All About Chase’s New United MileagePlus Explorer Card
By RON LIEBER
For United Airlines customers wondering about the fate of their miles-earning credit cards in the wake of the airlines merger with Continental, the airline offered up an answer today. It’s a new Visa card called the MileagePlus Explorer.
The annual fee is $95, which is more than the $60 that many United customers are paying for the entry-level mile-earning Visa currently. But the new card comes with a number of benefits. Cardholders (and traveling companions on the same reservation) who don’t already have elite status will be able to board early, albeit after everyone with status has already gotten on the plane. Still, this should be sufficient for everyone in that boarding group to find overhead bin space and avoid having to check their bags at the gate. Big spenders will get an extra 10,000 miles each year once they pass $25,000 in annual spending (and earn the usual one mile per dollar they spend). Cardholders and one traveling companion will each be able to check one bag for free on United flights, a handy perk for people who don’t carry everything on and don’t get free baggage checking due to their elite status on the airline. You’ll also get two passes to United’s airport clubs each year. A one-day pass normally costs $39 if you buy it ahead of time online or $50 if you buya pass at the airport. They are good for one person per pass; you don’t get to bring traveling companions along for free. One thing cardholders won’t get, however, is a waiver on those dreaded 3 percent surcharges for purchases that take place outside of the United States, something that Chase’s more expensive United Club Visa offers. I asked David Gold, senior vice president for Chase Card Services, if Chase had determined that it didn’t need to offer that perk because customers would forget about the surcharge or shrug their shoulders and use that card outside of the United States anyway rather than switching...
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