Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

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ASpenderInRecovery
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:17 am

Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:07 pm

Bogleheads,

Let me preface this with I am not super savvy/strategic with credit card rewards programs and historically have limited my credit cards to avoid excessive hard inquiries. I pay off my cards monthly so when this offer came up I was intrigued.

I'm curious what the opinions are for those that have experience with United credit cards or specifically any experience with the United Explorer Card. I travel every other month for business through United as well as use United a couple times a year for trips to see family and vacations. Since I'm decently tall and take 3-4 hour flights I find myself opting for the cheap upgrades for extra legroom. Not a huge fan of general boarding as I rarely get overhead bin space. Would like to better capture mileage points that I am earning through reimbursable business travel anyway.

Current Offer:
- 60,000 bonus miles after $3k spent in the first 3 months
- 5,000 miles after adding an authorized user
- 1 free checked bag each way for me and a guest
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club passes
- 2 miles for every $1 spent at United, restaurants, and hotel accomodations
- 1 mile earned for every $1 spent otherwise
- $0 fee 1st year and $95 annually after

Is this a decent offer and would you apply in my situation?
Last edited by ASpenderInRecovery on Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SlowMovingInvestor
Posts: 736
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:19 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:07 pm
Bogleheads,

Let me preface this with I am not super savvy/strategic with credit card rewards programs and historically have limited my credit cards. I pay off my cards monthly so when this offer came up I was intrigued.

I'm curious what the opinions are for those that have experience with United credit cards or specifically any experience with the United Explorer Card. I travel every other month for business through United as well as use United a couple times a year for trips to see family and vacations. Since I'm decently tall and take 3-4 hour flights I find myself opting for the cheap upgrades for extra legroom. Not a huge fan of general boarding as I rarely get overhead bin space. Would like to better capture mileage points that I am earning through reimbursable business travel anyway.

Current Offer:
- 60,000 bonus miles after $3k spent in the first 3 months
- 5,000 miles after adding an authorized user
- 1 free checked bag each way for me and a guest
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club passes
- 2 miles for every $1 spent at United, restaurants, and hotel accomodations
- 1 mile earned for every $1 spent otherwise
This is pretty much their standard offer (60K and the other stuff). Priority boarding is really not that priority, but a notch above general boarding. The free checked bag is a +. I rarely find myself able to use the United Club passes.

You do get slightly expanded access to award seats with the card. That can be very useful for international business class. I keep this card primarily for that reason, and because with Chase's new policies, it would be hard for me to get the card again and churn the bonus. Even a marginally better chance of scoring an international biz class ticket is worth $95/year to me.
Last edited by SlowMovingInvestor on Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KT785
Posts: 233
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm

May be helpful to know which airports you frequent . . . other cards (AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, etc.) provide better lounge access though it wouldn't be in United lounges.

Also, to confirm, are you booking all business travel arrangements for yourself and getting reimbursed? AMEX Platinum provides 5x points on airfare and Chase Sapphire Reserve provides 3x points on the broader "travel" category as well as 3x points on dining.

Both the Plat and CSR have higher annual fees, but the rewards and benefits would potentially be higher. Also of note, the Chase rewards currency (Ultimate Rewards) can be converted 1-to-1 to United miles; AMEX MR points can be converted to miles, but not to United IIRC.

I have both the Plat and CSR, as well as a Delta Platinum card (Delta is my preferred airline) but the Delta card also comes with an annual companion pass in addition to the baggage and boarding perks.

The lower annual feel Chase Sapphire Preferred may also be an option worth considering instead.

Additional information about your situation would be helpful.
Last edited by KT785 on Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MikeG62
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Location: New Jersey

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm

I just got this card myself (for the second time). Nice bonus miles and as you point out priority boarding and free checked bag.

I would not count on being able to use the lounge passes. Many lounges are blacked out (such as in EWR). However maybe your experience will be better.

Do you normally charge $3,000 in three months? If so and given your travel habits I’d say yes - go for it.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

obgraham
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by obgraham » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:28 pm

For me this card is worthwhile because I do have to use United a lot where I need to fly. The baggage fee rebate alone pays for the card.

The lounge pass, though, is really annoying. You get there, figure "I'll hang with the rich dudes", and they take one look at your pass and kick you out. Sort of goes along with UA's general disdain for its customers.

ASpenderInRecovery
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:29 pm

KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
May be helpful to know which airports you frequent . . . other cards (AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, etc.) provide better lounge access though it wouldn't be in United lounges.

Also, to confirm, are you booking all business travel arrangements for yourself and getting reimbursed? AMEX Platinum provides 5x points on airfare and Chase Sapphire Reserve provides 3x points on the broader "travel" category as well as 3x points on dining.

Both the Plat and CSR have higher annual fees, but the rewards and benefits would potentially be higher. Also of note, the Chase rewards currency (Ultimate Rewards) can be converted 1-to-1 to United miles; AMEX MR points can be converted to miles, but not to United IIRC.

I have both the Plat and CSR, as well as a Delta Platinum card (Delta is my preferred airline) but the Delta card also comes with an annual companion pass in addition to the baggage and boarding perks.

Additional information about your situation would be helpful.
Good Point. I mainly fly out of DCA, IAD, AUS, EWR, BOS, MHT, BTV. Most of the business travel occurs between IAD and AUS. Charging $3k in the first 3 months would be natural with typical expenses I charge.
Last edited by ASpenderInRecovery on Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

retiringwhen
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by retiringwhen » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:37 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
I just got this card myself (for the second time). Nice bonus miles and as you point out priority boarding and free checked bag.

I would not count on being able to use the lounge passes. Many lounges are blacked out (such as in EWR). However maybe your experience will be better.

Do you normally charge $3,000 in three months? If so and given your travel habits I’d say yes - go for it.
Heck, the EWR United Club Lounge situation is becoming a joke. they turned one club into Polaris and now you can barely even get in when you have a full membership. I have complained multiple times about it. (I fly out of EWR 2/3 times a month.)

I would say if the Explorer card helps you make Gold Elite faster, then it will provide real value, then you get Economy Plus upgrade essentially automatically without a fee.

Make sure you can use the card to buy your tickets, that helps a lot with making levels (sigh, i lost the privelege when i was issued a "must-use" corporate card.)

KT785
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:39 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:29 pm
KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
May be helpful to know which airports you frequent . . . other cards (AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, etc.) provide better lounge access though it wouldn't be in United lounges.

Also, to confirm, are you booking all business travel arrangements for yourself and getting reimbursed? AMEX Platinum provides 5x points on airfare and Chase Sapphire Reserve provides 3x points on the broader "travel" category as well as 3x points on dining.

Both the Plat and CSR have higher annual fees, but the rewards and benefits would potentially be higher. Also of note, the Chase rewards currency (Ultimate Rewards) can be converted 1-to-1 to United miles; AMEX MR points can be converted to miles, but not to United IIRC.

I have both the Plat and CSR, as well as a Delta Platinum card (Delta is my preferred airline) but the Delta card also comes with an annual companion pass in addition to the baggage and boarding perks.

Additional information about your situation would be helpful.
Good Point. I mainly fly out of DCA, IAD, AUS, BOS, MHT, BTV. Most of the business travel occurs between IAD and AUS.
I wonder if the Chase Sapphire Reserve might not be a better option. You'd get Priority Pass lounge access (without the United lounge issues noted previously in this thread) and you'd earn points at a higher rate: 3x points on travel and dining and 1x points everwhere else. Those points can be converted 1-to-1 to United miles (or a whole host of other programs). You can also add on the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited for the Chase "trifecta" to increase your point earning capabilities. You said you're not well versed in the "card game"--these three cards would serve you well and with minimal effort.

The annual fee for the CSR is $450 but you get a $300 travel credit every year so the net fee is only $150.

The downside compared to the United card is that you'd still have to pay baggage fees and wouldn't get the "priority" boarding. Although, since this is business travel, I assume you're getting reimbursed for baggage fees anyway.

SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:44 pm

KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:39 pm

I wonder if the Chase Sapphire Reserve might not be a better option. You'd get Priority Pass lounge access (without the United lounge issues noted previously in this thread) and you'd earn points at a higher rate: 3x points on travel and dining and 1x points everwhere else. Those points can be converted 1-to-1 to United miles (or a whole host of other programs). You can also add on the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited for the Chase "trifecta" to increase your point earning capabilities. You said you're not well versed in the "card game"--these three cards would serve you well and with minimal effort.

The annual fee for the CSR is $450 but you get a $300 travel credit every year so the net fee is only $150.

The downside compared to the United card is that you'd still have to pay baggage fees and wouldn't get the "priority" boarding. Although, since this is business travel, I assume you're getting reimbursed for baggage fees anyway.
Another downside is that you don't get the slightly increased access to award tickets that the card gives you. For international business class, that can be a huge value.

In response to another comment, even a very frugal person can run up $3000 on a one time basis. if all else fails, just reduce withholding and make a tax payment via the credit card.

ASpenderInRecovery
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:16 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
I just got this card myself (for the second time). Nice bonus miles and as you point out priority boarding and free checked bag.

I would not count on being able to use the lounge passes. Many lounges are blacked out (such as in EWR). However maybe your experience will be better.

Do you normally charge $3,000 in three months? If so and given your travel habits I’d say yes - go for it.
Yea, hitting the $3k in 3 months would not be an issue with normal expenses.

ASpenderInRecovery
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:19 pm

retiringwhen wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:37 pm
MikeG62 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
I just got this card myself (for the second time). Nice bonus miles and as you point out priority boarding and free checked bag.

I would not count on being able to use the lounge passes. Many lounges are blacked out (such as in EWR). However maybe your experience will be better.

Do you normally charge $3,000 in three months? If so and given your travel habits I’d say yes - go for it.
Heck, the EWR United Club Lounge situation is becoming a joke. they turned one club into Polaris and now you can barely even get in when you have a full membership. I have complained multiple times about it. (I fly out of EWR 2/3 times a month.)

I would say if the Explorer card helps you make Gold Elite faster, then it will provide real value, then you get Economy Plus upgrade essentially automatically without a fee.

Make sure you can use the card to buy your tickets, that helps a lot with making levels (sigh, i lost the privelege when i was issued a "must-use" corporate card.)
Do you happen to know what it takes to get Status like Gold Elite? I have literally never had status on any airline due to my lack of strategy with flights/rewards or loyalty to one airline. However my work now has me traveling between IAD and AUS 7-8 times a year and United is the only good direct option. For example within the next 2 months I need to do trips on United from IAD to AUS and then that same week IAD to TUS to attend a wedding.

KT785
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:27 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:16 pm
Yea, hitting the $3k in 3 months would not be an issue with normal expenses.
If you can swing $4,000 in 3 months, you could hit the CSR minimum spend; add an additional $1,000 ($500 each) if you added the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited . . . assuming you don't already have those cards. You could net 80,000 points in bonuses from those three--I'd set the Freedom Unlimited for all non-bonus category spend and use the Freedom on rotating 5x categories.

Also be aware that, in addition to the 1-to-1 transfer partners, you can redeem UR points for cash or travel . . . with the CSR, you get 50% more value when you redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal which similarly increases the value of the other Chase UR cards too.

Ask Sebby - Chase Trifecta

ASpenderInRecovery
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:34 pm

KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:27 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:16 pm
Yea, hitting the $3k in 3 months would not be an issue with normal expenses.
If you can swing $4,000 in 3 months, you could hit the CSR minimum spend; add an additional $1,000 ($500 each) if you added the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited . . . assuming you don't already have those cards. You could net 80,000 points in bonuses from those three--I'd set the Freedom Unlimited for all non-bonus category spend and use the Freedom on rotating 5x categories.

Also be aware that, in addition to the 1-to-1 transfer partners, you can redeem UR points for cash or travel . . . with the CSR, you get 50% more value when you redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal which similarly increases the value of the other Chase UR cards too.

Ask Sebby - Chase Trifecta
Thanks KT. I should elaborate that I've had the Chase Freedom for several years so that may be limiting. Also, I use the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature card for 5% back on all my office snacks/supplies (reimbursable), toiletries, and get our groceries at Whole Foods. I've found the Freedom card less interesting recently because of limited categories quarterly and steady 5% cashback I am getting monthly from the Amazon Rewards card. I'd aim to use either the United Card or CSR specifically for travel, hotel, restaurants, etc. Ideally get priority boarding for convenience, better/cheaper access to upgrades for business travel, increased travel reward points for free travel later.

TravelGeek
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:38 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:19 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:37 pm
...
I would say if the Explorer card helps you make Gold Elite faster, then it will provide real value, then you get Economy Plus upgrade essentially automatically without a fee.
...
Do you happen to know what it takes to get Status like Gold Elite? I have literally never had status on any airline due to my lack of strategy with flights/rewards or loyalty to one airline. However my work now has me traveling between IAD and AUS 7-8 times a year and United is the only good direct option. For example within the next 2 months I need to do trips on United from IAD to AUS and then that same week IAD to TUS to attend a wedding.
50k elite qualifying miles (EQMs) or 60 segments (EQS). You don't get any from the credit card, you have to fly them on United or Star Alliance partners.

You also need to spend at least $6000 on airfare with United (excl. taxes/fees). It's called Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD). The card can you help there with a waiver if you spend at least $25k on the card per year.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mi ... alify.html

IAD-AUS is about 1,297 miles, so your 8 round trips would earn you roughly 1300*2*8 = 20,800 elite qualifying miles. Not enough for Gold, and actually not even quite enough for Silver status.

As for the actual card, 60k bonus miles (or perhaps 65k) is a pretty good value for a free card (first year).
Last edited by TravelGeek on Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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car733
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by car733 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:40 pm

My story with the cc so far:

I have used United Explorer MileagePlus card in the past. Around two years ago, I terminated the agreement and moved all my expenses to chase sapphire reserve. Since I am doing a few flights with luggage this year (more than 100 usd in cost), I got the card again.
I basically got the same offer as you.

I don't see a reason why not to jump credit cards every two years.


PS: Check http://reddit.com/r/churning

KT785
Posts: 233
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:43 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:34 pm
KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:27 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:16 pm
Yea, hitting the $3k in 3 months would not be an issue with normal expenses.
If you can swing $4,000 in 3 months, you could hit the CSR minimum spend; add an additional $1,000 ($500 each) if you added the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited . . . assuming you don't already have those cards. You could net 80,000 points in bonuses from those three--I'd set the Freedom Unlimited for all non-bonus category spend and use the Freedom on rotating 5x categories.

Also be aware that, in addition to the 1-to-1 transfer partners, you can redeem UR points for cash or travel . . . with the CSR, you get 50% more value when you redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal which similarly increases the value of the other Chase UR cards too.

Ask Sebby - Chase Trifecta
Thanks KT. I should elaborate that I've had the Chase Freedom for several years so that may be limiting. Also, I use the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature card for 5% back on all my office supplies (reimbursable), toiletries, and get our groceries at Whole Foods. I've found the Freedom card less interesting recently because of the cashback I am getting monthly from the Amazon Rewards card and would aim to use either the United Card or CSR specifically for travel, hotel, restaurants, etc.
Certainly understandable (I have the Amazon Prime card as well . . . among many other cards :D ). I only use the regular Freedom on the quarterly 5x categories to help "juice" my UR points (Gas and Walgreens currently IIRC) and some quarters I don't use it at all. The Freedom Unlimited could be your daily driver for non-bonus category spend (non-travel, dining, Amazon, Whole Foods, etc.) . . . think recurring auto-payments, utilities, etc. When combined with the CSR and redeemed for travel, the Freedom Unlimited effectively becomes a 2.25% rewards card for every transaction. You'd likely get even more value if/when you transfer UR points to United (or other partners) strategically.

I'm not a big fan of Airline or Hotel specific cards (though I have had several for churning purposes) as it limits your flexibility. Depending on your goals, the Chase trifecta could be an effective path for earning points (to convert to miles) with nice perks and limited effort on an ongoing basis (set it and forget it :beer ).

Also forgot to mention, the CSR brings in the Global Entry/TSA Pre-check fee credit . . . given how much you travel, you may already have this, but it's worth mentioning.

ASpenderInRecovery
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:46 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:38 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:19 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:37 pm
...
I would say if the Explorer card helps you make Gold Elite faster, then it will provide real value, then you get Economy Plus upgrade essentially automatically without a fee.
...
Do you happen to know what it takes to get Status like Gold Elite? I have literally never had status on any airline due to my lack of strategy with flights/rewards or loyalty to one airline. However my work now has me traveling between IAD and AUS 7-8 times a year and United is the only good direct option. For example within the next 2 months I need to do trips on United from IAD to AUS and then that same week IAD to TUS to attend a wedding.
50k elite qualifying miles (EQMs) or 60 segments (EQS). You don't get any from the credit card, you have to fly them on United or Star Alliance partners.

You also need to spend at least $6000 on airfare with United (excl. taxes/fees). It's called Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD). The card can you help there with a waiver if you spend at least $25k on the card per year.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mi ... alify.html

IAD-AUS is about 1,297 miles, so your 8 round trips would earn you roughly 1300*2*8 = 20,800 elite qualifying miles. Not enough for Gold, and actually not even quite enough for Silver status.
Thanks TravelGeek that is very helpful. My guess with some vacations and personal trips thrown in there I might get to Silver status. What does Silver status get you? Also, does Chase Sapphire Rewards or similar Travel card get you status on any airlines any faster or is it standard that you have to fly the mileage to get status?

If I had to boil it down my goals are to get priority boarding for convenience, cheaper access to seat upgrades, increased rewards for business/personal travel redeemed for free flights in the future, and 1 free checked bag is also nice. The club passes are a nice to have as I mainly take direct flights and have never been to an airport lounge in my life so I don't even know what I'm missing.

TravelGeek
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:54 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:46 pm
Thanks TravelGeek that is very helpful. My guess with some vacations and personal trips thrown in there I might get to Silver status. What does Silver status get you? Also, does Chase Sapphire Rewards or similar Travel card get you status on any airlines any faster or is it standard that you have to fly the mileage to get status?

If I had to boil it down my goals are to get priority boarding for convenience, cheaper access to seat upgrades, increased rewards for business/personal travel redeemed for free flights in the future, and 1 free checked bag is also nice. The club passes are a nice to have as I mainly take direct flights and have never been to an airport lounge in my life so I don't even know what I'm missing.
Here's a comparison of elite benefits for United:

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... fault.aspx

Silver is pretty mediocre compared to a few years ago and similar to what you get for $95 with a credit card.

As far as I know, American and Delta have credit cards that offer elite qualifying miles for spend. But you have to spend quite a bit and the maximum number of such miles is limited to 5 or 10k, I think. I have an old Chase UA card (called "Select Visa") that still gives me 1 EQM for each dollar spend on United.com ticket purchases up to 5000. Was nice to top off if I was a bit short of my goal, but now that I am a lifetime Gold (1million miler), I don't need or use that benefit anymore. And you can't get that card as it isn't offered anymore :/

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:06 pm

I have the United Explorer card and use it for several of the perks: additional award seat availability, the two club passes, and early boarding. My United travel consists of two round trips to Europe each year, both for pleasure. I have always been able to book an economy award seat on the date I want. I have always been able to get into at least one of the several United Clubs at my airport. And the early boarding works well for me: I'm always one of the first people to arrive in the economy cabin, so I have my choice of overhead storage for my CPAP and other bag. I don't need the first bag free benefit because international tickets already have that built in. I don't need the miles-don't-expire benefit either, because I travel often enough that the expiration date keeps moving 18 months further out.

However, once I arrive Europe, I put the Explorer card away and put most of my spending on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card because it gets better rewards for hotels, rail travel, subway fares, and dining. I can transfer the Chase points over to United, so the two cards work well together. (And the Chase card lets me get into the Priority Pass lounges in Europe on the return trip.)

ASpenderInRecovery
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:06 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:54 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:46 pm
Thanks TravelGeek that is very helpful. My guess with some vacations and personal trips thrown in there I might get to Silver status. What does Silver status get you? Also, does Chase Sapphire Rewards or similar Travel card get you status on any airlines any faster or is it standard that you have to fly the mileage to get status?

If I had to boil it down my goals are to get priority boarding for convenience, cheaper access to seat upgrades, increased rewards for business/personal travel redeemed for free flights in the future, and 1 free checked bag is also nice. The club passes are a nice to have as I mainly take direct flights and have never been to an airport lounge in my life so I don't even know what I'm missing.
Here's a comparison of elite benefits for United:

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... fault.aspx

Silver is pretty mediocre compared to a few years ago and similar to what you get for $95 with a credit card.

