The Unique Benefits Of The United Explorer Card: Expanded Award Space, Primary CDW Insurance, And Much More


Update, 02/27: It’s worth making an update to this post to note that if you use’s “Remember Me” button it can cause your award searches to exclude your expanded availability.






You must be logged into your mileage account to have access to expanded award availability. If you check the “remember me” option it will look just like you are logged in, but after a short period of time it will stop searching for expanded awards.

I was searching for an award flight to Tel Aviv on 01/25/14 while logged into my account with “Remember Me” and got this goose egg:








However after logging out and back in again that same search came up with award seats:









Using expert mode (as described in the original post below) you can see exactly what’s going on:



There are no award seats available for non cardholders (X class) but there are at least 9 award seats available for cardholders (XN class).

Same thing happened when I searched yesterday for an award from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale for Pesach and expert mode shows why, 3 seats available just for cardholders or elites who are logged in without remember me:



Moral of the story is simple, don’t have remember you if you have elite status or a United credit card.


Originally posted on 01/15/14:

The Chase United Explorer card and the United Club card are the only currently available credit cards that gives you access to expanded award ticket availability.

It also is one of the only cards that comes with primary rental car CDW insurance.  Almost every other card only has secondary coverage when you rent a car in your home country. This means that if you damage your rental vehicle you must file the claim with your own personal insurance policy first, and only if they won’t cover the damage will the credit card cover the damage.  Even additional cardholders get primary coverage when they rent.

With primary rental car CDW insurance you will not have to file anything with your own insurance company. Chase will cover the entire bill for any damage to your rental car. Just be sure to decline the rental agency’s CDW coverage.  This primary coverage applies in every country in the world.  The Sapphire Preferred is what I use in Israel and other foreign countries, but that’s just because of the 2.14 points per dollar it awards on car rentals.  In the US the United card is the way to go.

How do you find expanded award availability? All you need to do is login to your account before you search for award flights.

How do you know if your card is properly linked to your account? Just login on and then hover over the words “Mileage Expiration”

If your card is properly linked you will see the following message that your miles won’t expire as long as you remain a cardholder:









If your card isn’t properly linked then you will see the following message that your miles will expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months:












Expanded saver coach example:

When logged into an account with a United Explorer card there is 40K saver award space from Newark to Tel Aviv on November 23, 25, and 30:


When not logged in or when logged into an account without a credit card or elite status there is no space on any of those dates.

Just how much space is there?  Using this link you can click the box to enable expert mode.

After enabling expert mode you can search for a paid flight from Newark to Tel Aviv on 11/23 and then click on “fare class” which will bring up the available cabins box:




Everything in that alphabet soup stands for important stuff but all we care about right now is XN and X class availability. There are at least 9 XN seats, meaning there are at least 9 saver award seats available to someone who has a United Explorer card or who has United elite status.  It never shows more than 9, so 9 means 9 or more.

There are 0 X seats, meaning that if you don’t have a United credit card and want a seat on that flight you would have to book a standard award for 75K miles.  Those 75K coach standard seats actually come out of the HN bucket for non-cardholders, so there are at least 9 of those.

Expanded standard coach and business example:

When logged into an account with a United Explorer card there is 75K coach standard award space and 150K business standard award space from Newark to Tel Aviv on the red-eye flight on 04/12.  This is an extremely popular flight for people flying to Israel for Pesach.



When not logged in or when logged into an account without a credit card or elite status there isn’t even standard award space available for that flight. The flight doesn’t even show up when performing an award search from such an account.

How many seats are available for cardholders and elites?





HN class is standard coach availability for non-cardholders, no seats there.  ZN is standard business availability for non-cardholders, no seats there either.

YN is standard coach availability for cardholders and elites, at least 9 seats there. JN is standard business availability for cardholders and elites, at least 9 seats there.  In fact as long as there is a seat on the plane you can use the standard mileage award for get it if you are a cardholder.

Expanded saver business example:

Only United Platinum, 1K, and Global Services elites have access to expanded business class award availability (IN class as shown in expert mode).

However anyone can use United Plan B to book a business saver award even if there is only coach saver available. 

As United cardholders have more coach saver award space available they will automatically have more business saver award space as well thanks to Plan B.

