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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Chase announced identical offers for new United and Continental credit cards today. These are decent offers, but nothing that has me really excited. If you fly United/Continental and want some perks, these cards might make sense. However, as I wrote earlier today, I think there are better Chase offerings right now, including the Sapphire Preferred card, which has a 50,000 point bonus (expired) after only $3,000 in spend in 3 months (and those points transfer to United/Continental, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club and Amtrak) instantly. That being said, the Sapphire Preferred card won’t get you free bags or priority boarding so if those benefits interest you, you should look into either one of the new cards.

United Explorer

The details:
Sign-up bonus: 25,000 miles after first purchase, 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user and 10,000 miles every calendar year when you spend $25,000. This is a little bit annoying that they have this relatively large spend threshold and you only have less than half the year to meet it.

Mileage earning: 2 miles per dollar spent on United/Continental purchases, 1 mile per dollar for everything else

Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year.

Airline benefits: Free first checked bag for you and a companion on United/Continental flights, Priority boarding, 2 lounge passes every year.

Other benefits: Primary auto rental insurance with coverage up to $500,000, purchase protection up to $10,000, concierge service and luxury hotel benefits

So overall, if you fly United/Continental and you are happy with those miles (which can be used for award travel on all 27 Star Alliance members), then using this card as your primary mileage earning card may make sense. I found their marketing chart comparing the card offerings to American Express to be pretty interesting. I love competition, so it’s nice to see Chase nipping at the Amex’ feet because I hope Amex responds with even bigger bonuses! Right now their 10/15/25 bonuses for the Gold/Premier Rewards Gold and Platinum cards are pretty boring (even though they can be bumped to eye-popping 75/75/100 bonuses with a simple phone call as I highlighted in this post).

To be fair to Amex, they could easily respond with two key counterpoints: Ability to transfer (and at times with up to a 50% bonus) to Oneworld, Skyteam and other airline partners?: Amex Premier Rewards, Yes/ Continental No. 3x points for all airfare Amex Premier Rewards: Yes/  Continental No (only 2x and only on United/Continental purchases).

MAYBE IT'S TIME TO RETHINK YOUR CREDIT CARD
OnePass Plus (Registered Trademark) Credit Card - APPLY NOWOpens in same window
American Express (Registered Trademark) Platinum Card - APPLY NOW Opens in same window
Benefit Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus Card** American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
Earn OnePass® miles blue check
Redeem points through OnePass® program blue check Ending September 30, 2011
Redeem for hotel and car rentals blue check black check
Annual spending bonus after $25,000 after $30,000
First Checked Bag Free on Continental blue check
Two Continental Presidents Club® passes annually blue check
Premium customer service blue check black check
Luxury hotels & resorts programs blue check
Concierge service blue check
Rental car coverage Primary Secondary
Travel accident insurance $500,000 $250,000
Purchase protection Up to $10,000 per occurrence Up to $1,000 per occurrence
Extended protection blue check black check
Return protection blue check black check
Trip cancellation and trip delay blue check
Price protection blue check
Worldwide merchant acceptance 30 million 15 million
Annual fee $95 $175
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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