Earn 40K Miles with the United Explorer Credit Card

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It is currently possible to earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership with the United Explorer Card.

Click Here to get more details on the United Explorer Card.


Benefits of the United Explorer Credit Card

Sign-Up Bonus – The card is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Priority Boarding – The card will give you priority boarding privileges and 2 one-time passes to the United Club lounge each year on your cardmember anniversary.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit – Receive up to a $100 credit for free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every 4 years.

Free Checked Baggage – The card will allow you to check your first bag for free every time you fly United when you use your card to purchase your ticket.

25% Back on United In-Flight Purchases – Receive 25% in the form of a statement credit for in-flight purchases. This can be used for drinks, movies, and purchasing Wi-Fi and messaging.

2x United MileagePlus Miles – Per dollar spent on purchases at United, hotels and at restaurants

Chase 5/24 Rule – The card will be subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, so this is something that needs to be considered before you apply.

Annual Fee – The card has an annual fee of $95 which is waived for the first year of card membership. 


United Explorer Credit Card


Click Here to get more details on the United Explorer Card.


Our Analysis

United has the most restrictive Basic Economy fares of any carrier. While most airlines allow you to bring a free carry-on bag on board with you on a Basic Economy ticket, United does not. The airline doesn’t allow a carry-on bag, advanced seat assignment and elite upgrades are not available. Additionally, flight changes and refunds are not allowed if you book a Basic Economy fare and you will not earn elite credit.

Holding the United Explorer card is a solid option if you regularly fly United but not enough to earn any level of their elite status. The card will help you beat basic economy a bit by allowing you to check your bag for free and provide you with priority boarding. Two things not offered on a United Basic Economy fare without the credit card. The free checked baggage and priority boarding benefits will also apply to any travel companion booked on the same itinerary.

If you are a loyal United flyer, this would be a great card to pair with either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. United MileagePlus is a 1:1 transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

This new offer seems to be the new trend from Chase. They appear to be encouraging longer-term spending by offering a stretch bonus for spending over a longer period of time. This is surely done to combat those who open a card, meet the spending bonus and put the card in a drawer as these are not profitable customers for the bank. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend we see continuing throughout the industry.

The structure of this offer is similar to what we have seen on Chase’s World of Hyatt credit card, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card.


Expanded United Award Availability

One of the best benefits of holding the United Airlines Explorer co-branded credit card is the increased access it provides to award seats on United Airlines flights.

Said simply, this means that just for holding the card, you will see more saver level award seats available when you search for ways to redeem your miles. Often times, there is additional award availability during peak travel times and/or more popular routes.

Finally, the United Explorer card will get access to all Everyday awards. This means you can use your miles to book seats on any United Airlines flight, even if it’s the last seat on the plane. Just note that for these award seats, you will be charged double the amount you would for a saver level award.


Bottom Line

I still think United flyers are better off spending on either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred as mentioned above due to the transferability of Ultimate Rewards points into United MileagePlus.

However, if you haven’t yet had the United Explorer credit card, now is a great time to grab it for all of the reasons laid out above. It is the only co-branded airline card offering a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.


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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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 Responses

  1. Nick Serati says:

    Thanks, Matt. Great point. I have added this to the article as I agree that this is a great benefit of holding the card.

  2. Nick Serati says:

    Hey Mike. Not to my knowledge.

    United only reduces close-in fees to $50 for Premier Silver members, $25 for Premier Gold, and charges are waived for Premier Platinum and 1K members. They don’t waive or reduce the fee just for holding their co-branded cards.

  3. Nick Serati says:

    You can get the business card if you already have the personal card, however, you would have to apply for the actual business card product. That would still involve a credit pull, however. Link below:


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