End Date Announced: Biggest Bonus Ever for United Credit Card

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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. And Chase has shared that it will end January 22.

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.

Bottom Line

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).

UnitedSM Explorer Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Actually the inflight offer is probably better for most.

    After the first 40,000 miles for 2k spend, the inflight offer gives 12,500 miles for 3k in additional spend. This offer is 20,000 miles for 8k in additional spend.

  2. Does anyone have any data points on downgrading or at least getting a free year out of the United Explorer card? I’m Platinum, soon to be 1K, so I don’t really need the card benefits, and $95 for just two Club passes is almost retail price (also my work pays for inflight wifi so I don’t care about the 25% discount on in flight purchases).

    I will probably just cancel but wondered if anyone had worked a different angle to keep the card but get rid of the annual fee?

  3. Ha, the second spend tier pushes most of the average guy’s spend there, certainly not worth it. This is truly a 40k signup bonus card.

  4. I got a 70,000 plus 5,000 for adding an AU, plus $50 statement credit 2 years ago. So I wouldn’t call this the highest ever offer. And it did not require this much spend. Maybe $4,000 or so. I don’t remember exactly

  5. Highest ever public offer? I got a 70k signup bonus back in 2017, from a widely available offer, and that was when the points were worth even more…

  6. SF is right. I got that same 75k bonus few years back but the minimum spend was $3000 which was very generous. Ah, how I miss those days.

  7. All great except the 5/24 issue. AMEX is racking up the lost business from Chase with their 5x, 4x and 3x in the same categories as the upper level Chase cards.

  8. @SF +2 Perhaps Gary is only counting public offers? Regardless, with the latest deval, this is probably the smallest bonus ever! harhar

  9. The one in 2017 was public. It was 70k+5k for AU. If you searched for a flight, the same offer would show up on the side with an additional $50 statement credit. You did not have to be logged in or anything. I wouldn’t call that targeted.

  10. Yet, least valuable public offer. With the continual decline of Mileage Plus and the dynamic devaluation.

  11. I don’t think the offer is great. However, if you lack status and still fly United a lot – Having this card is an absolute necessity. I keep mine for the benefits.

  12. This offer sucks, period. Unless you were going to spend 10k in the next 6 months anyway, like remodelling a kitchen and getting a new roof. I remembered my wife got a 60k public offer for 3k spent a few years back. This is really only a 40k offer with 2k spend.

  13. Who would get this card ? Mileage plus has devalued too hard too fast. Your 65000 mile bonus isn’t bigger , it just makes up for “inflation “. Only Delta mikes suck worse.

  14. The article technically says “public offer” but it’s misleading. A layperson who reads this article would think this is the best offer they can get. Only those who are in the know would realize that this offer is, in fact, not what they should strive for. This is technically correct but misleading at best and bad faith at worst.

  15. I actually was pretty close to getting this but…….

    1. Dynamic devaluations: I have no idea what the points get me.
    2. Restricting club pass to star * travel only: This makes those 1 time passes less valuable.
    3. High Spend + Segments for status: Makes me less interested in MP in general and this card does not help that at all. I do more distance based travel.

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