Earn 50k Miles With the United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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.