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United MileagePlus® Explorer Card: Full Benefits Guide

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card: Full Benefits Guide

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Nov 22, 2016, 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.

It’s always best to call Chase directly before relying on benefits as your specific account may have different terms, and you can see how other other United credit card options stack up here, or read our review of the United℠ Explorer Card here.

Mileage Earning:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on United purchases.
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open. Normally, inactive miles expire after 18 months, though you can reset the clock every time you use or earn miles.

United Travel Benefits

  • First checked bag free: Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket. For you and a companion on your reservation. Eligible customers may receive their applicable standard checked bag free on flights operated by United only; codeshare flights are not eligible. The primary cardmember’s MileagePlus account number must be listed in their reservation and they must pay for their tickets with their qualifying United MileagePlus® credit card and purchase them directly from United.
  • Priority Boarding. Enjoy priority boarding privileges with United before general boarding in Zone 2 – the same boarding zone as Premier Gold and Silver flyers.
  • Always a carry on bag. If you purchase a Basic Economy fare that doesn’t include carry on bag privileges, as a United℠ Explorer Card holder you can still bring along a carry on bag.
  • United Club day passes. Visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary. These were formerly known as Red Carpet Clubs and Presidents Clubs. Passes are awarded each year on the anniversary date of your card.
  • Reward ticket upgrades (Premier level flyers only). If you are a United Premier member, you will be eligible for domestic upgrades in the same way you would if you bought a cash ticket. This benefit will roll out by early 2012 and is only available to United credit card holders.
  • Last seat mile ticket availability. As a United℠ Explorer Card holder you can book with miles up to the very last seat on the flight at the premium ‘standard’ award level

Travel Insurance and Other Benefits

  • Primary car rental collision damage insurance. Most vehicles are covered with the exception of ‘expensive, exotic, and antique’ vehicles like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche, and Rolls Royce. Select models of BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered. Some vans, vehicles with an open cargo bed, trucks, motorcycles, opeds, limousines, and RVs are also excluded. Coverage is worldwide, and it’s primary, so you don’t have to file a claim with your own insurance first.
  • $10,000 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 purchased with your card. You can also be covered if weather prevents you from safely making the trip.
  • $300 delayed baggage coverage. If your baggage is delayed more than 18 hours from your arrival, you can be reimbursed for $100 per day of expenses to buy essential clothing, toiletries, etc in the interim for up to three days. This is coverage the airlines themselves will often not provide. Note that most medical essentials like contact lenses and dentures are not covered.
  • $3,000 lost or damaged luggage reimbursement. Coverage in excess of any reimbursement from the airline or other insurance you carry. Exclusions include cameras, glasses / contacts, tickets, money / documents, precious metals except personal jewelry.
  • Trip delay coverage. Up to $500 in reimbursement for reasonable expenses when your flight is delayed by 12 hours or more by weather, mechanical, or other qualified events. Coverage applies to all common carrier airlines, not just United when you use your card to pay for at least part of your ticket.
  • Travel accident insurance. Up to $500,000 in coverage for accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing that occurs while a passenger, or on the way to and from your departure and arrival point.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Waived on all purchases made outside the United States.
  • Free breakfast / upgrades at Luxury Hotel Collection. When you book using LHRCollection.com you receive breakfast for two daily, a room upgrade, if available at check-in, early check-in and late check-out, if available, and a very special amenity unique to every property such as lunch or dinner for two, a spa treatment, a round of golf, airport transfers or an experience of a lifetime. This is similar to the Fine Hotels benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express with an annual fee of $550.
  • Roadside assistance. Call 1-866-359-5402, available for help when you are more than 50 miles away from home in the U.S. and Canada. Covers maximum of $50 per event, up to four per year. Includes battery boost, flat tire service, fuel delivery, towing, and lockout assistance.
  • Inside Access Events. Chase regularly offers tickets to events and experiences available for purchase only by cardholders. See http://www.insideaccessfromchase.com for current event listings.
  • Free wine tasting. Over 60 wineries in Napa and Sonoma County offer 2 complimentary tastings per cardholder and discounts on wine purchased in person at the winery.
  • Discounts and free shipping. Several  merchants offer special discounts for Visa and Visa Signature cardholders, see this link for details.

Purchase Protection

  • Extended warranty. Doubles manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on warranties of 3 years or less. Boats, software, medical equipment, business equipment, real estate items, and used items are not covered. Gifts are covered. You must keep your receipt and the warranty on file.
  • 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, $1,500 per year. Cars, plants, cell phone plans, jewelry, real estate, and used items are among those excluded. Purchase must be made in the U.S.
  • Purchase protection. If an item you buy with the card is stolen, lost, damaged, or involuntarily parted (you know where it is, but it’s not recoverable) within 90 days of purchase, you can receive up to $10,000 per item ($50,000 per year). ‘Mysterious disappearances’ with no evidence of wrongful acts are excluded, as are items being transported/delivered, and losses from checked baggage, among others. This coverage is in excess of any insurance coverage you already have, which will be considered first. You must file a police report within 48 hours for theft, or include a fire, insurance, or loss report.
  • Return protection. If you decide to return an item within 90 days and the store won’t take it back you can receive up to $300 per item ($1,000 per year). Software, motor vehicles, cash, formal attire, jewelry, medical equipment, perishables, and real estate items are excluded.
  • Identity theft protection. $1,000 in coverage toward expenses to restore your identity if it’s stolen. Includes up to 4 credit reports after the event, re-filing costs, notary fees, and lost wages for time away from work to amend or verify records.

How do these benefits stack up?

The trip delay and trip cancellation coverage on this card is some of the best on the market for airline branded cards.

American Express issued cards don’t offer any trip delay or cancellation protection, even with high annual fee cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express*.

And American Airlines cards from Citibank have similar coverage but don’t give you primary protection for car rentals.

There are plenty of exclusions with the United℠ Explorer Card benefits, so the coverage isn’t perfect, and you’re really going to want to give Chase a call before relying on any of it.

But it’s the kind of coverage travel insurance companies like to charge good money for, so if your situation is eligible you could save a lot on coverage costs by using your United℠ Explorer Card to pay for your trips.

*The information related to the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

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October 1, 2016