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United MileagePlus Explorer Card: Free Checked Bags & Solid Rewards

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United MileagePlus Explorer

Airline credit cards remain popular not just because they offer frequent-flier miles but because of the several travel benefits cardholders can receive. To this end, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase features priority service and fee waivers, not just frequent-flier miles.

Introduction to the United MileagePlus Explorer Card From ChaseChase United MileagePlus Explorer

This card offers double miles on all United ticket purchases and one mile per dollar on other purchases. Cardholders can also earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles every calendar year they use their card to spend at least $25,000 in net purchases. Travel benefits include a free checked bag on United flights for the cardholder and one companion traveling on the same reservation. Cardholders also receive priority boarding privileges for themselves and travel companions on the same reservation. As an added incentive to apply, you can receive two United Club day passes when you open your account and each year on your card’s anniversary.

Other benefits include the ability to redeem miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight. Although there are no blackout dates for cardholders, higher “standard” award prices may apply. Cardholders will also get access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, which offers amenities such as room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in and late checkout at more than 700 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.

There is a $5 or 5% balance transfer fee (whichever is larger). There is also a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. Fortunately, there are no foreign transaction fees. Please see the issuer’s terms for the standard interest rate.

What’s the Current Sign-Up Bonus?

New applicants can receive 30,000 bonus miles when they use their card to spend $1,000 on new purchases within three months of opening their account. (Note: This promotional offer is valid as of December 2015. Sign-up bonuses are subject to change.)

The Advantages of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase

This card offers a competitive sign-up bonus with a small minimum spending requirement that most cardholders can easily meet. Other benefits include the checked bag fee waiver for the cardholder and a companion, which can save $100 in baggage fees for two people on a roundtrip flight. And while this card doesn’t offer unlimited access to United Club airport lounges (a benefit of the United Club card from Chase with a $450 annual fee), two free day passes might well come in handy when travelers need someplace to spend a long layover or delay. It’s also nice to have unlimited access to award flights on any unsold seats, especially when travelers need to make a last-minute trip. We’re pleased to see this card no longer imposes foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the U.S.

The Disadvantages of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase

This card only offers double miles for United ticket purchases, a nominal level at a time when many cards are offering double or even three times the rewards for travel purchases. For example, Chase’s own Sapphire Preferred gives double points on all travel and dining purchases and these Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to several different travel partners, including United. It would also be nice if this card offered a free checked bag for larger groups traveling together. For instance, the Delta Gold SkyMiles card from American Express offers a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to three others on the same reservation.

Who Is This Card Right For?

This card is ideal for the occasional United traveler who wants to save money on checked baggage fees and enjoy priority boarding. It’s also a good entry-level card for those who like collecting miles for traveler awards and those who travel internationally and want to avoid foreign transaction fees.

This card requires food to excellent credit. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase FAQ

How do you use the checked baggage fee waivers?

In order to receive the free checked baggage benefit, the primary cardmember must include their MileagePlus number in their reservation and use their MileagePlus Explorer Card to purchase their ticket(s). The first standard checked bag free benefit is only available on United- and United Express-operated flights. Codeshare and partner-operated flights are not eligible. It can take two weeks after opening the account for the first free standard checked bag benefit to be available on your United reservation.

How is the 10,000-mile annual bonus earned?

Cardholders must reach $25,000 in net purchases on their card within a calendar year. This amount does not include balance transfers, cash advances and checks that access your account. In addition, interest and fees of any kind, including an annual fee, do not apply.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

At publishing time, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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