United MileagePlus Explorer Card Review

Do you fly United Airlines with any frequency?

Would you like special flying privileges on your United flights?  Would you like to earn free flights and more?

If you answered yes to any of the above then you need to look at the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card from Chase.

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is considered an airline miles credit card.  What that means is the purchases you make earn you airline miles which can be redeemed for flights and more.  Airline miles cards are a great way to use your purchases to earn you free flights.

Here’s what the United MileagePlus Explorer Card offers you:

Airline Miles

view from United Airlines plane

Will this be your view when you earn your free flight?

You earn 2 mile for every $1 spent on tickets you buy through United. All other purchases are one for one (one point for one dollar spent).  The miles you earn don’t expire (you have to keep up your cardmember status – that is, you can’t cancel your card, get a new one, then expect your miles to still be there).  There’s also no limit to the amount of miles you can earn. This is great because when you use your card for everyday purchases you’re earning miles. You can redeem your miles for any flight.  As long as a seat is available for sale you can use your miles towards it.  There are no restrictions or blackout dates.

Check Your First Bag Free

When you use your card to purchase United flights, you get to check your first bag for free.  That’s a $50 savings round trip right there.  Make sure you use your MileagePlus number on your reservation! I’m not a fan of airlines charging for checked bags but if they are I’d like to do what I can to avoid that charge.

Priority Boarding

Here’s a sweet perk – you and everyone else on your reservation get to board the plane before the general boarding.  Ever miss out on close space in the overhead bins (or any space even)? Yeah, priority boarding can be nice.

Two United ClubSM Passes Every Year

After you open your account (about 8-10 weeks after) and every anniversary after, you will receive two United Club passes free.  Before your flight, relax with free wifi and complimentary beverages and snacks.  Allow 4 weeks for delivery of your passes.

More Features

In addition to features that benefit your flights you also get some other cool features:

Concierge services – you have access to concierge services through Visa Signature Concierge.

Mileage Plus Travel Protection and Services – enjoy purchase protection and primary auto rental coverage as well as other travel protection services.

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is free for the first year (following years have a $95 annual fee).

New to the card is no foreign transaction fees.  This makes this card stronger for overseas travel.  Other cards average about 3% in foreign transaction fees.


As you can see, if you fly United Airlines then having their United MileagePlus Explorer Card offers up a good number of benefits to make your flight more comfortable (like priority boarding and checking your first bag free) as well as earning you free flights.

Remember though, if you aren’t paying off your credit card balances every month then you start to cancel out any benefits the card offers in the interest you pay.

*As you always should, make sure you read through the card details to make sure this card fits your needs and you understand the terms and conditions. Be aware that the terms may change after this article’s publication.

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Published or updated March 2, 2014.


  1. Although I am already a United frequent flier, I opted for this card because of the additional benefits.

  2. I’ve had this card for just over a year now and I love it. It’s worth it for the free checked bag and the priority boarding alone. The miles are definitely a bonus and I use this card for everything that is not Amazon (I use my Amazon card there because it’s 3 points for every $1 spent).

    One thing. When I reached my anniversary date I did not receive my United Club passes and had to send a message to Chase. Not a big deal but annoying since you have to pay attention to what you are supposed to receive “automatically”.

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