United Explorer Card
The United Explorer Card is an entry level co-branded airline card offered by Chase Bank. It provides great benefits that mirror having status with United like priority boarding, a free checked bag, complimentary premier upgrades, and more. It also offers the ability to earn double United Miles for airfare along with several other categories. The Explorer Card is great for anyone that primary flies with United and wants to enjoy a few extra perks and benefits.
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card features three bonus categories that earn extra miles. Those categories are United Purchases, restaurants, and hotels. There is no limit to the amount of United Miles you can earn spending in these categories. Miles will not expire as long as a United Mile earning card is opened. Below are the details of the Explorer Card's bonus categories.
2x United Purchases
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card earns 2 United Miles per $1 spent on United Airline purchases. This includes United airline tickets (purchased directly with United), seat upgrades, in flight food, beverages, Wi-Fi, baggage service charges and other United fees. This does not include United Cruises, MileagePlus X, DIRECTV, and Merchandise Awards.
All of the United Airline co-branded credit cards earn double miles on United purchases. If you're looking to maximize your earnings on United Miles, you would be wise to look into Chase's Ultimate Rewards Program since those points transfer to United Airlines MileagePlus at a 1:1 ratio. This means you can pick up the Chase Sapphire Reserve, earn 3x points on travel and dining, and transfer those points to United to book award travel. Find the best combination of Chase credit cards based on your spend and you will be swimming in United Miles.
Using the United Explorer Card at restaurants will earn 2 United MileagePlus Miles per $1 spent. These purchases must be coded as restaurant. This usually applies to merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants as well as fine dining establishments.
As explained for the United Airline purchases, more United Miles can be earned using a mixture of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points earning cards and Chase's cash back cards such as the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Hotel purchases with the United Explorer Card will earn 2 United MileagePlus Miles per $1 spent. These purchases must be coded as hotel. This will usually include hotels and motels, and many smaller establishments like bed & breakfasts, and inns. Hotel accommodations not booked directly with the hotel will not qualify (such as Orbitz, Expedia, etc).
Ultimate Rewards Points earning cards will still set you ahead in this category since Chase's travel category covers hotels as well. Another thing to consider is that if you're loyal to any hotel brand, you will want to make sure their reward card isn't worth picking up. Cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card and IHG Premier Card offer perks such as free nights, a higher return on hotel spending, and elite status which comes with perks like complimentary room upgrades, free breakfast, and late check-out.
Any spending done outside of the categories listed above will earn 1 United MileagePlus Mile per $1 spent. This is a solid return since United Miles have some value, but if you have an Ultimate Rewards Points earning card, you can use the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card to earn 1.5% cash back per $1 spent and convert that to 1.5 United Miles per $1 spent. It may not seem like a lot, but non-category purchases add up over the year.
Perks and Benefits
Free Checked Bag
When the United MileagePlus Explorer Card is used to pay for the airfare, the cardholder and up to one companion traveling on the same reservation will receive the first checked bag free (standard size bag). Authorized users are only eligible if they are on the same reservation as the primary Cardmember. Some cards such as Delta's co-branded cards do not require you to use the card to obtain free baggage which allows you to use a card that would earn a higher return.
Primary United Explorer Cardmembers and companions on the same reservation will have priority boarding. Cardmembers will be invited to board United-operated flights before general boarding. This can be helpful when it comes to securing overhead bin space before it runs out. Most co-branded cards offer priority boarding as a perk for their respective airline such as Citi's American Airlines Platinum Select Card and Chase's Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card.
United Club Passes
On the United Explorer cardmember anniversary, two United Club one-time passes will be deposited into the MileagePlus account. This is a nice perk for anyone that may have a long layover and want to relax in the comfort of a lounge. The United MileagePlus Club Card comes with United Club Membership along with Hyatt Discoverist Status and Hertz President Circle status.
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Credit
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card comes with a $100 Global Entry or $75 TSA PreCheck Credit when the card is used to pay for the application fee of either service. This credit is available once every 4 years. The application does not have to be for the cardmember and the applicant does not have to be approved for the program. The only requirement is that the United Explorer Card is used to pay for the application fee. This statement credit is seen on the majority of premium luxury cards like the American Express Platinum Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card. It's also feature on a few non-premium cards such as the Capital One Venture Card and U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold Card.
25% Off In-Flight
United Explorer Cardmembers will receive 25% Off in-flight purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on United operated flights. These purchases must be made on the United Explorer Card. This is also a common perk on most co-branded airline cards. Delta Cards offer 20% off, American Airline Cards offer 25% off and JetBlue Cards offer a whopping 50% off.
The primary cardmember of the United Explorer Card that are MileagePlus Premier® members traveling on an award ticket can take advantage of complimentary premier upgrades on United-operated flights (when available). This is a nice gesture and can be useful for United loyalists who wants a change to be upgraded on award tickets.
Standard Chase Benefits
This card comes with usual Chase credit card travel benefits such as Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance, Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, and much more.
Sign Up Bonus
The standard United MileagePlus Explorer Card sign up bonus for this card sits around 40,000 United Miles. This card also usually comes with a $100 statement credit after the first purchase and 5,000 bonus miles after you add the first authorized user to your account and that user makes a purchase. United has an Interactive Travel Destination Award Chart to help find out how far United Miles can take you. You can also check out our United MileagePlan Mile Calculators to calculate the cash value of any amount of miles. The page also features several other calculators such as a United Miles Value Calculator, a transfer/conversion calculator, and a calculator for miles earned spending on United airfare as a Premier Elite.
Credit Card Fees
|Authorized User Fee|
|Foreign Transaction Fee|
The Annual Fee for the United Explorer Card is . This is the standard pricing point for entry co-branded airline cards. Similar cards such as the AMEX Delta Gold and Citi Platinum Select have the same annual fee structure.
Authorized User Fee
The United Explorer Card's authorized user fee is . This means you can add friends and family to your card account to assist in building miles faster.
Foreign Transaction Fee
The foreign transaction fee is for the United Explorer Card. This lets you earn United MileagePlan Miles worldwide without being penalized a fee for transactions made outside of the United States.
You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the card based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. You can click the Compare A Card button to compare this card against another card in the same calculator.
All category spend entered in the primary card's column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site so you don't have to re-enter the same information over again.
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