Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card Review

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card from Chase is definitely an air travel credit card along with a $95 yearly fee after a fee-free 1st year. It earns a limitless 2 United MileagePlus miles per $1 used on all United Airlines airfare buys, as well as an unlimited 1 mile for each $1 spent on everything else. Miles could be redeemed for United Airlines airfare without any blackout dates, seat limitations, or any other restrictions.

The Explorer card’s greatest competition is other airline rewards credit cards, like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, Chase British Airways Visa Signature, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and Gold Delta SkyMiles from American Express. It’s also similar to general-purpose travel rewards cards, for example, Capital One Venture Rewards, although those cards generally have handier reward payoff options.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Whenever you spend a minimum of $1,000 within three months of opening the account, you receive 30,000 bonus miles. This reward may be worth up to $600 when used for airfare, with respect to the dollar price of the relevant fares. If you add a certified user for your requirements to make more than one purchases within the same Three month period after account opening, you receive yet another 5,000-mile bonus, for any total sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles.
  • Travel Advantages. The United MileagePlus Explorer card has a raft of travel advantages. Included in this are free 1st examined bag for the primary cardholder and something companion (usually $25 each method per individual); priority boarding just before general boarding; 2 free of charge United Club airport lounge passes each year; complimentary room updates when accessible, free breakfast, as well as extended check-in/check-out hours at greater than 700 partner hotels globally; and access to unique or VIP occasions, for example private cooking classes as well as musical performances.
  • Credit Needed. United MileagePlus Explorer needs superb credit. Any credit imperfections of note could be disqualifying.

Basic Information About it:

  • No Intro Annual fee for the first year
  • $95 for the following years

  • Enjoy travel benefits include free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • 2 united club passes each year for your travel and chip-enabled card provides add security

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, earn 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Get 30,000 bonus miles after spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening; get 5,000 bonus miles when you add the first authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your card during the first 3 months and 1,000 bonus miles each year after you reach $25,000 in net purchase on your card

How to Apply a Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card:

  • Visit https://www.theexplorercard.com/30kAFW
  • Press “Apply Now” button to be redirected to the next page
  • Provide required information on the next page include your first name, last name, mailing address, city, state, zip code and MileagePlus Number

How to manage your card account online:

If you’re already a cardholder of Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card and would like to manage your card anytime, you need to go to the website www.Chase.com/united and create your Chase Online Access account.

With this online system, you can manage your credit card account quickly, conveniently and securely. You don’t need to worry about what time it is and where you are. You can pay your bill, view your statement, and transfer your balances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at home, at office, or even at the airport.


Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card Review (Updated 2016)

United airlines card chase

The British Airways Visa Signature card is a very attractive travel reward credit card. You get rewarded for your purchases with British Airways, and also receive some great bonuses that offer a lot of value. This article will provide in depth review on this card to help you decide if this card is for you.

Our Favourite Things About The British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Earn 50 000 bonus Avios points: new cardmembers can receive 50 000 bonus Avois points after spending their first $2000 with the card within 3 months of card opening. These are enough points for you to book a flight from the U.S.A. to certain Europe destinations. The only catch to this is you will have to pay for all the fees and taxes yourself. The flights are also subject to availability.
  • Earn an additional 25 000 bonus Avios points: You will be awarded another 25 000 Avios points when you spent $10 000 on purchases with the card. Furthermore, you will earn another 25 000 bonus Avios points after you spent $20 000 in purchases in your first year of card opening. The means you can earn a total of 100 000 bonus Avion points if you spent $20 000 in your first year with the card. Yes, some people won’t spend $20 000, but for the people who travel to Europe often, they will spend over $20 000.
  • Earn 3 Avios points per $1 spent: You will earn 3 Avion points per every $1 spent on British Airways, and 1 Avios point per $1 spent on all other purchases. There is no limit to the amount of points you can earn. The Avion points can be redeemed for flights with British Airways, as well as partner airlines which includes American Airlines, and can also be redeemed for flight upgrades.
  • Receive free travel ticket for companion: Every year you can be eligible to receive a ‘Travel Together Ticket’ for any companion that is valid for two years. There are a few catches however, as you must have $30 000 on your British Airways card within the year, you will need to book your own flight with British Airways by redeeming your Avios points.
  • No foreign transaction fee: This card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, which is what you want with a travel credit card. You will not be charged when you use this card to purchase an item in a foreign currency. Most foreign transaction fees are 3%.

