Chase Now Waiving First Year Fee on United Explorer Card

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United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Chase is now waiving the first year fee on the United Explorer Card. So while 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend on purchases in the first 3 months after account open isn’t the biggest we’ve seen, it’s a true net benefit not offset by a first year fee. (After the $0 the first year annual fee it is then $95.)

What’s great about the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is the travel benefits when flying United. You get first bag for free when you use your card to purchase your ticket. You get priority boarding (avoid having to gate check your carry on, and indeed on a Basic Economy fare you can still bring on a full-sized carry on bag since the Basic Economy prohibition on full-sized carry on bags is handled via boarding group).

With this card you’ll get 2 one-time United Club passes each year for your account anniversary as well.

Cardmembers get access to last seat availability on extra miles awards as well as extra saver award availability that general members don’t have. Elites with the card can receive complimentary domestic upgrades on award tickets.

The really feature-rich card for United regulars is the United MileagePlus® Club Card — which has its own signup bonus, something that’s been missing from the card in the past, 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Spending will earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases. And this $450 annual fee card comes with United Club membership and travel benefits like first and second checked bag free when you use the card to purchase your ticket. It comes with priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling.

However the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is a great tool for someone who flies United semi-regularly but not enough to earn elite status, since mnay of the benefits of the card approximate was entry-level status would be like. And you can get it now with bonus miles and not even pay an annual fee for the first year.

Either card of course is good for someone looking to waive United’s ‘premier qualfiying dollars’ minimum spend for elite status (up to Platinum, the 75,000 mile tier) via credit card spend, as combined spend of $25,000 or more on a United co-brand credit card can take the place of that requirement for a U.S.-based member.

Both cards of course are subject to ‘5/24’ meaning they’re most appropriate for folks that haven’t signed up for 5 or more new cards in the last 24 months.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Not bad for rookies but sometimes if you sign into your account and if you don’t have the card currently they will offer you 70k miles with a 3k spend and waive the first year fee. That’s the holy grail. Then downgrade to the no annual fee card with almost no benefits to keep your account active until the next good UA offer- typically every 2 years.

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