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Now could be a great time to sign up for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card or the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card if you’re hoping to boost your United account balance for an upcoming award booking. Both cards are currently offering elevated sign-up bonuses of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Even better, some cardholders are being targeted for 70,000-mile offers, just like we saw in June.
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. You have to spend $2,000 more in the first three months to earn the miles, but that’s still a relatively reasonable spending requirement — especially with Tax Day not too far away.
TPG values United miles at 1.4 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $700 in value. Of course, the actual value depends on how you redeem them, and you have a variety of options using this one bonus alone. For example, with 50,000 miles, you could book a round-trip domestic flight in first class at the Saver level, two domestic Saver round-trips in economy or a one-way Saver flight in the main cabin from the US to Europe.
Beyond the 50,000 miles you’ll earn for meeting the minimum spending requirement, these cards could be worth having thanks to the perks they extend to you when you’re flying United. With both the MileagePlus Explorer Card and the MileagePlus Explorer Business Card, you’ll get a free first checked bag, priority boarding and two United Club passes per cardmembership year.
You’ll also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United, and you won’t ever have to pay foreign transaction fees. Both cards have a $95 annual fee — it appears to be waived the first year with the business card’s current offer, but not for the personal card. And with the personal card, you can earn 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months. Additionally, both cards offer a Premier-Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver, plus 10,000 bonus miles, when you spend $25,000 or more on the card each calendar year.
We saw similar bonuses on these cards last summer, but if you missed out then and are looking to jump-start your award travel on United or other Star Alliance carriers, now could be a great time to sign up for either, or both, of these cards.
How would you use 50,000 United miles?
The information for the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card has been collected independently by ThePointsGuy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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