United Explorer Credit Card Review 2020

Rating:
3.9/5
3.9 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The United Explorer Card is a Visa credit card offered through Chase bank that is an Airline branded card through United Airlines. This card is designed entirely for frequent fliers of United Airlines, and has great perks that make the cardholders overall travel experience less expensive and much more stress-free. 

With United Explorer card, you can earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants and on hotel stays and  mile per $1 spent on all other purchases, The miles that you accumulate through using this card don’t expire, just so long as the account is active. 

When you sign up for the United Explorer Card, the new cardholder will receive 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in the first three months that the account is active. 

The card comes with an annual fee of $69 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) and the variable APR is 16.49% – 23.49%, based on your credit worthiness. 

Overall, from seat upgrades to 25% off discounts on all in-flight purchases and more benefits as you can read below, the United Explorer Card can make flying with United Airlines a much more relaxing process.

United Explorer Credit Card

United Explorer Card review

On Chase’s Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

  • Great Card To Build Your Credit

Credit Rating Requirements

  • Average – Good Credit

PROS

  • Sign-Up Bonus
  • Miles don’t Expire

CONS

  • Limited Rewards
  • Limited Rewards

Highlights

  • Free checked bag and priority boarding
  • Variable APR of 16.49%–23.49%
  • Waived annual fee for the first year

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

United Explorer Credit Card – Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the United Explorer card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

  • Free Checked Bag & Priority Boarding

The United Explorer Card offers a free checked bag for you and one other guest on your reservation, as well as priority boarding onto your flight. 

While these seem like less important perks, they are certainly subtle things that can make traveling much less stressful.

  • Mileage Benefits

With United Explorer card, you can earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants and on hotel stays and mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Annual United Club Passes

When cardholders have an active United Explorer Card, they will receive two One-Time passes annually into United Club lounges. This is something that not to many airlines will give their cardholders for free. 

If anything, they will be available for purchase at a discounted rate, or something not even that. United Club passes such as these can make long layovers much more enjoyable and relaxing

  • Miles Don’t Expire

A great perk to the United Explorer Card is that the miles that you accumulate through using this card don’t expire, just so long as the account is active. 

This can be extremely beneficial because the cardholder truly does have the opportunity to pick and choose when and what to use their points on, whether it be flights, seat upgrades, or something else entirely.

  • Sign-Up Bonus

When you sign up for the United Explorer Card, the new cardholder will receive 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in the first three months that the account is active. 

While this bonus isn’t extravagant or extremely better than comparable cards, this is still a great and easy way to accumulate a large amount of points that are available immediately after the $2,000 minimum is hit.

United Explorer Credit Card – Drawbacks

Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of the United Explore credit card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

  • $95 Annual Fee

The United Explorer Card offers new card holders a waived annual fee for the first year. After this, the annual fee is $95. This is average or higher than other travel cards in the industry. 

However, with the rewards that are offered with obtained points, the United Explorer Card certainly has the potential to pay the cardholder back and make the annual fee worth it.

  • Limited Intro Perks

While the United Explorer Card does waive the annual fee for the first year, there are really hardly any other perks past this. Comparable travel rewards cards such as the Bank of America Travel Rewards card don’t have an annual fee to have an active account, and offer an Intro APR of 0% for the first 12 billing cycles.

  • High Balance Transfer Fee

This fee is $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is bigger. 

The fee is incurred when you transfer debts from one or more credit cards to your Wells Fargo Rewards Card. This fee is upfront and will be added to your debt load when transferred.

  • Average Miles Accumulation Rate

While the United Explorer Card offers points on all purchases that a cardholder puts on it, the accumulation of these points is rather average. 

The United Explorer Card offers 2 points for every dollar spent on United purchase, as well as 2 points for every dollar spent on hotels and restaurants. 

All other purchases give the cardholder 1 point for every dollar spent. Again, for United loyalists and frequent United fliers alike, this could pay the cardholder back handsomely. But for everyone else, they might want to reconsider their options.

Alternatives to United Explorer Credit Card

There are several other travel-focused credit cards that offer higher travel reward rates and bonuses when signing up. Let’s take a look at them and see if one is better suited for you than the United Explorer card:

When it comes to a travels rewards card that can be beneficial to both loyalty users as well as a more casual spender, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is the best of both worlds. 

You’ll be able to earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines flights, hotel & car rental partners and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card

You’ll also earn 3,000 anniversary points after your Cardmember anniversary

When new card holders sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, they will get 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months the account is open.

The card comes with an annual fee of $69. In spite of it’s lower compared to other travel cards, it’s still something you should take into account.

This card is good for infrequent American Airlines flyers who are looking for an introduction to AAdvantage miles, as both the travel point and the everyday point accumulation is good – it earns the user bonus miles on grocery purchases. This along with the fact that it does not have an annual fee makes it an appealing card to people who are new to travel rewards.

Purchases that are through American Airlines automatically give 2x miles for every dollar spent, as well as for every dollar spend at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. In addition, you earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

The card offers  10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

However, there are better cards out there as far as travel rewards credit cards are concerned, and depending on the card holders credit history, travel needs and frequency. 

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card has great rewards for those customers who are loyal to Marriott Hotel chains. With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, every dollar spent at one of the thousands of Marriott Hotels earns the cardholder 6 points. This has no limit. You’ll also get 2 points for every $1 spent on other purchases.

There is an an initial sign-up bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, as well as many other benefits such as free nights, airline points transferring, free qifi , baggage insurance and more.

However, this card has a $95 annual fee and a bit high APR of 15.99%-22.99%.

Is the United Explorer Credit Card Right for You?

Despite the fact that the United Explorer Card does have many great rewards and benefits, it still is limited to an extent due to the fact that the United Explorer Card is designed for United Flyer loyalists. 

If you are a fan of United and use their airline often, or think you will be flying with United frequently in the future, then this is a great card for you and it could certainly make your experience flying with United Airlines much better. 

However, if you are an infrequent flyer with United, or prefer other airlines, then the United Explorer Card might not be the best viable option for you.