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: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
United Airlines miles are extremely useful. Because you can use miles to book award flights on more than 25 Star Alliance partner airlines, including ANA, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. And you’ll never pay fuel surcharges!
With the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, you’ll earn 40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Plus an additional 5,000 United Airlines miles when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase in the same timeframe.
That’s enough for a round-trip coach flight to Hawaii!
In the past, we’ve seen increased limited-time offers for this card. And folks have received targeted offers for even higher sign-up bonuses. But if you’re not targeted for a better offer, the current deal is worth considering. Plus, the card’s annual fee is waived the first year.
We’ll share our United MileagePlus Explorer card review so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your wallet!
Chase United Explorer Review
When you sign-up for the United MileagePlus Explorer card, you’ll earn 40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
In addition to the great sign-up bonus, you’ll also get:
- 2 United Airlines miles per $1 you spend on purchases from United Airlines
- 1 United Airlines mile per $1 you spend on everything else
- 5,000 bonus miles if you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
- Free first checked bag for the cardholder and 1 companion – but you MUST use your card to pay for your ticket
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club lounge passes per card membership year
- Access to an increased number of award seats
- Earn 25% bonus miles when shopping through the United Airlines MileagePlus X app
- No foreign transaction fees
The card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year. This means it’s free to test the card out for ~10 or ~11 months. Then, you can decide if the perks of the card make it worth keeping.
Note: Starting June 1, 2018, there are new perks coming to the card:
- 2 United Airlines miles per $1 spent on dining and hotels (it will continue to earn 2X United Airlines miles on United Airlines purchases)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100)
- 25% off in-flight United Airlines purchases (Wi-Fi, drinks, food, etc.)
With these updates the card will also be losing the following benefits:
- 10,000 United Airlines mile bonus after spending $25,000
- Trip cancellation coverage will be reduced (not sure exactly what this will look like yet)
- Price protection & return protection
Just remember, this card is impacted by Chase’s stricter approval rules. So if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) it’s unlikely you’ll be approved.
What Can You Do With Chase United Explorer Card Sign-Up Bonus?
United Airlines changed its award chart last year. But there are still lots of great deals! One of our favorite parts about booking a United Airlines award flight is you’ll pay the same number of miles to a specific region regardless of your US departure city. For example, folks from the East Coast can fly to Hawaii for the same amount as someone from the West Coast.
Here are a few examples of how you can redeem the United Airlines miles you earn with the Chase United Explorer card.
1. Two Round-Trip Coach Flights Within the Continental US and Canada
When low-level Saver award seats are available, you can book a round-trip coach flight within the US or Canada for 25,000 United Airlines miles.
For example, we found a non-stop, round-trip coach award flight in June 2018 from Newark to Vancouver on Star Alliance partner airline Air Canada.
This same flight costs $474 per person if you pay cash. So using the Chase United Explorer sign-up and authorized user bonus gets you nearly enough miles to save you more than $900 for 2 tickets!
2. One Round-Trip Coach Flight to Hawaii
Hawaii is a popular bucket list travel destination. And you don’t have to spend a fortune on flights to get there! For example, you can book a round-trip coach award ticket to Hawaii for 45,000 United Airlines miles.
We found available award seats in June 2018 from Los Angeles to Maui. Paying cash for the same ticket would cost nearly $900!
That’s a LOT in savings from just a single sign-up bonus!
3. One Round-Trip Coach Flight to Europe
You don’t have to spend the miles you earn from Chase United Explorer sign-up bonus as soon as you earn them. You can save up and have more award flight options!
For example, you can book a round-trip coach award flight to Europe for 60,000 United Airlines miles. We love using United Airlines miles to book flights on Star Alliance partners because they have competitive prices and don’t add fuel surcharges!
Million Mile Secrets team member Scott likes to use United Airlines miles to fly on partner airlines to Europe.
We found a non-stop, round-trip coach award flight from Los Angeles to Warsaw in August 2018 on LOT Polish Airlines. You can book it for 60,000 United Airlines miles plus ~$50 in taxes and fees. Paying cash for the same flight would cost ~$1,200!
Remember You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Directly to United Airlines
As we mentioned earlier, Chase has strict card limits. So we usually recommend folks apply for Chase cards that earn our favorite type of flexible rewards. Because you can transfer these points directly to United Airlines (and other airline and hotel partners!) at a 1:1 ratio.
Here are great options to consider along with our reviews for each card:
|Card||Sign-Up Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements||Our Review|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Read why this is the top card pick for small business owners|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||The #1 card for beginners|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Lots of folks love this premium credit card because of the ongoing perks!|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Read our review of this great no-annual-fee small business card!|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||$150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on ALL purchases
|Chase Freedom||$150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Here's my review of this great no-annual-fee card!|
You can earn 40,000 United Airlines miles when you sign-up for the United MileagePlus Explorer card and meet the minimum spending requirements. With this offer, the card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
United Airlines miles are useful because you can use them for award flights on Star Alliance partner airlines, including ANA, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. And United Airlines does NOT add fuel surcharges to partner airline award flights!
For example, the 40,000 United Airlines miles sign-up bonus plus miles for adding an authorized user is nearly enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights within the US or to Canada. And enough a free round-trip coach flight to Hawaii. That easily makes the Chase United Explorer card’s sign-up bonus worth nearly $1,000 in savings!
How would you use 40,000 United Airlines miles? Let us know in the comments!