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6 perks you should take advantage of now

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The United℠ Explorer card comes with a host of benefits that can especially upgrade many aspects of your travel experience, from the booking process to the airport experience to even boarding your flight – all for a $ 0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $ 95.

While the card offers perks like free checked-in suitcases, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Fee credits and bonus miles for regular purchases, there are also plenty of lower profile lures. For example, you will have access to more prize seats than most United flyers; you can be one of the first to board the plane, guaranteeing ample space for the overhead bucket; you can even get into United Airport lounges for free a couple of times a year.

Here are the six benefits you should not ignore to get the most out of your United℠ Explorer card.

United Explorer Card Benefits

Annual fee

$ 0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $ 95

Ordinary ÅOP

16.74% to 23.74% Variable

Recommended credit score

Good to excellent

Annual fee

$ 0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $ 95

Ordinary ÅOP

16.74% to 23.74% Variable

Recommended credit score

Good to excellent


  • Annual fee lapses the first year
  • Earn bonus miles on multiple purchase categories, including dining
  • Includes an application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Gives you a free checked-in bag at United when you pay with the card


  • Not the most rewarding card for most travel purchases outside the United States

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More information

  • Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $ 3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Additionally, you can earn an additional 10,000 miles after spending $ 6,000 in total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
  • $ 0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $ 95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $ 1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases
  • Credit for up to $ 100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee
  • 25% back on United® purchases on board
  • Check your first bag for free (a saving of up to $ 140 per return) when using your card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit United ClubSM with 2 one-off cards each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $ 1 spent on dining including qualified delivery services

1. Free checked suitcase

Getting a free checked-in suitcase is an advantage if you are not a fan of carrying carry-on luggage and prefer a hands-free airport experience. Or if you just have the habit of checking suitcases, this benefit will save you and a travel companion up to $ 120 per person. return trip.

United charges $ 30 for your first checked baggage. However, when you pay for your flight (or the taxes and fees on a price flight) with this card, you and one guest on your reservation will receive the first checked baggage free of charge on United flights. If you and a travel companion were to use this benefit for one trip each year, you would more than offset the card’s annual fee.

2. Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS

If you are considering getting a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and you have a United℠ Explorer Card, signing up is easy. Both services are free with a United card every four years.

If you pay with your card, United credits your account statement with the price of TSA PreCheck ($ 85), Global Entry – which includes PreCheck ($ 100) or NEXUS, which includes both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry benefits ($ 50). Here’s why this should interest you:

  • TSA PreCheck allows you to keep your shoes and belt on as you go through TSA security checkpoints. Also, do not take your laptop out of your bag.
  • Global Entry allows you to skip the immigration line when you return to the United States from abroad. You just walk up to a Global Entry kiosk, fill out a quick electronic questionnaire and leave the airport.
  • NEXUS offers accelerated access to Canada and comes with all the privileges of the two previous programs.

All of these three programs can save you many hours at the airport each year, depending on how much you travel. But Global Entry is the easy choice here as it includes TSA PreCheck benefits. NEXUS is the most powerful of the programs, but it’s far harder to get approved for than the others because it requires you to be interviewed by both U.S. and Canadian border authorities. And there are only a handful of current interview sites.

3. 2 one-time lounge passes a year

The United℠ Explorer Card comes with two day passes to the United Club Airport lounges each anniversary year. It is a great perk that can make your airport experience a little more tasty. You will find free alcohol and snacks in the airport lounges, as well as comfortable seats and sockets.

United Club day passes regularly cost $ 59 apiece, so you can think of these cards as $ 118 in value per year – if you want to use them.

4. Excursionist Perk

This little-known trick is not necessarily a card-specific advantage, but it is a great way to use the increased bonus that comes with the United℠ Explorer Card.

The United Excursionist Perk effectively extends your vacation to another place for free. There are a handful of rules you should know (see our United Excursionist Perk guide for these details), but here’s how it works.

Let’s say you want to book a return flight from Houston to Paris. This flight regularly costs about 60,000 miles by bus. Excursionist Perk allows you to book an additional one-way flight within Europe during your zero-mile journey. So instead of a simple return flight, you can book something like:

  • Houston to Paris
  • Paris to Venice
  • Venice to Houston

You have to pay the (often nominal) flight taxes and fees, but this is a great way to get a little more for your miles.

5. Exclusive access to cheaper price flights

United Airlines has different levels of premium seats you can buy. The cheapest (and best value) seats are called “Saver Awards”. Once these seat prices are sold out, you may end up paying twice as many miles for the exact same flight.

The United℠ Explorer Card addresses this issue by opening up more Saver Award card card availability. Only those with United credit cards and United elite status can see these prices. So while others may think there are no more price flights available, you may have plenty of seats to choose from.

Book basic finances without any restrictions

Basic economics is a base price that airlines publish and that is fraught with restrictions. United’s Basic Finance Tickets enforce the following:

  • You can not bring a checked bag. If you try, you will be charged a $ 25 fee at the entrance.
  • You have to pay extra to choose your seat.
  • You can not refund or change your flight.
  • You board the plane dead last.

United Explorer Card solves two of these issues. Because the card provides preferred boarding, you can book basic economy and still board before most other passengers. This means you do not have to worry about overhead trash cans. You will also be able to carry hand luggage bag without raising $ 25.

Holding the United℠ Explorer Card allows you to book the cheapest United flights without complying with all the implications inherent in the basic economy.

Bottom line

The United℠ Explorer Card may be the most well-rounded airline credit card on the market. It enhances your airport experience, your boarding experience and even yours booking experience. And with a currently enhanced sign-up bonus worth up to $ 910, now is one of the better times to historically apply.

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