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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card
TPG reader Jason tweeted me to ask
@thepointsguy – “Is it worth signing up for the United MileagePlus Explorer card now?”
Right now the United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase is offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. My advice is not to sign up for the card just yet, because it’s possible (or even likely) that you could get a better deal. Chase sometimes offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles for this card, and often targets individuals for that same larger bonus (this happened to me when I was a United MileagePlus elite member).
Also, you may be able to find a better offer when booking airfare through the website, because United sometimes presents deals to those purchasing airfare or checking out. The 30,000 mile bonus is respectable, but I would hold off in hopes of a better offer.
If you happen to have a small business, the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card currently offers a 50,000 mile bonus after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, so you could apply for that card now and then wait for a better bonus from the personal card.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees