Posted by William Charles on April 26, 2018
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Published on April 26th, 2018 | by William Charles


Chase To Make Changes To Chase United Explorer Card (June 1st)

Update 2: This change only affects the personal version of this card.

Small update: As some people point out the loss of 10,000 miles after $25,000 in spend is a big loss as people are spending $25,000 on this card for the PQD status waiver.

Chase has announced that they are making changes to the United Explorer card, these changes will go into effect on June 1st, 2018 (official notices are being sent out, but this comes directly from Chase so the information is confirmed). All current card members will automatically be upgraded to the new card at launch and anybody who applies between today and June 1st, 2018 will also be upgraded. The changes are as follows:

  • Card will earn 2 United miles per $1 spent on hotel stays and restaurant purchases (this is in addition to the 2 cardholders already receive on United purchases)
  • 25% off in flight purchases when using your card (including WiFi and food/beverages)
  • Addition of $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Removal of 10,000 miles after $25,000 in spend
  • Removal of return protection/price protection benefit (purchase protection remains)
  • Annual fee stays the same at $95
  • Other standard benefits remain the same:
    • 2 miles per $1 spend with United Airlines
    • 1 mile per $1 spend on all other purchases
    • Last seat availability
    • Miles don’t expire
    • Free checked bag when you pay with card (for 2 people)
    • Priority boarding
    • 2 Club passes per year
    • No FX fees

Chase states the vast majority of card members will earn more miles under the new program despite the removal of 10,000 miles after $25,000 in spend due to the extra 2x mile categories. Other cards earn up to 4% cash back on restaurant purchases, so you’d need to value United miles at over 2¢ each for this card to be a better option. Chase already offers 2x hotel points per $1 spent on the Sapphire Preferred and 3x on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, other card issuers also offer categories bonuses on hotel purchases as well so that addition is not huge either.

It seems every card comes with Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, I’d be surprised if most readers don’t already have it (though you can use it for someone else). The addition of the 25% discount on in flight purchases is nice and unlike the Citi American Airline cards this does cover WiFi purchases. The removal of the 10,000 mile bonus shouldn’t really matter as putting mass amounts of spend on this card has never really made sense anyway, you’d be better off putting that on a card that earns at a high rate on all purchases.

The biggest loss is something we’ve already discussed and that’s the loss of return protection and price protection. Chase states that less than 0.2% of card members currently use these benefits (on this portfolio). The problem with that type of analysis is that this is an insurance benefit, you’d hope most cardholders aren’t using it. Insurance is as much about peace of mind as it is about actually filing a claim and using the benefit. I’d also argue that it’s possible a lot of cardholders simply don’t know that the benefit exists.

I’d expect that use rate to be much higher on Chase branded cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred/Chase Sapphire Reserve and even higher on cards that people are using as their daily drivers such as Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom. The truth is that administering this benefit has likely become too expensive due to automated claims from things like Earny. If that’s the case then ideally Chase would replace those benefits with something similarly useful. If you look at these changes without the price protection/purchase protection removal I’d say they are a net gain for cardholders, but only slightly so.


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What about removing the spend threshold for silver status with 25k spend?

Not only silver staus. If you make Gold or higher on cheap long flights, it’s still useful — and that’s where losing the 10K bonus hurts.

Is there a change in the Primary car rental insurance, which I use the most.

Good question. Doc, do you know? I consider the primary car rental insurance to be a far more valuable benefit than price protection and purchase protection.

yep that would be my question as well. Primary car rental insurance is the only reason I still have the card

So if one has already started the 25k spend, I wonder if it now has to be completed by 6/1….

Do you know if the 10k bonus miles is getting removed from the business version too?

I need to know this as well. In fact, if Doc Chuck can do a comparison of this new version vs the business explorer, that would be SUPER helpful.

I may need to switch. I’ve already got $15k spend on this one though, and need that $25k bonus for Gold status next year. Does spend stack across both cards? Losing out on the 10k bonus miles is basically them taking away a free 1-way ticket.