Things We Did Not Like About The British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Annual fee: This card charges an annual fee of $95, which is to be expected for a travel credit card.
  • Need excellent credit: This is one of those cards where you will need to have excellent credit in order to qualify. This is usually the case with many travel credit cards.
  • No 0% introductory offer: This card does not feature a 0% period on purchases and balance transfers, which would of been nice to see. You will be charged a 16% variable A.P.R. right from the beginning.
  • The frequent traveller who often fly with British Airlines.

How The British Airways Signature Cards Compares With Similar Cards

United Mileage Explore Credit Card

This credit card, which is issued by United Airlines and Chase, is a solid travel air miles reward credit card. This card features a bonus offer of 30 000 bonus miles after you spend your first $1000 on purchases in the first three months. Although this bonus offer is smaller then the one with the British Airways cards it does offer some things the British Airways card does not. With this card, you will receive priority boarding privileges as long as you own the card. You will also be able to check your first bag for free, and when you use this card to pay for travel bookings, you will get travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and vehicle rental collision insurance. These little things are nice touches and definitely add up. With this card you will earn 2x the miles for every $1 spent on tickets purchased from United Airlines. and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other airlines.

Both this card and the British Airways card do not have a foreign transaction fee, and both cards do not feature a 0% intro A.P.R. period, as this card has a variable A.P.R. of 16%. Both cards require excellent credit to qualify which is common for most travel credit cards. Overall this card does provide some better perks then the British Airways card, so if you will not be flying with British Airways to often you are better off with this card, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you consistently fly with British Airways then it should definitely be your card of choice.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This travel credit card offers a solid sign up bonus just like the British Airways card, as you will earn 50 000 bonus after you spend the first $4000 in travel in the first 3 months of card opening. If you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards this is the equivalent to $625 in travel. This card will allow you to earn 2X the points on dining and restaurant purchases and 1X the point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Both cards do not have a foreign transaction fee, and both have an annual fee of $95, although this card waives the fee for the first year. This card, like the British Airways card, does not have an intro 0% A.P.R. offer, as this card has a variable A.P.R ranging from 16% to 23%.

This card and the British Airways card both require excellent credit. A great feature this card has is the 1:1 point transfer to other leading frequent travel programs. This means that 1000 of your Chase Ultimate Reward points is equal to 1000 of the partnered travel programs points/miles. This is a feature that the British Airways Card does not have. This card also has trip interruption/cancellation insurance, travel insurance and vehicle rental insurance which the British Airways card does not have. Again, if you are one who does not fly with British Airways often then you are better off with this card or the United Mileage card. You should only be interested in the British Airways card if you fly with that airline frequently.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

This is another airline branded, travel rewards credit card similar to the British Airways card. This card has a bonus offer that will see you earn 50 000 bonus miles after making $3000 in purchases in the first 3 months card opening. You will earn 2x the miles on American Airlines purchases with this card and 1 mile per $1 spent on all purchases. This is similar to the British Airways card, although it offers 3 miles per $1 spent on British Airways purchases. Both cards do not feature a 0% A.P.R. introductory offer as this card features a variable A.P.R. of 14% to 22%.

Both of the cards require you to have excellent credit in order to qualify. This card recently removed the foreign transaction fee, which helps it compete with the other travel credit cards. You will also have a first checked bag is free bonus, for you and four travelling companies on domestic flights though American Airlines. This card also allows you for group 1 boarding on American Airlines flights. Overall these cards are similar, it really depends on which airline you fly with more frequently. If it’s with American Airlines then this should be your card of choice.

Should You, Or Shouldn’t You, Our Final Verdict

This card does have a lot of value, as it has a huge bonus offer, as well as allowing you to earn 3 points per $1 spent on British Airways purchases. The benefits you can get from this card if you spend a lot, more then make up for the annual fee. The main problem with this card is you have to spend a whole lot of money to receive some of the bonus offers, as well as the free travel ticket for a companion. This card has more of a specific targeted group as it is best for those who spend a a lot of money travelling especially on British Airways flights. If this is you, then you should definitely get this card, as you will receive huge amounts of bonus points, as well as accumulating miles quickly as it awards 3X the points.

