The United Explorer Card now comes with 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open. Plus you get 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user on the application. (The AU’s card comes to you, and you don’t have to input a social security number or make a purchase with the card to get the 5k extra miles.)
This limited time offer ends June 2, 2015. The is a huge increase on the previous sign up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.
The card also comes with priority boarding, a free checked bag, two United Club passes per year, and extra award space for cardholders.
- Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 MileagePlus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months + 5,000 more miles for adding an authorized user
- Category Bonuses: 2x on United flights
- Lounge access: two United Club passes per year
- Benefits while flying United: free checked bag and priority boarding
- Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $0 for the first year and $95 thereafter
Sign Up Bonus
The headline sign up bonus is 50,000 United miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the card.
Do not miss the chance to get 5,000 extra miles for adding an authorized user. You are sent the extra card, and you can cut it up if you want. The person you make an authorized user is still eligible to open the United card for himself for 50,000 bonus miles.
- Earn 2x miles on United flights
Get two United Club one-day passes per year. These normally cost $50 each to purchase.
Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees
The United card has a chip for global acceptance, and there are no foreign transaction fees when using the card.
Priority Boarding and a Free Checked Bag
The United card comes with early boarding on United flights, so you will get overhead space for your carry on. Nothing annoys me more than having to gate-check a carry on, so that I am delayed 20 minutes on arrival to collect my bag.
However, if you want to check a bag, you and your companion will get a free checked bag if you use your United card to book a United flight. That’s $25 per person per direction in saved bag fees.
The Card’s Biggest Secret Benefit: Extra Award Space
The card proudly advertises that cardholders get last-seat availability for Standard awards. That means if you are willing to pay twice the price of a Saver award, you can barge onto any flight. This benefit isn’t a big deal to me because Standard awards cost a lot of miles.
Far more important is the secret benefit that Chase and United don’t mention. United Explorer cardholders get extra Saver economy award space on United flights that is normally set aside only for United elites. I wrote about this secret benefit here. If you use this extra Saver award space even once, you way more than pay the annual fee.
The annual fee is $0 for the first year and $95 thereafter. If you cancel the United card to avoid an annual fee, your miles are unaffected. They expire after 18 months of no earning or spending activity in your United account.
The United card joins the growing ranks of 50,000 mile limited time offers. Also check out the AA personal and business cards, the Citi ThankYou Premier, and Citi Prestige. We’re living in an amazing time to get free travel just from signing up for a credit card.