November 15, 2017
United Explorer Card Waiving $95 Annual Fee for First Year
The United Explorer card is United’s entry level credit credit card from Chase. The annual fee remains $95 as it’s always been, but Chase is now waiving that fee for the first year. This could be a good time to sign-up for the card and try it out for a year since it’s free-and it’s a lot cheaper than United’s $450 United Club credit card.
The Explorer card comes with 40,000 Bonus United miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You can earn an additional 5,000 Bonus miles after you add an authorized user and make a purchase within three months of account opening. The card earns 2X United miles per $1 spent on United purchases and 1X mile per $1 on everything else.
The primary card member and one companion traveling on the same reservation each receive one free checked bag per flight (normally $25 for the first checked bag) as long as the Explorer card is used to purchase the tickets. The primary card member and companions on the same reservation also receive priority zone 2 boarding. The card comes with two United Club passes every year and it has no foreign transaction fees. Finally, the Premier Qualifying Dollar requirement for United Elite Status can be waived (up to Premier Platinum Status) by spending $25,000 during the year.
The Explorer card can make sense if you fly United on a somewhat regular basis. We’ve seen the sign-up bonus go as high as 70,000 miles, so the standard 40,000 miles offer isn’t terribly compelling. Earning 2X miles per $1 on United flights isn’t great either since the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 on Travel and those points can be transferred to United at a 1:1 ratio. The card’s redeeming quality is the waived bag fee and priority boarding. You save $25 for yourself and one companion every time you fly United if you have this card, and you also receive priority boarding. If you fly United even a couple times a year, the Explorer card can help you save money.