Credit Cards

A New 65,000 Mile Offer for the United Explorer Card – But Is it the Best Offer?

new united explorer card
Written by Charlie

There is a new offer on the United Explorer card – up to 65,000 United miles. While this will get you business class to Europe, is it the best offer for you? Here is an alternative offer to look at as well.

Right on the heels of Chase and Southwest rolling out their up to 60,000 point offers, Chase and United are doing the same with the United Explorer card. But, is this new offer the best offer for you?

New 65,000 Mile Offer for the United Explorer Card

Link: United Explorer Card for 65,000 Miles

Here are the details about this new United Explorer card offer:

  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Plus, an additional 25,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening
  • 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee for either program when charged to your card
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi onboard United-operated flights when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

So, to get the full 65,000 United miles, you will need to spend a total of $10,000 in the first 6 months (with $2,000 of that in the first 3 months). That is a big spend number for a personal card, even with it being spread out over 6 months. That means you will need to be spending about $1,666 per month on the United credit card.

I am a bit reluctant to commit to credit card offers on personal cards with high, tiered spending thresholds like this. That is because you are putting a lot of your spending for up to 1/2 a year into an airline mileage account. Airlines can and do devalue all the time and I try to avoid spending on airline cards – if I can help it!

One silver lining for this would be for those of you United elites that need the $25,000 waiver. If you were planning on doing that spending to waive your PQD amount for elite status anyway, might as well do it on this card, starting January 1!

The disappointing part about this is that the United MileagePlus Explorer card (this card’s predecessor) used to offer 10,000 miles after spending $25,000 on the card in a year. That would have stacked beautifully with this! Instead, you will only get the other 25,000 bonus miles from this offer.

Is This a Better United Explorer Offer For You?

Link: United Explorer Offer for 50,000 miles

Fortunately, like is the case with United credit cards, there are some other options for you! Here is one that gives you 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months. That means you can spend $7,000 less but you will also earn 15,000 fewer miles (actually, it would earn 22,000 fewer miles when you consider the spending as well).

Why would you apply for this offer instead? It depends on what cards you typically spend on and what you are trying to earn. If you have a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, that same $7,000 in spending would net you 10,500 points which could be transferred to United from an Ultimate Rewards-earning account or a number of other accounts. For some people, those points would be preferred to give more flexibility.

If you were going to use something for some business-type spending, you could get the Blue Business Plus card from American Express and earn 2 Membership Reward points for every dollar. That means you could earn 14,000 Membership Reward points instead of the United miles. Again, it depends on what you want out of your spending.

One more choice would be if you had the Hilton Ascend card and you wanted a free weekend night. That requires $15,000 in spending per year. If your credit card use is under $2,000 per month, you probably wouldn’t want to take away from that Hilton spending to put on the United one – unless you really wanted those extra miles.


If you have no problem hitting the spending and you want United miles, the first offer is the one to go for. If your spending is more restrictive and you don’t want to commit to the higher spending amount, go for the second United Explorer offer.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.