11 Best Benefits of the United Explorer Card

The United Explorer Card has benefits that can improve your journey when traveling through airports and hotels.
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The United℠ Explorer Card is an airline-branded Chase credit card that comes with a significant sign-up bonus and quite a few benefits. If you’re loyal to United Airlines, this card can help make air travel experiences better. Before applying for this United credit card, plan how to get the most from card membership, including utilizing some of the card’s lesser known perks.

Here’s how to maximize the benefits of the United℠ Explorer Card.

Best benefits of the United℠ Explorer Card

1. Welcome bonus

Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

2. Elevated earning rates

Cardholders can collect UnitedPlus miles even faster by optimizing their spend in the following bonus categories, which earn double miles:

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on United purchases.

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on hotels booked directly with the hotel.

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on dining and restaurant delivery.

3. Travel perks for both international and domestic trips

This card should stay in an easy-to-grab place in your wallet whether you're flying across the country or across borders. It's packed with traveler-friendly perks like:

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • Credit toward Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA PreCheck fee every four years.

  • Priority boarding and priority check-in.

This can make your spending and airport experience a breeze.

4. Premier upgrades on award tickets

Complimentary upgrades are only available to Premier elites flying on paid tickets. However, as a cardholder, you’re eligible for complimentary upgrades, even when flying on an award ticket. This unsung benefit can really elevate your travel experience, especially if you get to sit in business class for the price of an economy award ticket.

Complimentary premier upgrades are available on the following routes: within the continental U.S. except premium transcontinental flights, flights between San Francisco or Los Angeles to Hawaii, and between the U.S. and Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean or Central America.

5. Priority boarding for you and your travel companion

United’s MileagePlus program offers many perks at the various elite membership levels, but it takes time and effort to get there. When you have the United℠ Explorer Card, you don’t have to worry about that.

Just by being a cardmember, you’ll get elite perks like priority boarding. You and your travel companions can get on the plane early, settle in and likely find plenty of space for your carry-on in the overhead bin.

6. Free checked bag perk for you and a companion

Another perk that comes with this card is a free first checked bag. This is available to you and up to one travel companion, as long as they’re on the same reservation. You can each get one free checked bag per one-way journey. If you’re traveling as a family, be sure to take advantage of the free bag for a companion traveler so you don’t overpay for baggage.

7. Two United Club passes

With this card, you’ll get two complimentary one-time United Club passes. A day pass to a United Club costs $59 per person, so this benefit is valued at $118. United Club lounges offer quiet spaces to work, Wi-Fi, food and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, and more. At every card anniversary, you’ll get two new complimentary one-time United Club passes.

8. Travel insurance protections

If you book your vacation with the United℠ Explorer Card, you'll benefit from complimentary trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage delay and lost luggage coverage. In addition, you'll also receive purchase protection, extended warranty, 24/7 Visa concierge and auto rental insurance. If the travel insurance benefit limits are adequate, you won't need to purchase a separate standalone travel insurance policy.

If you’re booking a car rental with the United℠ Explorer Card, make sure to decline the insurance coverage offered by the rental company (you’ll get the coverage that comes with the card automatically). The insurance is primary, which means you won't need to seek reimbursement with another insurance policy (if you already have one). If the rental car is damaged due to theft or collision, the auto rental collision damage waiver will cover up to the cash value of the vehicle.

9. 25% savings on in-flight purchases

If you’re tempted to make an in-flight purchase — to order booze, buy food or use the Wi-Fi — you’ll get a 25% discount in the form of a statement credit on United-operated flights. This benefit can come in handy since amenities purchased mid-flight can be pricey.

10. Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection program and upgrades

Another great benefit of this United card is membership to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection program, giving card members access to more than 1,000 luxury hotels, resorts, lodges and spas. When you make your reservation through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection website, you’re also eligible for upgrades for your stays. You can take advantage of early check-in and late checkout (subject to availability), plus complimentary daily breakfast for two.

This is a simple way to make your hotel stays more enjoyable just by using your United℠ Explorer Card.

11. DashPass membership

Cardholders can get one-year of complimentary DashPass that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. This benefit must be activated by 12/31/24.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can bring a carry on free of charge. In addition, you and your traveling companion can get a free checked bag when you hold the United℠ Explorer Card.

In general, Chase allows card members to upgrade to another card as long as the account is in good standing and open for a year or more. Upgrade options can vary so its best to check with Chase about what choices are available to you.

Yes, holders of the United℠ Explorer Card receive various travel insurance benefits including trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage delay, lost luggage, trip delay protections and auto rental insurance.

Those who hold the United℠ Explorer Card receive two complimentary passes to United Club lounges when they receive the card and on each card anniversary. In addition, passengers flying in premium cabins, Star Alliance Gold elites, United Club members and day pass holders, military personnel in uniform and Air Canada Maple Leaf Clubmembers can access United Club lounges.

Maximize the United℠ Explorer Card

Now that you know some of the best ways to use the United℠ Explorer Card, you can create your own plan to get more value. Since this card has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95, the card benefits are well worth the price. If you choose to apply for the United℠ Explorer Card, make sure you’re familiar with all the benefits, including the lesser known ones.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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