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The United Explorer Card comes with 40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Once you include the miles you’ll earn from meeting the minimum spending, you’ll only be 3,000 United Airlines miles short of having enough for a round-trip coach award to Hawaii. Or more than enough miles for a one-way coach award flight to Europe.
Of course, when it comes to applying for a credit card, it’s always helpful to look at what you’re getting beyond just a big sign-up bonus. And some of the extra Chase United Explorer credit card benefits are unique. I’ll break them down for you here.
Chase United Explorer Credit Card Benefits
Apply here for the United℠ Explorer Card
Read our review of the United Explorer card
When you open the Chase United Explorer card, you’ll earn 40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
There’s a $95 annual fee with this card, but it’s waived the first year.
Here’s a look at the card’s benefits and perks. Considering the value of certain benefits (think free checked bags, car rental insurance, Global Entry credit, and lounge access!) it’s easy to see how you can save over $600 with this card.
1. Earn United Airlines Miles
With the United Explorer card, you’ll earn:
- 2 United Airlines miles per dollar you spend on purchases from United Airlines
- 2 United Airlines miles per dollar spent at restaurants and hotels when you book directly
- 1 United Airlines mile per dollar you spend on everything else
If you’re really interested in earning United Airlines miles, remember they transfer at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards. And you can earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all travel & dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. So you can actually earn more United Airlines miles by making those purchases with a non-United Airlines credit card.
In fact, you’ll even be better off earning 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because they can be transferred to 11 other airlines or hotels besides just United Airlines. And that flexibility can be invaluable!
2. Access to More United Airlines Saver Award Seats
This is one of my favorite card perks! United Airlines offers you more Saver award seats when you have one of their credit cards – including the United Explorer card. And you’ll also have the option to book any open seat on a United Airlines flight at the Everyday (standard) award price if there are no open Saver award seats.
It’s hard to put a dollar value on this perk, but it can be invaluable if you don’t have a flexible schedule and need to travel on specific dates. The problem is, we don’t have a clear idea of what this perk will look like going forward. What will Saver awards cost after November 15, 2019, when their old award chart is gone for good? And how expensive will the last available seat be?
3. Free Checked Bag
When you use your Chase United Explorer card to purchase a United Airlines flight (or pay the taxes and fees on your award ticket), you’ll get one free checked bag for yourself and a companion traveling with you. United Airlines charges $30 each way for a checked bag, so on a round-trip itinerary for two, that’s $120 in savings! If you and a friend or loved one fly together at least three times each year, that’ll save you at least $360 annually.
This perk works a bit differently than with other co-branded credit cards in that you need to pay for the flight with the card in order to get the benefit. You’ll also need to be sure to include your United Airlines frequent flyer number on your reservation.
Note: You’ll only get a free checked bag on United Airlines and United Express operated flights, not partner flights.
4. Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
If you are approved for Global Entry, you’ll not only get expedited through US customs faster when you return from overseas, but you’ll also get TSA PreCheck!
5. Two United Club Lounge One-Time Passes Per Year
Each year when you renew your United Explorer card, you’ll get 2 United Club Lounge (one-time) passes. This is a nice perk because these lounges aren’t available with a Priority Pass airport lounge membership and one-day passes are usually $59 each, meaning you’ll save $118 per year with this benefit alone.
Airport lounges are a great place to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.
Note: Starting November 1, 2019, you’ll need to fly United Airlines or one of its partners to access United Club lounges.
6. Priority Boarding
If you’re tired of fighting to get overhead bin space near your seat, you’ll be happy to take advantage of the United Explorer Card’s priority boarding perk. With this benefit, you’ll board just before general boarding.
7. United Elites Can Get Complimentary Upgrades on Award Flights
If you’ve got United Airlines elite status, one drawback of flying on award tickets is that you won’t be eligible for complimentary upgrades. But there are certain United Airlines credit cards, including the United Explorer card, that unlock the ability for elites to be upgraded on award flights!
I don’t know about you, but if I was still a United Airlines elite member I would be certain to always have one of their co-branded cards just for this reason.
8. 25% Off Eligible In-Flight Purchases
When you’re flying with United Airlines and you pay for in-flight food, drinks or Wi-Fi with your United Explorer, you’ll get 25% off as a statement credit. Given how expensive airplane food can be this benefit should help take the edge off.
9. Primary Rental Car Insurance
You’ll get primary rental car insurance for most car rentals under 31 days when you charge the entire amount of the rental to your United Explorer card. Certain types of vehicles aren’t eligible for this coverage, like antique automobiles, certain vans, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, limousines and recreational vehicles.
This benefit can be valuable because the collision damage waivers that rental car companies offer can cost up to $20 per day. So, for example, on a three-day long weekend rental, your United Explorer card could potentially save you $60 or more.
10. Purchase Protection
New purchases made to your card are covered for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year. Certain purchases aren’t covered by this benefit including animals, cars, antiques, collectibles and computer software.
11. Extended Warranty
Manufacturer’s warranties get an additional year added, on eligible warranties of three years or less. You’ll be covered up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year. The coverage is secondary to any insurance you purchased or received for the item.
You must pay for at least part of the item with your United Explorer card to get this benefit.
12. Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
This insurance reimburses you up to $1,500 per eligible traveler if something extreme (like sudden sickness or a tropical storm) prevents you or your immediate family from taking a trip you paid for, at least in part, with your United Explorer card. You can get up to a maximum of $6,000 per trip reimbursed.
13. Trip Delay Insurance
When your travel is delayed 12 hours or more or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed reasonable expenses, like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket purchased (in full or in part) with your United Explorer card.
This coverage will reimburse you for expenses you incur as a result of the delay. Thanks to this coverage I’ve been reimbursed for Uber rides, a rental car, food, a hotel stay and toiletries.
14. Lost Luggage Protection
This benefit will reimburse you and immediate family members for loss, theft or damage of checked luggage and its contents up to $3,000 per passenger.
To be eligible for this coverage, you’ll need to report the loss to the travel carrier (i.e. airline, cruise line, train, etc.) immediately and have charged at least a portion of your ticket to your United Explorer card.
15. Baggage Delay Insurance
If your baggage is delayed by six hours or more, you can get reimbursed up to $100 a day for three days. Eligible expenses include things like toiletries, clothing and other essentials.
To qualify for this benefit you will need to pay at least a portion of your trip with your United Explorer card.
16. Earn 25% More United Airlines Miles with the MileagePlus X App
The MileagePlus X app lets you earn extra United Airlines miles when buying gift cards, eating out, or shopping online with all sorts of retailers.
If you haven’t downloaded it, definitely take a look.
17. No Foreign Transaction Fees
Want to use your United Explorer card when you’re out of the country? No problem!
Because it has no foreign transaction fees, you also won’t get hit with an unexpected fee when you make purchases online in a foreign currency. So you won’t get docked for paying for accommodations or tours in advance if you accidentally pay in a foreign currency.
18. Earn United Airlines Elite Status Faster
Every year you spend $25,000 or more on your United Airlines Explorer card you earn a Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver. So when you’re qualifying for United Airlines elite status, you won’t have to worry about meeting the PQD requirement for any level except for the top-tier Premier 1K.
That can be the difference between having elite status or missing out for some folks.
To summarize, just a handful of the United Explorer card’s perks can save you over $600! Free checked bags for two people on three round-trip flights will save you $360, the Global Entry credit is another $100 in savings, primary car rental insurance for a single three-day trip could easily save you $60, and you can add all of that to the $118 in savings from 2 one-time use lounge passes!
Want to learn more about United Airlines? Check out these guides:
- Do United Airlines miles expire?
- Current United Airlines promotions
- How to set up a United Airlines account
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