50,000-Mile Sign-Up Bonus on the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

Nov 14, 2016

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.


If you’re looking to earn some extra United miles for an upcoming award flight, this current offer could be worth a look. You can now earn 50,000 MileagePlus miles when you’re approved for the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card and spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

The standard offer for this card is 30,000 miles, so now’s a good opportunity to nab some extra rewards when you sign up. Here’s a look at some of the card’s main features and perks:

  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other spending
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your card each calendar year
  • Free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Two United Club passes each year for your travel
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Is it worth it?

As is always the case when assessing travel rewards card offers, you need to consider your own travel goals. If you’re just a few thousand miles away from an international business-class redemption on United or a Star Alliance partner, signing up for the Explorer Business Card and meeting the $3,000 spending requirement could help bridge the gap. If you don’t currently hold a United co-branded card, also note that they open up increased Saver award availability, so it might make sense to have at least one of the various options in your wallet if you frequently redeem with the carrier.

If you already have the personal United MileagePlus Explorer Card (currently offering a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months) and are looking for another avenue for earning miles with the airlines, this business card could come in handy as well.

Don’t forget that you can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Chase Sapphire Preferred over to United at a 1:1 ratio. If you already have a UR points-earning card and a healthy stash of rewards in that account, this could be a better option — especially since the United co-branded cards (like most other airline cards) top out at just 2 miles per dollar on purchases with the carrier.

If you’re looking for extra United miles, this offer could fit the bill.

TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece in his latest valuations, compared to 1.5 cents per United mile, so you’d still come out ahead earning 2x points on all travel and dining (a 4.2% return) with the Sapphire Preferred compared to earning 2x miles on United purchases (a 3% return) on the business and personal versions of the United Explorer cards — and you wouldn’t be limited to redeeming your rewards for flights with the airline or one of its partners.

Speaking of valuations, based on TPG’s current estimations, the 50,000-mile sign-up bonus for the United MileagePlus Business Explorer Card is worth $750. That’s definitely nothing to sneeze, so if you could use the miles, it could be worth applying now before the offer goes back to 30,000 miles (worth $450).

Finally, if you fly United on a semi-regular basis, value lounge access and don’t mind shelling out for a high annual fee, the United MileagePlus Club Card ($450) might be worth a look. The current sign-up bonus is 50,000 after spending $3,000 within the first three months. You’ll get United Club membership and earn 1.5 miles on all non-United purchases. You also get two free checked bags.

Bottom Line

This isn’t an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime sign-up bonus, but if you’re looking for some extra United miles and want to enjoy perks like improved Saver award availability and a free checked bag, the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card could make sense for you. If you’re interested, act sooner than later — since we don’t know when this current offer will expire.

How would you redeem 50,000 United miles?


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