In a normal week, we’d have almost surely posted a new offer on the United Mileage Plus Explorer card that’s good for 70,000 total bonus miles. This week was anything but normal. As compared to other offers currently available, this new bonus on the United card doesn’t feel especially compelling. However, if you’ve specifically been looking to add the United card to your collection (perhaps to eventually downgrade to the no-fee card), getting it during an increased offer like this would obviously make sense.
The Offer & Key Card Details
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|Card Offer and Details|
The ordinary offer on this card is 40K-50K miles after minimum spend. We’ve also seen it hit 60K a number of times. The current 70K offer is an excellent offer for this card, especially considering the fact that the annual fee is waived for the first year, giving you a chance to try before you buy.
Personally, I’m not big on United miles given that there are typically better options for booking Star Alliance awards. That said, if you earn a lot of United miles from your flight activity each year for work, you may appreciate the ability to juice your balance with a nice chunk of miles.
In my opinion, the key card benefit on this card is expanded access to United saver awards. As we have noted many times in the past, that benefit also exists on the no-fee Mileage Plus credit card. The no-fee card isn’t available to new applicants (and the card stinks for spend, earning 1 mile per two dollars spent). The only way to get that card is to downgrade from another United card like this one. So if you want long-term no-fee access to expanded United saver availability, it can certainly make sense to apply when the bonus is high and annual fee is waived in the first year as is the case right now.
That said, 70K United miles don’t feel like a particularly generous bonus right now given that the Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Business Unlimited are both offering 75K Ultimate Rewards points right now after spending $7500 in the first 3 months. Given that you could move those points to a premium or ultra-premium Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred and then transfer them 1:1 to United (while also have the flexibility to transfer to many other partners 1:1 as the situation may suit your needs), this bonus seems ho-hum by comparison. Then consider that Amex has some partners that are much better for booking Star Alliance awards and the monster Platinum card offer stands out farther yet.
However, if you can’t qualify for an Ink card and you’ve been waiting for a United card, maybe this is the right spot for it. I’d still hesitate to recommend collecting an individual airline’s miles in the current environment, but I could see that there are some situations where this card might make sense right now.