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Chase United Explorer Business Card Review – A Card United Flyers Should Carry

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Chase United Explorer Business Card

Chase United Explorer Business Card Review

The Chase United Explorer Business card may be the most undervalued Chase business card on the market.  The card has a lot to offer loyal United Airlines flyers and could be a long term keeper because of the many United Airlines perks attached.  During this review we will take a look at the welcome offer, the card perks, the value offered, and the overall long term value of the card.

This Card Is No Longer Available – United’s New Business Card

Current Welcome Bonus vs Historical High

The current welcome offer is as follows:

  • Earn 50,000 United MileagePlus miles after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn an additional 50,000 miles after spending $25,000 within the first 6 months
  • The $95 annual fee is waived the first year

This is the highest the offer has ever been publicly.  The previous high was 75,000 miles but it was after only $5,000 in spend.  The normal welcome offer for the card hovers around 50,000 miles.

Welcome Offer Restrictions

The Chase United Explorer Business card does fall under the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule.  While it falls under the rule remember that it should not count towards your 5/24 count.  So if you are at 4/24 you can apply for this card and still get another Chase card after.

There is a 24 month restriction as well for this card. You are ineligible for the welcome offer if you have received a welcome offer on this card in the previous 24 months.  Having had or currently carrying a different United card does not disqualify you from receiving this offer though.

Earning Structure

The Chase United Explorer Business card offers the following earning structure:

  • Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores.
  • Also earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Chase Inside Access purchases
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on everything else

Cardmember Perks

The Chase United Explorer Business card comes with many perks.  They are as follows:

  • Expanded Award Availability – maybe the best perk of the card is additional award seats released on flights specifically for cardmembers.
  • Free checked bags – for the cardmember and one companion on the same reservation.
  • Two United Club one-time passes – which will be deposited into your MileagePlus account after account opening and each year after upon your cardmember anniversary.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Premier Upgrades on Award Tickets – The primary cardmember who is also a MileagePlus Premier member and traveling on an award ticket can take advantage of Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated flights (when available).
  • Priority Boarding – the primary cardmember and companions on the same reservation will be invited to board United-operated flights prior to general boarding.

    Chase United Explorer Business Card
    United Club SFO International – Bar


    The Chase United Explorer Business card has a $95 annual fee which is waived the first year.

    Welcome Offer Value – $1,405

    Valuing United MileagePlus miles at a reasonable 1.5 cents a piece puts the value of the 100,000 mile welcome offer at $1,500.  Once you subtract out the $95 annual fee you are left with a maximum value of $1,405.  A value of $655 if you only go after the first 50,000 miles.


    The Chase United Explorer Business card comes with a lot to offer for a reasonable $95 annual fee (waived the first year).  The current welcome offer, of 100,000 miles, is among the best on the market at this time.  The card perks more than offset the cost of the card for the loyal United flyer as well.

    The spending structure, while not great, is better than most airline co-branded credit cards.  The 2X earning on restaurants, gas, and office supply stores checks some big boxes for business owners.  While there are other options out there that offer better returns on these categories, like the Chase Ink Cash, it is still a decent return.

    Chase United Explorer Business Card

    Long Term Keeper

    If your home airport is well covered by United and you fly with them often then this card is a great long term option.  The perks more than offset the $95 annual fee for frequent United flyers.

    Free checked bags can save you up to $60 each way per flight.  Most business travelers carry on but if you like to check luggage or have a longer trip upcoming then this can offer substantial savings.

    If you have an airport with a United lounge, or frequently fly to one that does, then the 2 passes are worth $15-20 a piece.  The entry fee is $50 for each pass but most will get in the $15-20 range in value out of them.  If you use these passes each year that is $30-40 in value which negates a large portion of the annual fee.

    The real value of the card lies in the award availability.  Cardmembers are able to see more award availability than just regular MileagePlus members.  If you often take United award flights this perk is hard to quantify but it adds a lot of value.  This alone makes the card worth keeping for many.

    If you do not fly United Airlines often or your airport is not covered well by the airline then you may struggle to get $95 in value out of the card each year.


    The Chase United Explorer Business card comes with quite a punch.  It currently has one of the better welcome offers on the market.  The card also has a decent earning structure and comes with loads of perks.  Anyone who flies United Airlines on a semi regular basis will get more value out of the card than the $95 annual fee.  Many of the perks, like priority boarding, lounge passes each year, and extra award space make you feel like an elite status flyer without having to spend all of the money.  If you are a United loyalist then this card is a very compelling one to get for your business needs.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Miles to Memories
Miles to Memories
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  1. Hey Mark – Do you know if there is a fee-free version of this business card that you can downgrade to in order to keep the enhanced award availability feature?

  2. My only question is that besides for the sign up bonus, it doesn’t seem to make sense to me to use united points to book a flight since the lowest award ticket is 12,500 points. For example, a one way flight from Newark to West Palm Beach is $125 or 12,500 United miles. However, using Chase ultimate reward points you would only need 8,333 points on the Sapphire at 1.5 cents a point or 10,000 points on the ink preferred at 1.25 cents. It seems to me you would be better off accruing ultimate reward points that United points.

    • Ultimate Rewards points are always going to be the way to go because of their versatility. That goes for any transferable currency vs airline mile as long as it transfers at a 1 to 1 rate with a transferable currency. The value of the card long term is in the perks and the extra award space that it unlocks. Because there will be many times where the math works out in the other direction and United miles bring more value than booking through the portal can bring. But that depends on how often you fly United.

      • I guess what I was trying to say is that other airlines where the points needed for a flight are based on the cost of the flight, it is much easier to put a value on the points. However, because United requires a minimum of 12,500 points no matter how much the cost of the flight, many times the value of the points will be way less than 1.5 cents per point. In the example I gave above, 12,500 points for a $125 flight means you are only getting 1 cent per point.

        But I understand what you are saying, the extra benefits might make it worthwhile at least for the first year of the card.

        • But that is limiting United miles to booking only domestic economy flights. If that is what you are looking for then United miles are not the best for sure. If you want to fly internationally, in business class, or use the star alliance to fly other airlines you will get more than 1.5 cents pretty much every time. I just used 25,000 United miles to book a $700 coach ticket on Air Canada. It all depends on how you use the miles really.


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A compelling card for anyone that flies United on a regular basis. The card has enough perks that this is a long term keeper.Chase United Explorer Business Card Review - A Card United Flyers Should Carry