As far as I know, American and Delta have credit cards that offer elite qualifying miles for spend. But you have to spend quite a bit and the maximum number of such miles is limited to 5 or 10k, I think. I have an old Chase UA card (called "Select Visa") that still gives me 1 EQM for each dollar spend on United.com ticket purchases up to 5000. Was nice to top off if I was a bit short of my goal, but now that I am a lifetime Gold (1million miler), I don't need or use that benefit anymore. And you can't get that card as it isn't offered anymore :/
Excellent thank you. Sounds like the United Explorer card gets me the stuff I am looking for and will potentially help me get cheaper upgrades faster through a waiver. Coming from no status, Silver Status looks great!

SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:12 pm

Somewhat related, there was an article in the WSJ recently about how airlines and companies like AMEX were trying to restrict access to lounges. The comments from some business class travelers seemed to indicate irritation that too many of the hoi polloi were allowed in, and there were horrifying sights like actual children in lounges :)

retiringwhen
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by retiringwhen » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:48 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:12 pm
Somewhat related, there was an article in the WSJ recently about how airlines and companies like AMEX were trying to restrict access to lounges. The comments from some business class travelers seemed to indicate irritation that too many of the hoi polloi were allowed in, and there were horrifying sights like actual children in lounges :)
As a regular business traveler (and one who pays for United Club access, reduced through a legacy Continental Chase card, the number of people in the lounges for whatever purpose has become very off-putting since I can't get a seat often to plug in my phone/laptop, lines on entry, etc. Enough, that I am thinking the fee is no longer worth it. I am not into it for the free booze.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:51 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:06 pm
I have the United Explorer card and use it for several of the perks: additional award seat availability, the two club passes, and early boarding. My United travel consists of two round trips to Europe each year, both for pleasure. I have always been able to book an economy award seat on the date I want. I have always been able to get into at least one of the several United Clubs at my airport. And the early boarding works well for me: I'm always one of the first people to arrive in the economy cabin, so I have my choice of overhead storage for my CPAP and other bag. I don't need the first bag free benefit because international tickets already have that built in. I don't need the miles-don't-expire benefit either, because I travel often enough that the expiration date keeps moving 18 months further out.

However, once I arrive Europe, I put the Explorer card away and put most of my spending on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card because it gets better rewards for hotels, rail travel, subway fares, and dining. I can transfer the Chase points over to United, so the two cards work well together. (And the Chase card lets me get into the Priority Pass lounges in Europe on the return trip.)
Good to know. In your experience are the EconomyPlus seats any cheaper or available with this card? I find myself frequently upgrading to EconomyPlus when it's reasonably priced because I'm too tall for normal seats.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by Katie » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:03 pm

How does the credit card give you any greater access to award tickets than just using your miles? I've got the United card since I used to fly United a lot, but I've moved and I find I'm not using United routes as much.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:10 pm

Katie wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:03 pm
How does the credit card give you any greater access to award tickets than just using your miles? I've got the United card since I used to fly United a lot, but I've moved and I find I'm not using United routes as much.
United has greater "inventory" for travelers with Elite status or United credit cards. I don't think it makes a huge difference, though. Some routes are just harder than others.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:11 pm

Katie wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:03 pm
How does the credit card give you any greater access to award tickets than just using your miles? I've got the United card since I used to fly United a lot, but I've moved and I find I'm not using United routes as much.
See this

https://millionmilesecrets.com/guides/u ... ilability/

I have benefited from this at times. For international business class award travel, this pays for the price of the card a few times over each time you benefit from it.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:13 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:19 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:37 pm
MikeG62 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:22 pm
I just got this card myself (for the second time). Nice bonus miles and as you point out priority boarding and free checked bag.

I would not count on being able to use the lounge passes. Many lounges are blacked out (such as in EWR). However maybe your experience will be better.

Do you normally charge $3,000 in three months? If so and given your travel habits I’d say yes - go for it.
Heck, the EWR United Club Lounge situation is becoming a joke. they turned one club into Polaris and now you can barely even get in when you have a full membership. I have complained multiple times about it. (I fly out of EWR 2/3 times a month.)

I would say if the Explorer card helps you make Gold Elite faster, then it will provide real value, then you get Economy Plus upgrade essentially automatically without a fee.

Make sure you can use the card to buy your tickets, that helps a lot with making levels (sigh, i lost the privelege when i was issued a "must-use" corporate card.)
Do you happen to know what it takes to get Status like Gold Elite? I have literally never had status on any airline due to my lack of strategy with flights/rewards or loyalty to one airline. However my work now has me traveling between IAD and AUS 7-8 times a year and United is the only good direct option. For example within the next 2 months I need to do trips on United from IAD to AUS and then that same week IAD to TUS to attend a wedding.
Unfortunately, that's not even going to get you silver unless you do a few other United flights for other purposes. Getting status is MUCH easier when you fly overseas. A single business class round trip to Europe gets you almost as many miles as those 7-8 domestic trips a year.

