I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.
A year ago, for the first time, Chase launched the biggest public offer ever for the UnitedSM Explorer Card. That offer is back, for the second time ever.
The UnitedSM Explorer Card has a 65,000 mile offer: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open. (Earning the full bonus requires just an average of $1667 per month in spend.)
The card’s annual fee is $0 the first year ($95 thereafter). This is a better bonus than I’ve ever gotten for the card myself.
The Card’s Overall Value
This is a great card to get for its attractive bonus, and also a great one for many to keep for the benefits — if you fly United regularly but not often enough to earn status.
That’s because it gets you priority boarding, 2 club passes per year, and a free checked bag. (The checked bag and priority boarding benefits will also confer to a traveling companion on the same reservation).
Cardholders, like United elite members, receive last seat availability when redeeming for standard (additional miles for better inventory) awards. And elite members with the card are eligible for upgrades on domestic coach redemptions.
Is United Explorer Even the Best Card to Earn United Miles?
I still believe that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, whose points transfer directly to United or a variety of other airlines and hotel programs, is better for earning United miles from spending than this card is.
That’s because while the UnitedSM Explorer Card offers double points on United purchases, restaurants, and hotel stays, Sapphire Preferred will earn faster — because all airline travel in addition to hotels and restaurants earn double points. And those points transfer to United if you wish or to other airlines giving you greater flexibility.
Both UnitedSM Explorer Card and Sapphire Preferred offer no foreign transaction fees, and primary collision coverage when you rent cars — a benefit that could alone make either card worth keeping if you rent cars with any frequency.
UnitedSM Explorer Card is great for the bonus, and great for the benefits. As with other Chase rewards card, 5/24 applies. So if you’ve had fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months consider getting and keeping this one (though in general you can do better for ongoing spend with other cards).