United Explorer 50,000 Mile Bonus With $50 Statement Credit

by on August 4, 2014 · 36 comments

in Chase, United

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Update: The offers mentioned below for the Chase United Explorer Visa is no longer available. View the current offer here.

Last Friday, Chase relaunched a limited-time public offer for the United Explorer card, though I realized after I wrote about it that there is actually an even better public offer with an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles (after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months from account opening) plus a $50 statement credit after your first purchase and an additional 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months.

The $95 annual fee is also waived the first year. If you didn’t get the $50 statement credit and applied within the last 90 days, you may be able to get Chase to honor it by sending a secure message or calling- it never hurts to ask.    The normal bonus on this card is 30,000 miles, so the current offer represents nearly a 67% increase. Once you complete the spending requirement and add an authorized user, you’re looking at no less than 57,000 bonus points, and potentially more if you use the card to purchase United tickets (earning 2x miles per $1 on United airfare), or do things like link the card to United’s dining rewards network and eat at participating restaurants. Plus, if you make $25,000 in net purchases using the card in a calendar year, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles (which will also let you waive the airline’s Premier Qualifying Dollar requirements toward elite status for everything but top-tier 1K status).

The online public offer is usually just 30,000 miles.

The online public offer is usually just 30,000 miles.

With that in mind, I thought I would give a quick rundown on what exactly you can do with all those bonus miles. First, here’s a quick reminder of the key terms of the current offer.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $50 Statement Credit after your first purchase
  • Priority boarding (for the cardholder and companions on the same reservation)
  • 2 United Club passes per year
  • Free first checked bag on United operated flights (for the cardholder and one companion on the same reservation when you use your Explorer card to purchase tickets). When redeeming miles for an award flight, you can still get a free checked bag by using your card to pay for the TSA security fee.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months;
  • Earn 2x miles on United purchases
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 in net purchases each calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee waived the first year

All in all, this is the best public offer out there on the Explorer card, since it includes the extra $50 statement credit that was not a part of the offer I wrote about on Friday or the offer that Chase customers are able to apply for through a physical bank branch. Maximizing Bonus United Miles While United seriously devalued its mileage program earlier this year by introducing two entirely new award charts with higher redemption levels on United flights as well as even more exorbitantly high award requirements on its airline partners, United miles can still be quite useful, and I value them at about 1.5 cents apiece thanks to their versatility and ease of redemption. Plus, many of the economy redemption levels both on United and its partners either did not go up or went up very little, so you can still get a lot of places in coach if that’s how you want to travel.

United will be replacing the current first and business class seats with its BusinessFirst lie-flat product.

The bonus miles are enough to book awards in United’s BusinessFirst cabins on a variety of routes.

The Mileage Plus program has a lot of good elements to it, including the ability to redeem for one-way awards, all the great Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa and Singapore, and a very good award search engine that makes booking award travel fairly easy. That said, while 50,000 or even 60,000 miles won’t get you as far as they used to, they can still get you pretty far depending on how you redeem them. Here are a few award chart sweet spots to consider if you get in on the current card offer. I’ve used 60,000 miles as my benchmark since, with all the bonus miles from this offer, you’ll pretty much be there by completing the spend requirement plus a little bit, and adding a user. Roundtrip Domestic Business Class A roundtrip domestic award ticket on United in business class will run you 50,000 miles. That’s true whether it’s San Diego to Las Vegas or Los Angeles to New York aboard the airline’s flagship premium service planes with lie-flat seating. While I’d avoid using these miles on quick short-hauls, if you can snag that premier transcon flight, it could definitely be worth your while considering those tickets can go for upwards of $4,000 at peak times. I find the best strategies for booking these types of awards is either to book as far out in advance as possible, or to be as flexible as possible with your plans and book close in – sometimes within a matter of days of your intended travel times. I’ve had a lot of luck booking tickets anywhere from a week to a few hours in advance this way.

Use the bonus miles to fly transcontinental business class.

Use the bonus miles to fly transcontinental business class.

