Sign-up Bonus, Earning Categories, and Points
You can sign up for the United Explorer Card right now and get bonus miles after spending the required amount needed in the allotted time (see card summary table above).
If you want additional miles, you can sign up an additional cardmember and have them make a purchase as well.
The card earns 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, hotels, and dining, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Bottom Line: The United Explorer Card earns 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, eligible delivery services, on hotel stays, and on United purchases, then earns 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.
United Explorer Card Benefits
With this card, you get priority boarding so you can get on before the other non-status paid customers and reserve your overhead bag space. You also get one free checked bag each for yourself and a traveling companion.
Contrast this with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: you get similar earning potential and boarding privileges but can get free bags for up to four travel companions.
If you’re looking for a foreign travel card then the United Explorer Card will work for you: there are no foreign transaction fees with the card.
This isn’t the best earner for overseas travel, but it’s a good option if you don’t have another card with no foreign transaction fees.
Bottom Line: First checked bag free, and priority boarding are features of the United Explorer Card. If you’re traveling internationally, you won’t have any transaction fees!
United Award Miles and Elite Status
Note that with United, you earn award miles based on the number of dollars spent on each ticket. You earn 5x points or more per qualifying dollar spent on travel, depending on your elite status.
With the card, you earn 2x extra points, giving you a total of 7x points without any elite status. This is equivalent to reaching the first elite status tier, Silver.
Elite status is gained through qualifying miles and dollars. You earn these based off actual mileage, plus a bonus depending on the fare category that you purchase.
The United Elite Status tiers are Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Premier 1k. With Elite Status, you get a bonus of 2-6x miles on top of the standard 5x, and the extra 2x for having the card.
Miles you earn and existing miles in your MileagePlus program account won’t expire as long as your account stays open and in good standing, which includes basic activity such as paying your annual fee.
Luxury Travel Benefits of the Card
The United Explorer Card offers 2 one-time passes to the United Club lounge per year for your anniversary. This is a $100 value, which makes up for the annual fee of the card by itself.
You are also able to access the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection properties, which are exclusive to certain Chase credit cards.
When you book through their portal, you can get free room upgrades and special amenities like free breakfast for two and more at these high-end properties all over the world.
Additionally, the card allows you to book an awards flight any time with no blackout dates. Typically, you would have to be an elite status member to receive this.
All available seats are available to book rewards, which is not standard across the industry. You’ll also have access to upgraded awards tickets, but your priority will be below that of paid customers.
Awards flights on United are similar to most airlines and start at around 10,000-12,500 miles per one-way ticket. A trip to Europe is also a typical 30,000 miles for an economy class one-way ticket. See their full award chart here.
Finally, the card offers access to the array of travel and purchase insurances, which can be very helpful in emergencies or when things don’t go as planned. See the Gritty Details for more information.
Bottom Line: The United Explorer Card offers 2 one-time lounge passes, luxury hotel benefits, no blackout date award seats, and plenty of travel insurances to cover your trip!
Comparing the United Explorer Card to Other Cards
While the United Explorer Card is a good card, the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite card has more overall benefits.
With the additional checked bags (each bag can cost $25-35), a 10% rebate on mile redemptions, and a 25% discount on inflight purchases, this card holds slightly more value in our eyes.
The card earns 2x miles on United purchases and up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ fee credit. You get two one-time United Club passes each year for your anniversary.
You also get access to a variety of different card insurances and fringe benefits, including access to the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection properties and a free checked bag!
Bottom Line: The United Explorer Card is a great card for those looking to improve their experience on United Airlines by adding in some travel benefits while earning 2x miles.