“It seems every card comes with Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, I’d be surprised if most readers don’t already have it”

Combined between me an SO we have (not including store cards bc they couldn’t possibly offer this benefit):

Ink Cash
Ink Preffered
Cash +
Discover It x2
Cash Rewards (BofA)
Target MC
WF Visa

and at the bottom of the barrel
Sun Country.

Out of all these Sun Country is the only one that gave the Tsa Precheck :p

If another card had it that would be nice since right now only one of us has PreCheck Status.

Why would cash back cards offer Precheck? You guys only have 2 or 3 travel cards.

How many other cards at this price point offer GE/Pre? For the sort of person who would use this card in the first place (ie a non churner) this seems like a nice benefit, though I don’t know the current landscape of options. A year ago it was only available on premium-price cards, I think.

I actually only use the card primarily for the 10k bonus and lounge certs. I usually do it in one shot each year and keep the card in the sock drawer. I will cancel this card. Hopefully the offer me 10k miles each time I try to cancel.

Same here. If they do the same devaluation to the Business versions of this card (which I expect they will), I will cancel this. One of my oldest cards.

10k UA bonus on $25k spend (plus 1 UA/$) nets only 35k UA on $25k.

Why not put $25k on CFU and earn 37.5k UR (which xfer to UA)?
Or put it on BBP and earn 50k MR (which xfer to UA partners like SQ)?

Well, one reason not to put that $25K spend on CFU is because Chase is also rumored to be looking at killing the ability to combine those lesser-UR points earned by CFU with real UR cards…which would turn CFU into a cash-back only card, completely killing its value.

Two days, two disturbing Chase “rumors”.

Now I’m starting to worry that Chase has a bag of new tricks they are about to unload on card holders to make their points less valuable. Ugh.

I guess for PQD waiver?

You better do your shot soon. The newly posted program guide says the $25K has to be completed by May 31,

Every card has $100 for global entry and 2x restaurants. Every card wants to be used at the restaurant now.
I don’t know how good the 2x hotel is since there are hotel cards that offer better returns: 10x IHG, 12 or 14x Hilton, 6x Marriott, 3x Hyatt. It could possibly work for chains without loyalty programs.

Between the new AA bonuses and this card I’d choose the AA card.

The real downside of this card is still that you have to use it on a flight to get free checked bags. Makes it hard to use the UR portal.

Useful if you book via United Miles, however (you pay the fee with the card). Oftentimes a better value than UR booking.

The best way to fly United is to earn Ultimate Rewards points with the Sapphire Reserve card, transfer the points to United’s frequent flyer program, book an award flight with United miles, and pay the taxes and fees with the Explorer card to get all the benefits. It’s a great system!

Also with citi Prestige and Premier and Chase offering 3x Travel & hotels the 2x on hotels with UA isn’t competitive. Maybe a 4x or higher on hotel spend would be tempting

Apparently Chase is matching Citi AA’s recent addition of 2x category

Currently have United MPE. Annual fee hits around October, would I be able to get this $100 Global Entry credit and then cancel the card before the annual fee posts?

Do it soon. Don’t wait until September.

It is good to see net positive changes on a card nowadays.

This is NOT net positive. Far from it. It’s a significant devaluation.
Only on a credit card blog would anyone spin this as an “enhancement”.
They’re removing a 10,000 point bonus and they’re adding 2X at restaurants & hotels. Most of us already have 2X, 3X or better bonus options in those categories on other Chase cards that we hold. LIkewise, the TSA Precheck credit is useless, as so many other cards already have this – who really needs (or can use) 5 different credits for this?

Were you using the 10,000 point bonus, Rod? I was not, because most of my spending went to other cards. I won’t use the 2x points for dining and hotels either, because I can get 3x points from the CSR. So for me, it’s a wash. One benefit I don’t use being swapped out for another benefit I won’t use.

I was, as I’m sure several others were. The 10k point bonus took some of the sting out of having to put $25k on the card for the PQD status wavier.

Yes, I did the $25k spend every year for the 10k bonus points + PQD status. I’ve currently got about 1/3 of that done for this year.

How about the additional Saver level award seats (XN) benefit on United MPE?

Any news on whether this remains 5/24?

Is the signup bonus going to remain the same?

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