50,000 Bonus Miles With The United MileagePlus Explorer Card

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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 $3,000 in 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 (though we’ve also seen some bigger targeted offers in the past).

Current Offer: Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Card Bonuses: Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

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on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card: This is a great sign-up bonus, and the card comes with some worthwhile benefits for United flyers, especially the PQD waiver for $25k in annual spend.
$95
Annual Fee

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card is also offering 50,000 United MileagePlus miles after spending $2,000 in the the first three months, though there isn’t a bonus for adding authorized users.

It’s worth noting that both these cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you’ve been approved for several cards over the past two years you may have a difficult time being approved for the United Explorer cards.

United-787
United 787 at LAX

Earning miles with the MileagePlus Explorer Card

In terms of the points earnings structure, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers:

  • Two miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
  • One mile per 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 solid.

Earning miles with the MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

In comparison, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card offers:

  • 2x miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
  • 2x miles per dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores
  • 1x mile dollar spent on everything else
  • 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year

Both cards can actually can be rewarding for everyday spend, assuming you spend quite a bit in non-bonused categories and spend at least $25,000.

MileagePlus Explorer Card benefits

Both cards also come 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 when purchasing tickets with their United MileagePlus Explorer personal or business card

united-lounge-london-heathrow-42
Redeem your United Club passes for a visit to any United Club

Miles needed for an award ticket

MileagePlus charges slightly different prices based on whether you’re flying United or a partner airline. To give some examples of one-way business class rates:

  • North America to Europe costs 57,500 miles on United, 70,000 on partners
  • North America to Asia (excluding Japan) costs 70,000 miles on United, 80,000 on partners
  • Japan to Australia/New Zealand costs 35,000 miles on United, 40,000 on partners

In most cases the premium for flying partners is worth the enhanced availability (and often superior product), but if you really need to minimize the miles used you’ll want to stick to United.

You can learn more about how to use United miles in this post.

lufthansa-first-class
Redeem your United miles for travel in Lufthansa first class

These aren’t my favorite cards for earning United miles

I don’t talk about these cards much, because in most cases a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card) is going to be a better option:

  • 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.

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, particularly on tough routes like premium cabins to Hawaii.

united-global-first-3
Cardholders get last seat availability for standard awards

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.

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Comments

  1. Can we book a Silk Air flight using united miles if a seat is available as per the krisflyer website?

  2. Running with miles pointed out that people are getting g targeted offers of 70k points +5k for AU + $50 creditif u log into your united account. I was targeted but am closer to 50/24 than I am 5/24

  3. Meh….they took out a front page ad in WSJ this morning pimping these miles. This is the first time I’ve seen someone taking one of these full page ads for a mileage bonus. Goes to show the sad state of affairs at United and not to say Chase is having a hard time with them too. Sadly they even make you book with the same card for checked bag benefit. Only major card does that. Everyone should pass.

  4. How can I easily determine where I stand on 5/24? I have sole proprietorship with only 2 cards? Do they test 5/24 on SS# aggregating both personal and business cards? Or, is 5/24 applied to each entity separaretly (my hope!). I checked my Mileage plus and offer is 50k for me, not enhanced-poor me. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with a newbie.

  5. @billy bush — you can easily determine 5/24 by grabbing at least 5 pussies over 24 days. Or, get your credit report from a free service like Credit Karma, which will show you the opening dates of all your cards. Business cards generally do not count against 5/24.

  6. currently there is a 70k offer, so you should probably not get the 50k one, especially considering the 5/24 rule. Lucky, you should really mention better offers when they are out there.

  7. I registered and looked at data, whihc seems to say 1 inquiry and 12 new credits in last 24 months. That is way more than Credit Karma and way more cards than I activated. Without detail I cant check, but I am guessing this includes getting a new iphone at ATT with financing, new Direct TV service, new ATT. In other words, maybe I got a max of 5 new cards in 24 months, but the rest is for utilities and the like.

    Anyway, not going to bother.

  8. @Daniel B. if you scroll past the graphs it should show you “accounts opened in the last two years”.

    @billy bush, it also includes cards that have you as an AU if someone else is adding you. Some people have had luck getting Chase to remove those from calculations manually but it’s very YMMV

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