Are you a frequent flyer?
Is your airline of choice United Airlines?
If so, you might be wondering about the United Explorer Credit Card.
It's a Visa card provided through Chase Bank, and its targeted at loyal customers of United.
Frequent flyers who use United Airlines will get the greatest benefits from using this card.
But is it better than other travel cards on the market?
How does it compare to Chase's other frequent flyer rewards cards?
I'll cover all the pros and cons of the United Explorer card so you can decide for yourself whether it deserves a space in your wallet or not.
But first, let's check out the eligibility requirements to snag this credit card.
Your credit needs to be Good to Excellent for this card
The basic qualifications for the United Explorer card are similar to most other Chase cards.
As long as you're at least 18 years old and a permanent resident of the US, you're allowed to apply.
Note that if you're in AL, you must be 19, and the age requirement for Puerto Rico residents is 21.
However, if you're struggling with "Poor" or "Bad" credit, you likely won't be approved for this card.
I would recommend applying for this credit card only if you're current credit score is 680 or higher.
Not sure what your score is?
You can go to AnnualCreditReport.com today and easily request a report in order to find out.
If you get approved for a United Explorer credit card, you will receive a credit limit of at least $5,000.
The exact amount will depend on your credit score and report.
If you were hoping for a higher balance than you received, you can always call Chase bank and request an increase.
Be aware that they have no obligation to increase your limit.
However, if you've had the card for a few months and have been making all your payments on time, chances are good that you can get an increase.
It never hurts to ask.
The United Explorer card has a variable rate, tied to the Prime Rate and your credit score
Chase bank provides an APR range for this credit card.
They take the Prime Rate and then add 12.74%–19.74%, depending on your credit score.
The Prime Rate actually just increased from 4.75% to 5% as of June 14, 2018.
Therefore, last week, the APR range for this credit card was 17.49%–24.49%, but now it's 17.74%–24.74%.
For this credit card, the Balance Transfer rate is set the same as the Purchase rate.
In other words, if you have a 17.74% APR on purchases, you will receive the same APR for Balance Transfers.
The APR on Cash Advances is set at the Prime rate plus 21.74%, regardless of your credit score.
Currently, that means the Cash Advance APR is 26.74% for everyone who has this card.
You should be aware that the Prime Rate has increased three times in the last year.
Therefore, it's important to know that these rates can, and likely will, increase over the life of the card.
However, this is probably true for any credit card in your wallet, as most of them have variable rates.
Chase Bank has set an upper limit of 29.99% on all APRs.
This means, regardless of how high the Prime Rate climbs, your APR will never increase over that amount.
Another piece of good news is that the United Explorer card currently comes with a $0 introductory fee for the first year.
Unfortunately, after that, the annual membership fee jumps up to $95 per year.
If you're looking for a credit card with no annual fees, this is not the one for you.
Other fees include the following:
Balance transfer fees of either $5 or 5% of the transfer; whichever is greater.
Cash advance fees of either $10 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater.
Late payment fees vary depending on the amount that is late. If the balance owing is less than $100, they cap out at $15.
If you owe between $100 and $249.99, late fees are up to $27.
And if you owe $250 or more, late fees can be up to $37.
Return payment fees are up to $37. However, there is no fee for a returned check.
There are also no foreign transaction fees on this card, which is a great perk for international travelers.
You can complete the application within minutes if you sign up online
The screenshot above is all of the information you need to fill out to apply for this card.
It's only one page long, and can be completed in a few minutes.
You simply need to provide the following information:
- Your name
- Your address
- Date of Birth
- Mother's maiden name
- Email address
- Social security number
- Gross annual income
- Source of Income
- Type of residence
- Phone number
- MileagePlus number
Don't have a mileage plus number?
That's okay. You can leave it blank.
If you're approved for the card, you'll automatically be enrolled in MileagePlus and provided your own MileagePlus number.
At this point, you're also given the option of adding additional authorized users to the card.
You will just need their name, date of birth and address.
Note that this is an authorized user, not a co-applicant.
That means they're allowed to use the card, but it's your credit history and score that is looked at, and impacted.
Once you've filled out the above info, you just need to read through all the fine print, click that you agree to all the terms and conditions and hit ‘Submit.'
Not sure you want to apply online?
You can call the Chase Customer Service line at 1-800-537-7783 and ask to apply over the phone.
You should know right away if your application is approved or not.
You can also check your application status and manage your account through the Chase website.
This allows you to view your account transactions and history as well as make payments.
Once approved, your credit card will be mailed to you and will typically take 1–2 weeks to arrive.
Your minimum payment amount each month will depend on your current balance.
You can find out the amount and pay it either by logging into your online account or calling the customer service number above.
Cash or cheque are the acceptable payment methods.
As with all credit cards, you cannot pay by PayPal, gift card, or other credit cards.
There is no special introductory balance transfer offer with this card.
However, you can still opt to request a balance transfer if you're willing to pay the fees and interest rate.
You can request a balance transfer amount up to your credit limit or $15,000, whichever is lower.
However, the request cannot involve transferring a balance from another Chase account, card, or loan.
If approved, a balance transfer will be applied to your account within ten days.
Read through the following frequently asked questions about the United card
- What is the United miles worth?
It depends on the redemption option you select. Go to united.com/usemiles to find out.
- How can I cancel my card?
By calling Chase customer service at 1-800-537-7783
- How long does it take UE to refund my credit card?
