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The standard public offer for the main United credit card from Chase has let you earn 40,000 miles. More miles have mostly been available on a targeted basis. And the card has usually had its $95 annual fee apply straight away in the first year.
However Chase has come out with the biggest public offer I’ve ever seen for the UnitedSM Explorer Card.
65,000 United Miles Available for Limited Time
The UnitedSM Explorer Card has a 65,000 mile offer: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open. (Earning the full bonus requires just an average of $1667 per month in spend.)
The card’s annual fee is $0 the first year ($95 thereafter). This is a better bonus than I’ve ever gotten for the card myself.
The Card’s Overall Value
This is a great card to get for its attractive bonus, and also a great one for many to keep for the benefits — if you fly United regularly but not often enough to earn status.
That’s because it gets you priority boarding, 2 club passes per year, and a free checked bag. (The checked bag and priority boarding benefits will also confer to a traveling companion on the same reservation).
Cardholders, like United elite members, receive last seat availability when redeeming for standard (additional miles for better inventory) awards. And elite members with the card are eligible for upgrades on domestic coach redemptions.
Is United Explorer Even the Best Card to Earn United Miles?
I still believe that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, whose points transfer directly to United or a variety of other airlines and hotel programs, is better for earning United miles from spending than this card is.
That’s because while the UnitedSM Explorer Card offers double points on United purchases, restaurants, and hotel stays, Sapphire Preferred will earn faster — because all airline travel in addition to hotels and restaurants earn double points. And those points transfer to United if you wish or to other airlines giving you greater flexibility.
Both UnitedSM Explorer Card and Sapphire Preferred offer no foreign transaction fees, and primary collision coverage when you rent cars — a benefit that could alone make either card worth keeping if you rent cars with any frequency.
UnitedSM Explorer Card is great for the bonus, and great for United flyers looking to get out of having to spend a minimum on United tickets for status — $25,000 spend on the card in a year exempts a member from the spending requirement to earn up to Platinum status — or who is looking for some of the benefits that approximate the entry level elite status.
The 75,000 miles you’d earn from this bonus after meeting the bonus requirements is enough for a one-way business class ticket to or from Europe, Asia, or Australia on United. Combine that with points from Sapphire and you’ve got another one-way international premium cabin award pretty quickly.