Other card benefits:
Besides for the signup bonus of 30K miles for spending $1,000 and another 5K miles for adding a free authorized user, the primary CDW insurance, and the expanded award space, there are other nice benefits of the Explorer card:
-First checked bag free.
-Priority boarding so that you’ll have space for your carry-ons.
-No foreign transaction fees.
-2 free United passes per year.
-10K mileage bonus every year that you spend $25K, a 40% mileage bonus which means you’ll have earned 1.4 miles per dollar everywhere. Spending $25K in a year also waives the requirement to spend $2.5K on United flights to get Silver status, $5K on United flights to get Gold status, and $7.5K on United flights to get Platinum status. You only need to fly the 25K, 50K, or 75K miles like in the good old days.
-Double miles on United purchases.
-Elite members can get upgrades on coach award tickets on upgrade eligible routes if they have a United card.
-Miles don’t expire as long as you are a cardholder.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

-You can also get the business version of the Chase United Explorer card.  Just click on “Are you a business owner” in the top-right of the Explorer card link.

-Want a 2nd free bag, a 50% mileage bonus per dollar spent everywhere, United club access for you and your entire family, post-security terminal access without a ticket, priority baggage handling and priority security access, and waived award expedite fees? The United Club card comes with all of that.  Just click on the MileagePlus Club tab at the top of the Explorer card link.


Other Chase consumer cards you can get at the time as the United card include the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), Chase Southwest (50K signup points), Chase British Airways (50K signup points and 10% off BA flights), and Chase Freedom (which gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories and 10% bonus points if you have a Chase checking account).

The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both give 50,000 signup points and offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year.

Leave a Reply

103 Comments On "The Unique Benefits Of The United Explorer Card: Expanded Award Space, Primary CDW Insurance, And Much More"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sort by:   newest | oldest

Great post dan.

What is the diff btwn the united explorer and the united club card?


Is SM matching to a better for this card dead?


Secure message matching still works fine, just write that you colleague got any of these offers:

United explorer consumer = 55K miles+$50 cash back.
United explorer business = 50K miles+$50 cash back.
United club consumer = $395 annual fee waived first year.


Its not official and delta wont confirm it but ive seen a few bloggers say that delta also has better award availbilty for a cardholder. In other words if u have a delta card sign into ur account before u check availibily.


Does the CDW cover liability, or just damage? If it doesn’t cover liability is there a way to buy liability insurance without damage?


I got this card in 2012 and I recieved 60K award miles.

Additional card user

Talk about hashgacha pratis. I was looking today for a whole and didn’t get a clear answer.

If I am added as an additional cardholder to a friend’s account, and I rent a car in the USA as driver without my friend, do I get the same primary car rental insurance coverage? Or does primary coverage apply only to primary cardholder?


The Explorer card has no fee for a year and $95 thereafter.
The Club card has a $395 annual fee.
I wrote the benefits of each at the end of the post.

Have a sample date to try please?

Credit cards only cover damage to your car. No card covers liability.
You can buy just liability from the agency if you don’t have personal liability or if you don’t want to rely on the state minimum required coverage that car rentals have anyway.

I don’t recall every seeing anything bigger than 55K+$50 unless you are counting the 10K bonus for spending $25K as they advertise sometimes (in which case the best offer would be 65K+$50).

@Additional card user:
The primary coverage does apply for secondary cardholders!


Hi Dan,
I have the club card. The annual fee is coming up and I really don’t want to pay it. If I cancel the club card am I eligible for the United Explorer card and the bonus? Thanks for your blog; it has saved us lots over the years


You are right, I think I got 55K + adding an authorize user for another 5K. I did not spend $25K to get the extra 10K miles. Anyways really good information on this post. Thanks for sharing


Hey dan I fly at least once a year United ( mostly within the us) do you think its worth it to pay annual fee for just that benefit? Because bbesides for israel, their regional flights are a fortune. 1 way from nyc to cleveland for 10000 points? You kiding me?


Any 3BM that can be done while signing up for the Explorer card?


Is this extra award availability also available for Presidential Plus Cardholders?


What a post Dan!

Will Lufthansa book xn class if I don’t have United Card?

