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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card

If you need to boost your United MileagePlus account, now’s an optimal time to add this card to your wallet. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card was most recently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, but it’s just increased the offer to 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The Explorer Card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

According to our most recent point valuations, United miles are worth 1.4 cents apiece, which makes the new 50,000-mile offer worth $700, $140 more than the previous 40k bonus. 50,000 miles can get you a round-trip domestic flight in the business-class cabin, a round-trip economy flight to Hawaii or even a one-way economy flight to Japan, among many other redemptions.

In addition to netting you a nice sum of miles from the sign-up offer, the Explorer Card gets you 2x miles on United purchases (equal to a 2.8% return on this spending based on our valuations) and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. You also get flight-related perks on United, such as priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation. As a cardholder with elite status, you’ll be eligible for upgrades on award tickets, and you’ll have access to more award flights than non-cardholders. Another nice benefit: Each year you’ll receive two United Club passes.

This card could make sense for you if you’re short on United miles for an upcoming award trip on UA or Star Alliance metal — especially now that it’s offering an elevated sign-up bonus. It can also come in handy if you’re hoping to earn United elite status, since spending $25,000 on United cards in a calendar year waives the Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) requirement (except for United 1K status). If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year on the Explorer Card, you’ll also earn 10,000 bonus miles, which would get you another $140 in value.

Feature photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.