As you can see from this sample roundtrip, I was able to find some options even for days later this week on the premium service 757-200, with returns later this month for a total of 50,000 miles and $86.20 ($75 of that is a close-in booking fee because travel is within 21 days). The same ticket would cost $2,487.20, so you’d be getting about 4.8 cents per mile in value. One-Way Business Class To Europe As I mentioned, one of the bright spots of the Mileage Plus program is being able to book one-way awards for half the price of a roundtrip. So while the cost to redeem miles to Europe from the US jumped from 50,000 miles to 57,500 miles each way in business class, if you maximize this sign-up bonus, you can still earn enough miles from it to redeem a one-way award on United itself (redeeming on a partner like LOT or SWISS will cost you 70,000 miles each way in business class). Even though it’s more miles than before, that’s still cheaper than the 125,000 Delta would charge you for a roundtrip with no option to book a half-price one-way award.

60,000 miles will get you a roundtrip award to Europe in coach, or one-way in business class (55,000 miles).

Earning the signup bonus will just about get you a roundtrip award to Europe in coach, or one-way in business class (57,500 miles).

So, for instance, this itinerary on United from Newark to Stockholm via Oslo in business class is just 57,500 miles + $14.90 in taxes. If you were to redeem on a Star Alliance partner, a business class award would be 70,000 miles each way. Don’t forget that economy redemptions from North America to Europe did not go up in the devaluation, so whether you redeem on United or on a partner like Brussels Airlines, you’ll still pay just 30,000 miles each way. This could be very useful if you want to fly to London, where other airlines will typically levy fuel surcharges that can range between $500-$700 even on economy tickets, as you can see in this sample roundtrip from SFO to London in September. (Plus, you can even fly back on the 787-8 Dreamliner via Houston.)

Using United miles to get to London is a good way to avoid huge fuel surcharges.

Using United miles to get to London is a good way to avoid huge fuel surcharges.

You’d still pay about $220 in taxes/fees, but compared to the $1,150 the ticket would have cost you, you’re coming out ahead and getting a value of 1.55 cents per mile. Southern South America Redemptions on United for Southern South America (including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile) are 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy on United and its partners, and 55,000 miles each way in business class on United itself. For instance, let’s say you wanted to get away to Rio for a quick pre-holidays vacation in December; this award search shows availability on United from Houston to Rio via Sao Paulo for 30,000 miles in economy, 55,000 miles in business, and 70,000 miles in Global First, plus just $16.41 in taxes and fees no matter which class you fly.

Availability from Houston to Rio on United in December.

Availability from Houston to Rio on United in December.

By comparison, that’s still more than the 100,000 miles American and US Airways would charge you to fly business class or 125,000 miles to fly first class, but less than Delta’s 125,000-mile business class awards. Australia and New Zealand Though it’s costly, I still consider flying from North America to Australia and New Zealand a sweet spot in United’s award chart. That’s because an economy ticket from the continental US to either country is just 40,000 miles each way (that’s 10,000 more miles than Europe or Southern South America), and business class on United (with its flagship lie-flat BusinessFirst service) is 70,000 miles each way. Let’s say you wanted to experience the Australian summer; you could fly there in December from San Francisco for just 40,000 miles and $31.60.

You can fly to Sydney and back on United.

You can fly from San Francisco to Sydney on United for just 40,000 miles each way.

American and US Airways still beat these redemption levels (if you can find Qantas award availability), but United comes out ahead of Delta’s 160,000-mile roundtrip awards to Australia (though Delta charges the same miles whether you’re flying its own metal or a partner like Virgin Australia, while United would charge you 160,000 to fly a partner). Other Redemption Options In my opinion, those are the most interesting award options and ways that you can cash in on those bonus miles for tickets worth several thousand dollars each. However, here are a few more redemption options for you strictly by the numbers. This will show where on the globe you can reach with the bonus miles from the Explorer card using United’s current award charts, starting from the Mainland US, Alaska, and Canada.

Even Australia is in reach with the current offer's bonus miles.

Even Australia is in reach with the bonus miles from the current offer.