However we feel that most people will better benefit with either another card that is branded by an airline, such as United Mileage Explore card and the Citi AAdvantage card talked about in this review. If you don’t necessarily fly with the same airline, then you should go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, or any other travel rewards credit card.


united airlines card chase

United airlines card chase

Before the United devaluation of 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was a popular way to generate United miles for many of us. With the sign-up bonus on the MileagePlus Explorer Card often hovering around 30,000, the Sapphire Preferred was often the preferred way to top off a MileagePlus account. The two cards are both issued by Chase, they have the same $95 annual fee, and 0% foreign transaction fees. Sign-up bonus aside, people often wonder which card is superior. Below is a breakdown of both cards’ benefits as well as which one comes out on top in each category:

Sign-up Bonus (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

The sign-up bonus for the United MileagePlus Explorer card normally ranges from 30,000 – 50,000 points, while the Sapphire Preferred is around 40,000 – 50,000. The current 50,000 point Sapphire Preferred bonus (paid out after $4,000 is spent after 3 months) beats out the MileagePlus card and the points can be transferred to United at a 1:1 ratio. So if you’re looking for lots of United miles, the Sapphire Preferred card is the best way to go. Both cards offer the option to earn an extra 5,000 points after adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first 3 months.

United airlines card chase

when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

United airlines card chase

when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Earning Points Through Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

Both cards pay out 1 point per $1 spent. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 2 points per $1 on dining and travel while the MileagePlus card offers 2 points per $1 on tickets purchased on United. The Sapphire Preferred wins out in this area because it earns bonus points on dining and the travel bonus isn’t limited to a specific airline.

Annual Bonuses (United MileagePlus Explorer Card)

Following the discontinuation of the 7% annual dividend, the Sapphire Preferred still hasn’t offered any annual bonuses as an incentive for paying the $95 annual fee. Meanwhile, MileagePlus Explorer cardholders get two free United Club Passes every year along with 10,000 bonus miles for spending $25,000.

Redemption Options (Chase Sapphire Preferred). The MileagePlus Explorer card only earns United miles which, in all fairness, can be redeemed for flights with a ton of airlines in the Star Alliance. This includes Singapore Airlines, which is an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. However, Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Sapphire Preferred card are much more flexible and you can essentially share them with another person. Points can be transferred to six airlines and four hotel rewards programs. In addition, cardholders can redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises — at a 20% point discount. This option actually came in handy this summer when I used Ultimate Rewards points for activities in Singapore and Hong Kong.

That being said, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card does have one significant advantage — cardholders get access to more award inventory, making it even easier to redeem miles for award travel.

Travel Benefits (United MileagePlus Explorer Card) The Sapphire Preferred is surprisingly lacking in travel benefits. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card gets cardholders and a traveling companion a free checked bag each on every flight, along with priority boarding. Additionally, cardholders get access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, a booking site through which cardholders receive benefits like complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and “additional benefits, unique to each property.”

Travel Insurance & Purchase Protection (Tie)

Both cards offer a slew of generous travel and purchase protections, including lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement, trip cancelation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and emergency assistance services. While these benefits are identical for both credit cards, there are a few exceptions.

While the Sapphire Preferred offers baggage delay insurance that covers essential purchases for baggage delays over six hours of for five days, the MileagePlus Explorer card offers this benefit for just three days. When it comes to travel accident insurance, the Sapphire Preferred offers $500,000 worth of accidental death or dismemberment coverage while the MileagePlus Explorer card doesn’t actually specify an amount.