If you are getting status, the benefits of the card are less compelling. As a gold elite, I already get free bags, free economy+, priority boarding, and better award availability. Only thing the card would get me is the miles themselves. By the way, even with status the award availability is only OK. You can always get an award trip, but it will be double the "saver" award price, which is foolish over waiting until saver awards are available. You really need platinum to get much international business saver award availability.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:23 pm

KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:43 pm

I'm not a big fan of Airline or Hotel specific cards (though I have had several for churning purposes) as it limits your flexibility. Depending on your goals, the Chase trifecta could be an effective path for earning points (to convert to miles) with nice perks and limited effort on an ongoing basis (set it and forget it :beer ).

Also forgot to mention, the CSR brings in the Global Entry/TSA Pre-check fee credit . . . given how much you travel, you may already have this, but it's worth mentioning.
The United card also contains the Global Entry/TSA-pre now too (once every four years).

FWIW, I find airline credit cards to be worth getting (despite the ~$100 annual fee) because of the free checked bag (for me and traveling companions) and the ability for priority boarding. Prior to getting the cards and boarding early, it was not uncommon for me to get to my seat and find no overhead space available (sometimes even when most seats in my row were still open). So annoying. I only use those cards to charge the airfare. All other travel spend goes on my CSR card.

So I have branded cards for United, American, Delta and just added Jet Blue. DW and I have been traveling on all those airlines at least once each year. In fact, took a trip on Delta with our two daughters two weeks ago and got free checked bag for each of us ($200 value R/T for that alone).

I would assume the lounge pass is worthless (in some airports, you will be able to get in and you may find a seat). I agree that the Priority Pass lounge access is way better. Those lounges are usually not overly crowded (sometimes hardly anyone in there) and generally more comfortable (in my experience).
Last edited by MikeG62 on Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:36 pm

I know this thread is about United, not American, but if American works as an airline for you, one big benefit of most American cards is a 10% discount on mileage points, upto 10,000.

Add to that free checked bag, free cabin bag (for basic economy), 'Priority' boarding. AA doesn't include a club pass, but those are useless anyway.

And for international - they have Etihad as a partner. Very hedonistic.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:43 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:23 pm
KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:43 pm

I'm not a big fan of Airline or Hotel specific cards (though I have had several for churning purposes) as it limits your flexibility. Depending on your goals, the Chase trifecta could be an effective path for earning points (to convert to miles) with nice perks and limited effort on an ongoing basis (set it and forget it :beer ).

Also forgot to mention, the CSR brings in the Global Entry/TSA Pre-check fee credit . . . given how much you travel, you may already have this, but it's worth mentioning.
The United card also contains the Global Entry/TSA-pre now too (once every four years).

FWIW, I find airline credit cards to be worth getting (despite the ~$100 annual fee) because of the free checked bag (for me and traveling companions) and the ability for priority boarding. Prior to getting the cards and boarding early, it was not uncommon for me to get to my seat and find no overhead space available (sometimes even when most seats in my row were still open). So annoying. In only use those cards to charge the airfare. All other travel spend goes on my CSR card.

So I have branded cards for United, American, Delta and just added Jet Blue. DW and I have been traveling on all those airlines at least once each year. In fact, took a trip on Delta with our two daughters two weeks ago and got free checked bag for each of us ($200 value R/T for that alone).

I would assume the lounge pass is worthless (in some airports, you will be able to get in and you may find a seat). I agree that the Priority Pass lounge access is way better. Those lounges are usually not overly crowded (sometimes hardly anyone in there) and generally more comfortable (in my experience).
As mentioned above, I do have the Delta Platinum (and have churned several other airline cards) because of the annual companion pass; the free checked bags does usually pay for the annual fee on the card for personal trips, but since many of us travel more for business, those expense are reimbursable anyway. "Priority" boarding isn't really true priority boarding in my experience--better than nothing, but because of the relationship between Delta and my employer, I already get Zone 1 boarding regardless.

In my initial post, I should have clarified that my objection to airline/hotel specific cards is the fact that some people use them as their primary card (putting nearly all spend on the card) while thinking they're getting a ton of benefits. Having those cards for their ancillary benefits (assuming you're realizing positive value) is great as an accompaniment to a primary travel card like the CSR, AMEX Platinum, etc.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:04 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:36 pm
I know this thread is about United, not American, but if American works as an airline for you, one big benefit of most American cards is a 10% discount on mileage points, upto 10,000.

Add to that free checked bag, free cabin bag (for basic economy), 'Priority' boarding. AA doesn't include a club pass, but those are useless anyway.

And for international - they have Etihad as a partner. Very hedonistic.
Agreed. I definitely fly American for a number of personal trips and vacations up North as they have good direct flight options into New England airports. I was more focused on United solely because of the number of trips and miles I'm regularly flying for business from IAD to AUS. Prior to getting all this info I was under the wrong assumption that the card might propel me into immediate basic status, provide free or cheaper economy plus upgrades, and get more rewards for my current business travel. It appears that I will get some free basic convenience upgrades with some potential cost savings with free checked bags on personal/vacation flights.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by orlandoman » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:25 pm

I have & use the United MileagePlus VISA credit card.

