The United℠ Explorer Card from Chase comes with a slew of valuable benefits for a modest $95 annual fee (waived the first year). The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, opens up additional award space on United-operated flights and comes with an attractive welcome bonus. Let’s go through this card’s benefits to see if it’s right for you.

united mileageplus

Welcome Bonus

The United℠ Explorer Card comes with a generous welcome bonus. The bonus fluctuates and often goes as high as 60,000 United miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

There are lots of great ways to use 60,000 United miles. For example, this is enough for a one-way business class ticket to Europe on United Airlines. Or you can fly round-trip to the Caribbean for 35,000 United miles and have enough miles left over for a couple of short domestic trips.

Even better, you can use United miles to book any Star Alliance carrier + Aer Lingus. Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance, so you can fly anywhere in the world on a partner airline, such as Lufthansa, ANA or Asiana.

Chase United Explorer Bonus Categories

United℠ Explorer Card earns 2X points per dollar in these categories:

  • Restaurants and eligible delivery services, including Grubhub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
  • Hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel
  • Purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • The card earns 1X on all other purchases.

Two United Club Passes per Year

The card comes with two United Club one-time passes. The passes will be deposited into your MileagePlus account after account opening and each year on your cardmember anniversary. United Clubs are a good place to relax before your flight or during long layovers.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Statement Credit

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck make travel infinitely easier. When you charge the application fee for either program on the United℠ Explorer Card, you’ll get up to $100 as a statement credit every four years.


No Foreign Transaction Fees

There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made with United℠ Explorer Card outside the U.S. So when you use the United℠ Explorer Card abroad, you are saving 1-3% in fees that many other cards charge.

Free Checked Bag

Traveling with checked bags? United℠ Explorer Card has you covered. The primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first standard checked bag free. That’s a $35 value for the first checked bag, each way, per person on United-operated flights.

You’ll have to purchase tickets or pay the taxes and fees on award tickets with the United℠ Explorer Card to be eligible. This even works with Basic Economy tickets.

Hot Tip

The United℠ Explorer Card is a great card for anyone who flies on United-operated flights a couple times a year or more.

Access to Extra Award Space on United Flights

United elites and cardholders get better economy award space availability on United-operated flights. Considering how difficult it is nowadays to earn elite status with any airline, this is one of the best perks of the card.

travel booking, hotels and flights reservation on the screen of computer

25% Back in Inflight Purchases

When you pay with your Explorer Card, you’ll earn 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi onboard United-operated flights. Everything aboard a plane is expensive, so that’s a great benefit that helps offset the cost of food and drinks during your flight. 

Priority Boarding

This benefit is invaluable for anyone who likes to book Basic Economy fares on United. The primary Cardmember and companions on the same reservation can board United-operated flights prior to general boarding. So even if you booked the cheapest fare, you know you’d be among the first to board the plane.

To receive priority boarding, you’ll need to add your MileagePlus number to your reservation and purchase tickets or pay the taxes and fees on award tickets with the United℠ Explorer Card.

priority boarding

Priority business and first class boarding sign at an airport

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

If your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours and hotels.

If the flight is delayed 12 hours or more, trip interruption insurance will reimburse up to $500 per ticket in hotels, meals and transportation expenses. Don’t forget to get the documentation from the airline to verify the flight delay and keep all the receipts.

To be eligible for this benefit, you’ll need to purchase the ticket or pay the taxes and fees on an award ticket with the United℠ Explorer Card.

Baggage Delay Insurance

If your bags are delayed at least six hours, you are eligible for reimbursement for the emergency purchase of essential items, such as toiletries, clothing and chargers for electronic devices (limit one per device). This is limited to $100 per day, up to a maximum of three days.

The baggage delay benefit applies if your bags are delayed or misdirected for more than six hours and for each additional 24 hour period your baggage is delayed for a maximum of five days.

You must book your plane tickets or pay the taxes and fees on an award ticket with the United℠ Explorer Card to be eligible.

travel protection

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Airline lost or damaged your bags? United Explorer has you covered. If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

Travel Accident Insurance

The card comes with accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000. Remember to pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your United℠ Explorer Card in order to be eligible for this benefit.

Rental Car Coverage

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is one of the best benefits of the United℠ Explorer Card. Just decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your United℠ Explorer Card.

The best part is, the coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. So if something happens to your rental car, you don’t have to involve your own insurance and chance a rate increase of your car insurance premium.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

As United℠ Explorer Cardmember, you’ll enjoy special complimentary guest privileges at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties. The benefits include daily breakfast for two, complimentary Wi-Fi and a special benefit unique to each property. This could be a dining or spa credit, greens fees or other privileges.

Other perks available at select locations include a room upgrade when available, and early check-in and late check-out when available. Benefits are available only when you book through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection using your Explorer Card.

This could be a great value at properties with high food and beverage prices and can save you hundreds of dollars on a hotel stay.

Maldives, tropical paradise - Ayada Island

Concierge Services

Complimentary concierge services are usually associated with cards with much higher annual fees. The concierge can help find a great new restaurant or book theater or concert tickets. The United℠ Explorer Card concierge services can give you personalized assistance with reservations, referrals and recommendations anywhere in the world.

Going to a new city? Contact the concierge for a city guide that includes attractions, day trips, shopping and restaurant recommendations.


Concierge desk at luxury hotel

Purchase and Extended Warranty Protection

If something you purchased with your United℠ Explorer Card is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase, you may be eligible for reimbursement.

You can be reimbursed up to the total purchase price of your item for a maximum of $10,000 for each claim and up to $50,000 dollars for each account..

Some items, such as antiques and collectables, are excluded.

Purchasing something that has a warranty? Use your United℠ Explorer Card to extend the time period for the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year (on eligible warranties of three years or less).

Final Thoughts

The United℠ Explorer Card is a great card for anyone who flies on United-operated flights a couple times a year or more. If you check bags or value priority boarding, the card pays for itself after just a couple of flights and significantly improves your travel experience. And considering that the first year there’s no annual fee, this is an exceptional bargain.

The card also comes with benefits usually associated with more expensive cards, such as access to LHR Hotels & Resorts Collection benefits and concierge services.

In short, unlike other cards, United Explorer has benefits and perks that you are actually likely to use, even as an occasional United flier.