When Should I Apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer?

Apr 19, 2015

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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.

I would wait for a better bonus to come along. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.