Hawaii: One-way in business or first class for 40,000 miles (50,000 miles when business and first are both offered) or 45,000 miles roundtrip in economy. Mexico/Central America/Caribbean: Roundtrip in economy for 35,000 miles, or 60,000 miles roundtrip in business or first class on a two-class plane. Northern South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, French Guyana): 40,000 miles roundtrip in economy, or 70,000 miles roundtrip in business class on United. Middle East (Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen): 42,500 miles one-way in economy, or 70,000 miles in business class. Northern Africa (Algeria, Canary Islands, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia): 40,000 miles each way in economy, or 70,000 miles in business class. Central and Southern Africa (includes Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote D’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Reunion Island, Rwanda, S. Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe): One-way in economy for 40,000 miles, or 70,000 miles in business class on United. Japan: One-way for 35,000 miles in economy, or 65,000 miles each way in business class. North Asia (including China, Mongolia, South Korea and Taiwan): One-way in economy for 35,000 miles, or business class for 70,000 miles on United. Central Asia (including India and Pakistan among others): 42,500 miles each way in economy or 70,000 miles in business class on United. South Asia (including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam): 40,000 miles each way in economy, 70,000 in business class on United. Oceania (includes American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu, Western Samoa): 35,000 miles one-way in economy, or 65,000 miles one-way in business on United.

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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  • JP

    after clicking on the apply now link, it redirects me to the united website and asks for my log in. After i log in, it just brings me to the UA homepage. Clicking on the apply now link now warns me about leaving the Chase website and just brings me to the United Airlines home page. Is it broken?

  • CharlesDMetzinger

    This will show where on the globe you can reach with the bonus miles from the Explorer card using United’s current award charts, starting from the Mainland US, Alaska, and Canada.

  • PR@TPG

    That link seems to have died. I replaced it with a working one for the same offer. Thanks for letting us know!

  • S

    Can this offer be churned?

  • fathiss

    A little late on this one. I saw this offer from another blogger a few days ago. She gave credit for the find.

  • Paul

    Does the same offer apply for the business card? Or is this only the personal version?

  • thepointsguy

    Per the application ”
    I understand that any new cardmember bonus offers for this product are not available to either current or previous cardmembers of this product who received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the last 24 months.”

  • Kim

    “though I realized after I wrote about it that there is actually an even better public offer”

    But instead of posting a correction, you let the affiliate link that pays you cash for a worse offer hang out there for 3 days?

    Cool story bro.

  • CS

    So I applied for the Explorer card and got the 30k mile bonus a bit over 3 months, would Chase still honor the 50k offer if I message them?

  • Robyn

    I signed up last week for the 50,000 only offer. Do you think I can call and have them honor this offer?

  • Douche

    The dude already makes over a million dollar selling credit cards and still feel the need to screw people over with his crappy link. Just disgusting.

    If you give this douche more money by applying through his links. You are a tool. Go apply directly through the bank or a more honest blogger, not a credit card salesman.

    He can’t even mention the word churn because that would anger Chase. If you don’t believe me, just search when was the last time that word was mentioned. Go look for the Chase recon numbers as well. He had to take them down by a direct order from chase.

  • yjzady

    Are Amazon payments some blogers mentioned a few days ago considered “net purchase” for the $25000 target? And earn some miles? Thanks.

  • Dude

    Chase allowing churning now? on this card too? I already have this card and its been 24 months+ since I got the bonus. wondering if I should close and reopen

  • wahiawa

    @thepointsguy:disqus : the link does not have the $50 credit. can u pls post link with credit. TY for following up !

  • ocvagabond

    So I thought I was smarter than the average bear because I’ve been using credit cards to gain cash back and other bonuses. Yet, despite me working as an analyst, I never worked to maximize my rewards for paying with plastic until now.

    My question is how many cards will one bank issue you? It seems to me that Chase has many of the best card offers. I’ve recently signed up for Chase Freedom (which they gave me a huge line of credit on) with the intent on signing up for Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold as soon as I receive my Freedom card. Now this offer makes me want to apply as well, but I’m nervous since all these cards are Chase.

    Thoughts and advice?

  • PR@TPG

    Which link are you clicking? Use the long one that specifically mentions the $50 credit.

  • yeshu

    chase must be paying him pretty well.

  • tony

    why are you hating on him? Jealous much?

  • Phaux

    As a current United Select Chase Visa cardholder, am I eligible for this Explorer offer? If so, can I retain both accounts, i.e., keep the Select card as well?