Purchase protection is also similar, with both cards offering the same types of return and price protection. The difference is that the Sapphire Preferred covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account while the MileagePlus Explorer card covers up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

When it comes to insurance and purchase protection benefits, both cards offer nearly identical products, with minor differences. This is where personal preference should really be the deciding factor.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best option for those who want a card with a generous sign-up bonus that earns a flexible currency and bonus points on travel and dining. However, the MileagePlus card is the way to go if you’re a frequent United traveler who is only interested in a card that earns just a single currency, and offers the ability to earn a generous annual bonus based on a large amount of spend and free checked bags. One thing to keep in mind if you’re a Chase Freedom cardholder is that you can transfer your cash back to Ultimate Rewards points if you also have an Ultimate Rewards earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Which of these cards do you prefer?


Chase Credit Card Promotions – September 2017

United airlines card chaseHere’s our full list of Chase credit card promotions and bonuses. As long as you are not a cardholder of a particular Chase card for 24 months, then you qualify to apply for the same card as a new customer. Chase credit cards are great to go along with Chase Total Checking® + Chase Savings SM ($350 bonus) or Chase Premier Plus Checking SM ($300 bonus). Unlike American Express cards, there is no limit to the number of Chase credit cards you can have. For certain Chase cards, you could also refer your friends and family to earn referral bonus e.g. Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Southwest, etc. See our full list of credit card promotions!

Things To Know About Chase Credit Cards:

I’m sure everybody’s quite familiar with chase as they are one of the most prominent banking establishments nationwide, and their loyal fan-base is definitely known. With all the attractive bonuses that they offer and with reliable co-brand credit cards. Now, here are some things that everybody should know when it comes to Chase.

  1. Chase will match-up higher sign up bonuses if you notify them within 90 days of applying. If you sign up for a bonus and Chase increases the bonus amount within 90 days, you can contact chase to have your bonus matched up. Of course, if the annual fee is different, it may affect whether they approve the match-up or not.
  2. They not only offer generous credit card bonuses, but they also offer lavishing checking & savings accounts bonuses. $150-$300 on the total checking account and $150-$300 on the savings account are definitely common.
  3. If you apply for multiple Chase cards in one day, the hard inquiries will be combined. Business & personal inquiries will not be combined.
  4. You can get the sign up bonus on Chase cards more than one time. As long as you abide by the 5 card in 24 months rule; it’s absolutely possible for you to get a chase credit card sign-up bonus multiple times.
  5. Chase offers a Refer-A-Friend Program for Credit Cards. Chase allows you to refer friends to their credit cards that you hold, the typically bonus is $50 or 5,000 points for every referred friend. The bonus your friend receives and what is available regularly changes.
  6. Chase will expedite your cards with 1-2 day shipping, As part of their credit card services, they will send you a credit card via mail even if your card is lost or stolen. Just be sure to contact Chase and make a request. There isn’t a charge either!
  7. Usually, Chase will refund the annual fee if you cancel within a given (2) Statements. Rule varies among what card it is, but if you forget to cancel your card and your annual fee is posted; you can get a refund… Just don’t stall too long!
  8. If you’re denied for a credit card, call the Chase reconsideration department. Since Chase runs by a automatic approval systems, there’s a slim but possible chance you may not be approved. I recommend contacting a Chase representative to get an approval.
  9. There is no limit to the amount of Chase credit cards you can have. Now, there is a limit on how many credit cards you are approved for at a certain time (5/24 Rule). If you’re denied for a card, and you are currently abiding by the Chase 5/24 rule, you can always request that they transfer some of that credit limit to a new card.
  10. You can see if you’re pre-approved for a card online. Disclaimer: This feature only works on Chase branded cards (Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, etc.) and is not available for Chase Co-Branded credit cards (Chase SouthWest, Chase Marriot, etc.)
  11. It’ll usually be a soft pull for when you distribute your credit limits between existing cards. This is not an option if your increasing the credit limit on a card to more than $35,000
  12. Hard Pulls with Chase can result from asking for a credit limit increase. If you’re looking to increase your credit limit, just be ready for a hard pull on your credit.
  13. There is a minimum credit limit on all Chase cards of $500. If you want to transfer credit limits when opening or closing an account, then keep in mind you need to keep a credit limit of at least $500 on each card.
  14. It’s possible for chase to do a pull from a different bureau if you choose to freeze your report. If you want to limit the number of inquiries on one of your credit reports, you can freeze that and usually, Chase will agree to pull your report from one of the other bureaus.
  15. It’s possible to get your points sooner than they would normally post. All you have to do is make the minimum spending requirement and change the statement closing date to something sooner than it normally is.
  16. Chase will let you change your statement closing date. Chase is flexible with your statement closing date usually when your account is in good standing.
  17. Chase business credit cards don’t get reported to the personal credit bureaus
  18. You usually have 103 days after being approved for your Chase card to meet the minimum spend requirement and more recently they’ve been giving 115 days.
  19. Chase allows product changes/downgrades but only within the same brand. Ex.) If you have a Chase United MileagePlus Explorer and you want to change to a United Mileage Club, it’s possible but not for if your exchanging for a British Airways, etc.


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The best travel credit cards of August 2017 based on signup bonuses and category spend bonuses are listed here--these are public offers, available to U.S. residents. Credit card offers such as these, category spend bonuses and some modest mile purchases are How We Earned 1 Million Miles and Points in a Year. With this post, I'll go into some detail as to why we rank these credit card offers the way we do, and separate them into the best ones for signup bonuses and the best ones for everyday spend. We do receive referral credit for some of the cards listed, but not all of them. I'll also aim to keep this blog post up to date to track changing offers and spend bonuses. Overwhelmed? Check out our Beginner's Guide to Miles and Points.

Note that there are sometimes targeted offers that are better than public offers, such as a 150K AMEX Business Platinum offer, so make sure to check your email and even junk mail regularly.

Also note that the value of miles and points varies enormously depending on how you plan to use them. Someone redeeming for U.S. domestic flights that are normally inexpensive will typically get much less face value out of the same number of miles or points than someone redeeming for an international first class award ticket, which could have a retail value of $20,000 or more. If you only fly inexpensive domestic flights you may be best off with a cash back card.

The other part of the equation is redeeming miles and points for first and business class. If you don't have time or need help, consider using our Award Booking Service, which is just $75 per person if you book at least $5000 in hotels or cruises with us for your travel itinerary.

Best Travel Credit Cards for Sign-Up Bonuses

In ranking these, I've taken into account not only the bonus, but the spend to get that bonus. I apply the highest value use, so be sure to read my notes to decide if you would value the card as highly.

  • 75,000 ThankYou points after $7500 spend within 3 months of account opening
  • Receive a $250 air travel credit each year (December to December billing cycle)
  • 3X on air travel and hotels
  • 2X on dining and entertainment
  • $450 annual fee is NOT waived
  • Receive one $100 Global Entry application fee credit
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 4th night free at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge
  • Offer not available if you have opened or closed a Citi ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card within the past 24 months

Why #1: Even though I just cancelled my Citi Prestige, it's a good card to get for the first year. That's because you can earn two $250 air travel credits in the first year of membership, one in 2017 and the next in 2018, such that you earn $50 from the card in the first year ($500 air travel credits - $450 annual fee), even before taking into account the 75,000 points bonus and other benefits. I don't value Citi ThankYou points as highly as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, AMEX Membership Rewards points or SPG Starpoints, but good uses are transferring to Singapore KrisFlyer, Air France/KLM Flying Blue or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Also see 50K ThankYou Premier or 75K Citi Prestige?

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus after spending $4000
  • Earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases
  • Earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • $300 Travel Statement Credit per year automatically applied for travel purchases charged to your card
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit if charged to your card
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why #2: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is now my most used card in terms of dollar value of purchases, thanks to earning 3X on all travel and dining. If you travel, this should be your go-to card for virtually all purchases, and in my view it's the best card to have if you opt to have just one travel rewards credit card. Yes, it has a high $450 annual fee, but effectively it's a $150 per year card because of the $300 travel statement credit each year (December to December billing cycle). This reimburses you for $300 per year of all kinds of travel--airfare, hotel spend, taxis, car rentals, etc.

Heck, even if you're not positive you're going to keep the card for the long term (although personally I will) you can make about $850 off the card in the first year. Get a $300 travel statement credit plus the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a signup bonus (worth $1000 at a valuation of 2 cents per point. That gives you $1000 + $300 - $450 = $850.

