United MileagePlus Explorer Card 50,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus

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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.

Link: United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

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

I don’t talk about this card much, because in most cases the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Plus® Business Credit Card are going to be better options:

  • 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.

Austrian-Business-Class
Austrian Airlines has one of my favorite business class products, and is a great use of United miles

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.

Bottom line

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.

Link: United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, I know this card gets you access to addl inventory. My question is, would one (and how) have access to the cardholder inventory if booking a Krisflyer award on United metal.

  2. Hi Lucky,

    I have a total of roughly 150,000 united miles right now. If you had (which I am sure you have MUCH more) that many miles and could do 1 trip, what would it be? Anything good for 2 people splitting those miles?

    Thanks a bunch!

  3. I had this card previously. It was cancelled over two years ago. Is it possible to get the bonus for a second time?

  4. Don’t forget about the CPU upgrade benefit for Premiers on award tickets. It’s processed behind all other fare classes within one’s tier, but definitely lucrative in many cases and even works (if granted prior to check-in) for third-party gifted award tickets that inherit status. You don’t even have to pay the taxes/fees on the ticket with the Explorer card to be eligible.

  5. @lucky – thanks for the reply. United is all I have. I am new to the millage game and your blog has really helped me.

  6. If I cancelled my last explorer card within the last six months, can I get this bonus as well?

    Thanks–

  7. @ Vicky — The offer terms say “This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.” So I’d say you have a good shot, but not 100% sure what that means in practice.

  8. @ Front Office — In that case I might try to build up some more miles first (possibly with Ultimate Rewards points, which can be combined with United miles). At present you have more than enough miles for one roundtrip business class ticket to Europe, but I’d try to build up the balances a bit more so you can get two tickets, include some hotels, etc.

  9. Lucky, I’m seeing that this offer is only good until 2 September (the Tuesday after Labor Day in the US). If I were one of your readers contemplating this offer, I would pull the trigger sooner rather than later if that’s the case.

  10. Do you know whether the 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25k posts immediately or do you have to wait until the end of the calendar year for it?

  11. hey lucky, thanks for the heads up! I just signed up through your link. hope you’re able to get some sort of credit for pointing me in the right direction.

    quick question: i have 30k alaska miles. can that get me a round trip to hawaii from LAX?

  12. @ sarah — Thanks! As far as Alaska miles go, they charge 40,000 miles for roundtrip travel to Hawaii. If you had British Airways Avios, however, it would only be 25,000 Avios roundtrip to any of their nonstop destinations in Hawaii.

  13. The terms state current cardholders can’t receive the bonus, nor can people who received the bonus in the last 24 months. I had a United card that I got the bonus for over 2 years ago, and I cancelled it today. Theoretically I should be able to get the new bonus, but any idea how long it would take for them to consider me to not be a current cardholder? Should I just wait a week or so to make sure their systems are cleared since I have until early September to sign up for this card anyway?

  14. @ sarah — All depends on what you redeem your Avios for. If for travel on American domestically or to Latin America the fees are low. Same is true for travel on LAN, Aer Lingus, Alaska, and airberlin. Fees are higher on other airlines.

  15. Funny you should post this today as I just got back from Berlin where I flew the un-friendly skies in Business class both ways. I was thinking about you because both ways they played this video as part of their new (ish) “Friendly Skies” branding where they state they have been named “the best mileage program 10 years running”? From who? Any ideas? They go on to talk about how many amazing things you can do with their miles….spending them on an 8 plus hour flight to Berlin to NYC in Business Class on a 767 in a 2 2 2 configuration would not be high on my list. The sardine can of business classes. I think he 757 might be better? Or flying Austrian and making the connection! Anyone else seen this video and think it’s total BS and that it’s kind of lame to be trying to sell themselves as the “friendly airline” and not being ironic about it?

  16. Lucky—there is a better offer in the comments section of Mommy Points. It’s essentially the same as your offer but you get a $50 statement credit as well.

  17. Thanks Lucky for the post. I used your linked to apply and got approved right away!

  18. Don’t forget that this card is still just about the only “main stream” card that offers PRIMARY rental car insurance. (Amex Platinum’s coverage, for example, is only secondary.) I think you or someone else recently mentioned that Chase was going to expand this benefit over to one or two of their other cards, however.

  19. I’m not trying to be difficult but why haven’t you acknowledged the better offer for this card? I know you’re aware of it but not even to make an update to this post? It’s quite disgusting you let the banks control the content of your blog.

  20. I applied for the card and was approved the day before the 50k offer was announced. Any chance I can get the 50k instead of just the regular 30k? Call and beg?

  21. @ Bryan — Don’t have any firsthand experience with that, but can’t hurt to send them a secure message and ask.

  22. If anyone is interested in a referral for the united mileage plus, just send me your email and I will submit it to chase. Thanks in advance.

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