1. Credit Cards
  2. Insights
  3. United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card


United-ExplorerImage: United-Explorer

106 reviews from Intuit Credit Karma members


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
hands-thumbs-upImage: hands-thumbs-up

Great for airport perks

cashImage: cash

Annual fee: $0 intro, then $95 after first year

This content is curated by Intuit Credit Karma’s Editorial team using data from members who were approved for this card or similar cards, or who self-matched this card or similar cards. Intuit Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse this content. Information about financial products not offered on Credit Karma is collected independently. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

Member stats

Updated: November 1, 2023

low-utilizationImage: low-utilization


Average credit utilization (or what percent of the card’s credit limit is being used) of members who matched with this card or similar cards.

meetupImage: meetup

42 years

Average age of members who matched this card or similar cards.

cash-give-1Image: cash-give-1


Average annual income of members who matched this card or similar cards. Note: Income may be estimated for some members by Credit Karma and may differ from members’ actual incomes.

Card highlights

yesImage: yes

Good sign-up bonus to help with flight redemptions

yesImage: yes

Nice travel and dining rewards

yesImage: yes

Travel perks like priority boarding and lounge passes

United℠ Explorer Card review: Friendlier skies for loyal United passengers

Updated October 13, 2023

This date may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.

Written by: Tim Devaney



4 things you need to know about the United℠ Explorer Card

1. Score rewards flights

With the United℠ Explorer Card, you can earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months your account is open.

You’ll earn two miles for every $1 you spend on qualifying purchases, including tickets, with United. You can also earn two miles per $1 for spending on restaurants, eligible delivery services and on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. And you’ll earn one mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Combined with the sign-up bonus, these rewards could be enough to cover several flights within the U.S., though it all depends on where and when you’re traveling.

2. No companion fare offer

Unfortunately, the United℠ Explorer Card doesn’t come with a companion fare offer.

A handful of United’s competitors offer this feature on their co-branded credit cards. The rules for how to get this perk vary based on the airline, but essentially it allows you to earn discounted airfare on a second ticket, and sometimes a free ticket, apart from the taxes and fees.

Without a companion ticket, you’ll have to rely on your rewards to score flights for another passenger.

3. Relax and enjoy the ride

Even though the United℠ Explorer Card doesn’t include a companion ticket (or complimentary MileagePlus Premier status, for that matter), it does come with several flight perks to make your trip more comfortable.

4. Redeeming your miles

You can use your miles to book flights or upgrade your seat on United Airlines.

According to our point valuations, as of summer 2023, United MileagePlus® miles are worth around 2.13 cents each when redeemed toward flights with United Airlines. That’s among the best valuations for airline programs.

The United℠ Explorer Card guarantees no blackout dates when you redeem miles for flights operated by United Airlines.

You can also redeem your miles for hotels, cruises, Broadway shows, gift cards and merchandise like electronics, housewares and jewelry. But you’ll probably get less value than if you use your points toward flights.

Keep in mind that the United℠ Explorer Card has a $0 annual fee during the first year of card membership. After that, you’ll have to pay a $95 annual fee. That’s not bad, but you’ll need to decide if the value of the rewards you can earn with the card outweighs the cost.

Who this card is good for

The United℠ Explorer Card can be a great, cost-effective option for passengers who frequently fly with United Airlines. This card can help you save money, travel more comfortably and build loyalty status with the airline.

Those who fly with United only once or twice a year, or who prefer airline flexibility, might want to opt for a more versatile travel credit card. Ultimately, the value of the United℠ Explorer Card depends on how likely you are to redeem earned miles for flights on the airline.

Member reviews

Updated: November 8, 2023

Overall rating:


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

106 reviews from Intuit Credit Karma members

Most helpful positive review

March 15, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Primary Insurance on Rental Cars!

Credit Karma Member

This card is fantastic for the rental car coverage, if you ever need it! That benefit is quite rare among card issuers, indeed. In January 2017, while driving an Enterprise car I was involved in a weird, unavoidable accident. Enterprise decided I was at fault and billed me for the totaled vehicle - nearly $12,000. Because I had used this card when reserving the car, and had also turned down Enterprise's daily insurance, I was covered fully by Chase. The process to take advantage of the coverage isn't difficult and the service representatives are very professional. They didn't require me to use my own car insurance first - Chase's insurance benefit was primary up to the full value of the car. I chose to charge the Enterprise damage bill on the Chase card itself, and then submitted documents for reimbursement. This gave a nice boost to my reward points! Applying for and getting the card was pretty easy, too, and there are no foreign transaction fees. I've had this card for almost 8 years.

Most helpful negative review

June 23, 2022

Rating: 1 out of 5.

What a joke

Credit Karma Member

I currently have an 820 credit score. I have applied for this card twice while trying to book plane tickets, because I wanted to take advantage of their statement credit options, and both times I've been denied because I have opened too many cards.

All member reviews