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United Explorer Card – Full Review [2023]

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Jarrod West

Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited: 24

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...
Edited by: Juan Ruiz

Juan Ruiz

Compliance Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 40U.S. States Visited: 27

Juan has been involved in credit cards, loyalty, travel, and personal finance for more than 10 years. He has worked for several outlets including The Points Guy and Forbes and was previously Editor-in...
& Kellie Jez

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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United℠ Explorer Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
  • 60,000 miles

  • $95

  • Good to Excellent (670-850)

United℠ Explorer Card

With priority boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fees and more, MileagePlus members will definitely enjoy their partnered card.

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
Learn More

(at Chase's secure site)

You travel United all the time, but you have heard that there could be ways to make your travel experiences even better, including priority boarding, free bags, and more miles.

You should consider the United℠ Explorer Card, because this card does all that and more!

Card Details
Pros & Cons
More Reads

60,000 miles

Learn More

(at Chase's secure site)

Great Card If

  • United is your favorite or most frequently traveled airline, along with the rest of the Star Alliance airlines
  • You want the full range of travel insurances available through your credit card

Don’t Get If

  • You don’t have a United hub near you or don’t fly much on Star Alliance
  • You’d rather have more frills for your card benefits

United Explorer Card — Is It Worth It?

The United Explorer card features tons of great benefits that regular United flyers are sure to love.

Not only does the card help you earn more United miles, but it helps you save money on each flight as well by offering benefits like free checked bags and a 25% discount on inflight purchases.

Further, the card offers solid travel protections, and even offers complimentary upgrades when booking award tickets on United.

Given all of the benefits the card offers, if you are someone who flies fairly often with United, then the United Explorer card would likely be very worth it for you.

United Explorer Card Top Benefits

United Explorer Card Benefits

Here is a glance at all of the best benefits that the card offers to you on your United flights.

  • Free Checked Bag for You and a Traveling Companion — Save up to $35 value, each way, per person, for a total savings of $140
  • Priority Boarding — Allows you and your companion to board before general boarding
  • 25% Back on United Inflight Purchases — Includes food, beverages, and Wi-Fi
  • 2 United Club 1-time Passes Each Year — Kick back and relax in a United Club lounge before your flight
  • Premier Upgrades on Award Tickets — You and your companion are eligible for a 1-class (space available) upgrade on United award tickets
  • Earn Premier Qualifying Points — 500 PQPs for every $12,000 you spend on the card, with a limit of 1,000 PQPs each year

United Explorer Card Protections

Of course, it’s not all about points and perks, so here are the ways your card keeps you covered when things go wrong.

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours you are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, for up to $500 per ticket
  • Baggage Delay Insurance — Provides coverage for essentials like toiletries and clothing if your baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours, for up to $100 a day for 3 days
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — If the airline loses your luggage, you’ll be covered for up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance — Reimbursement of up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses if your trip is canceled or cut short by a covered situation
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance — Coverage that kicks in before your personal auto insurance
  • Purchase Protection — New purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
  • Extended Warranty Protection — Extends the warranty of a purchased item by 1 additional year if the standard warranty is 3 years or less

How To Earn and Redeem United Miles

Once you’ve got a United card to use for your daily purchases, you might also wonder what else you can do to earn more miles. Fortunately, there are quite a few options! We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that breaks down all of the best options to help you earn more United miles.

When you’ve built up a nice balance of United miles, then you get to plan out your next trip! While there is no shortage of ways to redeem your United miles, if you want to get as much value out of them as possible, then read through our guide on the best ways to redeem your United miles.

Alternatives to the United Explorer Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you want a card that earns transferable rewards for the same annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would be the card for you.

The card earns 5x points per $1 on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points per $1 on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services, and 2x points per $1 on all other travel purchases. Plus, the points you earn can be transferred at a 1:1 rate to many of the Chase transfer partners — including United.

United Quest℠ Card

If you’re a loyal United flyer, but are looking for a card that offers more perks than the United Explorer card, then the United Quest card would be an excellent option.

For starters, it earns 3x miles per $1 on United purchases instead of 2x with the United Explorer card. Further, the card offers all the benefits that the United Explorer card offers, plus a $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits each year, and a second free checked bag on all United flights.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.



September 18, 2018

Great overview of the card but there’s one other benefit to the card you didn’t mention. It boosts miles earned buying gift cards through the MileagePlus X shopping app by 25% and the miles you earn through the online shopping portal. When you combine purchases there with purchases through the online shopping portal you can rack up a ton of miles since the United shopping portal doesn’t care if you pay with a gift card.