Also will plan B work with Lufthansa?


so the united club card has all the same benefits just cost $395?


@dan i JUST booked a saver awards ticket. Fare Class:x
what should i do.
i also have the United MileagePlus Awards card….


The Club card won’t hinder you from getting the Explorer card or the bonus.


It’s free for a the first year, what do you have to lose?

And 10K for a short-haul award can be valuable when BA doesn’t have award space.

Sure, added other options to the end of the post.


You can only book XN or Plan B awards with United miles on United flights.

Not at all, read the end of the post again.

The MileagePlus Awards card does not get access to XN award space. You need the Explorer or Club card.


Two years ago i got the sign up bonus from united explorer, however now when i sign up now they tell me i cant get the bonus because i got it two years ago. any solution????


Did you open a new united account?


Does the Buisness united explorer card give primary coverage on rental car if not a Buisness expense? Or can one use it and be covered for any leisure rental and have the primary coverage?


I think another difference between Explorer and Club is that Club card allows close in award bookings with either no fee, or even reduced fee. Another benefit I THINK is the ability to redeposit miles from an award reservation without a fee. That is worth quite a lot..

they also have some of the benefits that AMEX PLAT offers, like 90 day return protection if a retailer won’t take an item back. I think that is limited to 1000$ a year.

And of course, the 1.5x miles on ALL purchases, can certainly add up for a larger spender.


Thoughts on the United Club card?


Can I SM chase before I apply to get the first year fee waived on the club card, or does it need to be done after applying?


If you go into a local Chase branch they offer 50k bonus for new cardmembers after spending 2k. This deal was officially supposed to expire this year but my local branch is still offering it (in Brooklyn) I assume all Chase branches have same deal. I even opened 3 Chase cards online via the 3 browser… and after asking to move some credit between cards was approved for all 3. Then I called emaild and asked to match the branch offer and they did. Bottom line, I got the 50k -+ 5 for additional- online for spending just 1k… plus same time 2 more cards.


Not sure off the top of my head.

There’s no redeposit benefit.

Great card for big spenders or those who like clubs.

You can try, YMMV though beforehand.

Same offer online as Sam said earlier with a quick message.


Hi Dan. Thanks for all the info. Should I consider renting a minivan using UR if I can’t get a good rate with the rental companies and priceline? I realize that means I will have to pay for my own collision insurance. Any advice?


Anybody having success recently with getting annual fee waived on business united club card?
I hucad a few times they all say NO

David R

I cancelled the card after a year when the annual fee hit. I had collected the 55K miles + $50. I never realized that I would have less of a chance of finding award seats.

Dan, could you please elaborate on the free checked bag? How many passengers on the itinerary can get it? Does the ticket have to be purchased with the card? What about an award ticket – does the 9/11 fee have to be paid with the card?

David R

…Domestic or even international?


@Dan i meant that. the united explorer card!



If I book saver biz class award fights to Maui from Award that has stop in LAX or SFO, Do I get any airport lounge access?
My wife , I and our new born want 5 days vacation in Maui and trying to find award space for late april to early may,

I heared you get airport lounge access if you buy biz or first class ticket? is it free entry for infant under 2?



to Maui from ORD on biz class I mean on booked with UA miles. I do have UME card. Do we also get fast check in at both airports?


Try hotwire yet? Any corp codes?

Haven’t heard about anything for business club.

@David R:
Ticket has to be paid by the card, 9/11 fee is enough.
Good for cardholder plus 1 additional passenger. Though secondary cardholders can get the agent to manually adjust bags to be free if the ticket was paid on the card.

You only get lounge access when flying internationally in business.


Does the extended award availability only extend to United operating flights or to all star alliance flights?


United only.



why not use sapphire in the usa for CDW?



Dan this is the business club card I am interested in
Didn’t understand what you meant.
To your knowledge will they waive first year on this card?
I have both ink and need another chase business card
thanks a million
thanks to your advice and seminat my family of 10 went to Europe last summer
am trying now for summer 2014


Because it only offers secondary coverage in the US, as I wrote in the post.

Like I said, I haven’t heard of any success stores with the business club card like that.


does the club card have the worldwide car renters CDW insurance coverage as well?
so if you dont mind the charge the club card has all the benefits of the explorer card plus more?

