United’s New Explorer Credit Card Launches June 1
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Update: United informs us that since the 10,000-mile bonus for spending $25,000 in a calendar year is being removed from the card mid-year, cardmembers have the opportunity to earn 4,000 bonus miles if they spend $10,000-$24,999 on purchases that post to their account by May 31, 2018.
Come June 1, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card will be no more. Chase is replacing it with a new product called the United Explorer Credit Card. Don’t worry — most of the old card’s features will remain, but there are some changes you should know about, as all existing United personal Explorer cards will soon be converted over to the new card.
First, here’s what’s being added to the new card:
- 2x miles on dining and hotels, in addition to United purchases
- $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit
- 25% off in-flight United purchases, including Wi-Fi, food and beverages
The following benefits will be removed or adjusted:
- 10,000-mile bonus after spending $25,000 will be removed
- Trip cancellation coverage will be reduced (details TBA)
- Price and return protection will be discontinued (details here)
And these perks will remain unchanged:
- Free first checked bag for up to two travelers when you use your card to purchase United flights
- Priority boarding (Group 2)
- Two, one-time United Club passes each year
- Miles don’t expire as long as your card account remains open
- No foreign transaction fees
- PQD waiver up to United Platinum status when you spend $25,000 on your card in a calendar year
Current customers with a United MileagePlus Explorer Card will be moved to the new card beginning June 1, 2018, with benefits matching those outlined above (including anyone who applies between now and June 1). United isn’t announcing any changes to the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card or the United Club Card at this time.
Overall, these changes aren’t earth-shattering. Obviously I’d rather see the 10,000-mile bonus stick around, especially since customers are still aiming for that $25,000 spend target in order to score a Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver. But the expanded 2x bonus on dining and hotels will be a big boost for cardholders who don’t also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which earns 2x points on all travel and dining which can be transferred instantly to United.
Personally, I’ll be using the Chase Sapphire Reserve for that spend instead, since I’m essentially earning 3 United miles per dollar once you factor in instant transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards. But even though Premier 1K elite status is not eligible for the PQD spend waiver, the two annual United Club passes and the 25% discount on in-flight purchases make keeping the card around worthwhile for me.