Since you earn 3X on all travel and dining, anyone who spends $2500 or more per year on some combination of travel and dining will easily earn back the annual fee on an annual basis, at least if you value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at

2 cents per point. That's because your $2500 in spend will earn you 7500 Ultimate Rewards points, and at a valuation of 2 cents per point, that's $150. And this is in addition to the trip interruption, cancellation, delay, Priority Pass Select lounge access and other card benefits.

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months from account opening
  • Credit card (may carry a balance, although don't be tempted to!)
  • 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, Intternet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites.
  • 1:1 point transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer and Korean Air (best use of points), Hyatt, United Airlines, Southwest, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, Priority Club, Amtrak
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95 is NOT waived the first year, unless you apply in a Chase branch

Why #3: The Ink Bold and Ink Plus have been eliminated for new applications, so now the only Ultimate Rewards linked Ink card is the Ink Business Preferred, which launched November 14, 2016. It has an 80K sign up bonus, 3X bonus categories, and the $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year for this offer unless you apply in a Chase branch. Note that this card is subject to Chase 5/24, so you'll most likely not be approved for it unless you have opened 4 or fewer new credit cards within the past 24 months, are pre-approved for the card in a Chase branch, or are a Chase Private Client.

Points may be transferred 1:1 to Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean Air SkyPass, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Korean Air Skypass, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Intercontinental/Priority Club, Amtrak.

Thanks in part to the points from the Ink Bold (no longer available), I recently experienced Lufthansa's New First Class. Ultimate Rewards points are great for transferring to United to redeem for awards on Lufthansa, ANA, Asiana, Thai and other Star Alliance partners.

Another thing I love about business cards is that unlike personal cards, credit utilization is not reported to credit agencies. So as long as you're paying it off in full by the due date, no need to zealously pay off high spend right after it occurs.

Note that you shouldn't apply for more than one Citi card of any kind on the same day--wait at least a week between Citi applications, if you're hoping to be approved for both. Also note that AAdvantage miles are worth less, after the 2016 AAdvantage Award Chart Devaluation.

  • Earn 60K AAdvantage miles after $3000 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, gas stations and car rental agencies
  • $95 annual fee is waived the first year
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Note that you are not eligible for the bonus miles if you have had this same card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Why #4: Even after the major AAdvantage award chart devaluation, AAdvantage miles still have their uses. For example, you can fly JAL Sky Suite Business Class between the U.S. and Japan for 60,000 miles each way, JAL Business Class from Tokyo to Sydney for 40,000 miles each way, or JAL First Class Tokyo to Sydney for 60,000 miles each way. If you need more miles more quickly than you can earn them via credit card signup bonuses, you may want to top up your account by buying AAdvantage miles.

  • Earn 60K AAdvantage miles after $3000 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, gas stations and car rental agencies
  • $95 annual fee is waived the first year
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Note that you are not eligible for the bonus miles if you have had this same card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Why #5: See the above for the AAdvantage Platinum Select; I rank the business card offer just below the personal card, since sometimes business card applications that aren't instantly approved are subject to greater scrutiny.

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4000 spend in the first 3 months
  • 5000 Ultimate Rewards points after adding an authorized user within the first 3 months
  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean Air, United, Hyatt, Southwest, Marriott, InterContinental, Priority Club, Amtrak
  • Direct access to expert service advisors anytime
  • Annual fee waived first year, then $95

Why #6: The 50K + 5K for total of 55,000 points is an improved offer, since the prior offer was 40,000 points (45K points including the 5000 bonus for adding an authorized user). My favorite transfer option for Ultimate Rewards points are Singapore KrisFlyer and Korean Air Skypass. Previously, United miles were the best value transfer partner for Ultimate Rewards points, but that changed as of 2/1/14 due to the massive United Award Chart Devaluation. Note also that you are likely to be turned down for a new Chase Sapphire Preferred if you've opened 5 or more new credit cards within the past 24 months; see Chase 5/24 rule.

Points may be transferred 1:1 to Singapore KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontinental/Priority Club, Amtrak. United and Hyatt are the two highest value uses for points transfers.

Note that the 7% annual points dividend has been eliminated for those who got this card July 20, 2014 or later for this card. Those who already had the card will continue to receive the points dividend for 2015 spend, but that will be the last year; no 7% points dividend for 2016 spend.

