United Explorer Card Review
Lounge access, a generous signup bonus, and other travel benefits make the United MileagePlus Explorer Card a great choice for jet-setters — especially if you frequently fly United. However, an annual fee and other downsides mean the card isn’t necessarily right for everyone
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United MileagePlus Explorer Card
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
What we like:
|Sign-Up Bonus||40,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in first 3 months of account opening|
|Rewards Rate||2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants, and on hotel stays|
1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
|Regular APR||18.24% – 25.24%|
|Annual Fee||$95 (waived for first year)|
- Use MileagePlus award miles toward travel on United, currently starting as low as 12,500 miles for a one-way ticket within the continental U.S. and Canada (no blackout dates)
- Priority boarding
- $100 statement credit every four years to reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- One free checked bag for the primary cardholder and one companion on each United flight purchased with the card
- 25% back as a statement credit on United in-flight purchases
- Two United Club passes each account anniversary
- No foreign transaction fees
- No 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers
- $95 annual fee after the first year
- Less flexibility in redeeming rewards than some competitors
Recommended Credit Score
- Good or excellent credit
United MileagePlus Explorer Card Review
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card offers valuable benefits for travelers, especially those who fly on United regularly. To maximize rewards, they need to be redeemed through United — so the rewards program isn’t as flexible as some other travel credit cards. Also, the MileagePlus Explorer also comes with an annual fee, so you need to make sure the rewards and perks outweigh the $95 cost.
In this review:
- United Explorer Card Benefits
- Downsides of the United Airlines Explorer Card
- United Explorer Card Log In & Customer Service
- How It Compares to Similar Cards
United Explorer Card Benefits
The United Explorer card’s best benefits come from the travel savings and access to United airline lounges.
When you become a United MileagePlus Explorer cardholder, you can earn a 40,000-mile signup bonus by spending $2,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Although some other cards allow you to earn bigger signup bonuses, you typically have to spend more to get them. These 40,000 miles are especially valuable because one-way award tickets within the U.S. and Canada are available for as low as 12,500 miles.
>> Read More: Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonus Offers
MileagePlus cardholders earn two miles for each $1 spent on restaurants, United purchases, and hotel stays when purchased directly with the hotel. For all other purchases, you’ll earn one mile per $1 spent. Miles can be redeemed to book flights with United as well as with Star Alliance members.
>> Read More: Do United Airlines Credit Card Miles Expire?
Travel perks are where this card shines. You’ll get a 25% statement credit on United in-flight purchases, including food, beverages, and Wi-Fi. You (and a companion) also enjoy one free checked bag on a United flight if you buy tickets with your card, as well as two United Club passes annually.
In addition, cardholders score a $100 statement credit every four years as reimbursement for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Additional travel benefits include:
- Priority boarding privileges
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Car rental collision insurance
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Visa Signature Concierge
- No foreign transaction fees
The United MileagePlus Explorer card provides extended warranty protection that allows you to extend the warranty for an additional year on eligible products that come with a warranty of three years or less.
New purchases are also covered for up to 120 days against damage or theft. This coverage applies for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 in coverage annually.
Downsides of the United Airlines Explorer Card
There are some downsides to this card, including:
- No 0% APR for either purchases or balance transfers. If you carry a balance on the card or transfer a balance to it, you’ll begin paying interest immediately unless you pay your bill in full by the statement due date.
- $95 annual fee. The fee is waived in the first year but may not be worth it in subsequent years if you aren’t taking advantage of the card’s travel rewards and perks.
- Less flexibility in rewards redemption. Some competitor cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer greater flexibility when it comes time to redeem rewards.
United Explorer Card Log In & Customer Service
You can sign into your United Explorer account or apply for the card at the Chase Credit Cards website. You can also call Chase’s customer service phone number at 1-800-432-3117.
How It Compares to Similar Cards
The United MileagePlus Explorer card is a relatively inexpensive card given all the benefits and perks you receive — but there are other cards out there that provide more flexibility in rewards redemption or even better travel benefits, albeit for a higher annual fee.
United Explorer Card vs United Club Card
The United MileagePlus Explorer card is much cheaper than some other United cards, such as the United Club card which carries a $450 annual fee. The Club card also requires you to spend more to earn the signup bonus. You’ll have to spend $3,000 in the first three months to earn 50,000 bonus miles, compared to earning 40,000 miles for spending $2,000 on the MileagePlus Explorer card.
The United MileagePlus Club card comes with more generous travel benefits in exchange for the higher annual fee. United Club membership means you can use United’s lounges whenever you want instead of receiving just two one-time passes. You (and a companion) also get two free checked bags versus one. In addition, you earn 1.5 miles for each $1 spent on everyday purchases, which beats the United Explorer card’s general rewards rate by 50%.
Read our full United Explorer Card vs United Club Card comparison to learn more about how the two cards stack up.
Bottom Line: Is the United Explorer Card Right for You?
The United MileagePlus Explorer credit card offers solid for anyone who regularly flies with United and stands to save significantly with free checked bags and lounge passes. Just be sure to compare the card with other options to make sure it’s really the right one for you.4.8 United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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