United Explorer Card review – Win with extra award space and a free bag


Get the United MileagePlus Explorer Card if you want to save on bag fees or are tempted by the chance for extra award seat space. We wish it had more spending category bonuses and a less strict checked bag benefit.

Free first checked bag. You and a companion on your ticket will get a free first checked bag free on all United flights. That can save up to $50 per person roundtrip.

Better award space. You have extra access to awards at the ‘Standard’ level so you can use your miles on any United flight. This isn’t applicable to the lowest ‘Saver’ price level, but it’s helpful if you’re in a bind.



Annual fee. It’s a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, but then it goes up to $95.

Few category bonuses. Actually, only one – 2x miles on United purchases. Everything else earns a basic 1 mile per dollar spent.

Strict checked bag rule. You only get the free first checked bag benefit when you purchase your United tickets directly with your card. Similar cards from American and Delta Air Lines don’t have such a strict requirement.

Overall Rating
4/5 Stars   
Key Features

With a $95 annual fee after the first year, and several other credit card options to earn United miles, there’s a lot to think about. This review will walk you through it, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have.

How does it earn miles?

Is it worth $95?

How do the miles work?

How the free first checked bag works

Extra award space saves you miles

United Club passes, but read the fine print

Priority boarding, but not the front of the line

Plenty of travel protection

How does the Explorer Card compare?

Questions and Answers



Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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