Last Chance for 100,000 United Miles, Biggest U.S. Airline Card Bonus in 5 Years

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UnitedSM Explorer Business Card

Five years ago there was a 100,000 mile offer for the premium American Airlines card with $450 annual fee. But we haven’t seen a U.S. airline credit card offering 100,000 miles as an initial bonus since then. And this is the last chance to get the offer which is about to end.

At the beginning of the year the UnitedSM Explorer Business Card had a best-ever 75,000 mile offer. Right now you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases:

  • 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Another 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

That’s an average of $4166.67 per month in spend to earn the full bonus, which is why there are easy ways to meet minimum spending on a credit card.

The card’s annual fee is $95. You receive 2 United Club passes each year with card renewal, a free checked bag, and priority boarding. In addition, United cardholders along with elites get better award availability and access to redeem miles for last seat availability. Ongoing spend will earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases.

This is a really good offer for the card, the best public offer there’s been in my opinion, and the first 100,000 mile offer from a U.S. airline in five years. A few years ago I got excited when this card was being offered with just 50,000 miles. This is a great way to pick up 100,000 United miles. So if you have fewer than 5 new cards opened in the last 24 months definitely consider this one.

I find that United miles are the most flexible of any U.S. airline currency for business class awards to Europe and Asia, since United has the most partners through Star Alliance (and you can combine partners to get where you’re going).

While award pricing won’t be constrained by the old award chart starting with travel November 15 onward, that’s a change for United flights… they’re still pricing Star Alliance redemptions based on fixed cost. And there’s never any fuel surcharges on United awards.

UnitedSM Explorer Business 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, 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.


  1. Similar to other articles, it would be great to see real world examples of using UA miles. The transoceanic J & F saver fares seem to be gone. Is there ANY reason to go for this card over Chase Sapphire Reserve from a mileage / points perspective?

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