As part of the Continental/United merger, the company is changing up its credit cards. I thought I’d a give an overview of the new United Mileage Plus Explorer Card and review its benefits and drawbacks.
The new Visa card replaces the Mileage Plus Visa and the Continental Onepass Plus Mastercard, and offers a bit of a mashup between the benefits of those two cards. A quick review of the new card:
– $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
– 30,000 bonus miles for signing up
– 5,000 bonus miles for first purchase and for adding a new cardholder
– 10,000 bonus miles after $25,000 in spend (the 40,000 mile bonus they advertise is a combo of those 3)
– 2 Presidents Club passes
– First bag checked free
It’s $10 more than the old Continental card (though the same price as the old United Select card; the United Signature was only $60 but had a lower bonus and a handful of fewer benefits around bonus miles), and gives the same signup bonus as the Continental card (which is 5,000 miles less than the 30k bonus you used to get after $250 in spend with the old United card).
To sum: Like much of the United/Continental merger, the new card is a pretty equitable smushing together of the two companies’ products. Last year United offered a 50,000 mile bonus for their credit card, so unless you’re desperate for Onepass miles your may want to hold off 6 months to see if they re-introduce a similar offer.
If you ARE desperate for Onepass miles, your best bet right now is to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card (apply here), which offers 40,000 bonus points (which can be transferred to Onepass at a 1:1 ratio) after just $3,000 in spend with the first year fee waived. This bonus may not last much longer, and it’s a much better deal than the United Explorer Card.