When Should I Apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees