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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 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 Explorer Card. So how does the new card stack up?

Let’s Talk Miles

The most important feature of any airline miles credit card is the miles. With the United Explorer Card, you earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.

Double miles are earned on all United flight reservations, restaurant and hotel purchases with single miles earned on everything else.  Cardholders will appreciate a few added benefits:

  1. 25% back on United in flight purchases (like food or WiFi)
  2. Free first bag when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  3. Priority boarding privileges and access to the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year
  4. Up to a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check registration

Flying Perks

The card also offers some perks to make flying a wee bit more tolerable. For example, you can check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per round-trip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket. 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 Explorer Card is a Visa Signature card. As a result, it comes with a number of benefits available to all Visa Signature cards:

Travel Benefits

  • 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.

Shopping Benefits

  • 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.

Signature Services

  • 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.


As with just about all miles cards, there is an annual fee. For the United Explorer Card, the fee is $95, waived for the first year.

Final Thoughts

If you regularly travel on United, this is the travel card to use.

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