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- The United Explorer Card currently offers a sign-up bonus worth up to 65,000 bonus miles.
- When you include points you’ll earn from spending, you can have 75,000 miles or more in six months.
- 75,000 miles is enough for three domestic round-trip flights, or one round-trip ticket to a wide range of international destinations.
- Here are the best ways to use the miles from the sign-up bonus.
United offers several great credit cards for frequent flyers, and the United Explorer card currently offers a bonus of up to 65,000 bonus miles. First, you’ll earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months after opening a new account. If you hit $10,000 within six months, you’ll get another 25,000 miles. When you take into account the purchases, you’ll come out with at least 75,000 miles after you earn the full bonus.
This card comes with a number of other benefits useful for regular travelers on United. Those include a free first checked bag when you buy your ticket with the card, a credit worth up to $100 on TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years, two annual United lounge passes, priority boarding, and 25% back on in-flight purchases.
While the card does charge an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year), it is easy to see how you can get that back and more when you include benefits and the 2x miles per dollar earned at restaurants, hotels, and United and 1x mile everywhere else.
Plus, that sign-up bonus can be worth thousands of dollars in free travel!
Let’s take a look at some of the best flights you can get on United with that 75,000 miles you would have from the Explorer card after taking into account the sign-up bonus and first $10,000 in spending.
1. Enjoy sushi in Tokyo
United operates a nonstop flight from Denver to Tokyo on the comfortable and ultra-modern 787 Dreamliner. In coach, you can book that round-trip nonstop for 70,000 miles plus $45.43 in fees.
After recently watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I’m tempted to take the trip. If you visit with this flight, your dinner will cost more than seven times what you’ll pay out of pocket for your flights!
2. Afternoon tea in London
London is a beautiful, cultured city with a long and exciting history. A nonstop, round-trip flight from Chicago or New York to London Heathrow airport will take 60,000 miles and just under $200 in fees ($181.13, to be exact). Heathrow is notorious for those high landing fees, even on award tickets booked with miles! But even with them, $181 out of pocket is a bargain for a trip to England.
When you get there, you can tour famous museums, churches, and other attractions. Stop in for afternoon tea before gussying up for a night on the town and show on the West End. If you have enough time, you can even hop on the train to Paris for a night or two before flying home!
3. From Miami to Ibiza
Electronic dance music fans are familiar with the anthem about dancing “from Miami to Ibiza.” If you want to dance until the morning hours in two of EDM’s capital cities, you can get there for 60,000 miles and about $150 round-trip.
Ibiza’s peak season is the summer, and Saver-level award flights are somewhat limited during that season. If you want to go to a destination outside of a major city, planning as far ahead as possible helps you lock in the Saver award rate, which is the best price when you book award tickets.
4. Business class to Mexico
Saver coach awards are 17,500 each way from the mainland United States to Mexico. With that, you have enough for two round-trip tickets! But if you want to travel in luxury, you can upgrade that to business class for 30,000 each way.
While a North America business class experience doesn’t offer the same luxury as an overseas trip, it could be the perfect upgrade to start a vacation on the Mexican Riviera or on the way to explore Mexico City.
Celebrate Carnival in Rio
Rio de Janeiro is the party mecca of the world during the annual Carnival celebration. If you want to dance and embrace this colorful, exciting event, you can get there with your United miles.
An economy flight from North America to Brazil is 30,000 miles each way when you fly on coach and book Saver awards. Hopefully, those nearly free flights leave you enough spending money to get a lavish hotel or front row seats at one of the big shows.
5. Jet-set around the US
Most round-trips in the US are 25,000 round-trip with a Saver award, but you can find some as cheap as 20,000 for itineraries of 700 miles or less. That means you can use those miles for a small bundle of flights around the country.
How you use your miles is ultimately up to you. That’s the fun of a credit card bonus. Once you get those miles in your account, your biggest problem will be deciding where to fly next!