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The United Explorer Card: Full Benefits Guide

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

United Airlines retired the old MileagePlus® Explorer Card on June 1 and unveiled the new United℠ Explorer Card with great fanfare and major upgrades.

Disclosures |
United℠ Explorer Card
United℠ Explorer Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United
  • 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 or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
640 850

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The changes were welcomed by travelers, especially those who belong to the United Airlines MileagePlus loyalty program. This benefits guide will outline everything you get with this card in your wallet. We’ll also see how the United℠ Explorer Card — with an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95 — stacks up against competing cards in the market.

Earning miles

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. But be prepared for a big spend in the first six months of having the card in order to earn all the bonus miles available with this offer.

A welcome change with the United℠ Explorer Card was the boost in the miles per dollars spent in popular categories. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account stays open.

Check out our review of the United℠ Explorer Card

Travel benefits

  • Free checked bag. It covers you and a companion traveling on the same reservation if you use the card to buy your airfare. That perk alone can save you up to $120 in round-trip fees.
  • Priority boarding. The card allows you and a companion to board your flight before general boarding, but after MileagePlus Premier® members, customers with Premier Access® and those needing special assistance. The card member must include their MileagePlus number in their reservation, and their companion must be on the same reservation.
  • Statement credits. Receive up to a $100 credit to cover the enrollment fee for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Receive a 25% statement credit when you use the card for food, beverage and Wi-Fi purchases onboard United- and United Express-operated flights.
  • Lounge passes. Receive two United ClubSM airport lounge passes every year on your card anniversary.

Travel insurance and other benefits

  • Primary car rental collision damage insurance. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance when you charge the car to your card. The insurance provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. Be reimbursed up to $1,500 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares if your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations, such as sickness or injury.
  • Baggage delay insurance. This coverage reimburses you for items such as toiletries and clothing for baggage delays lasting more than six hours, up to $100 a day for three days.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement. If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the airline, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • No foreign transaction fees. The card has a foreign transaction fee of $0 for any spending outside the United States.
  • The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Receive room upgrades, free daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout (if available) and other amenities at more than 900 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • Inside access. Purchase private, once-in-a-lifetime experiences – from celebrity meet-and-greets to private culinary and sports events — through MileagePlus ExclusivesMileagePlus Event Awards and Broadway shows.

Purchase protection

  • Extended warranty. Doubles manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on warranties of three years or less.
  • Purchase protection. Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

How the benefits stack up

The United℠ Explorer Card has some of the best trip/baggage insurance coverage among airline- and travel-branded credit cards. The Global Entry and TSA Precheck credits are a nice perk. And being able to receive the in-flight credit for Wi-Fi access makes this card stand out.

Earning and maintaining elite status is important to those who fly on a specific airline regularly. Some airline-branded credit cards have ways to help you earn elite status, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. But the United℠ Explorer Card doesn’t come with a way to do that.

Disclosures |
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
N/A
15.74%-24.74% Variable
$250
Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
660 850

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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The United℠ Explorer Card allows only one traveling companion to get a free checked bag, but allows everyone on the same reservation to board early. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, however, allows a free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardmember and up to eight companions on the same reservation.

Disclosures |
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
N/A
15.74%-24.74% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
660 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Receiving two United Club lounge passes a year with the United℠ Explorer Card is a nice perk, but the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® are two airline cards that come with free lounge access for the cardholder and up to two companions.

Disclosures |
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
N/A
15.74%-24.74% Variable
$550
Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases. Earn 1X Mile on all other
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 60,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 15,000 MQMs four times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Receive a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta Sky Club® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge or Escape Lounge – The Centurion® Studio Partner when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
660 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card please click here.

The bottom line

There are enough perks with the improved United℠ Explorer Card that make it worth considering, even though there are other airline and travel credit cards on the market that offer more points and miles for spending on travel, dining, groceries and gas. But loyal United Airlines flyers may find that having a card with strong benefits that help make travel easier is worth it.

If not, there are plenty of travel-branded credit cards that may be a better fit, even if they don’t offer the flight benefits that are appealing to United MileagePlus members.

Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.