We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Unlock More Award Seats With the United Explorer Card!

Unlock More Award Seats With the United Explorer Card!

Million Mile SecretsUnlock More Award Seats With the United Explorer Card!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   A credit card offer in this post may no longer be available, but check the Hot Deals for the latest offers!

I’ve written about the increased 50,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Chase United Explorer card and some of its benefits.  And also about a potential offer with an extra $50 statement credit!

But did you know if you have the card, there are more United Airlines award seats available for you than for non-cardholders?

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Chase United Explorer Cardholders Can Access MORE United Award Seats!

On some flights, United Airlines might show no award seats available to folks who don’t have the card.  But Chase United Explorer cardholders will still see available award seats, unless the flight is sold out.

How Does This Work?

Link:   Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase United Explorer Increased Sign-Up Bonus

United Airlines says there will always be award seats available for eligible MileagePlus cardholders on United Airlines and United Express flights, as long as there are seats for sale (i.e.: as long as the flight isn’t sold out).

MileagePlus Premier® members and eligible United MileagePlus Cardmembers have unrestricted access to Standard Awards on United and United Express.  If there’s a United seat for sale, these members can get it with award miles, guaranteed, even if it’s the last seat on the airplane.

And the Chase United Explorer card is an eligible card!

Standard awards cost double the miles of low-level saver awards, but if you’re willing to pay the extra miles for an award seat, this is a very nice perk to have!  And cardholders also get access to extra low-level award seats.

Example:   Chicago to Phoenix on Super Bowl Weekend

The Super Bowl is in Phoenix on February 1, 2015, and it’s often hard to find award seats to fly to the game!

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Want to Travel to Phoenix for the Super Bowl Next Year? Award Seats Are Already Hard to Find!

First, I checked for available award seats from Chicago to Phoenix on January 30, 2015 without signing-in to my United Airlines frequent flyer account.

United Airlines showed NO award seats available in any class of service and at any level (saver or standard awards).

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
United Airlines Showed No Award Seats Available From Chicago to Phoenix the Friday Before the Super Bowl

To compare, I signed-in to my United Airlines frequent flyer account.  I do NOT have a Chase United Explorer card.  The search returned the same result:  NO award seats available at all!

 Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Still No Award Seats Available When I Signed-In to My United Airlines Frequent Flyer Account

But Emily IS a Chase United Explorer cardholder.  When I signed-in to her United Airlines frequent flyer account and did the same search, the result was different!  There were standard level award seats available in both coach class and First / Business Class!

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Award Seats Are Available When Emily Signs-In, Because She Has the United Explorer Card!

This is very useful for folks who don’t have flexibility in their travel dates, or who have to fly during busy travel times, like holidays or special events!

Example:   San Francisco to Honolulu in December

Hawaii can be 1 of the most difficult destinations to fly to on award tickets, especially during busy travel times like the holidays or Spring Break.

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Award Travel to Hawaii Can Be Challenging, Especially During Holidays and School Vacations

I searched for award seats between San Francisco and Honolulu on December 21, 2014.  The results were the same with and without signing-in to my United Airlines frequent flyer account.

There were no saver award seats on any flight, and no non-stop flights available.  The only available award seats were standard level First / Business Class award seats (90,000 miles 1-way!) on connecting flights.

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
The Only Award Seats Available Were Expensive, First Class Seats on Connecting Flights

But when I did the same search from Emily’s frequent flyer account, there were more available flights (including non-stops) and standard level coach class award seats (45,000 miles 1-way)!

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Emily’s Account Had Non-Stop Flights and Coach Class Standard Award Seats Available

So Chase United Explorer cardholders have access to more (and cheaper) award seats and often better, more direct flights.  That’s a great perk!

Example:   Houston to Seattle for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend is another very busy travel period where folks sometimes have trouble finding award seats.

I searched for award seats from Houston to Seattle on November 27, 2014.  There were no coach class saver award seats available when I checked without signing-in and from my account, only standard award seats (25,000 miles for a 1-way ticket).

 Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
There Were No Coach Class Saver Award Seats Available the Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

The same search from Emily’s account shows saver level award seats available in coach class (12,500 miles 1-way)!

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Chase United Explorer Cardholders Can Still Get Saver Level Coach Class Award Seats

So by having a Chase United Explorer card, you’d save 12,500 miles 1-way (or 25,000 miles round-trip) for a coach class award seat.  25,000 miles is enough for a whole other saver level coach class round-trip domestic ticket!

Be Sure Your Card Is Linked to Your Frequent Flyer Account!

If you’re a Chase United Explorer cardholder, your credit card details should be linked to your United Airlines frequent flyer account.  But if you want to be sure, here’s the way to tell.

Sign-in to your United Airlines frequent flyer account and hover your mouse over “Mileage Expiration“.  If you’re NOT a cardholder, a message about miles expiring after 18 months of inactivity will appear.

But if you are a Chase United Explorer cardholder, the message will say that your miles won’t expire as long as you have the credit card.

Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Emily’s Account Says Her Miles Won’t Expire As Long As Her Credit Card Account Is Active

Note:  Some folks report that clicking the “Remember Me” button when they sign-in causes available award seats to not show up.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it could have something to do with cookies on your browser.  In any case, do NOT click “Remember Me” when you sign-in!

 Unlock More Award Seats With The United Explorer Card
Clicking “Remember Me” Can Cause Extra Award Seats to Disappear!

Bottom Line

If you’re a Chase United Explorer cardholder, you’ll see more award seats available than folks who don’t have the card.  Even if there are NO award seats available for non-cardholders, you’ll be able to book an award seat, unless the flight is sold out.

Folks who have the card can get access to more flights, better routings, and lower level award seats.  This can save you time and frequent flyer miles.

This is a really great perk!  And it’s very useful especially if you have to travel at peak times, like during holidays, school vacations, and special events.

Has having the Chase United Explorer card made a difference in your travel plans?  Please tell me about it in the comments.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

20comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Nevermind that last question. I just realized you had a step about how to check if your account is properly coded for it. It is… still not the best selection of seats, especially saver award.

Is this still a benefit? I logged into my account (without this card) and see the same availability as a friend who has the card. Do we need to do anything for them to have access to the expanded saver award seat offerings? (Their points and sign up bonus have all gone to the correct account)

Does this work for the United Club Visa card?

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@SuperKirby – It should.

You could also try to get a deal for 55,000 bonus miles by visiting a brick and mortar Chase branch. In March I went to our local Chase bank to ask about some rates and was offered the 55k bonus by the banker assisting me (which I accepted and now have). It’s not available online, but if you have good credit you may be pre-approved already. Just a thought.

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@BB – I’ll probably get one!

@Pace S @Lana – Jonnie W – Thanks for the update!

Also, does anyone know how long it will take after card approval for this to show up?

Load more