Monday, August 4, 2014

United Airlines Explorer credit card now with 50,000 miles sign-up bonus

Through September 2nd, the United Airlines Explorer credit card is offering a beefy sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.  50k is the best sign-up bonus we've seen in years for this card, and a $2k minimum spend is very reasonable.

The UA Explorer card by Chase is one of the best cards for those who don't fly enough to attain elite status with UA as it offers priority boarding and a free checked bag.  Some of the other useful benefits include no foreign exchange transaction fees and complimentary primary vehicle rental insurance coverage.  The vast majority of credit cards only offer secondary rental insurance, which only kicks in if your personal auto insurance coverage is insufficient.  However, with car rentals paid with the UA Explorer card, damages to your rental vehicle will be covered in full, and your personal auto insurance won't even be notified.  This also further negates the need of buying collision waiver damage coverage from the rental company, which could easily add $10-$15 per day to your rate.

UA's mileage award chart took a serious beating this past February, and Star Alliance partner travel was affected the most.  Nonetheless, 50k miles can still get you 2 roundtrip economy flights in the contiguous U.S. or one roundtrip first class flight, which is best redeemed towards UA's transcontinental premium service (p.s.) between SFO/LAX and JFK.  These seats feature international business class configurations, which are fully lie-flat.

UA p.s. B752 configuration featuring int'l biz class seats

Among the other notable benefits of this card:
  • 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 in net purchases on your card each year
  • 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months
  • No foreign exchange transaction fees
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar spend on all other purchases
  • Miles don't expire
  • Complimentary trip cancellation insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year

Bottom line

Even in light of recent devaluations, this is still a really good sign-up bonus.  Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Sapphire and Ink Plus/Bold cards can also be transferred to UA miles at a 1:1 ratio, which is a good way to top off miles.  Offer expires on September 2nd, but can be rescinded by Chase at anytime, so best not to delay.  Only new applicants who have not received a sign-up bonus with this card within the past 24 months are eligible for this card.