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United℠ Explorer Card

Cory Santos

| Last updated on November 17th, 2023

United Explorer Card

United Explorer Card
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent
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$0 for the first year. After that, $95 Annual Fee

United Explorer Card

  • 21.74% to 28.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 21.74% to 28.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

A co-branded airline credit card with robust rewards earning capabilities, the United? Explorer Card is convenient for the most crucial aspects of a getaway – business or otherwise.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bag - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Member FDIC
  • Regular Purchase APR: 21.74% to 28.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 21.74% to 28.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year. After that, $95
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • You travel often
  • You frequently book travel with United Airlines and/or are a member of its MileagePlus program
  • You use a credit card for everyday purchases at restaurants
  • You make regular in-flight purchases
  • You often travel with checked luggage

United℠ Explorer Card Review

If planning the next trip is constantly on your mind, the United℠ Explorer Card can help you reach that goal quickly. With the UnitedSM Explorer Card from Chase, travelers benefit from an array of great airport perks and benefits, as well as an impressive miles-earning rate with every purchase.

Impressive Miles Welcome Bonus

New United Explorer cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months the account is open. That sign-up bonus has a cash equivalence of approximately $600 for a $3,000 spend – or about 17% cash back.

How to Earn MileagePlus Miles

The United Explorer Card offers enhanced miles on select purchases where the occasional traveler can really pack on the points. The card earns 2X miles on United purchases and 2X miles on dining and hotels – with all other purchases earning 1X miles.

The double miles on both United and hotel and dining purchases are quality earning rates – not too high to justify a steep annual fee, but lucrative enough to make the Explorer a serious travel rewards credit card. United MileagePlus miles do not expire.

United Personal Credit Card Comparison




Annual fee None $95 ($0 first year) $250 $525
Rewards 2X on United and gas purchases, 1X on all else 2X on United, dining, hotels booked directly, 1X on all else 3X on United purchases, 2X on travel, dining, and streaming, 1X on all else 4X on United purchases, 2X on travel, 1X on all else
In-flight savings 25% 25% 25% 25%
Free bags - 1st bag 1st & 2nd bag 1st & 2nd bag
TSA PreCheck - Yes Yes Yes
Lounge access - United Club (2X/year) - United Club (unlimited)

How to Redeem Rewards

Redeeming MileagePlus miles is a straightforward process. The most common is to redeem rewards for flights, either with United Airlines directly or through Star Alliance partners. Bonuses also apply to several other airline partners, retail, and travel options.

The simplest way to redeem is by booking United or United Express award tickets and flights. MileagePlus currently offers two types of award seat: Saver Awards and Everyday Awards:

  • Saver Awards: More economical, with redemption flights from 5,000 to 12,000 miles. These low-cost award flights have lower availability, making them difficult to book.
  • Everyday Awards: More availability – at a higher price. Everyday Award flights offer unrestricted access for elite-tier MileagePlus members.

MileagePlus members and United Explorer Cardholders can also redeem miles for flights with United Airlines partners. These partners include the Star Alliance, featuring major carriers like Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Avianca, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, and more.

Other United partners include major hotel brands, like Choice Hotels, Marriott, Radisson, IHG, and Hyatt, rental car brands Dollar and Hertz, and over 20 leading cruise lines.

Related Article: The Ultimate United MileagePlus Guide

United Club Lounge Access

As mentioned, the United Explorer Card features an annual fee of $95, which United and Chase waive for the first year. However, even without that annual fee waiver, the Explorer more than pays its way thanks to two complimentary United Club one-time passes per year.

United Club offers one of the finest airport lounge experiences available. Lounge access allows Explorer cardmembers to relax in comfort while waiting for their flight with complimentary beverages, snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi, and more. Each year, two free passes have a face value of $100 – a net of $5 right there over the annual fee.

United Perks

The Explorer Card also comes with a selection of United Airlines-specific perks, such as 25% back on United inflight purchases. Passengers also enjoy priority boarding on United-operated flights. They’ll also earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 spent on purchases with their Explorer Card (up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year) that can be applied toward Premier status qualification, up to the Premier 1K level.

Loyalty program aside, the United℠ Explorer Card also treats cardmembers to a $100 statement credit when they use the card enroll in Global Entry, TSA Precheck®, or NEXUS. And if traveling with luggage, being a cardmember will save you and a companion the cost of the first checked bag for up to $100 each roundtrip.

Other Travel Benefits and Protections

Other travel benefits available thanks to the impressive Visa Signature perks and protections include:

Zero Fraud Liability Cardholder Inquiry Services Emergency Card Replacement Luxury Hotel Collection Extended Warranty Coverage
Roadside Dispatch Lost/Stolen Card Reporting ID Navigator from Norton Travel & Emergency Assistance

Chase Bank Ratings

How does the Chase United Airlines Visa stack up? Here is a selection of expert reviews for the card, as well as an overview of JP Morgan Chase as a bank:

Should You Apply for the United℠ Explorer Card?

While the UnitedSM Explorer Card from Chase’s annual fee of $95 may seem high for some, the benefits you receive once you reach rewards-earning altitude will more than make up for it. Frequent travelers who are willing to invest their money in a nominal annual expenditure that yields rich rewards earned from travel and dining each year certainly won’t want to miss their flight.

The additional Chase United Explorer  benefits of statement credits for TSA Precheck and Global entry sweeten the deal, making this an exceptional credit card for those that travels often – and prefers to fly United.

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