United MileagePlus® Explorer Card Icon

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card Review

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers an extensive list of flying benefits in addition to a hefty signup bonus. Earning rewards might not be as easy as other cards, but having many ways to redeem your rewards is a bonus in itself. Apply Here

Cliff Brody

Cliff Brody

Rewards Credit Cards Expert

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Updated: February 4, 2014

The Good

Significant bonuses:

When you sign up for the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, you start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Additionally, you have the chance to earn another 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $25,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

Priority boarding and first bag free:

One standout feature of the MileagePlus® Explorer Card is that you receive priority boarding privileges so you can be one of the first to board each flight. Even better, you and your companion can also check your first bag for free when you fly on United flights, which can add up to significant savings if you fly a lot.

Free United Club passes:

Cardholders receive two one-time passes to the United Club each year that equals a $100 value. In the United Club, you can snack on free food and beverages while also having access to Wi-Fi.

Wide variety of ways to redeem rewards:

Redeeming your air miles for flights isn't the only thing you can do with this card. You can also redeem miles for car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, and other rewards.

Decent miles rewards:

With this United card, you can earn double miles on United ticket purchases, and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. While the rewards are nice, they aren't as high as other airline rewards cards, but the MileagePlus® Explorer card makes up for it with other benefits.

The Bad

Higher annual fee:

The annual fee for the United MileagePlus® Explorer card is $95, which is at the top of the list of the most expensive annual fees for airline credit cards. On a more positive note, the first year is free so that helps justify the cost of paying a higher annual fee in the following years.

No in-flight spending bonus:

While you do earn two points per dollar on United airline tickets, you don't earn additional miles for purchases made while you are on the airline. Several of the top airline credit cards offer statement credit or bonus points for spending while you are in the air, but that's not the case for this card.

The Details

Rates and Fees
Annual Fee $95 ($0 first year)
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5% per cash advance
Cash Advance Rate (APR) 19.24%
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee 3% per transaction
Introductory Rate (APR) None
Standard Rate (APR) 15.24%* Variable
Penalty Fees
Default Penalty Rate (APR) 29.99%
Late Payment Fee Up to $15 - $35 (depending on balance)
Minimum Interest Charge None
Over-Limit Fee None
Returned Payment Fee Up to $35
Balance Transfers
Introductory Balance Transfer Rate (APR) None
Standard Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 3% per transfer
Standard Balance Transfer Rate (APR) 15.24%* Variable
Rewards
Additional Rewards for Dining None
Additional Rewards for Gas None
Additional Rewards for Groceries None
Additional Rewards for Shopping None
Additional Rewards for Travel None
Bonus Points Offered (1) 5,000 miles after first purchase and additional user added within first 3 months; (2) 10,000 miles every calendar year you spend at least $25,000
Rewards Earnings for All Purchases 1 mile per $1
Sign-Up Bonus 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within first 3 months
Type of Reward Miles

Features

Rewards

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  • Additional 2:1 Rewards Categories - The credit card offers 2:1 rewards or more for at least one additional purchase category - like dining, travel, gas, groceries, shopping, or other.
  • Bonus Points Offered - The credit card offers bonus points you can earn throughout the year.
  • No Blackout Dates - There are no blackout travel dates for your points, miles, or cash back rewards.
  • No Expiration - Your rewards points, miles, or cash back rewards will never expire.
  • Sign-Up Bonus - The credit card offers a sign-up bonus reward.
  • Unlimited Rewards - You can accumulate an unlimited amount of points, miles, or cash back rewards with your credit card.
  • 2:1 Rewards or More - The credit card offers 2 Points, 2% Cash Back, or 2 Miles or more for every dollar spent.
  • Offers Companion Reward - The airline credit card offers a companion airfare reward.

Benefits

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Reward Redemption

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Application

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Balance Transfers

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Insurance Coverage

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