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United MileagePlus Explorer Card: Free Checked Bags & Solid Rewards

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united mileage plus explorer

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What Is the United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase?

As its name implies, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase is an airlines rewards card for those with good credit. The card offers double miles on all United ticket purchases and one mile per dollar on other purchases. Miles never expire. As a signup bonus, cardmembers can earn 40,000 bonus miles after they spend $2,000 in the first three months of account opening. They can also earn 5,000 bonus miles just for adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months. This promotion is not available to cardmembers who received a bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.Chase United MileagePlus Explorer

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    Perhaps the biggest perk is that cardmembers can redeem their miles to book a MileagePlus Standard Award for any available seat, with no blackout dates or restrictions. If the ticket is for sale, you can buy it with miles.

    Other 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. As an added incentive to apply, you receive two United Club day passes each year, where you can enjoy free beverages, snacks, workspaces, and Wi-Fi. Cardholders can also get access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, which offers nice amenities such as room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in and late checkout. The amenities offered may vary, so be sure to check with the hotel prior to booking your stay.

    This card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) but no foreign transaction fees. It carries a variable APR of 17.99% to 24.99% on purchases and balance transfers, depending on your creditworthiness at the time of application.

    Pros & Cons of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase

    The United credit 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 cardholders and a companion traveling on the same reservation, which can save $100 in baggage fees. While this card doesn’t offer unlimited access to United Club lounges, two free day passes may well come in handy when you need a place to spend a long layover or delay. It’s also nice to have unlimited access to award flights on any unsold seats, especially for last-minute trips. We’re pleased to see this card no longer imposes foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the U.S.

    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 (see review here) gives double points on all travel and dining purchases, and these points can be transferred to several different partners, including United. It would also be nice if this card offered a free checked bag for large groups traveling together.

    Who Should Get This Card?

    This airline credit 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 travel internationally.

    Before You Apply

    The United MileagePlus Explorer card is for consumers with good credit, so we advise checking your credit before you apply to see where you stand. You can get started at, where you’ll get two of your credit scores for free, along with helpful updates to help track your progress.

    If you find you meet the issuer’s credit requirements, understand the card’s terms, and feel you can put the benefits to good use, this card may be the right fit for you. But if your credit doesn’t meet the card issuer’s requirements, it’s a good idea to work on building your credit and apply when your scores have improved.

    Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

    This content is not provided by the card issuers. Any opinions expressed are those of alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuers.

    This article has been updated. It was originally published December 17, 2015.

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