United MileagePlus Explorer Card Removes Foreign Transaction Fees

by on May 22, 2013 · 28 comments

in Chase, United

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here. The offer mentioned below for the Business Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here. View the current online offer for the United Explorer card here or when you sign up in a Chase branch the offer is 50,000 miles with $2,000 spend in 3 months. The offer mentioned below for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card has expired. View the current offer here

Chase just announced that beginning June 1, 2013, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card will no longer charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. This is a nice change and I hope it prompts other issuers to get rid of these fees, especially on travel rewards cards that encourage people to go abroad! I yearn for the day we can live in a no-foreign-transaction-fee world. :-)

I just got the Explorer card through a targeted 60,000 mile sign-up bonus so it’s nice to know I can use it abroad. I generally use my Sapphire Preferred for purchases abroad to take advantage of the 2x on all travel and dining expenses (vs. just 1x on the United Explorer) especially since it has primary auto insurance benefits, which will come in handy when traveling in other countries.

Primary auto insurance is a rare credit card benefit- especially at no extra cost

Primary auto insurance is a rare credit card benefit- especially at no extra cost

For international travelers, avoiding foreign transaction fees is critical. Most credit cards will charge a ridiculous 1-3% fee on all purchases processed outside of the US. Note: you don’t even need to leave the country to get hit with these fees – if you ever purchase something and the vendor processes the charge outside of the US, you can expect to get dinged with the nuisance fee.

Luckily, there are many great travel credit cards that do not charge these fees and here are some of the best including their current sign-up bonus offers.

50,000 Avios for the Chase British Airways Visa. $95 annual fee.
50,000 points
for the Chase Ink Bold. $95 annual fee, waived for the first year.
50,000 points for the American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum. $475 annual fee.
40,000 points for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. $95 annual fee, waived for the first year.
40,000 points for Barclaycard Arrival. $89 annual fee waived for the first year.
30,000 points for the Citi Thank You Premier. $125, waived for the first year.
50,000 points for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card. $99 annual fee.
50,000 points for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card. $99 annual fee. Update: This offer is no longer available. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card here.
1 Complimentary night for the Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa. $395 annual fee.
2 Free nights + 1 each anniversary for the Chase Hyatt Visa. $75 annual fee.
2 Free nights with the Chase Fairmont Visa. $95 annual fee.
2 Weekend night certificates with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve. $95 annual fee.
50,000 points
 for the Chase Marriott Premier Visa. $85 annual fee, waived for the first year.
60,000 points for the Chase Priority Club Visa. $49 annual fee, waived for the first year.
25,000 points for the American Express Platinum. $450 annual fee.
25,000 points for the American Express Business Platinum. $450 annual fee.
30,000 miles for the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard. $450 annual fee.
20,000 points for Barclaycard Arrival. No annual fee.
20,000 points for the PenFed Travel card. No annual fee.
20,000 points for Capital One Venture card. $59 annual fee, waived for the first year.
20,000 points for the Capital One Venture One card. No annual fee.
10,000 points for the Bank of America Travel Rewards. No annual fee.
$100 Statement credit for the Chase United Club Card. $395 annual fee.
5% Cash Back on gas purchases on the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa. No annual fee.
Capital One Spark for Business. No annual fee.

If you know of any other fee-free points/miles cards, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dan

    Do you think this applies to the earlier Chase United cards (Chase Mileage Plus Visa, for example)?

  • Rob Perelman

    This is great, now we just need a chip & signature!

  • Rob P

    This good card just got even better. Dan’s Deals and others also report that you get greater award availability if you have this card and you’re logged into United’s site.

  • Jeremy

    I haven’t heard that. Can someone confirm this or point to a source?

  • LlamaOfDoom

    I can see flights on my account (with card) that don’t show up on my cousin’s account (no card), but only at the more costly standard level; saver awards seem to be the same on both.

  • Massimo

    Does anyone know when 10.000 bonus miles post after meeting $25.000 in spending? Immediately upon the close that month or at yearly credit card renewal (when yearly fee is charged)?

  • thepointsguy

    correct- on application page

    “Primary cardmembers can use their miles to book any available seat, any
    time on any United-operated flight when they redeem miles at the
    MileagePlus Standard award level. No limitations, no restrictions and
    no blackout dates on available seats if you provide your MileagePlus
    number before starting the award booking process.”

  • thepointsguy

    Correct- standard (double miles) awards can only be booked for elites/ cardholders

  • thepointsguy

    Chip and pin would be even better!

  • thepointsguy

    With Chase, bonus miles usually post after the statement closes in which you meet that spend. I’m not there yet, but will report when I hit the threshold.

  • thepointsguy

    Nope. Only Explorer and Club. You can apply for the Explorer card to get the signup bonus and new benefits.

  • CHarlie

    Yes. 10,000 mile bonus posts when the statement closes upon hitting 25k threshold.

  • Jim Lenz

    I had this card last year but closed the account. I believe you cant churn this, am I correct? Is there another option, business card with big bonus or another explorer card?

  • thepointsguy

    Generally Chase will not let you get the same exact card and bonus twice. There is a business version though and you should be eligible for the bonus

  • brianblank

    The Capital One Venture Cards do not a have foreign transaction fees and no annual card fee.

    I only travel overseas once or twice a year, so I carry one of their card and only use it when I’m overseas, otherwise I use a Hilton AmEx card.

  • NB

    TPG, can you post a link to where you are getting the info about the sapphire preferred having primary auto insurance coverage? I was under the impression that it was secondary coverage, and I can’t find the primary language on Chase’s website.

  • thepointsguy

    Sapphire is secondary. United Explorer is primary

  • JM

    I got this card a month ago, and got 35,000 miles. Did a bit of reading and emailed Chase to match me to the best offer. Their reply:
    Dear JM
    Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding your United
    MileagePlus® credit card account.
    We are pleased to confirm we have matched the best offer
    available. As you requested we have added 20,000
    enrollment miles to match the 55,000 enrollment bonus. You
    will see this adjustment on your next billing statement.
    If you have any further questions, please reply using the
    Secure Message Center.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service Specialist

    NO fee on top of this makes ME one happy dude!

  • LlamaOfDoom

    Lovely, and just the day I get it canceled.

    They really should tell you that talking to the lending department may result in them wanting to cut down your existing credit, not just deny increases or new credit.

  • SFOPhD

    The Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards card has no annual fee, no foreign exchange fee, and chip + signature. I know that the necessity of chip + signature cards in Europe is still debatable, but as of now this is the only card out there with all three features. $100 signup bonus and 1.5 points/dollar isn’t great, but not bad at all.

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  • BG

    Which email address did you write too? I got this card within a month too, and I’d love to get the extra 20k miles as well.


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  • dshanker

    Has anyone gotten this card, received the bonus and then upgraded out to the United Club card? Want the lounge access, but that card doesn’t come with a 50k bonus…

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  • Ann

    Was the 60,000 the initial offer, or did you add an additional user for a total of 60,000? I received an email offer for 50,000 plus the 10,000 if you add an additional user. Just trying to decide whether to apply now or holdout for a better offer.

    Thanks in advance.

  • PZ

    Does it make sense to have CSP and united explorer (only not to have blackout dates) and using CSP everyday since it gives more miles ?

  • Rollette

    Here’s the link where you can apply for the explorer card with 50K bonus miles.

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