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


The information related to the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, MileagePlus Club, and MileagePlus Select cards has been collected by MileCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $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 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 thereafter, 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 the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

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

  1. wen


    Could you please clarify if only spend $ with those business partners with United can ear miles such as hotels and car rentals…?

    Thank you!



      @Wen – You can earn 1 mile per dollar spent at just about any merchant that accepts Visa for purchases. Not just with business partners of United.

  2. Nancy

    Does using you credit card count as activity to prevent an authorized user from losing their miles or is that only for the primary user of the card?


      @Nancy – It’s only for the primary user. That’s the account where all the miles earned from using the card are deposited.

  3. Wendy Tyciak

    How much do I have to spend and in what time frame do I have to spend it to earn my 50,000 points?


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