Dan's the man

@reallytrying: You won’t have to pay for your own collision insurance. If you’re using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card they extend the card insurance benefits for trips booked using the Ultimate Rewards points earned through the card. Call Chase to confirm but I know they said I did have trip cancellation/interruption insurance for a trip I booked using UR points.



@Dan’s the man:
I don’t believe that is true. Sure hope you get that in writing.


when is the dansdeals seminar coming to miami?


if i spend 25k on club card will I get 10k bonus or is it only on explorer?


When I get my voice back.

Explorer only.
Though even with the 10K bonus on the Explorer you still come out ahead with the Club.


Thanks. now I just need to figure out how to fly 25000 miles this year.


Anyone successful in getting the United Club First Year waived?


Do you have a post or link to somewhere that explains Uniteds entire alphabet/class system?
Thanks for all your work!


when is the voice coming back?
miami is waiting with bated breath!!!


If im flying on lufthansa on a united flight number paid ticket not award purchased with a explorer card do I get same benefits? for example priority check in and boarding free lounge for stopover in Frankfort . Got the tickets on widroe glitch thanks dan for everything


doesnt amex gold/ platinum have primary rental car CDW insurance.?




No, United flights only.

Not unless you enroll and pay an extra $20-$25 per rental.


can you get multiple ink cards, such as 2 bolds under 2 different business names?


Thanks for the suggestion, Dan. I tried hotwire but suspect I am doing the corp codes incorrectly. I get $55/day or $363 from sun pm till fri am for a minivan at mco. I may need to cancel my trip. Any advice?


Dan, do you think I should consider using 21k UR points instead?


@dan where is the option to log in into account with united explorer card?


@reallytrying: that isn’t a bad deal

Zvi Weiss

When did Chase / United start to [re]offer CDW benefits with their card(s). When we first got the Card, that was the case. Later, however, we found that ISRAEL was explicitly EXCLUDED from CDW overage! I called MasterCard (who actually administer the program and was told that each bank chooses how to implement the CDW coverage and Chase CHOSE to exclude Israel. This was ALSO true with the Sapphire Preferred Card (which is a VISA card) which did not cover Israel either.
In fact, MasterCard advised me that the Bank of America “World” MasterCard (which was available to me through NYU Alumni) DID provide CDW coverage and that has been what we use for Car Rental in Israel.
By the way, a [possibly tabular?] comparison of the benefits of Sapphire Preferred and MileagePlus Explorer would likely be very useful as BOTH are from Chase — however, I have heard that Customer Service for Sapphire Preferred is SUPERIOR to the Customer Service for the United card.


If I booked a ticket on united (actually the glitch) on my amex plat putting in my mileage plus no and mow I got the club card is there any way of getting free second bag on flight to UK and will I get priority check in


Any way of getting my account to be linked correctly?


@Jake or anyone else who can help: Which isn’t a bad deal? 21,276 UR points, $265.95 booked through UR both deals will require me to purchase separate cdw coverage (cuz can’t use explorer card) or $345.89 including cdw coverage? Thanks!


i just rented a car from alamo in ft lauderdale yesterday. i made the reservation with my united card but when i got there used my southwest preferred card. when i returned, the inspection guy whipped out a flashlight and showed be a hole in the bottom of the front bumper in small a crevice. i really don’t think i made the damage and I suspect they might do this regularly as part of some insurance scheme.
Do you know if I can call back and get them to retroactively bill my united card? Any suggestions or experience with getting them not to file anything?


If I have the Business version of the UAL Explorer card, will I get the XN award seats available? Thx.

Link it

how can i properly link my united cc to my mileage plus account?


Dan, when you say United Club card, does this include the United Presidents Plus card also?


How does one bridge the time gap to book on ANA with Starwood points. the transfer takes 10-14 days and one only transfers when he sees availability on ANA. by the time the transfer takes place it wont be there and the miles are not reversible. so its difficult seeing how this can work.


I just found out from all my credit card providers that CDW is not covered in Israel??? Israel is listed as excluded from CDW coverage.


Do any of the American Airlines cards also show you lower points for flights?


