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New United MileagePlus® Select Visa benefits, but should you upgrade to the United Explorer Card?

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This article was last updated Sep 13, 2013, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

New Chase United credit card benefits

New Chase United credit card benefits

Chase recently sent United MileagePlus® Select Visa* cardholders a new guide to benefits via email. It changes a few of the benefits, including purchase protection, the extended warranty, and auto collision damage waiver coverage. Similar changes were sent to some other Visa Signature card holders, including the Chase Hyatt Credit Card*.

The United MileagePlus® Select Visa* is a legacy card only offered before United and Continental merged, and is no longer available for new applicants. But if you’re an existing card holder you can keep it as long as you want to keep paying the annual fee. Now the base card for United miles is the United℠ Explorer Card.

Unfortunately Chase doesn’t make the benefit guides publicly available – they send links only to your email directly, which is an improvement from before when they were only offered in paper form, but here are some of the benefit changes we noticed:

  • Purchase protection. The benefit now covers issues that arise up to 120 days after purchase – the prior benefit was for 90 days.
  • Extended warranty. There is now a cap of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per year in coverage.
  • Collision damage waiver with auto rentals. There are now no specific country exclusions listed. Previously Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, and Jamaica were among countries specifically excluded. It’s not clear whether these countries are still excluded, or whether coverage has expanded to include them as the language now states “The benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries.”

Even with these changes, the United MileagePlus® Select Visa is still missing pieces of coverage offered to United℠ Explorer Card holders. These include…

  • Price protection. If you buy an item with the card and see a print ad or non-auction online ad with a lower price within 90 days or purchase you can receive a refund of the difference, up to $500 per item.
  • Primary auto collision damage waiver. With the United℠ Explorer Card coverage kicks in before your own personal insurance, so you don’t have to report a claim to your insurer, potentially saving you on future premium increaess.
  • Return protection. If you decide to return an item with in 90 days and the store won’t take it back you can receive up to $300 per item ($1,000 per year).
  • Trip cancellation insurance. If you are genuinely unable to travel due to doctor-verified illness (not pre-existing), death, or injury of yourself or an immediate family member, you can receive a refund of the nonrefundable portion of your travel expenses, up to a specified amount.

That’s on top of the following United benefits the United℠ Explorer Card offers:

  • Checked bag waiver. Free first checked bag for you and one companion on your reservation.
  • Premier upgrades on award tickets. If you are a Premier level flyer the complimentary upgrades you are eligible for on paid tickets will apply to award tickets
  • Annual bonus. You get 10,000 miles every year you spend at least $25,000 on the card, effectively earning 1.4 miles per dollar on the first $25,000 in purchases.

What do you lose by dropping a United MileagePlus® Select Visa*?

The United MileagePlus® Select Visa* was and is a strong card. It offered several benefits not found on other United cards, and if you close the account to open an United℠ Explorer Card account you will lose:

  • Category bonuses. The United MileagePlus® Select Visa* offers 2x miles on dining, gas, groceries, and home improvement, 3x points on United purchases, and 2x points on Star Alliance member airline purchases. The United℠ Explorer Card only offers 2x points on United purchases.
  • Elite qualifying miles. You earn 1 elite qualifying mile for every dollar you spend on United.com for tickets with the card, up to 5,000 EQMs per card.
  • Anniversary bonus. 5,000 miles every year on account renewal.

So it’s a tough call. If you really value checked bag fee savings and extra protection, go with the United℠ Explorer Card. But if you want to maximize mile earning and the ability to earn Premier qualifying miles, stick with your existing United MileagePlus® Select Visa*.

> United℠ Explorer Card benefits summary

> United℠ Explorer Card review

*The information related to the United MileagePlus® Select Visa and the Hyatt Credit Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. These offers and/or promotions may have changed, expired, or are no longer available since publication.


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