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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!
Earn up to 6o,000 United Airlines Miles With the Chase United Explorer Card
Apply here for the 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.
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.
I had my pick of seats spread over several areas. I loved how nearly every seat had access to its own outlet!
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.
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.
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.
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.