Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card Review

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From Seek Capital - Best for United Flyers

Welcome Offer

Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles

Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 Months


Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United Airlines Purchases and at restaurants
Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on hotel accommodations, when purchased directly with the hotel
Earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
$0Checked Bag
Pay nothing for you and one companion's first checked bag on United Airline

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Three of the biggest and most trusted brands in the World – Chase, United Airlines and Visa – have teamed up to create a travelling experience that is so amazing you will never forget it. You are going to want to make room for this card in your wallet.

The United Mileage Plus® by Chase is a spectacular card for anyone who like to travel and lives where United has flights.  That applies to basically everyone in the continental United States as United has 8 main hubs (NY, DC, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, LA, and SF)  and services basically every major airport in the entire nation.  United also has one of the largest international route maps, so if visiting other countries is high on your list of things to do, United is a great choice.

Rewards Highlights

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • 2x Miles on United Airlines Purchases
  • 2x Miles on Hotel Accommodations

Expert Review

The Pros

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • 2x Miles on United Airlines Purchases
  • 2x Miles on Hotel Accommodations

The Cons

  • No Access to Lounge Benefits

Recommended Credit Profile

Rates & Fees

  • Annual Fee$95
  • Intro Annual Membership Fee$0
  • Regular APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Great ForUnited AirlinesDiningMore
  • Regular Purchase APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Regular Balance Transfer APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Cash Advance APR26.99%
  • Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 5%
  • Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee0%

Signup Bonus

The bonus on this card is absolutely amazing! You will earn 40,000 bonus miles on United Airlines so long as you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of receiving the card. That breaks down to charging less than $700 worth of transactions to your credit card account per month for the first three months.

Now these points are no joke, they are valuable! With 40,000 miles you can get a round trip ticket anywhere in the United States. If you take advantage of the United Saver economy tickets, Los Angeles to New York will run you 12,500 points each way. You can just about buy two round trip tickets across the United States when you sign up for this remarkable credit card. That’s what makes this card a must-have in the wallet.

Seek tip: Here are 2 super cool tips; one is perfect for your spouse and one is perfect for friends and extended family. If it’s for your friends, here’s the easy chat: An easy way to add a large number of points to many of these credit cards is to add an authorized user to your account. The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card lets you add family members or a spouse without paying additional annual fees, which means those points are literally free. You just have to add someone within the first three months (and have used the card at least once during that time) to gain 5,000 miles. If it’s for your husband or wife, this is good but not great, here’s the great trick to get both of you flying across the country for free. Once you have been approved, have your wife follow the exact same process you did and have her sign up, NOT as an authorized user, but rather have her create her own account. This way you move from the 5,000 bonus back up to the 40,000 bonus. This is one of the best kept secrets- you’re welcome!

Are you a big spender? Time to meet the Insane Bonuses for High Spenders

The card also comes with an annual bonus for super loyal customers. If you spend $25,000 within the year on the card, you get a bonus 10,000 miles. Spending $25,000 with the United card in a year would mean a bonus 50,000 miles + the 25,000+ miles for the actual spend. Simply put, spend $25,000 and you walk away with a minimum of 75,000 miles. This is unbelievable! If you are taking your kids to Disneyland or Disneyworld, 50,000 miles can cover the flights for an entire family of 4.

At first glance, spending $25,000 a year on this credit card might seem impossible. This is not the case. Let's break it down. If you spend $2,083 a month on your card, you will hit the additional bonus. If you are currently paying for expenses such as your gas and electric bill with a check, try switching over to paying these expenses with your credit card. It’s our view that you should, responsibly, use your credit card for every single expense that you can to maximize your rewards. This includes, auto insurance, gas, groceries even rent if possible.

The Points

The card earns 2 miles per dollar for purchases on United and 1 miles per dollar on all other purchases. If you make your household purchases on your Chase United MileagePlus you can earn 1 roundtrip ticket to fun destinations like Las Vegas per year.

Household purchases include items such as: groceries, gasoline, cable TV, internet, cell phone service, utilities, and school supplies. These household purchases are items that are paid by check or debit card, switch to the MileagePlus card and let these household purchases send you on vacation. This is one of the ways the rich get richer, they don’t actually pay for their flights. Why buy a flight with after tax dollars when you can get it for free?!

Imagine spending $1,000 on your card a month. You would earn 12,000 miles a year. That would cover the cost of your flight one way from JFK to LAX on United Saver.

Imagine spending $2,000 on your card a month. Not including the massive signup bonus, you would earn 24,000 miles a year. That would pay for the fill roundtrip ticket from JFK to LAX.

