The United℠ Explorer Credit Card Review

In this article

    What we like about the United Explorer Card

    • Promising rewards rate: You get 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United purchases. While many airlines offer 2x miles for airline purchases, there aren’t many that offer the same rate for spending on dining and hotels.
    • Long list of travel perks: Cardholders are also entitled to 25% back on in-flight United purchases, two United Club passes per year, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® credit every four years, no blackout dates, collision damage waiver on eligible car rental and upgrades at more than 900 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.
    • Shop confidently with a 12-month extended warranty and purchase protection for 120 days against theft or damage.

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    Things to consider

    • Annual fee: At $95 per year (waived first year), you’ll need to travel often enough to compensate for the annual fee.
    • No intro APR period: This card doesn’t offer an interest-free period for purchases and balance transfers, although many travel credit cards on the market do.
    • High rewards tied to United Airlines: Although you can redeem miles for things like Apple products, merchandise and gift cards, you get the best redemption value when you redeem for United flights. It’s best to fly with United when using this card to fully utilize your rewards.

    Travel rewards details

    To earn miles, simply use your United℠ Explorer Card and you’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United purchases. You’ll also earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and eligible delivery services.

    There are different redemption options, but the overall process to redeem your miles is easy. Use your miles to make your vacation more enjoyable with flight upgrades, hotel stays or car rentals. You can also redeem your miles for merchandise, gift cards or event tickets, but the redemption value varies with each option.

    To make the most of your United℠ Explorer Card and take advantage of the travel perks, you should fly with United. For example, you can have your first bag checked in for free. And at a cost of $30 per bag, you save $60 per round trip.

    Fee details

    Apart from the $95 annual fee (waived first year), you can expect a late payment fee of up to $39, a returned payment fee of up to $39 and a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% (whichever is greater). But you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees.

    How does it compare to other airline credit cards?

    The United℠ Explorer Card is a fantastic option if you enjoy dining out and can fly at least once or twice a year to enjoy the perks that come with the card. If you prefer a card with no annual fee, then the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card also offers 2x miles spent on restaurants worldwide and purchases from United. The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card also has no annual fee, offers 2x miles on grocery purchases and uses the widely accepted Mastercard network.

    CardOngoing Purchase APRAnnual FeeIntro BonusCredit NeededKey features
    United℠ Explorer Card16.49%–23.49% variable $0 Intro for First Year, then $95Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.Excellent2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases.
    Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card 15.74%-24.74% Variable $010,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.ExcellentEarn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
    American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardSee TermsSee Terms10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingExcellent2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services, 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

    For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here

    Please Note: Information about the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card has been collected independently by The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

    Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view our disclosures, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser’s page for terms & conditions.



    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best money market accounts of 2020.

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    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For example, if we look at CD products for Ally, it scores a 4.6 out of 5 for our CD SimpleScore metrics. However, when we apply the metrics we measure for money market account SimpleScores, Ally scores a 4.4 out of 5. These two different financial products have two separate SimpleScore metric ratings to account for differences between them. We adjust our ratings based on industry standards for each category.

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    Minimum deposit

    We compared the required minimum deposit to open a money market account. The lower the minimum deposit, the higher the score.


    MMA holders want great returns on their investments. That’s why we awarded brands with higher APYs.

    Customer satisfaction

    We leveraged J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study and 2020 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study to rate each brand for customer satisfaction. The higher the satisfaction score, the higher the SimpleScore.


    Customers should be able to leverage their accounts, which is why we awarded brands that offer perks like ATM withdrawals, check-writing abilities, mobile check deposit and waived monthly fees.

    Monthly fee

    It’s annoying to pay to use your account. That’s why we awarded brands that have low or no monthly fees.

    Kristie Kwok

    Contributing Writer

    Kristie Kwok is a finance content writer with in-depth knowledge of the banking industry from her previous work experience in banks such as UBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. She is a qualified accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance.