Published on November 10th, 2017 | by William Charles39
Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card Review
The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card is Chase’s entry level United card. It comes with an annual fee of $95, priority boarding, a free checked bag and a sign up bonus of 40,000 miles. In this unbiased review we will be looking at both the positives and negatives of this card.
- 1 Application Information
- 2 Rewards Program
- 3 Card Benefits
- 4 Our Verdict
- 5 F.A.Q’s & Tips
- 6 Card Changes
One of the important things to know about this card is that the 5/24 rule applies to it. The good thing about United cards is that they are only Chase co-branded card that shows up in ‘selected for you’ offers and in branch pre-approvals. Both of these bypass that 5/24 rule. Please remember that if Chase denies you for this card that you should call the Chase reconsideration line to try and overturn the decision. If you’re new to calling reconsideration, read this guide first.
What Credit Score Is Required
|Lowest approved score||596|
|Average approved score||718|
Common Reasons For Denial:
- Chase 5/24 rule does apply to this card. You will not be approved for this card if you have opened 5 or more bank cards in the past 24 months
What Credit Bureau Does Chase Pull For The United MileagePlus Explorer ?
The bureau that Chase pulls depends on what region you reside in. We have more complete information on this here.
What Credit Limit Will I Receive?
As far as I know this card requires a minimum credit limit of $5,000. If Chase states that one of the reasons they have denied you the card is due to maximum credit extended it’s usually possible to ask them to reallocate your existing credit limits with them to this new card.
|Minimum Credit Limit||Highest Reported Credit Limit||Average Credit Limit|
This card earns United miles at the following rates:
- 2x miles per $1 spent on United purchases
- 1x miles per $1 spent on all other purchases
In addition you can get bonus miles for meeting specific spend thresholds. As follows:
- Spend $25,000 or more in a calendar year and receive 10,000 bonus miles
Sign Up Bonus
Current Sign Up Bonus
- 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus 5,000 miles after you add an authorized user and make your first purchase within the first three months.
Sign Up Bonus History
It seems that generally the best public bonuses are 50,000 miles + 5,000 miles + $50 statement credit and the best targeted bonuses are 70,000 miles + 5,000 miles + $50 statement credit.
- August 2nd, 2017: Referral links offering 50,000 mile bonus
- June 16th, 2016: 55,000 Mile + $50 Offer
- May 31st, 2016: 55,000 mile offer
- April 25, 2015: 55,000 mile offer + $50 offer
- August 1st, 2014: 65,000 miles + $50
- August 1st, 2017: [Targeted] Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Sign Up Bonus Of 60,000 Miles + $100
- March 16th – July 31st, 2017: 70,000 miles + $50
- February 1st – March 15th, 2017: 70,000 miles + $50
- January 16th, 2017: 50,000 miles + $50 statement credit
- October 20th, 2016: [YMMV] Chase United MileagePlus Explorer 55,000 Miles
- June 1st – June 30th, 2016: 75,000 Miles + $50 Statement Credit
- December 21st, 2015: 55,000 miles
- December 18th, 2014: 55,000 miles
- October 19th, 2017: [YMMV] Chase United Spending Bonuses
- June 15th, 2016: Earn 500 United Miles For Enrolling In Visa Checkout & Spending $5 With Chase United MileagePlus Visa Card
- Miles do not expire as long as card stays open
First Bag Free
You and a companion receive your first bag free on flights operated by United (code share flights are ineligible for this benefit). The primary cardholders MileagePlus account number must be listed on the reservation and they must use this card to pay for their tickets to be eligible for this benefit. This is a savings of $25 per person one way (or $50 per person return). You can read more about this benefit here.
Primary cardholders and companions traveling on the same reservation/itinerary receive priority boarding on flights operated by United (code share flights are ineligible for this benefit). You will be able to board before general boarding after MileagePlus Premier members, customers with Premier Access and travelers that require special assistance.
