New United Explorer card benefits coming

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We recently reported changes to the benefits on the Citi AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard (See: New Citi American Airlines benefits & bonus coming soon). Chase is now getting in on the act, revamping the benefits on the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card. Bonus categories are being added and some key benefits are being eliminated.

Beginning June 1st, the Chase MileagePlus United card will carry the following new benefits both for new applicants and existing cardholders:

  • Earn 2x at restaurants and hotels (new)
  • $100 Global Entry / TSA PreCheck statement credit (new)
  • 25% off in-flight purchases (new)

Unfortunately, Chase is eliminating the following benefits:

  • Bonus 10,000 miles after $25,000 spend in a calendar year
  • Removal of return protection / price protection

Other benefits like free checked bag, priority boarding, 2 annual United Club passes, and more will be unchanged. See our Chase United MileagePlus Explorer page for full card benefits.

While it’s nice to have some bonus categories, these categories are of limited use for many readers. It is already possible to get 2x at restaurants and hotels for the same annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or 3x with the Sapphire Reserve – and you would have the benefit of transferring those points 1:1 to United or a host of other partners. The Global Entry / TSA PreCheck benefit is nice if you don’t have other cards that offer it, though that type of credit has become very common.

On the other hand, if you strongly value other card perks like free checked baggage and expanded award availability and you don’t have a CSP or CSR, the card may still provide a good value proposition for you and you might be just as happy to earn 2x at hotels and restaurants. The free checked bags could certainly add up for a family traveling together, and if you are traveling regularly and paying for Wi-Fi or food/beverages on-board, the discount there could be a nice perk. While I have put $25K spend on a United card for the 10K bonus miles in the past, it doesn’t make much sense to do so these days if you can use a Freedom Unlimited (1.5x everywhere or 3x everywhere for a year with the current offer if you intend to spend more than $10K) and combine with a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve account – so the elimination of that benefit won’t be significant for many readers.

The loss of return protection and price protection don’t seem like a big deal until you need them, and it’s too bad that Chase is dropping that benefit on many cards.

Again, these changes will affect both current cardholders and new applicants, so whether you have the card, apply now, or apply after June 1st these changes will apply to you.

Note that this card is subject to 5/24, so it won’t be available to those readers with 5 or more new accounts in the past 24 months.

H/T: View from the Wing

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