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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Back in April, Chase relaunched the 50,000-mile sign-up bonus offer for its United MileagePlus Explorer card. For a while, the sign-up bonus had been just 30,000 miles, so this was a much better offer with a minimum-spending requirement of just $3,000 in the first three months, and the $95 annual fee waived the first year, plus two one-time passes for the United Club each year. The offer lasts until June 2, so if you’ve been waiting to get in on it, you have just one week left.
As a reminder, here are the terms of the offer:
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
This card carries typical airline credit card perks, 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. However, there are a lot of other great reasons to get this card, including several in light of the huge changes United made to its MileagePlus program and its Premier elite program last year.
TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen outlined 8 less-obvious reasons to get in on this current credit card offer. The short of it is:
- The sign-up bonus is worth two round-trip domestic economy awards among other decent redemptions.
- You earn a 10,000-mile bonus you earn after spending $25,000 in a calendar year.
- Spending $25,000 on any United-branded credit card will exempt you from the revenue requirements for earning (or retaining) elite status (up to Platinum level, but not 1K). This can be especially valuable given that United has raised these levels for 2015.
- United Premier members who also hold the Explorer Card have access to more upgrades on award tickets. They are prioritized below paid tickets at the Premier level, but above travelers at lower Premier levels.
- Chase has its own program for booking stays at high-end properties around the world. Called the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, it offers cardmembers benefits such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades and unique welcome amenities.
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 Explorer card and the MileagePlus program in general:
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees