2 Annual Airline Lounge Passes Make the Chase United Explorer Card Worth Keeping Forever (And It’s $0 the First Year!)

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

2 Annual Airline Lounge Passes Make the Chase United Explorer Card Worth Keeping Forever (And It’s $0 the First Year!)

Harlan Vaughn2 Annual Airline Lounge Passes Make the Chase United Explorer Card Worth Keeping Forever (And It’s $0 the First Year!)Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Last year I flew from Austin to Memphis, with a connection in Houston, the day after Thanksgiving.  I braced for the worst airport conditions.  Flights were full, and the airport was full of people who only fly once or twice a year.

But I had solace.  My United℠ Explorer Card comes with 2 annual passes to the United airline lounge, and priority boarding so I wouldn’t have to compete for overhead space.  On this day, those perks turned what could’ve been stressful into a manageable – and even fun – experience.

And through May 16, 2019, you can earn up to 60,000 United Airlines miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements on the Chase United Explorer card.

Here’s why I’ll keep the card forever!

I Escaped the Hustle & Bustle of the Airport and Got to Relax in the United Airline Lounge on One of the Busiest Travel Days of the Year, Thanks to My Chase United Explorer Card

Earn up to 6o,000 United Airlines Miles With the Chase United Explorer Card

Apply here for the United℠ Explorer Card

Our review of the Chase United Explorer Card

For a limited time, with the Chase United Explorer card, you can earn:

  • 40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Additional 20,000 United Airlines miles after spending a total of $8,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening

The offer ends May 16, 2019, so apply soon if you’re interested. You’ll also get:

  • 2 United Airlines miles per $1 you spend on purchases from United Airlines
  • 2 United Airlines miles per $1 spent at restaurants and hotels when you book directly
  • 1 United Airlines mile per $1 you spend on everything else
  • 2 United Club Passes at account opening, and every cardmember year ($59 value for each)
  • Free checked bag on domestic flights for you and a companion when you pay for United Airlines airfare with the card
  • Up to $100 credit every 4 years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • 25% off in-flight purchases like food, drinks, and Wi-Fi

There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.  So you can enjoy the perks free for ~11 months to decide if you like it.

I’ve had this card for years with no plans to cancel.  That’s because I get more from the benefits than the cost of the annual fee.

Here’s our full review of the Chase United Explorer card.

Hanging in the United Airline Lounge and Boarding Early Turned My Travels From Stressful to Easy Street

Not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified to fly during Thanksgiving weekend.  Sure enough, both my flights didn’t have a single empty seat and the airport was a zoo.

I hadn’t flown United Airlines for ~4 years, or been to a United Club in as long.  I worried the lounge at the Austin airport would be packed.

The Austin Airport Only Has 2 Lounges

So I allowed extra time for security and finding my gate just in case.  But I passed through TSA PreCheck within minutes and found the United Club was right across from where I’d board.

Not only was the United Club NOT crowded at all, but I had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the amenities.

There Was Plenty of Open Seating in Austin’s United Club Lounge

I had my pick of seats spread over several areas. I loved how nearly every seat had access to its own outlet!

Like…Plenty of Seats! I Had the Bar to Myself. Sure Beats Sitting at Loud, Crowded Gate

I settled into a table near the bar after the bartender engaged me in conversation.  She poured me up a beverage and asked where I was headed.  We chatted for a while, then I went to explore the food offerings.

Fruit and Snack Mix Started the Snack Bar

There were snacks including fresh fruit, trail mix, hummus, veggies, and soup.  No full meals, but I snacked to my heart’s content before my flight.

I Got Tomato Bisque and Veggies to Munch On

As I ate, the bartender brought me drink refills.  I charged my computer and phone with the outlet near my seat and sent a few emails over the blazing fast Wi-Fi.

Day passes usually cost $59 each to access one of 45+ lounge locations.  But when you have the Chase United Explorer card, you’ll find 2 passes loaded to your account upon card opening, then every year you renew the card.  I was able to access them through the United Airlines app, along with my digital boarding passes.

If you use both lounge passes every year, this alone can completely cover the card’s annual fee.  Plus, you get other perks like free checked bags and access to more United Airlines award seats.

I had 3 drinks, food, and got to be away from the airport busyness, so I definitely got my money’s worth.  There was also a business center at this location, with printers, phones, and computers.

This Is What Early Boarding Looks Like

When it came time to board, I peeled myself out of the lounge and lined up at the gate.  I got to board with Group 2, and easily found a spot for my carry-on over my seat.  Not having to stand in line or worry about stowing luggage was a huge relief on these completely full flights.  I sat and worked on Sudoku puzzles while everyone else boarded.

If you’re a big United Airlines flyer, you might consider the United MileagePlus® Club Card instead.  It has a higher $450 annual fee but gets you full, unlimited access to United Club lounges.

The information for the United MileagePlus® Club Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Keep in mind, you’ll have to fly United Airlines or one of its partners to enter the lounges starting November 1, 2019.  But until then, you can be flying any airline.

Without the United airline lounge and early boarding, I would’ve sat at the gate in the noisy airport and prayed to get my carry-on in the overhead bins instead of gate-checking it.

But having the Chase United Explorer card got me lounge access and quicker boarding – and that alone makes it worth keeping long term.

You can apply for the Chase United Explorer card here.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 37,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) …because then you’ll never miss another update!

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

  • Limited time offer! Earn up to 60,000 Bonus Miles.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

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!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

You are better off throwing those passes un the trash and going to a restaurant at IAH. The ua clubs there are soup kitchen trash.

Michael I. Krauss

I believe this card also has primary automobile insurance for car rentals. That’s a huge plus. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


That’s right! Everyone should have at least one credit card with primary car rental insurance, especially if you rent vehicles a lot. It’s saved me in the past:


I don’t get it. December 1st MMS article by Scott Lieberman says that United Airlines and Chase need to step up their credit card. You, on the other hand proclaim that this card is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Which one is it? By the way, I too have the card but will cancel at time of renewal for the inability to redeem my lounge coupons as others have said.


Lol, I guess we see this card differently. I never check bags so the checked baggage benefit is worthless to me. And I earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and send them to travel partners- including United – so the earning rates don’t affect me either.

What I value is more award seats and bonus miles with Mileage Plus X.

Sorry to hear you had trouble using your lounge passes. They let me right in when I visited the United Club in Austin. And until November 1, 2019, you can enter when flying airline so I’ll definitely make good use of them.

This – and any – card is only valuable if you can use the perks. If you can’t, or don’t like them, there are many many others to choose from. I’m glad I got this one long before 5/24 was a thing.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Lol, I spit out my coffee all over myself…its great if you fly 2 times a year pal… not if you fly several times month…priority pass wins there


Oh, I use my Priority Pass all the time. I’m not a big United flyer so 2X per year is fine for me.

If you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get 3X points on travel and dining, then you can transfer them to United and get more award seats.

The lounge passes are simply a nice extra. And you can fly any airline to access United Clubs until November 1, 2019. Always good to have a backup option!

Thanks, I’m new to this website and very impressed by your quick response! I fly primarily with United due to my status and spend about $5k a month on the card.. any feeling as to which card might be best for me?


If you’re a big United flyer, you might consider the United Club card. It’s got a big annual fee ($450) but comes with a United Club membership.

Here’s our review: https://millionmilesecrets.com/reviews/united-mileageplus-club-card/

And if you’re new to miles & points, here’s our new list of the best cards to get started with:


With that amount of spending, you can earn a LOT of travel rewards. I hope this points you in the right direction – let me know how I can help. And welcome to MMS! 🙂

Worthless! Why would anyone get this card with just two passes to a small set of lounges? Get any of the cards with Priority Pass instead! What worthless marketing drivel this article is.

Is there a Priority Pass card that doesn’t have an insane yearly fee? $450 is pretty common from what I’ve seen and that just seems insane.


The AMEX Hilton Ascend card comes with 10 Priority Pass visits per year and has a $95 annual fee. But if you want unlimited visits, you’ll likely have to get a premium card with a big annual fee.


You’re right, I wouldn’t get this card just for the lounge passes. When combined with other perks like extra award seats, priority boarding, $100 Global Entry credit, and 25% bonus miles for Mileage Plus X purchases, the lounge passes making the card worth keeping long-term. My current airport only has 2 lounges – one is a United Club – so I can definitely make good use of the lounge day passes.

Load more