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United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Chase MileagePlus Visa

It’s been a looong time, but Chase has suddenly increased the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Visa card sign up bonus to 30,000 United miles. The minimum spend to earn the bonus is only $2,000 in three months. Remember that the annual fee is $95.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card Benefits

  •  1 United mile per dollar spent on all purchases
  • 2 United miles per dollar spend for purchases from United Airlines
  • Free first checked bag (worth $25 per trip)
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 United Club passes per year (worth $50 each, and they are transferable, so you can sell them on eBay too if you don’t plan on using them)
  • 10,000 bonus United miles when you spend $25,000 in one year
  • 5,000 bonus United miles when you add a authorized user to your account

Should You Apply for The MileagePlus Explorer Card?

Regardless of whether you intend to keep this card or not, a 30K sign up bonus is very compelling. Since you can redeem 25,000 miles for a round trip saver award in the US, 30K bonus points could easily be worth $400 or more in free travel. In fact, I value United miles at 2 cents per mile because they are one of the best airlines in terms of redemption availability, especially in business and first class. United did announce a HUGE devaluation last year in November 2013 (started on February 3, 2014) where they priced their premium cabin awards on partner airlines at ridiculous, astronomical prices, even for saver awards. Some of the first class awards to Asia or the Middle East on carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines or ANA were priced at 280,000 miles round trip. Considering that these awards could be had for 140,000 in first class. That was simply a huge slap in the face for loyal customers.

But my ranting aside, this card largely pays for itself in terms of benefits. If you consider that the average person takes 2 trips per year, you are saving 4 x $25 = $100 just in free bags. Even if you don’t check bags, then the United Club passes are worth $100 as well. And even if you don’t use the club, you could benefit from the Priority Boarding, 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000, or the free foreign transaction fees.

Bottom Line

If you fly United a lot this is a great card that gets you some valuable benefits like free bags, free United Club passes and of course free miles based on purchases, which not only help you earn free travel, but also keep your miles from expiring. This is a card that I would keep in my wallet just for those free benefits.

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