Published on April 26th, 2018 | by William Charles53
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.