6 Things to Do When You Get the United Explorer Credit Card

Chris O'SheaNovember 22, 2019
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The United℠ Explorer Card comes with a generous welcome bonus and loads of travel-centric perks. If you've recently taken the plunge and applied for the United℠ Explorer Card, here are some suggestions on what to do next.

Hit the minimum spending requirement

As a new United℠ Explorer Card holder, you can take advantage of the following sign-up bonus: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

This is a big bonus with a relatively low spending requirement. Make sure you're using the card for every United purchase (more on that later) and larger purchases until you hit the mark.

This welcome bonus is even more exciting when you consider that the United℠ Explorer Card's annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Rack up the miles

The United℠ Explorer Card's earning structure is fairly basic: You earn 2 miles per $1 at restaurants, direct hotel bookings and United purchases — including airfare, seat upgrades, in-flight entertainment and more. You'll earn 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else. That's all there is to it.

If you're looking to get the best value from the miles you stockpile, we suggest using them on a trip abroad. According to NerdWallet's valuations, United miles are worth an average of 1 cent. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your United miles. Typically, you may find stronger redemptions when using your miles on international award tickets.

While you're out of the country, feel free to keep using the United℠ Explorer Card, as it carries no foreign transaction fees.

Speed through security

Now that you're the proud new owner of a United℠ Explorer Card, you should sign up for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. As a United℠ Explorer Card holder, you'll get reimbursed for either a $100 application fee for Global Entry or $85 for Precheck.

Simply charge the card for this purchase and you’ll receive a statement credit. The credit is available every four years — right when you'll need to renew those applications.

Check a bag for free

If you pack a lot when you travel, the United℠ Explorer Card will take the sting out of checked bag fees. As a United℠ Explorer Card holder, you and your traveling companion are entitled to one free checked bag per flight when flying United. Just make sure you use your United℠ Explorer Card to buy the airfare, and you'll be all set to go.

The bottom line

The United℠ Explorer Card is worth checking out if you fly the airline often. It has good travel benefits and a relatively low annual fee.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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