The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, in my opinion, is one of the best airline credit cards on the market now. This official United Card, issued by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), comes with many mileage perks as it lets you earn miles when you fly on United, and also gives you miles in return for your 'everyday' spending so that your flights on United become cheaper.
Since United merged with Continental in Oct 2010, they won't continue to operate as two separate airlines since they've been granted a single operating certificate in 2012, and hence United's MileagePlus frequent flyer program now operates independently.
Things We Like About This Card
$0 intro annual fee for the first year. Enjoy an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year, after that intro period the annual fee is $95.
You get 30,000 bonus miles simply by spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
There has been some confusion as I previously mentioned that this card came with a free round-trip ticket within the continental United States as a signing bonus. I would like to clarify that what I meant is that if you qualify for 30,000 bonus miles by spending $1,000 during the first 3 months of signing up for this card, you can use those miles to redeem a round-trip ticket, providing of course, there is availability of tickets that can be redeemed for that mileage. As with other mile redemptions you will still have to pay all airport and other taxes associated with the ticket.
Earn 5,000 bonus miles if you add another cardholder to your account. With this bonus offer you will qualify and receive 5,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and the addition of an authorized user to your account; both must occur during the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 10,000 bonus miles every year when you spend at least $25,000 on the card.
Earn double miles on direct United ticket purchases. You earn 2 miles for each dollar you spend on United ticket purchases. Tickets must be bought directly from the airline or through their website.
Earn 1 mile for every eligible $1 spent on purchases. So whether you spend on clothing, food or movie tickets, you will be rewarded 1 mile for every $1 you spend on your card. Do note that you do not earn miles on balance transfers, cash advances, checks, or any other fees of any kind except for direct purchases.
Redeem your miles through the MileagePlus Program for award air tickets and upgrades on United or partner flights, hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise ranging from electronics, jewelry to home and sports products, magazine subscriptions, restaurant dining vouchers and many more!
No foreign transaction fees. When traveling abroad you will save more money as you won't have to pay any foreign transaction fee when making purchases in a foreign currency.
Priority boarding. You will get priority when boarding, so there's no need to stand in line with the majority of passengers.
First checked bag is free for cardholder and another companion on the same reservation. This is a great benefit as it saves you $50 per round trip per person checking one standard bag.
Two free passes to the United Club VIP lounge every year at any location. With free Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks and beverages, this gives you the chance to relax in style before you board your flight.
No limit on the amount of miles you can earn. This allows you to earn miles for every dollar you spend without there being a limit on what you can earn through your spending. The more you spend on your card, the more miles you earn. Your miles will not expire as long as you are a cardmember, so you can accumulate them over time.
You can redeem your miles for any seat, at any time, on any United flight. This is great since you won't have to worry about seat restrictions when redeeming your miles.
Low ongoing variable APR for purchases and balance transfers. Your regular variable APR for purchases and balance transfers will be 15.99%, which is lower than the APR on most cards these days.
Get many travel and entertainment perks that are exclusive to Visa (V) Signature cardholders if you qualify for a Visa Signature card. If not, you will automatically be considered for a Visa Platinum card. Some notable travel benefits of being a Visa Signature cardholder include:
Travel Accident Insurance. If you pay for your travel tickets with your Visa Signature card, you receive a minimum of $250,000 in coverage for yourself and your family members.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement. If you pay for your travel tickets with your Visa Signature card, you will be reimbursed for your lost luggage while traveling.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. When you pay for your car rental with your Visa Signature card, you will be automatically covered for any damage caused by collision or theft of your eligible car rental.
Roadside Dispatch. Get discounted 24/7 roadside assistance like tolling, fuel delivery, etc. when you call 1-800-VISA-TOW.
Travel and Emergency Assistance Service. This free 24/7 emergency service is available anywhere in the world whenever you need assistance or referral in times of emergencies.
Our Least Favorite Things About This Card
$95 annual fee which you have to pay after the $0 intro annual fee for the first year.
No introductory offer on balance transfers or purchases. From the time you sign up, the variable APR is 15.99% for both balance transfers and purchases. To avoid paying any interest on your purchases, make sure to pay in full by the due date every month.
If you like to fly on United, and are looking for a way to save on your travel spending, then you should consider getting the United MileagePlus Explorer Card which lets you earn double miles for every $1 you spend on United air ticket purchases, and 1 mile for every $1 you spend on other purchases. If you add an authorized user within the first 3 months, spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, and spend at least $25,000 a year on your card, you'll rack up a total of 45,000 bonus miles for the year!
There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, so you'll get all the benefits of this card for free for the first year, after that you'll have to pay a $95 annual fee. If you qualify for a Visa Signature card, you'll get to enjoy many additional travel and entertainment privileges. This United Card replaces the already expired Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card.
The United MileagePlus Explorer is a great choice of card for those who fly often on United and want to earn frequent flyer miles on everyday purchases.