That depends on the circumstance. I would expect 1–2 weeks.
You can always call customer service for more information.
- Which airlines can I use my miles with?
Any Star Alliance airline or related partner.
- Can I check my first bag for free in every flight with UE or is it just a one-time thing?
- Do I have priority boarding, and can I select my seats in first class and/or business class?
Yes, you have priority boarding.
You will have to pay for the upgrade to sit in first or business class.
- Can I get free access to any airport lounges with this card?
You receive two one-time-use passes each year.
- What is the complimentary travel insurance that comes with this card?
You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares.
This comes into effect if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations.
You also have baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip delay reimbursement.
- Can I redeem my miles before I get the credit card?
Only if you've already made the purchases to qualify and have earned your miles.
- Can I withdraw money from an ATM using my credit card?
You can make a cash advance online, through a bank or ATM.
However, there will be fees and interest as discussed in the rates section.
- Can I use my credit card without the card?
Yes, if you are shopping online and know the card number, expiry and three-digit security number on the back.
- Are there any upgrades on this credit card?
There does not appear to be one at this time, other than a business version of the card.
You can call Chase customer service to confirm.
- How soon can I use my credit card once I receive it?
It only takes a couple minutes to activate, and you can begin using it right away.
- How to report stolen credit card?
Call Chase customer service right away.
- What credit score do I have to maintain so my account is not closed?
You will need to maintain Good to Excellent credit.
- Will my credit score drop if my account gets closed?
It will depend on the reason for closure, the length of time you've had the card and the impact the closure has on your total debt utilization ratio.
- Which credit bureaus does the credit card report to?
All three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
- Can I build my credit with this credit card?
Yes, but you must already have good credit to qualify for this card.
- Is there an expiry date on the card?
All Visa credit cards have an expiry date.
- Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?
There doesn't appear to currently be one.
You can call Chase customer service to confirm.
- Can I transfer money from my credit card to another?
Yes but this would be considered a cash advance and come with significant fees and interest.
- Does this card cover rental car insurance?
Yes, as long as you book your rental on the card.
- Is TravelBank Cash related to United MileagePlus miles? Can I also earn miles using this card?
No. TravelBank is a cash-back rewards card issued by United and Chase.
It does not earn you miles.
- Can I still earn points on my card when I use it overseas?
This travel card offers many rewards for the United Airlines frequent flyer
Currently, the United Explorer card comes with an introductory offer of 40,000 bonus miles, a $100 statement credit and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
In order to get the 40,000 miles, you will need to spend at least $2,000 within the first three months of your account being open.
You will qualify for the statement credit as soon as you make your first purchase, and you also enjoy the $0 annual fee for the first year.
If you opt to add an authorized user to your account within the first three months, you will get 5,000 more miles as soon as you make a purchase.
The only condition is that the purchase must also occur within your first three months.
In addition to the intro offers, you get double miles on all United purchases, including tickets, baggage, food, and other fees.
You also get double miles at all restaurants and on all hotel accommodations, as long as you purchase directly from the hotel's official site and not a third-party site.
All other purchases will earn you one mile for every $1 spent.
Other perks include:
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck® Fee Credit.
- 25% Back on United Inflight Wi-Fi, Food and Drinks.
- No blackout dates on redemptions.
- Miles can be used to book travel on Star Alliance and other partners.
- Priority boarding on United flights.
- Your first checked bag is free.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Two United club passes annually for their airport lounges.
You also receive all of the benefits, perks, and protections of any Visa Signature card.
This includes travel perks with their Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection.
Your miles will never expire, as long as your account is open.
You can start redeeming flights for as low as 12,500 miles with the One-way Saver Award travel option.
Don't want to use your miles on airfare?
Other options for redemption include travel upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise, gift cards, and experiences.
This card is only beneficial for frequent United flyers
The biggest rewards are for United purchases, hotels, and restaurants.
That's where you earn the most miles and have the best redemption options.
This means if you're not a frequent traveler, this isn't the card for you.
After all, it only provides one mile per $1 on everyday expenses such as groceries.
In addition, if you prefer another airline, or book tickets based on the lowest price airfare, this may not be the card for you.
Any partner airline is included in the deal, which includes the following 28 Star Alliance airlines:
You need to be careful to book directly though.
If you love booking airfare, hotels, and car rentals through discount or travel fare aggregator sites, such as Expedia and Kayak, you will lose out on your points.
Another drawback of the card is the $95 annual fee that starts after the first year.
However, this is consistent with most of the best travel rewards cards out there.
A great travel rewards card for frequent United Airline flyers
Customer reviews of this card tend to be strong, with an average rating of 3.5–4 out of 5 stars, depending on the site.
There are a number of negative reviews floating around about the lack of benefits on this card.
However, many of the offerings discussed above were just added this month (June 2018), so you should watch out for more recent reviews to take a more accurate pulse on customer base sentiment.
The other prevailing theme with negative reviews is the poor customer experience with both United and Chase.
Chase offers a number of different travel rewards cards, targeted at different customer bases.
This one is clearly targeted at loyal United Airlines flyers.
If that's not you, then check out one of the many other travel card options, either by Chase, or other providers.
However, if you do meet that description, then I would say this can be an excellent addition to your wallet
Are you a loyal United Airlines flyer?
Have you signed up for their United Explorer Visa credit card yet?
Let us know what you think about this card in the comments below.