Now this is all good if you are a single guy, but what about if you are married. You definitely want to travel with your spouse, and even the kids. Here is the exact plan: Once you have been approved for this Chase United MileagePlus, have your husband/ wife follow the EXACT same process you did and have him/ her sign up, NOT as an authorized user, but rather have her create her own account. This way you move from the 5,000 bonus up to the 40,000 bonus points. This is one of the best kept secrets- you’re welcome!

Want more than just miles? Time for the Special Features:

Upgrade Travel and Experience Special Events When You Redeem Miles

While this is a primarily an airline miles card, you actually have some flexibility in how you use all the miles you rack up.

We love the ability to cover airfare with miles (free trip, anyone?) and you can book on Star Alliance™ and partner airlines with your miles, so you don't always have to fly with United if it's not convenient.

Seek Tip: Super bonus miles- YES PLEASE! Check out the ‘Saver Awards’ listings on the website to see if your destination is eligible to multiply the rewards and savings when you book with mile points.

Some other things you can do with miles include:

  • Upgrade travel experience:
  • Gaining access to FREE inflight Wi-Fi (this usually costs $20+ per flight!)
  • Complimentary Upgrading hotel rooms
  • Complimentary Upgrade to a higher level rental car
  • Apply for prescreening to get through TSA checkpoints faster (takes 10,000 miles)
  • Purchase merchandise or gift cards
  • Score tickets to special events

Reward Benefits for United Frequent Flyers

While anyone can gain and redeem mileage points simply by spending with their United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, the card works best if you actually fly United on a regular (or, at the very least, semi-regular) basis. That’s because in addition to points, the card comes with some handy airline perks. So what is regular? Well, you have the business traveler who is on the road every week but even the casual traveler who travels twice per year, that means you are actually stepping on an airplane 4 times per year. 1 checked bag on United costs $25 put that on 4 flights and that’s a spend of $100 per year per person. What about for 2 people? That’s $200 per year just for luggage- not if you have this card!

  • Free checked bag. The card entitles you to a free first checked bag — not just for you, but also for a traveling companion. So, that’s two checked bags for every flight in an itinerary as long as you purchased the tickets using the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card and one of the tickets is for you. I’ve used this trick to save big on family trips: with clever packing and carry-ons, two pieces of luggage can accommodate a small family for a short trip.
  • United Club passes. You get two United Club passes every year with the card (that’s a value of $100 each year). Club spaces are more comfortable than a lot of public areas in airports, plus they come with complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks and beverages. Use the passes to make business travel less hectic, duck into a club when flights go awry or use both at once to make a couple’s getaway even more luxurious.
  • Priority boarding. Add your MileagePlus® number to any airfare registration and you (and anyone flying with you) gets the benefit of priority boarding. That means less time standing around on the concourse and a better chance at stowing your things in overhead compartments. You may be travelling cattle class, but no need to stand around like cattle.

This is a little-known perk but will blow your mind! The ‘Trip Delay Reimbursement’ applies to fares you book on any common carrier using the card as the payment method. It works like this:

  • Book a trip with a common carrier (doesn’t apply to some specialty or private carriers)
  • Pay for at least some of the airfare with the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
  • Experience a flight delay of at least 12 hours
  • Contact United MileagePlus® Explorer Card Trip Delay Reimbursement customer service about the issue
  • Receive up to $500 reimbursement per impacted flight ticket for reasonable expenses that you experience as a result of the delay, including lodging or meals

I especially love this perk because it brings me peace of mind when traveling with others. I might be able to tough it out in an airport for 18 hours, particularly if a spouse, kids or business associates are along. It’s great to be able to splurge on extra meals and a hotel room where everyone can grab a shower without worrying about the expense. Yeah. . . it’s great when it’s just me, too.

Want even more? Check out the United MileagePlus® Club Card?

You might wonder why you shouldn’t just opt for the United MileagePlus® Club Card if you’re going this route anyway. That’s a good question. The answer is: the MileagePlus® Club Card is about luxury, and getting ROI on this card requires more travel and spending than with the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card.

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card comes with an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year, so ROI is all but guaranteed); the MileagePlus® Club Card comes with an annual fee of $450. You get more access to the United Club and a second set of checked bags free, this is perfect for the frequent traveler or the person who just likes having the best.

The TLDR version is this: The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is an affordable credit card option for anyone who flies United. Choose it if you meet at least one of these criteria:

  • You fly at least once or twice a year
  • United Airlines services your home or favorite airport
  • You spend $25,000 a year

Seek tip: Cash isn’t king, and your money goes farther when you couple it with credit card rewards. Reach for this card instead of greenbacks and watch the points rack up.

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