The new United℠ Explorer Card replaces the discontinued United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, but it comes with upgraded benefits.
The old card has been phased out, but cardmembers started getting the same benefits as the new card on June 1, 2018. Going forward, those cardmembers will get a new card when their old United MileagePlus® Explorer Card expires.
Overall, you’ll be pleased with many of the changes, but there are some that won’t be so welcome.
While the miles earned per $1 spent on United-related spending remains the same, the United℠ Explorer Card offers more miles per $1 spent in the all-important dining and hotel categories. There’s also a new in-flight discount, a credit for trusted traveler program fees and new travel and purchase perks. However, you may not like that the new card cut the perk of earning bonus miles that helped with elite status.
The United℠ Explorer Card represents an upgrade that cardmembers will appreciate. There are still airline- and travel-branded cards out there that offer more robust miles/points in top spending categories, but if you’re a loyal United Airlines flyer, this card is worth having in your rotation.
Intro Purchase APR
Regular Purchase APR
20.99% - 27.99% Variable
Intro BT APR
Regular BT APR
20.99% - 27.99% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Cash Advance Fee
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
New cardmembers can earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
The United℠ Explorer Card offers a slew of traveler protections, including those for lost luggage, trip cancellation/interruption, trip delays, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase and extended warranty protections.
Waived annual fee
The United℠ Explorer Card‘s annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.
Higher rewards for dining and hotels
United℠ Explorer Card cardmembers can earn an elevated rewards rate outside of United purchases: Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Bonus points no longer count toward elite status
There’s no way for cardmembers to earn bonus points that count toward MileagePlus elite status. With the old card, you got 10,000 bonus points when you spent $25,000 a year on the card; on the new card, that benefit is now gone.
Free checked bag limited to one companion
Only one traveling companion gets a free checked bag, which isn’t as good as what’s offered by some other airline cards. On the plus side, there’s no limit on how many people you can bring for priority boarding as long as they’re on your same reservation.
Reduced trip protections
The reimbursement amount for trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance went from up to $10,000 down to $1,500 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares if your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations like sickness or injury.
While the new perks and benefits that come with the United℠ Explorer Card are an improvement over the old United MileagePlus® card, you may want a card that gives you even more — that option could be United’s version of a luxury credit card.
United got into the luxury side of the market with the United Club℠ Infinite Card. It competes with other travel-related high-end cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
The United Club℠ Infinite Card allows new cardmembers to earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
In exchange for that high annual fee, you get a wealth of benefits, including free first and second checked bags for you and a companion, a free United Club membership (worth $650), Premier upgrades and Premier Access travel services, and more.
|United℠ Explorer Card||United Gateway℠ Card||United Club℠ Infinite Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
||Review Coming Soon||Review Coming Soon||
|$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95||$0||$525||$95|
|Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.||Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. Learn more.||Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||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 Ultimate Rewards®.|
|Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases||2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.||Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.||5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases|
|Intro Purchase APR|
|N/A||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months||N/A||N/A|
|20.99% - 27.99% Variable||20.99% - 27.99% Variable||20.99% - 27.99% Variable||20.49% - 27.49% Variable|
|United℠ Explorer Card||Additional card details unavailable||Additional card details unavailable||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
If you’re a frequent United flyer, then having a card like the United℠ Explorer Card that gets you priority boarding and a free checked bag can enhance your travel experience and save you some money. Plus, there’s a decent sign-up bonus, and ability to earn more miles on restaurant and hotel accommodations.
However, for the United globetrotter who is always on the go, then it may be worth upgrading to the United Club℠ Infinite Card, which comes with a free United Club membership as well as first and second free checked bags benefit.
The information related to the United℠ Explorer Card, United Gateway℠ Card, United Club℠ Infinite Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.
The information related to the United℠ Explorer Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.