Two United Club Passes Annually
You’ll receive two United Club one-time passes after account opening and every 12 months as long as your card remains open. Each pass gives one person access to a United Club location. Passes cannot be sold or traded and as of November 2017 are issued digitally.
Increased Shopping Portal Rates
United has a shopping portal that lets you earn miles for making purchases at online retailers. By holding this card you can sometimes earn at a higher rate than a non cardholder can. Comparison site cashbackmonitor always shows this difference. Usually it’s a difference of 0.5 miles per $1 spent. Make sure you compare to other shopping portals as well, as United typically does not offer the best rate.
If you spend $25,000 or more in net purchases during an applicable calendar year on MileagePlus co-branded cards issued by Chase then you receive a PQD (Premier Qualifying Dollar) waiver for Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum. It’s not possible to receive a waiver for Premier 1k qualification. More about this benefit and PQD in general can be found here.
MPX 25% Bonus
Chase cardholders receive a 25% bonus on miles awarded by MileagePlus for purchases made through MileagePlus X. Read our review of MPX here.
Increased Award Availability
This card let’s you “Use miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight” and at the saver award level. This makes it much easier to find award space.
- No foreign transaction fees. Fairly self explanatory. There are a number of cards with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees if that’s solely what you’re looking for.
- Primary Rental Car Insurance. This is one of the few cards that offers primary rental car insurance, most cards only offer secondary rental car insurance.
- Price Protection. All Chase cards offer price protection, you can read more about this benefit here.
The main attraction to this card is the sign up bonus, I personally think you should only sign up for the card if you’re getting a bonus of 70,000 miles if you’re under 5/24 as it’s fairly easy to get targeted for those offers and this will take up one of your 5/24 slots so to speak. If you’re over 5/24 and receive a selected for you or in branch pre-approval then taking a offer of 40,000-50,000 miles is fine as it’s basically not possible to get anything better.
The card itself does provide some value for United flyers, but the annual fee of $95 makes it not worth keeping in most cases. The United Club passes do have some value, as does the free checked bag. United Premier silver members also receive a free checked bag so if you already fly United frequently that benefit might actually be worthless for you. Earning 2x miles on United flights also isn’t great when other Chase cards earn 2-3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all travel purchases and these points transfer to United miles at a 1:1 rate. For example:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points per $1 spent on travel (including United flights), annual fee of $95
- Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points per $1 spent on travel (including United flights), annual fee of $450
It is a good card in that first year and worth considering if you’re under 5/24 (and also worth checking those in branch and selected for you offers). It’s just a shame it’s not open to more people. At the current bonus of 40,000 miles I wouldn’t recommend anybody sign up due to the fact that they offer better bonuses on a frequent basis.
F.A.Q’s & Tips
Do targeted offers bypass 5/24?
No, only ‘selected for you’ and in branch pre-approvals by pass the 5/24 rule unfortunately.
General Chase Tips/Q&A
I can’t more strongly recommend that you read our post ‘things everybody should know about Chase cards‘. It contains a lot of answers to frequently asked questions in addition to some tips you might not know.
Tips For Getting Targeted
This card very frequently offers targeted sign up bonuses (see above), these are generally much better than the public offers. All of the following have helped people get targeted in the past:
- Make small MPX purchases
- Sign up for MileagePlus Dining
- Book a United flight(can cancel within 24 hours for free)
- Create a United Gift Registry and wait to get targeted
- Create a new United MileagePlus account and try direct link thru it
Chase has several United cards that aren’t available for public sign up, but they are available for product changes/downgrades. These cards are:
- Chase United MileagePlus Awards Visa Signature – $60 Annual Fee, Free Carry On & Increased Award Inventory
- Chase United MileagePlus Rewards No Annual Fee Card – Review
- November, 2017: Club Passes are now issued digitally
- May 1st, 2015: New Chase United Card Designs With EMV Chips