  • 50,000 ThankYou points after $4000 spend within 3 months of account opening
  • 3X on travel spend, including gas stations
  • 2X on dining and entertainment
  • $95 annual fee waived the first 12 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Offer not available if you have opened or closed a Citi ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card within the past 24 months

  • 75,000 Membership Rewards points signup bonus after spending $20,000 within your first 3 months of card membership (50,000 points after spending $10,000 and another 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000)
  • Receive $200 in statement credits for airline incidental fees such as for checked luggage after selecting a qualifying airline
  • Enjoy complimentary access to AMEX Centurion lounges, such as the AMEX Centurion Lounge SFO, AMEX Centurion Lounge in New York LaGuardia, AMEX Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas, and the AMEX Centurion Studio in Seattle.
  • Earn 35% extra Membership Rewards points for all first class and business class tickets booked with Pay with Points, as well as economy tickets for the same airline selected for the airline incidental credit. This used to be a 50% points rebate, but was changed 6/1/17. See AMEX Business Platinum Cuts 50% Points Rebate
  • Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar for each single transaction of $5000 or more. For example, spend $6000 and earn 9000 Membership Rewards points.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee is NOT waived the first year
  • Offer not available if you have or have had the AMEX Business Platinum card

Why #8: This offer was previously 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points until January 25, 2017, with a $15,000 minimum spend. 75,000 bonus points for higher $20,000 minimum spend is significantly worse, which caused this to fall significantly in the rankings. Be on the lookout for targeted 100K or even the targeted 150K AMEX Business Platinum offers that sometimes come via snail mail.

  • 50,000 Asia Miles after spending $2500 or more in the first 90 days of opening your account
  • 2X Asia Miles per dollar spent on eligible Cathay Pacific travel and in-flight spend
  • 1.5X Asia Miles per dollar spent on dining
  • 1.5X Asia Miles per dollar spent on purchases outside the U.S.
  • 1 Asia Mile per dollar for purchases in the U.S.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year
  • Offer expires October 31, 2017

  • 20K bonus Miles & more miles after making a first purchase and paying the annual fee
  • 30K additional bonus miles after spending $5000 on the card within the first 90 days of card membership
  • 2X miles per $1 for tickets purchased directly with Lufthansa and partner airlines such as Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and SWISS
  • $89 annual fee is NOT waived the first year

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after $3000 spend within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Additional 25,000 bonus Avios (so total 75K Avios) after spending $10,000 total on purchases within the first year, or additional 50,000 bonus Avios (total 100K Avios) after spending $20,000 total on purchases within the first year
  • 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Smart Chip Technology
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel Together companion ticket valid for 2 years after $30,000 spend within a calendar year
  • $95 annual fee is NOT waived for this offer

Why #11: A couple reasons I don't rank this card higher, even though you can earn 100K Avios as a signup bonus and the card is not subject to Chase 5/24, are that $20K spend is required to earn those 100K and I find Avios much less valuable than they used to be, due to the various award chart devaluations over the past few years. For example, see the New British Airways Avios Devaluation which really made first class and business class awards a terrible value, especially for peak travel dates on British Airways and on partners, since all partner awards are at the peak travel rate. British Airways First Class from the West Coast to London has increased from 150,000 Avios roundtrip to 170,000-200,000 roundtrip for non-peak and peak dates, respectively. Also note the $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.

Additionally, even if your goal happens to be short flights on American Airlines within the U.S., AA has sharply reduced their saver award space (which is the space open to partners such as British Airways) so Avios are less useful for those awards.

Make sure to take the increased award rates into account when deciding whether or not to apply for the card, and if you're considering getting the card for the 2 for 1 companion voucher, see How to Maximize the British Airways Companion Ticket on Award Travel.

Avios in my view are good to have for miles and points diversification, since they can offer the best deal for short direct flights in the U.S., Asia, Australia, and even in Europe, to a lesser extent (due to all the low fares from easyjet, Ryanair etc.)

