service and lower your Cash Advance limit to $0 before purchasing gift cards. You can also buy discounted gift cards as well from Raise or find gift cards on eBay.|
|• Everyday spending & bills: Always using your credit card for everyday spending, such as for dining, gas, groceries, etc. You can also use your credit card to pay for things like insurance bills, property taxes and income taxes. However, you’ll have to consider the convenience fees.|
Earn 2X United Miles
Earn 2X on eligible United purchases with the UnitedSM MileagePlus Explorer Card. These include airfare, bag fees, seat upgrades, and in-flight food, beverage and Wi-Fi.
Also earn 2X miles on restaurant purchases and hotel stays. These common bonus categories makes it easy to earn more points everyday.
All other purchases earn 1X mile per dollar.
Your miles don’t expire as long as you’re in good standing.
Redeem your miles for flights, United Airlines purchases, hotel bookings, car rentals, experiences, and more. The value you get per mile will depend on how you redeem. You can use miles for practically any purchase from United, although some options will give you a much better value than others.
Generally, miles are most valuable when used for United award flights and seat upgrades. Redeeming for flight tickets gives you more flexible options. You can redeem for a United Airlines flight or a MileagePlus or Star Alliance® member airline.
In most cases, it’s best to look for Saver Award and Everyday Award routes in particular. This will usually give you the best value for your miles, though you may occasionally find a great deal elsewhere.
United-Specific Cardholder Benefits
The United Explorer Card comes with some extra perks, unrelated to how much you spend on the card. The estimated value of these perks is over $200 if you manage to use them each year. This is more than enough to cover your annual fee.
The most valuable benefit is a free first checked bag for you and a traveling companion. This is available on United-operated flights only. To qualify, you must purchase tickets using your card and be one of the people traveling on the flight. It’s usually $25 per checked bag on United. So, if you’re traveling with 2 people and on 2 flights in one itinerary, the value of this benefit is estimated to be up to $100.
In addition, being a United Explorer Cardholder also entitles you to two United Club passes each year. Each pass gives you admission to a United Club in participating airports. You can enjoy complimentary beverages, snacks, Wi-Fi, work spaces, and more. Each pass is worth $59, which already covers your annual fee.
If you pay for your United travels using this card, you also get to enjoy some luxury perks. These include priority boarding and hotel/resort privileges.
To earn priority boarding on United flights, you must add the MileagePlus® number to your reservation. This benefit applies to you and those traveling with you on the same reservation.
Last but not least, enjoy in-flight discounts on food, beverages and WiFi on board United-operated flights. You’ll get 25% back as statement credit. Just make sure you pay with your United Explorer card.
More United Explorer Cardholder Benefits
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Fee Credit: This perk covers your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Get up to $100 in statement credit every four years.
Partner Airlines: You can earn and use MileagePlus miles on over 35 airlines worldwide with Star Alliance member airlines and other members.
Star Alliance member airlines include:
|Air China||Air India||Air New Zealand|
|ANA||Asiana Airlines||Austrian Airlines|
|Avianca||Brussels Airlines||Copa Airlines|
|Croatia Airlines||EgyptAir||Ethiopian Airlines|
|EVA Air||LOT Polish Airlines||Lufthansa|
|SAS||Shenzhen Airlines||Singapore Airlines|
|South African Airways||Swiss International Airways||Air Portugal|
|Thai Airways International||Turkish Airlines|
Other worldwide partners include:
|Azul Brazilian Airlines||Boutique Air||Cape Air|
|Olympic Air||Silver Airways|
The Chase UnitedSM Explorer Card has some worthy cardholder benefits. It features a free first checked bag for up to 2 people, 2 United Club passes, and up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. Using even just one of these benefits can cover the annual fee. In addition, it has recently modified how cardholders can earn their miles, making it easier with the 2X bonus miles on restaurant purchases and hotel stays.
However, unless you’ll fly on United more than once a year, some of this card’s best features will leave you unimpressed. If you fly United less, don’t spend that much on your card, or would rather have more flexibility, try looking for general travel credit cards, or even cash back cards. You can check some out on our list of credit card promotions. Although these will usually result in a lower rewards rates, you’ll get the added benefit of extra freedom.
Learn more about this card and its features here.
Other Credit Cards To Consider
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®!
You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide; 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. And when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
Learn More About This Card Here
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening (equal to $500 in travel). Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018.
You're able to earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee, however, there is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees and receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
You'll earn 2X miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta; 1X mile for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases. In addition, you'll receive 50% back in the form of statement credits on purchases made directly with Delta with your Card within the first 3 months, up to $300 back.
There is a $95 annual fee, however, there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year. Now, you'll get a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four by being able to check your first bag free on Delta flights.
The Best Bank Offers are updated here. See the below pages to get started with some of the best offers:
• Chase Bank Offers. Chase offers a range of attractive Checking, Savings and Business Accounts. Chase has a great selection of sign-up bonuses in comparison to other big banks.
• Huntington Bank Offers. Huntington Bank has high bonus amounts available through their Checking and Business Checking. Huntington also offers a Business Premier Money Market Account.
• Discover Bank Offers. Discover Bank offers top cashback, savings, money market accounts and CD rates for you to take advantage of. Discover has industry leading selections to cater to your banking needs.
• TD Bank Offers. TD Bank consistently offers a fantastic selection of checking accounts to cater to your banking needs. However, savings account offers are less frequently available.
|Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM||$300 Cash||Review|
|Chase Total Checking® + Chase SavingsSM||$350 Cash||Review|
|Chase Total Business Checking®||$200 Cash||Review|
|Chase SapphireSM Checking||$750 Cash||Review|
|Discover Bank Online Savings||$200 Cash||Review|
|Discover Cashback Debit||$360 Cash||Review|
|Chase College CheckingSM||$100 Cash||Review|
|Chase Private Client||$1,250 Cash||Review|
|TD Bank Beyond Checking||$300 Cash||Review|
|TD Bank Convenience CheckingSM||$200 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Unlimited Plus Business Checking||$750 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking||$400 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Business Checking 100||$200 Cash||Review|