Here are a couple of advantages of United:
1. If you upgrade to an Economy Plus (Coach) type of seating when flying, United is the only airline that offers it on an annual subscription basis, in addition to individual flights. I have an annual worldwide subscription for me plus one, it is available for an individual, individual plus 1 or plus 8. Anytime I am on a reservation with my FF number, whether paid or FF, whether I made the reservation, used my or someone else's FF points, myself & 1 more person are automatically eligble to pick Economy Plus seats. Flew RT to Europe in June w/wife on my reservation, flying to Australia/New Zealand on wife's FF points ... we'll get Economy Plus seats on all flights, for example. Google United Airline Economy Plus Subscription for details & pricing.
2. United has some thing called 'Regions', google it. We are flying Orlando to Auckland,NZ - Auckland to Sydney, Australia - Sydney to Orlando, using FF points. If you are leaving & returning from the same city, you can get a free leg within a region. NZ & Australia are in the same region, so there is no FF point charge for the Auckland-Sydney flight. FYI, I'm booking at the lowest FF coach ponts, 80k FF points RT each. Have to pay the minimal fees for each ticket & upgraded to Economy Plus seats with my subscription. Auckland to Sydney is on Air New Zealand, so no economy plus seats on that leg.
3. Another example to use regions is your city to Maui, Maui to Honolulu, Honolulu to your city ... Maui to Honolulu no FF points.
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:07 pm
Current Offer:
- 60,000 bonus miles after $3k spent in the first 3 months
- 5,000 miles after adding an authorized user
- 1 free checked bag each way for me and a guest
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club passes
- 2 miles for every $1 spent at United, restaurants, and hotel accomodations
- 1 mile earned for every $1 spent otherwise
- $0 fee 1st year and $95 annually after
Pretty much run-of-the-mill for airline credit card offers. The Big Three (Delta, American, United) all have their own branded cards (Delta's is an AmEx, American's is a Mastercard, United's is a Visa). Bottom-level card is typically $95/year with the first year waived, goes up from there.

I looked at all three when trying to decide if I wanted any of them, finally decided on Delta because I'd had better experiences with Delta than the other two, plus they have a hub (Atlanta) close to where we live. I don't expect to get much use out of Delta's points, I got the card basically for the free luggage and for the "sooner-than-the-unwashed-masses" boarding.

If you like United and use them as your preferred airline, I'd say their deal is about as good as any. If not, and you're looking specifically for an airline-branded card, I'd suggest you decide on an airline with which you'd like to fly most of the time, then look at their offering.
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:55 pm

One more thing we were recently notified about is you can use up to $100 every 5 years for pre-check or global entry and get a refund for the $100. That’s a pretty good deal if you are planning to get it anyway. We are going to get it for D (we each already have it) and United said the $100 world work for her too.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by MikeG62 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:11 am

KT785 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:43 pm
...
In my initial post, I should have clarified that my objection to airline/hotel specific cards is the fact that some people use them as their primary card (putting nearly all spend on the card) while thinking they're getting a ton of benefits. Having those cards for their ancillary benefits (assuming you're realizing positive value) is great as an accompaniment to a primary travel card like the CSR, AMEX Platinum, etc.
Completely agree with this.
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:42 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:07 pm
Current Offer:
- 60,000 bonus miles after $3k spent in the first 3 months
- 5,000 miles after adding an authorized user
- 1 free checked bag each way for me and a guest
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club passes
- 2 miles for every $1 spent at United, restaurants, and hotel accomodations
- 1 mile earned for every $1 spent otherwise
- $0 fee 1st year and $95 annually after
Pretty much run-of-the-mill for airline credit card offers. The Big Three (Delta, American, United) all have their own branded cards (Delta's is an AmEx, American's is a Mastercard, United's is a Visa). Bottom-level card is typically $95/year with the first year waived, goes up from there.
This appears to be better than run-of-the-mill. The standard offer on United's website is 40K sign-up miles and a $100 statement credit. There's also an in-flight offer at 50K sign-up miles but *without* the statement credit. How does one get access to the 60K offer? Is that targeted?

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 am

investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:42 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm
ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:07 pm
Current Offer:
- 60,000 bonus miles after $3k spent in the first 3 months
- 5,000 miles after adding an authorized user
- 1 free checked bag each way for me and a guest
- Priority boarding
- 2 United Club passes
- 2 miles for every $1 spent at United, restaurants, and hotel accomodations
- 1 mile earned for every $1 spent otherwise
- $0 fee 1st year and $95 annually after
Pretty much run-of-the-mill for airline credit card offers. The Big Three (Delta, American, United) all have their own branded cards (Delta's is an AmEx, American's is a Mastercard, United's is a Visa). Bottom-level card is typically $95/year with the first year waived, goes up from there.
This appears to be better than run-of-the-mill. The standard offer on United's website is 40K sign-up miles and a $100 statement credit. There's also an in-flight offer at 50K sign-up miles but *without* the statement credit. How does one get access to the 60K offer? Is that targeted?
Apparently it's a targeted offering because I've looked at it on the standard website without logging in and see the lower 40k offer. My guess is they are tying my United FF # to my business expense account. Oddly the offer is different depending upon the device I'm on. For example through the app on my phone it's a 50k offer and if I login to United on my wife's laptop it's a 40k offer.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:37 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 am
investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:42 am
This appears to be better than run-of-the-mill. The standard offer on United's website is 40K sign-up miles and a $100 statement credit. There's also an in-flight offer at 50K sign-up miles but *without* the statement credit. How does one get access to the 60K offer? Is that targeted?
Apparently it's a targeted offering because I've looked at it on the standard website without logging in and see the lower 40k offer. My guess is they are tying my United FF # to my business expense account. Oddly the offer is different depending upon the device I'm on. For example through the app on my phone it's a 50k offer and if I login to United on my wife's laptop it's a 40k offer.
I wonder what the triggering criteria is for 60K.

