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Some credit card offers are both good enough and widely marketed enough to get the attention of even non miles and points enthusiasts (a.k.a., regular folks). The current temporarily increased offer for 50,000 United miles via the MileagePlus Explorer card after spending $2,000 is one of those offers that is getting the attention of all sorts of travelers and it is set to end on September 2nd. That means this is the last week for the 50,000 mile offer, so it is time to get serious about deciding if this offer is right for you.
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card: 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days+ additional 5,000 miles for authorized user that makes a purchase
I’ve gotten texts, emails, messages, and more from friends and family members who don’t normally raise an eyebrow at miles, but are interested in this 50,000 United miles offer that they have received in their mailbox, seen at the airport, or noticed online. They all ask the same question, they think 50,000 miles (or 55,000 with an authorized user) look pretty good, but want to make sure it is an offer really worth getting.
Are 50,000 United Miles Worth Applying For:
My answer? Yes! Yes! A million times over, yes. Getting 50,000 United miles for spending $2,000 in the first three months with a $0 introductory annual fee the first year is absolutely worth getting. In fact, it is worth getting for both yourself and your partner, if you have one. The regular public sign-up offer for this card is 30,000 miles, so this is a very big improvement that is set to go away on September 2nd.
United royally jacked up award prices for premium cabin long haul awards – especially on partner airlines – earlier this year, but there are still tons of other good ways to use United miles, and when you have the United card you seem to ‘unofficially’ have access to a bit more United operated award inventory than without.
Four Ways to Use United Miles:
There are infinite ways to use United miles, but here are four different ideas just to get you thinking about what you can do with all these miles.
Awards in Lower 48 + Canada just 12,500 miles each way:
It may not be sexy, but lots of people use their miles to fly on domestic saver awards in the lower 48 and even to Canada for just 12,500 United miles each way. With airfares continuing to trend upward and domestic round trip airfares averaging $509 for the first half of 2014, using 25,000 miles for a domestic round trip actually doesn’t sound that bad!
I have found domestic award availability with United to be pretty decent, certainly better than via some other programs such as Delta.
United BusinessFirst to Europe for 57,500 miles each way:
When United changed their award chart in February, they left United operated flights to Europe relatively affordable on miles at 57,500 miles each way for United BusinessFirst to Europe. I happen to really enjoy United business class as the seat is totally adequate for sleeping as you cross the Atlantic, the in-flight entertainment in decent, there are no fuel surcharges, and availability for the awards isn’t too bad. Sure it isn’t as luxurious as some foreign carriers, but who cares?! You have a bed and you are flying to Europe and that is more than good enough for me!
Visit several cities via stopovers and open-jaws:
United has pretty generous routing rules so you can have up to one stopovers and and two open jaws on round trip award tickets between two zones (including Alaska). This can be used to your advantage to visit different cities on one large trip, or to tack on a “free one way” to start or end an entirely different trip. You can read more about this concept in this post.
Intra Hawaii Awards for 6,000 Miles:
On a recent trip to Hawaii we needed to fly on United’s partner Hawaiian Airlines between Honolulu and Hawaii and prices for the intra-Hawaii segment were a little higher than I wanted to pay with cash, so we just used 6,000 United miles each and we were able to hop between the Hawaiian islands without feeling the pain with our wallet.
Who can get the bonus miles:
If you have had this card in the past, pay attention to the language in the terms that indicates:
This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months
Good luck if you go for the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card – that is a bunch of United miles and absolutely worth going for in my book. Just remember the advertized deadline is coming up very soon on September 2nd!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.