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United℠ Explorer Card is a feature-rich consumer credit card from Chase, which is an attractive choice both for frequent flyers of United Airlines and for occasional travelers flying on Star Alliance partner airlines.
In this posting, I will describe major features of this card, and then will explain one important benefit that comes with the credit card, an access to XN booking class of the United Airlines.
1. Major Features
United℠ Explorer Card is an entry-level personal credit card (of four varieties of the United-affiliated credit cards for consumers) and has the following major features.
1) Welcome Bonus
After spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, you will earn 60,000 bonus miles.
2) 2 United Club one-time passes
As a card member of the United℠ Explorer Card, you will receive 2 United Club one-time passes after account opening and on each anniversary thereafter. (You also enjoy priority boarding privileges.)
3) Free first checked bag
When you purchase your United airline tickets with this credit card, you will get first checked bag free, and this benefit is also applicable to one traveling companion on the same reservation.
While First standard checked bag free is only available on United- and United Express-operated flights (not eligible for codeshare partner-operated flights), this feature can save you up to $140 per roundtrip.
4) Up to $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS
When you use your United℠ Explorer to charge the application fee for Global Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS, you will get reimbursement up to $100. This benefit is available every 4 years. With long lines at airports everywhere, I strongly recommend you to get Global Entry membership, whose benefit include a complementary TSA PreCheck®.
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2. Do you know XN booking class?
United℠ Explorer Card has several highly important benefits such as the primary rental car collision damage waiver.
But, what makes this card a must-have is that it gives you access to XN fare, an additional inventory for United elite flyers or cardholders of United partner credit cards. extra mileage seat called
Before explaining the usefulness of XN, I think I should first explain the concept of booking class / fare class.
So, what is a booking class or fare class?
Even with the same economy-class ticket, there is a huge price difference depending on several factors such as the length of the ticket validity and the flexibility of schedule change. In other words, it is the same economy seat when boarding an airplane, but the price is different depending on the purchase conditions.
And this difference is mainly indicated by the alphabet. So, Y is a full-fare economy ticket, B is a flexible economy ticket, and so on.
For United Airlines,
- The default fare class for business award seats is I
- The default fare class for economy award seats is X
- And, the code XN is assigned to extra availability, which is reserved only for United's elite members.
To use an analogy, you can understand that XN is like a reserved spot that store owners set aside for store regulars.
Fortunately, if you are a cardmember of the Chase-issued United-affiliated credit card affiliate, you can access the XN fare class.
And, the availability of this XN fare literally makes a huge difference.
Let me give you an example.
A family of three would like to purchase tickets for UA 893, a San Francisco-Incheon non-stop flight, that departs on June 25.
If a member of the family holds a United-affiliated credit card and redeems United miles from his/her account, they can need only 35,000 miles per person thanks to the access to XN fare.
Do you see the phrase “Exclusively available to you as a MileagePlus Cardmember”?
In this case, 3 tickets = 105,000 miles.
However, if you do not have a card, you cannot access XN. On this day, X fare seats are all sold out, and only YN fare is available. And, because YN fare is essentially an unrestricted economy fare, it requires a whopping 80,000 miles per person. In other words, you need to redeem altogether 240,000 miles for 3 tickets.
It's the exact same flight, exact same seat, but there's a difference of 135,000 miles depending on whether you have one credit card or not.
Therefore, if your family is going to Korea during peak season, a United-affiliate credit card is a must.