Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
What’s the deal?
The United Explorer Card sometimes has an offer for 50,000 miles, which beats the usual deal for just 30k miles, and it’s now back until June 2nd, 2015.
Chase is making this offer to highlight that the Explorer Card now has an EMV Chip built into the card, though it is basic Chip plus Signature, not Chip plus PIN technology.
You can get the bonus after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of holding the card. There is a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95. You can also add an authorized user to your account and earn another 5,000 miles, bringing your total bonus to 55,000 miles. And if you spend $25,000 this calendar year you will earn another 10k miles bringing your total to 65,000 miles.
What’s the catch?
The intro spending requirement of $3,000 in 3 months is higher than the usual $1,000 in 3 months for the less lucrative 30k deal.
Reddit users also report you can shop for a flight on United.com and get a deal with a $50 statement credit, which was also the case with the prior standard deal.
Also if you got an intro deal on a United Explorer credit card within the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for this deal. But if it’s been longer than 24 months (2 years), you’re good to go, even if you had an Explorer Card before.
This is also completely separate from the Business version of the Explorer Card, which is also offering 50,000 miles. And it’s okay to hold both if you have a small business. The business version has the advantage of offering 2x points on restaurant, gas station, and office supply purchases.
Are United miles useful?
United miles are a great deal for getting to international destinations with ease. With all of the Star Alliance partners, no other mileage program gives you better options for getting to more places around the world, especially if you’re looking to travel in Economy Class, like most of us.
There are no fuel surcharges to worry about and prices in Economy are pretty reasonable. For example you can travel to…
All United international awards also let you use a free stopover, which lets you visit two cities for the price of one. For example, you could fly to Paris, stay for a while, then go on to Rome and stay there, all for the single 60k mile price for a roundtrip to Europe. Delta and American miles no longer let you do this.
Travel in United’s BusinessFirst Class is pretty reasonable as well, at 115k miles roundtrip to Europe. It’s not always easy to find seats in advance in Business Class, but you can use this technique to get near the front of the line for when seats do open up.
Are there other options?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is another credit card that earns United miles. That’s because you can transfer the points it earns into your United account at any time. The annual fee is the same as the Explorer Card, but it lacks the free checked bag and priority boarding benefits.
Some people actually choose to hold both cards. The intro deal on the Sapphire Preferred is attractive in its own right, and that makes it really easy to get to a big United award quickly. It also earns 2x points on all dining and travel spending, which might make it a faster earning card for you.
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