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $3000 spend within the first 3 months
  • Points may be transfered to Aeroplan, ANA, British Airways, Delta, Singapore and others; there are sometimes transfer bonuses for transfer partners such as British Airways
  • $200 airline fee credit (some have managed to get this twice, because it's in a calendar year)
  • 5X points per $1 on eligible Mercedes-Benz purchases, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $550 annual fee is NOT waived the first year

Why #12: This 60K offer for $5000 spend is an ok deal (although not as good as the recent 75K offer), since usually the offer is just 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. But keep in mind the annual fee on this card, as with the personal AMEX Platinum, is now a hefty $550, which is not waived the first year. Membership Rewards points are great for transferring to Singapore KrisFlyer, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points also transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer, making it easy to top up your account in order to redeem for Singapore Suites, Singapore First Class or Singapore Business Class.

There is of course the steep annual fee of $475 ($25 higher than the usual AMEX Platinum annual fee of $450) though I do have some tips for Maximizing the AMEX Platinum Airline Fee Credit. You also get a $100 fee credit for Global Entry; see AMEX Platinum Global Entry Benefit Tips. I still don't value the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program, as a luxury travel advisor, since my clients receive equivalent or better perks booking Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partner with me (for example, Four Seasons Preferred Partner upgrades are prioritized ahead of AMEX FHR--see Why Switch to Four Seasons Preferred Partner from an AMEX FHR Booking). For more details, see Become a Client.

There are also no category bonuses, except for 5X for Mercedes-Benz purchases, unlike the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card. If you value the benefits more than I do though, you could find the card to be worthwhile. Note that the current offer for the regular AMEX Platinum (not Mercedes-Benz) is now 25,000 points, although some report receiving a targeted offer for 50,000 points. That card comes with a $450 fee. Note that it no longer is possible to receive the signup bonus for both the AMEX Platinum card and the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card at the same time, they are now considered the same product. See AMEX Stingier: Rules for Signup Bonuses & FAQ

  • Earn 50,000 Bonus MileagePlus miles after you spend $3000 on the card within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2X MileagePlus miles per $1 spent on tickets bought from United Airlines, spend at office supply stores, restaurants, and gas stations
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 United Club passes each year
  • $0 annual fee the first year, thereafter $95 per year

Why #13: Other Chase cards linked to Ultimate Rewards should be higher priority, since Ultimate Rewards can transfer 1:1 to United MileagePlus miles (as well as the flexibility of transferring to other frequent flyer programs), and the Chase cards above come with higher signup bonuses. I've also demoted this card in the ranking due to the massive United award chart devaluation that took effect February 1, 2014, and given the MileagePlus award increased change fees and stopover rule changes that went into effect October 6, 2016. Note that you are unlikely to be approved for this card if you've opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months; see Chase 5/24 rule .

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4000 spend in the first 3 months
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean Air, Air France/KLM, British Airways, United, Hyatt, Southwest, Marriott, InterContinental, Priority Club
  • Direct access to expert service advisors anytime
  • $450 annual fee; but you receive a $300 travel credit per membership year, so effectively a $150 annual fee card

  • 15,000 points signup bonus after spending $500 in 3 months
  • 2500 points after adding an authorized and making your first purchase within 3 months of account opening
  • If you travel, get this card for points, not cash back. Note that you'll need the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus to transfer points out to Ultimate Rewards partners such as United and Hyatt
  • 5X points on up to $1,500 spent each quarter.
  • No annual fee

  • 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases on the first $50,000 per year (1 point per dollar thereafter)
  • No annual fee
  • 1:1 point transfer to Membership Rewards partners such as Singapore KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Delta SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards, etc.

  • 5x Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood Hotels if you are a Gold or Platinum SPG member; otherwise, 4 Starpoints per dollar spent
  • Currently offered with a 25,000 SPG points bonus: 10,000 SPG points after first purchase, and 15,000 SPG points after spending $5000 on the card within the first 6 months
  • Starpoints transfer to many airline and hotel programs, and you receive 5000 bonus miles or points for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, a nice 25% bonus. See Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfer Partners
  • Starwood Gold Preferred Guest Status after $30,000 spend in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3x Membership Rewards points for airfare
  • 2x Membership Rewards points for groceries and gas
  • $175 annual fee waived the first year

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