  • Person Here

    Deciding between this card (50K + $50 credit + fee waived) and Chase Ink Plus (70K + $95 fee *not* waived). Difference is like paying $145 for 20K miles, right? Is 20K great for $145? Or just so-so? Which should I go for?

  • Adam

    I called Chase and they said they will review my request for the $50 statement credit.

  • PR@TPG

    Its not an apples to apples comparison. Ultimate Rewards points are worth more than United miles because they can be used more flexibly. To answer the question generally though, 20k Ultimate Rewards points is certainly worth more than $145; even if you decided to redeem for cash, you would get $200.

  • Robyn

    They did not give it to me because they said I had to access the offer through United, not through Chase!

  • Joe

    What did Chase say when you called them? You did bother to call, correct?

  • Joe

    You offer many good tips, but most of these offers are sign up bonuses, that, at most, will cover one person. For a married couple, it would require twice as much spending on two separate cards…..

  • MeToo

    When I you your link for the offer, it does show the 50k/$50 offer, but when I click on apply, it sends me to the united homepage, which doesn’t offer the $50.

  • Trevor

    I also had no luck with the $50 credit link. Got an error message. Went ahead and applied anyway. Will call CS and see about the 50 credit.

  • Gustav

    How is this card better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred? I am asking because I just got the CSP, and in case I don’t get approved for this one (too many credit cards opened with Chase in the last months) I want to be able to call them and explain why I want this one too. Any idea? United club passes? Free bags?

  • dhazard

    Thank you for your interest, however, this offer is not currently
    available. Please click the button below to view alternate offers and
    apply online. Please note the terms and conditions of these offers may

    This is a link to a third-party site as described in our Weblinking Practices.
    Note that the third party’s privacy policy and security practices may
    differ from our standards. We assume no responsibility nor do we
    control, endorse or guarantee any aspect of your use of the linked site.

  • Harry

    I applied the version without $50, then ask chase to honor the offer with $50. However, they won’t do it. Here is the message:

    Thank you for contacting Chase about your enrollment offer
    on our MileagePlus® Explorer credit card.

    Please understand that the MileagePlus Explorer card with
    50,000 bonus miles and a $50.00 statement credit has been
    an available offer through within the purchase
    path. Chase and United have various offers within the
    marketplace. In order to receive the applicable offer,
    one must apply through that particular channel. For this
    reason we are unable to honor your request.

    If you have any further questions, please reply using the
    Secure Message Center.

    Thank you,

    Geny Zamudio
    Customer Service Specialist


    Account is owned by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and may be
    serviced by its affiliates.

  • Ling Lin

    So does it mean we won’t get the credit even we click on the above link?

  • Nora

    Does this card have the new EMV chip technology? If not, is there a way to request it? I’m considering it because there are no foreign transasction fees, but the chip capability is a must for me.

  • jta5

    I had the card before, asked Chase if I could get the bonus again they said yes, since it had been 24 months, shortly after, saw this post for the extra $50, I asked Chase for that, and for the first time on matching an offer Chase denied it, saying, I had applied through Chase originally and the $50 offer came from United and they would not match it.

  • shmo

    can i still apply now and call them to match old offer?

  • DIYer

    I have the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and just got the Mileage Plus
    Explorer. All through Chase. Approved instantly. I’m a just out of
    college actor, no debt, high credit score, but fairly low income since
    I’m self employed.–ocvagabond, they will be fine with you having 3
    cards from Chase. You’re way less risk than a “vagabond” actor like myself. and let me tell you, the chase ultimate reward points
    are THE BEST DEAL ever. I’m saving $5000 on flights for my honeymoon
    by putting wedding expenses on these cards for the point bonuses. And
    they work way better than Capital one or Delta/BA. Can’t beat 1:1
    transfers. Thanks, pointsguy!

  • Dave

    I applied and was approved through the link you provided….I did not get the $50.00 credit after 1st purchase….was told by Chase I did not go through the “correct path” is it possible you provided a screen splash for the offer…BUT…a different link that did not offer the $50.00. My 2nd appeal fell on deaf ears….perhaps you would like to send me $50.00??

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