In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
Update: This offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card is expired. You can find the current offer details here.
Update: It looks like there’s a better offer out there, offering the same bonus plus a $50 statement credit after the first purchase.
MileagePlus Explorer Card increased sign-up bonus
For a limited time, Chase is offering an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 United MileagePlus miles on the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card after spending $2,000 in the the first three months. You can also earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months. That’s potentially a total of 55,000 MileagePlus miles, which is the best publicly available offer I’ve seen on the card in a long time.
I generally prefer Ultimate Rewards Cards
- They consistently have higher sign-up bonuses than what is publicly available for the United Card
- They offer generous category bonuses on dining, travel, office supply stores, cable, internet, TV, etc.
- I find the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards points to be incredibly valuable, since you can also transfer those points to Hyatt Gold Passport, Korean Air SkyPass, Singapore KrisFlyer, etc.
However, this is a great card for bolstering your United balances, and particularly for United flyers. Admittedly MileagePlus miles aren’t as valuable as they were pre-devaluation, but there are still some good uses of them.
MileagePlus Explorer Card earnings structure
In terms of the points earnings structure, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers:
- 2x miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
- 1x mile dollar spent on everything else
- 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year (that basically means you’re earning 1.4 MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on non-bonused categories for the first $25,000, which is pretty tough to beat)
So this actually can be a rewarding card for everyday spend, assuming you spend quite a bit in non-bonused categories and spend at least $25,000.
MileagePlus Explorer Card benefits
The card also comes with some additional benefits, including:
- Two United Club passes per year
- Priority boarding for the card member and passengers on the same reservation
- Free first checked bag on United operated flights for card member and one companion on the same reservation
Benefits for United flyers
There are two main perks that are worth mentioning for people who fly United on a regular basis.
Firstly, by having a co-branded MileagePlus credit card, the Premier Qualifying Dollars requirement for Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum qualification is waived if you spend at least $25,000 on the card in the year. Given you’d also receive the threshold bonus for spending $25,000 on the card, this is a good option for those flyers.
Furthermore, cardholders have “last seat” availability when redeeming miles for standard awards. That’s not something I’d ever recommend doing, but it’s worth mentioning, because nowadays even finding “standard” level availability isn’t a guarantee.
This is a great sign-up bonus, and the card comes with some worthwhile benefits for United flyers. Furthermore, this is a card that it can make sense to put spend on, assuming you spend at least $25,000 on the card per year.