The 50K "inflight" offer is just a URL: https://unitedexplorercard.com/inflightoffer. It doesn't seem to require any proof of being on a flight. The main question is which you value more: $100 statement credit or 10K miles. The latter might be more beneficial if your long term goal is an international award flight.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:56 pm

investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:37 pm
The 50K "inflight" offer is just a URL: https://unitedexplorercard.com/inflightoffer. It doesn't seem to require any proof of being on a flight. The main question is which you value more: $100 statement credit or 10K miles. The latter might be more beneficial if your long term goal is an international award flight.
Would you buy 10k miles for $100? If my goal was to acquire miles for “free” trips, I would.
If not, what value to you ascribe to one UA mile?
Last edited by TravelGeek on Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by KT785 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:57 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 am
Apparently it's a targeted offering because I've looked at it on the standard website without logging in and see the lower 40k offer. My guess is they are tying my United FF # to my business expense account. Oddly the offer is different depending upon the device I'm on. For example through the app on my phone it's a 50k offer and if I login to United on my wife's laptop it's a 40k offer.
Another thing to try (and be mindful of as you pursue future sign-up offers) is to also check the website(s) in "Private Browsing" or "Incognito" mode; I've gotten increased offers this way from AMEX that I never saw in regular mode, whether logged into my account or not.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:02 pm

I just followed the link in https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-un ... -for-some/ and apparently I am eligible for the 60k offer.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:34 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:56 pm
investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:37 pm
The 50K "inflight" offer is just a URL: https://unitedexplorercard.com/inflightoffer. It doesn't seem to require any proof of being on a flight. The main question is which you value more: $100 statement credit or 10K miles. The latter might be more beneficial if your long term goal is an international award flight.
Would you buy 10k miles for $100? If my goal was to acquire miles for “free” trips, I would.
If not, what value to you ascribe to one UA mile?
10K miles for $100 is $0.01/mile. If I were to buy miles outright from the United website, I'd pay much more than that. The Points Guy currently values a United Mile at $0.014 although I suppose this can vary greatly depending on how the miles are redeemed.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:36 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:02 pm
I just followed the link in https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-un ... -for-some/ and apparently I am eligible for the 60k offer.
I'd love to know what data Chase and United use to make this elevated offer... All I get is the standard 40K/$100 credit deal.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:54 pm

investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:36 pm
I'd love to know what data Chase and United use to make this elevated offer... All I get is the standard 40K/$100 credit deal.
No idea. But I plan on cancelling one of my Chase cards soon (Marriott) and might apply for this offer.

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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by grabiner » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:22 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:19 pm
You do get slightly expanded access to award seats with the card. That can be very useful for international business class. I keep this card primarily for that reason, and because with Chase's new policies, it would be hard for me to get the card again and churn the bonus. Even a marginally better chance of scoring an international biz class ticket is worth $95/year to me.
It's not just international business class. The last time I flew from Washington to Los Angeles, I found a flight available only to United cardholders, and the 25K miles for a flight that would cost $490 was a good deal. (My normal value for United miles is 1.5 cents.)

I agree with the consensus; it's a good deal if you fly United regularly (as I do because United has a hub in Dulles and also good service at BWI). For me, the free checked bag covers the annual fee, and the extra access makes it easier to use all the miles I already have. I rarely use the United Club passes.
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Re: Should I apply for United Explorer MileagePlus Card? Is it worth it in my situation?

Post by solobuildingblogs » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:37 am

1. Getting the card simply for the signup bonus is a no brainer as the 60,000 miles are worth $720, outweighing the annual fee of $95. You could also consider other chase cards particularly business cards first to stay under the 5/24 rule, to get as many chase cards approved as possible.

2. One thing that hasn't been brought up yet is basic economy. If you even fly basic economy three times a year and save $30 every time, it pays for the card. You still get priority boarding (vs last to board without the card) as well as a carry on bag and check in bag (not without the card). You just lose the ability for a seat assignment. Although for the OP I don't think you can pay for a economy plus seat if in basic economy.

3. A third benefit of the card that hasn't been brought up is that this card has PRIMARY car rental insurance (chase sapphire and US bank altitude reserve also do). So if you rent cars frequently, and don't have the sapphire, altitude reserve or another card that does, this is a real benefit of the card which might make it a keeper.

4. The reduced awards exclusive for cardholders still exists but has taken a hit. A few years ago they offered 25,000 miles for ANY domestic seat. This was great for Thanksgiving when a one way fare was $450- the signup bonus of 60k would've been worth $1080 at this rate. Now it's more miles due to the bloggers that push cards on everyone.

5. The lounge passes are of minimal value ($15 each?) and can be found on eBay (at least before they went digital, don't know anymore).

6. Because of #1, get the card, see if it's worth it, and cancel in a year if you don't like it.

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