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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer
Chase has relaunched the United MileagePlus Explorer Card with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening, with a waived annual fee the first year, plus two one-time passes for the United Club each year.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: Start with 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Check your first bag for free – save up to $100 per roundtrip
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with two one-time-use passes every year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn double miles on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
- Your miles don’t expire as long as you’re a Cardmember, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
- Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
With the MileagePlus Explorer card, You’ll earn 2x MileagePlus miles per $1 spent on United purchases, as well 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Apart from the sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, this card offers no foreign transaction fees, making it a decent option for traveling abroad.
You’ll get a number of perks that can improve your travel experience, like priority boarding (for you and companions traveling on the same reservation), a free first checked bag on United operated flights (for you and one companion on the same reservation when you use your Explorer card to purchase tickets), and two United Club passes annually.
In my most recent monthly valuations, I list United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so I value the sign-up bonus at $750. If you check a bag on just four one-way United flights each year, the free checked bag benefit will save you $100, and I value the two club passes at about $25 each. All told, I think you’ll reasonably get at least $900 in value from this card in the first year, if not more.
Readers have reported that when booking a ticket through United.com, you may be able to get a slightly better offer that includes a $50 statement credit.
Check out these posts for more details on the MileagePlus program in general:
- Using the United Explorer Bonus in a Post-Devaluation World
- What is United Airlines Premier Elite Status Worth?
- United Partner Awards Pricing at Lower Levels on Some Routes
- Overview of United Airlines Award Routing Rules
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- 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