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New United Mileage Plus Explorer Credit Card Review

As part of the Continental/United merger, the company is changing up its credit cards. I thought I’d a give an overview of the new United Mileage Plus Explorer Card and review its benefits and drawbacks.

The new Visa card replaces the Mileage Plus Visa and the Continental Onepass Plus Mastercard, and offers a bit of a mashup between the benefits of those two cards. A quick review of the new card:

- $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
- 30,000 bonus miles for signing up
- 5,000 bonus miles for first purchase and for adding a new cardholder
- 10,000 bonus miles after $25,000 in spend (the 40,000 mile bonus they advertise is a combo of those 3)
- 2 Presidents Club passes
- First bag checked free

It’s $10 more than the old Continental card (though the same price as the old United Select card; the United Signature was only $60 but had a lower bonus and a handful of fewer benefits around bonus miles), and gives the same signup bonus as the Continental card (which is 5,000 miles less than the 30k bonus you used to get after $250 in spend with the old United card).

To sum: Like much of the United/Continental merger, the new card is a pretty equitable smushing together of the two companies’ products. Last year United offered a 50,000 mile bonus for their credit card, so unless you’re desperate for Onepass miles your may want to hold off 6 months to see if they re-introduce a similar offer.

If you ARE desperate for Onepass miles, your best bet right now is to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card (apply here), which offers 40,000 bonus points (which can be transferred to Onepass at a 1:1 ratio) after just $3,000 in spend with the first year fee waived. This bonus may not last much longer, and it’s a much better deal than the United Explorer Card.



Leave a comment ?


  1. I was promised 50,000 miles on first use as a Premier Executive member. They have refused to give me the 50,000 miles. They only gave me 25,000. People be aware of this problem. They refuse to even read the email where it was promised to me. :sad:

  2. How does this effect Premier Members who already have a 2 bag allowance for United flights? If I read this correctly, we lose one bag and cannot combine our elite status with the Explorer Card.

  3. Does the Mileage Plus Explorer entitle me to use the United Club every time I fly or is there a limit?

  4. I have tried to find an explanation of what “miles” means with any of these cards. Preferably the MCard Saphire. But it’s a complete mystery. In other words, for 40,000 bonus “miles,” how much credit do I get for a United ticket. Also, assuming it’s .02 per mile, as someone suggested, does that apply to all United flights equally (and all included airlines). For example, all seasons, all flights, and including flights already discounted, and including foreign flights?
    - – It’s a basic question, but it’s pretty important if I want to compare benefits of different cards, and I don’t see it answered in any of the ads.


    • Whew – that’s a big question. In short:

      - Sapphire card gets you points in their Ultimate Rewards program, which can then be transferred to United.

      - 25,000 United miles gets you a roundtrip coach flight within the US. 60,000 gets you a flight to Europe. You can certainly find out the details on their website. Those redemption rates are the same whether you fly on United or one of their partners.

  5. I just got a n Explorer business card and intend to cancel my United Mileage plus business card. Want to make certain that the miles I currently have will NOT expire and that new miles will merely be added to the balance (as I will still have a United Credit card – just a different one)

  6. This is about 2 Programs and my experiences. United Mileage Plus and/or the Chase Card for United Mileage Plus.
    Member of United Mileage Plus for a few years.
    True Experiences in the last 3 months
    1. Mileage does get credited in a timely fashion.
    Ordered flowers from FTD in December 2011. 10 weeks have passed and the 1800 miles have not been applied to the account. Supposed to appear with 6-8 weeks. FTD says they sent the information to United. United says they did not receive it.
    2. Mileage does get credited in a timely fashion.
    Flew 2 legs of a trip on the same day and only one leg of the trip shows on my account. Called and wrote customer relations and there has been no response.
    3. Using Mileage and booking within 21 days of travel costs $80 extra. (Can’t use miles)
    4. Most all flights of in US I have found are 50,000 miles round trip. This is contrary to what is told to you in the airports when you are solicited. They tell you 25,000 miles. The people flagging you down in airport do not work for United or Chase, they are hired marketers.
    5. If you use your Chase United Mileage Plus car to pay and book the flight you are to receive Priority Boarding. Out of FOUR times checking in online I received it ONE time. When you call to get it fixed you are told to go the agent at the airport and it will be fixed. The agents have given excuses to it’s NOT included to the website it’s not working properly and they can not correct it at the counter. Even when I brought the Chase Offers on the last flight they still could not correct it.
    6. Calling United leads to wait times of 30-60 minutes and nothing can be done on the phone.
    7. Phone support seems to be offshore and worthless most of the time
    8. When United switched to the new website on March 3, 2012 ALL activity is not view able from before Mid February 2012. NOTHING

    In my opinion everything one has to do with this program is an uphill battle. The promises are big and the reality of what reality happens does NOT MATCH the offers, promises and hype.

    Holder of Chase Credit Card since November 2011.
    1. All offers advertised are for 40,000 miles. My offer in the mail was for 60,000 miles
    2. Good customer service on the phone.
    3. Chase admits United is having problems.
    4. Dispute any charge where mileage has not been applied. Let Chase and United work in out.

  7. This card lies about it’s benefits- it’s absolute crap!
    First year fee waived- nope got you a month later.
    2 passes to the Club lounge, yep after you have had the card for 1 YEAR, yes 1 YEAR, then they’ll give you 2 club passes. REALLY, how bad is that advertising. Oh but wait, there’s more. First checked bag is free, ONLY IF YOU USED YOUR EXPLORER CARD TO BUY THE FARE!!! Not if you used your mileage plus card, because you didn’t have your explorer card in time! Complete a–holes without a doubt! And Chase supports that? Nice way to do business.

  8. The free bag is worthless to me as code share flights are excepted. Out of Palm Springs, united uses United Express, which is considered a code share flight. Thus no free bag. They don’t tell you this before you sign up.

  9. the explorer plus folks were good to me. i hadn’t recieved, or lost the club passes, and they send me two replacment ones within a week or two. :wink:

  10. Mileage Plus Credit Card | Complete Information - pingback on December 9, 2012 at 5:46 am

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