In my weekly column on U.S News & World Report, I wrote about Credit Cards Gone Wild. The article was about how credit card issuers are offering all kinds of crazy bonuses to get your business. I listed many of these offers in an article here on Dough Roller last week about the best rewards credit cards. And that brings me today to the United MileagePlus Explorer Card.
As you no doubt know, United and Continental merged. As part of that merger, the airlines have also merged their miles credit cards. Gone are the United Mileage Plus Signature Visa Card and the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card. And in their place is the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. So how does the new card stack up?
Let’s Talk Miles
The most important feature of any airlines card is the miles. With the new card, you earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open, and you get 5,000 additional bonus miles after you use the card and add an authorized user within three months of opening your account. Finally, you earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 or more on your Card each calendar year.
Beyond bonus miles, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card has a pretty standard rewards package. You earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on tickets purchased from United. On all other purchases, you get 1 mile for every $1 spent on the card. Miles earned never expire, and there is no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
The card also offers some perks to make flying a wee bit more tolerable. For example, you can check your first bag for free, which saves you $50 on a round trip flight. You also get to board your flight before general boarding. And you get two complimentary day passes every year to the United Club (which normally cost $50 each).
Visa Signature Benefits
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is a Visa Signature card. As a result, it comes with a number of benefits available to all Visa Signature cards:
Lost Luggage Reimbursement: You’re eligible to receive reimbursement for your losses when you pay for tickets with your covered Visa Signature card.
Roadside Dispatch: Rely on 24-hour, toll-free referral dispatch for emergency roadside assistance services like towing, fuel delivery, and more.
Travel Accident Insurance: Automatically receive accident insurance coverage for yourself and your family when you pay for travel tickets with your covered Visa Signature card.
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Travel with confidence and count on Visa for a wide range of emergency services, 24 hours a day.
Zero Liability: You’re protected from unauthorized use of your Visa Signature card or unauthorized access to account information.
Warranty Manager Service: Protect and manage your purchases. Through one convenient service, you can register products and extend manufacturers’ repair warranties.
Purchase Security: When you pay with your Visa Signature card, your eligible purchases are replaced, repaired or reimbursed for the first 90 days from the date of purchase in the event of theft, damage due to fire, vandalism, accidentally discharged water, or certain weather conditions.
Complimentary 24/7 Concierge Service: Visa Signature Concierge can handle life’s details, so you don’t have to. Whether you need restaurant recommendations, reservations, or even vacation-planning assistance, we’re at your service 24 hours a day.
Source: Visa Signature Website
As with just about all miles cards, there is an annual fee. For the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, the fee is $95 and is waived the first year.
If you regularly travel on United, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card is the travel card to use.
Published or updated May 10, 2013.