Wondering how to link the card to my United account? Thanks

Zvi Weiss

@Abe: This is what I have found as well…
I suggest that you all MasterCard International and ask those people which banks still offer MasterAssist (which, I think, is the actual name of the program) which banks still offer the overage for CDW in Israel. So far, I found that Bank of America has a Credit card that includes Israel.


You have listed several United Fare Codes in this blog (X,XN,
I,IN,IK,HN,ZN,YN,JN) with explanation of each. Are there other codes to be aware of to help locate available flights? What are they and where would I find information about them?


(re question # 72) Just located your response…#51


if your primary insurance only covers liability, is it still worth using explorer? It’s not even a question of your insurance paying


i just applied for the Chase United card and got approved, how do i link the card to my united profile, i dont have any united miles yet?


No need to link, it’ll happen automatically.


How does one bridge the time gap to book on ANA with Starwood points. the transfer takes 10-14 days and one only transfers when he sees availability on ANA. by the time the transfer takes place it wont be there and the miles are not reversible. is there a trick to this?


It doesn’t actually take that long.


it just took 1 week for me


is there any way to make a reservation thru ANA or does Starwood have a quicker way to transfer for a fee or more miles?


HI. I currently have the united explorer for about a year and a half. If I close the card now, how long do I have to wait to apply for a new one and get the signup bonus again?


Once there is no availabi lity even withthe explorer card _ will tehy open up more award seats closer?


I booked my united flight with an Amex, then I applied for a united mileage plus card, one of the benefits of the card is priority boarding for cardholders I believe but when I call they say I had to have booked it with my united card, anyone know if that’s true?


GREAT follow-up info – thx Dan!


Do they have some saver flights that get booked or do they sometimes add saver flights later on?
In other words, if its at zero now, any chance there ever will be?


Of course it changes, keep checking at least daily.


Why can’t I see the “Fare Class” link anywhere??? Am I blind?


Does the link work on mobile devices? Or am I horribly tech challenged?

Andy F.

Hey Dan, can a card holder book an award ticket for a non card holder on XN class?


Good info Dan, I had not heard of this anywhere else. I do find this tactic on their part to be at a minimum very poor business….and there could be possibly some legal issues here they are thwarting. Maybe this explains why saver space now is so hard to find. Every year we go to Hawaii on United using miles during the summer and there is tons of Saver space from SFO. This year I look and nothing. Everyone is complaining about the new partner award chart, but I think the biggest issue since the change is Saver space is hard to come buy. They are obviously playing games.


What class of service would indicate expanded business saver award availability for cardholders and elites?


checked nonstop saver awards economy EWR-tel aviv with United club card with “remember be” not checked off and only 1 date showing up on March 3 for all of March and April. Am i doing something wrong? one date in two months?



Expanded business saver availability (class IN) is only for Platinum, 1K, and Global Services.

Other elites and cardholders get expanded business standard availability (class JN)


Any reason I didn’t receive any twitter texts starting from this post on?


Probably not.

@Andy F.:

Are you following @DansDeals or did you signup with 40404?


@Dan: My last text I got was the Yogi teas I guess I might be having same problem as DP7

Travel Brainstorm

I wasn’t aware of this nuance but sure glad you pointed it out. It will save me from future frustration, thanks!


For a friend without internet access – so the phone agents know how to search for xn availability?

And even if they do, is it a concern that they have “remember me” checked off (and therefore not seeing the additional seats) ?


I booked a flight for my daughter to Israel using my United MileagePlus points. It’s a United flight with a stopover in Toronto and a switch onto an Air Canada flight to Tel Aviv.

Do you know what their refund policy is in the event that we end up wanting to cancelling the ticket?


If I use Plan B to get a Business class mileage seat, but I don’t want to fly through certain countries, do I have to accept whatever itinerary and carrier I am offered? Can I decline, and stick to Coach? Would I lose my miles in such a case?

Lily Iona MacKenzie

I enabled the expert category so I can search what seats are available, but I can’t get the fare class option. Help!


Plan B is for the exact itinerary only.

@Lily Iona MacKenzie:
Are you searching for paid flights?

Lily Iona MacKenzie

Yes, I’m searching paid flights because you had recommended that approach.