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United Explorer Card – Full Review [2024]

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Jarrod West
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Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

448 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited: 24

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...
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Juan Ruiz

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...
& Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
4.25
Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
  • 60,000 bonus miles

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

  • 21.99% - 28.99% Variable

  • Good to Excellent (670-850)

United℠ Explorer Card

With priority boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fees and more, MileagePlus members will definitely enjoy their partnered card.

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
4.25
Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

You travel United all the time, but you have heard that there could be ways to make your travel experiences even better, including priority boarding, free bags, and more miles.

You should consider the United℠ Explorer Card, because this card does all that and more!

Card Snapshot

Welcome Bonus & Info

  • Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bag - a savings of up to $160 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Member FDIC

Pros

  • 2x miles per $1 on United purchases, dining purchases (including delivery services), and hotel stays
  • 1x mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 1 traveling companion
  • 25% statement credit on United inflight purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS statement credit
  • 2 United Club 1-time passes each year
  • Premier upgrades on award tickets
  • Travel and purchase protections

Cons

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards

Upgraded Points: Expertise You Can Trust

Our seasoned and experienced team brings years of expertise in the credit card and travel sectors. Committed to integrity, we offer data-driven guides to help you find the card(s) that best fit your requirements. See details on our intensive editorial policies and card rating methodologies.

  • Content by Leading Industry Experts
  • Routine Updates and Fact-Checks
  • First-Hand Credit Card Experience
  • Shared Across 200+ Top Outlets
  • Methodical “U.P. Rating” System
  • 1052+ Expert Credit Card Guides

Great Card If

  • United is your favorite or most frequently traveled domestic carrier, along with the rest of the Star Alliance airlines
  • You want the full range of travel insurances available through your credit card

Don’t Get If

  • You don’t have a United hub near you or don’t fly much on Star Alliance
  • You’d rather have more frills for your card benefits

United Explorer Card — Is It Worth It?

The United Explorer card features tons of great benefits that regular United flyers are sure to love.

Not only does the card help you earn more United miles, but it helps you save money on each flight as well by offering benefits like free checked bags and a 25% discount on inflight purchases.

Further, the card offers solid travel protections, and even offers complimentary upgrades when booking award tickets on United.

Given all of the benefits the card offers, if you are someone who flies fairly often with United, then the United Explorer card would likely be very worth it for you.

United Explorer Card Top Benefits

United Explorer Card Benefits

Here is a glance at all of the best benefits that the card offers to you on your United flights.

  • Free Checked Bag for You and a Traveling Companion — Save up to $40 value, each way, per person, for a total savings of $160
  • Priority Boarding — Allows you and your companion to board before general boarding
  • 25% Back on United Inflight Purchases — Includes food, beverages, and Wi-Fi
  • 2 United Club 1-time Passes Each Year — Kick back and relax in a United Club lounge before your flight
  • Premier Upgrades on Award Tickets — You and your companion are eligible for a 1-class (space available) upgrade on United award tickets
  • Earn Premier Qualifying Points — 25 PQPs for every $500 you spend on the card, with a limit of 1,000 PQPs each year

United Explorer Card Protections

Of course, it’s not all about points and perks, so here are the ways your card keeps you covered when things go wrong.

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours you are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, for up to $500 per ticket
  • Baggage Delay Insurance — Provides coverage for essentials like toiletries and clothing if your baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours, for up to $100 a day for 3 days
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — If the airline loses your luggage, you’ll be covered for up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance — Reimbursement of up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses if your trip is canceled or cut short by a covered situation
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance — Coverage that kicks in before your personal auto insurance
  • Purchase Protection — New purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
  • Extended Warranty Protection — Extends the warranty of a purchased item by 1 additional year if the standard warranty is 3 years or less

How To Earn and Redeem United Miles

Once you’ve got a United card to use for your daily purchases, you might also wonder what else you can do to earn more miles. Fortunately, there are quite a few options! We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that breaks down all of the best options to help you earn more United miles.

When you’ve built up a nice balance of United miles, then you get to plan out your next trip! While there is no shortage of ways to redeem your United miles, if you want to get as much value out of them as possible, then read through our guide on the best ways to redeem your United miles.

Alternatives to the United Explorer Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

GREAT STARTER CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros
  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you want a card that earns transferable rewards for the same annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would be the card for you.

The card earns 5x points per $1 on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x points per $1 on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services, and 2x points per $1 on all other travel purchases. Plus, the points you earn can be transferred at a 1:1 rate to many of the Chase transfer partners — including United.

United Quest℠ Card

LIMITED-TIME OFFER
United Quest℠ Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The United Quest card is a fantastic option for United flyers looking to earn more miles and enhance their flights.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The United Quest card is a fantastic option for United flyers looking to earn more miles and enhance their flights.
Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
70,000 miles
$840
$250
21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The newest addition to United’s lineup of cards is the United Quest℠ Card. With it, you can bolster your United MileagePlus miles, thanks to the bonus categories, while enjoying the card’s many perks designed to help save you money on each United flight.

With an annual fee that falls between the United℠ Explorer Card and United Club℠ Infinite Card, the United Quest card makes for a fantastic card option for United frequent flyers.

Pros
  • 3x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on travel, dining, and select streaming services
  • $125 annual United credit
Cons
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Does not offer airport lounge access
  • Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 PQP after qualifying purchases
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel, dining and select streaming services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $360 per roundtrip (terms apply) - and priority boarding
  • Up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits each year (terms apply)
  • Earn up to 6,000 Premier qualifying points per calendar year (25 PQP for every $500 you spend on purchases)
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

If you’re a loyal United flyer, but are looking for a card that offers more perks than the United Explorer card, then the United Quest card would be an excellent option.

For starters, it earns 3x miles per $1 on United purchases instead of 2x with the United Explorer card. Further, the card offers all the benefits that the United Explorer card offers, plus a $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits each year, and a second free checked bag on all United flights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the United Explorer Card worth it?

If you’re someone who flies with United often, is looking to earn more United miles, and receive benefits like free checked bags and discounts on inflight purchases, then yes, the United Explorer card would be worth it for you.

How do I redeem United Explorer card miles?

Miles earned are deposited directly into your MileagePlus account. After that, you can redeem them for awards flights on United and other Star Alliance partners.

Miles can also be redeemed for other things, such as merchandise. See the United site for more details.

How long does it take for United Explorer card miles to post?

United miles can take 6 to 8 weeks to post to your account. If you think your miles haven’t been posted, you can contact Chase customer support.

What is the Chase credit card with United Club access?

A few Chase United cards actually offer you United Club access. However, the United Explorer card only offers you 2 free passes per year, while the United Club℠ Infinite Card offers unlimited lounge access.

Does the United Explorer card have an annual fee?

Yes, the annual fee of the United Explorer card is $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

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About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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