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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 best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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