Stephen Au

September 18, 2018

Great point, Jeff! We’ll update this post accordingly! Thanks for the tip!


October 29, 2020

Is this still valid? (The bonus miles for shopping through the online portal?)

Christine Krzyszton

October 29, 2020

Here is the link to the 25% bonus for purchasing eGift cards via the MileagePlus X app and a link to the shopping portal for the additional miles for shopping there. MileagePlus X bonus: United Shopping Portal:

Juan Garcia

April 23, 2019

😡😡 This Card is not better than American Express. I have been a Chase Customer since the ’80s and they do nothing for you. I had a home Fire where I lost everything I owned recently… they cared less… I had bought an international trip with the card and they had the nerve to tell me my trip was not covered – I lost my USA PASSPORT in the fire and could not travel and couldn’t get the passport in time. They told me I had to be dead to get reimbursed… can you believe that!?! I will not be using this card or any chase card to purchase travel in the future… thinking strongly about switching my banking elsewhere since there is no customer appreciation at all. American Express is the way to go when buying travel.


June 05, 2019

What good is the initial offer, if you can’t actually use the card to purchase your flight until you have a card in hand? This is not the case with other airlines/cards.

Jarrod West

June 08, 2019

Hi KB,

Do you mean what is the initial sign-up offer good for? If you aren’t able to use those miles immediately for the flight you’re about to purchase, you can still use them for future flights!


September 23, 2020

What do you think of travel card benefits in COVID and post-COVID world when many of us will not travel much? I am thinking of getting rid of cards focused on airline travel and hotels (United and Marriott) and just keep pure cash-back and cards giving benefits on dining. Can revisit after a couple of years.

Jarrod West

September 24, 2020


It really just depends on your preferences. I am optimistic that travel will eventually return back to normal, so I am not planning on canceling any of my travel cards at this time.


October 24, 2022

In another article, you state that the United Explorer card offers primary rental car Insurance and in this article it states secondary. That’s a huge difference, which is it?

Jarrod West

October 25, 2022

Hi Jay,

The United Explorer card offers primary rental car insurance. This post has been updated.


November 10, 2022

I applied for the United explorer card on October 22 through Chase. The $95 annual fee was $0 for 1st year and it had a bonus of 80,000 miles but when card was issued it was for 60,000 miles after $3000 spent in 3 months. I know this was not the original offer is there a way to check?

Jarrod West

November 10, 2022

Hi Kerri,

Did you by chance take a screen shot of the offer before you applied for it? Have you contacted Chase about this?


December 06, 2022

The Explorer Card terms say “You will receive one (1) statement credit (up to $100) every four (4) years after the first program (either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS) application fee is charged to your United℠ Explorer Card by you or an authorized user.” I used to have an Explorer Card, but cancelled it before having to pay the annual fee. The terms make it sound like the stand-down on that benefit is on the card rather than the owner of the account. So if I got a new card within the four year window do you know if I can get the benefit again? I had assumed not until I read the terms just now.

Jarrod West

December 13, 2022

Hi G,

My guess would be yes that you would receive the benefit, but you might want to check with Chase to double-check.


March 22, 2023

I just looked at my United Explorer card benefits, and don’t see any CLEAR or GE benefits. It does show an annual $100 statement credit for United flights.
Am I confused??

Christine Krzyszton

March 22, 2023

Hi Suzanne. The United Explorer card shows coverage for the reimbursement of Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or the NEXUS fee (up to $100) under Travel Benefits. You can also check your Guide to Benefits or call the number on the back of your card.


March 29, 2023

I am flying United to Barcelona in May. Thinking about getting the card for the free year (intro $0) in order to have the 2 club passes for this trip. How quickly do they issue the club passes? Do I need to spend a minimum amount to get those? Flying out of IAD and it doesn’t appear that my Priority Pass membership will do much in the C & D concourses that United typically flies from. Thanks.

Jarrod West

March 29, 2023

Hi Amy,

You should receive the club passes right away.


April 08, 2023

Traveling internationally in two weeks. If I or my travelling companion come down with COVID a few days before the trip and have to cancel; am I covered under this card for trip interruption/ cancellation? thanks!

Christine Krzyszton

April 09, 2023

Hi Rich. Your illness, or that of a traveling companion, is a covered event for trip cancelation so there should be coverage. Of course, terms and conditions apply.

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