United Club℠ Infinite Card
vs. United Explorer Card

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ByDoug Milnes, CFA
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer
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ByDoug Milnes, CFA
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Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer
Edited byBrett Holzhauer
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Updated: March 19, 2024

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Both the United Club℠ Infinite Card and the United Explorer Card are suited to travelers who are loyal to the United brand but the rewards rates, annual fees and travel perks for these cards differ. This means it’s important to compare the United Club℠ Infinite Card and United Explorer Card features and benefits to determine which card best suits your needs.

For instance, for United purchases, the Chase United Infinite can earn you up to four miles per dollar while the United Explorer Card earns you two miles per dollar. However, the United Explorer has a much smaller annual fee at $95 (waived the first year) compared to the United Club Infinite at $525.

Comparison Overview: United Club℠ Infinite Card vs. United Explorer Card

  • United Club℠ Infinite Card
    United Explorer Card
  • Has Annual Fee
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  • Has Balance Transfer Offer
  • Has APR Offer
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Travel Rewards
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United Club℠ Infinite Card At a Glance

The United Club Infinite Card earns four miles per dollar spent on United purchases, two miles per dollar on dining and one mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases. United Club Infinite cardholders also get complimentary access to all United Club locations and eligible Star Alliance lounges worldwide. You also get two free checked bags and priority check-in, screening, boarding, and baggage handling. This means that if you’re a frequent traveler the perks and rewards on the United Club℠ Infinite Card can quickly offset the $525 annual fee.


  • United Club℠ Infinite Card

    An excellent card for earning United’s MileagePlus miles


    • 1–4 Miles per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 21.99% - 28.99% VariableAPR
    • $525Annual Fee
    • ExcellentRecommended Credit

    Pros

    • Generous bonus miles offer
    • Potentially high rewards on United, travel and dining purchases
    • Complimentary travel perks
    • With discounts on United flights

    Cons

    • Substantial annual fee
    • High variable APR
    • Main rewards focused on United spending
    • High credit requirement
    • Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months
    • Earn 4 miles for every $1 spent on United® transactions
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar on all other travel
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services like GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash)
    • Earn 1 mile for each $1 spent on all additional purchases
    • Complimentary first and second checked bags offering savings up to $320 per roundtrip (conditions apply), along with Premier Access® travel amenities
    • Benefit from a 10% discount on United Economy Saver Awards within the continental U.S. and Canada
    • Opportunity to earn up to 10,000 Premier qualifying points, with 500 PQP per $12K spent
    • Regular APR ranges between 21.99% and 28.99% (variable)
    • Annual fee of $525
    • Member FDIC
    United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Explorer Card At a Glance

The United Explorer has a modest $95 annual fee that suits a United loyalist who wants solid credit card rewards without hefty annual fees. With this card, you will earn two miles per dollar on United purchases, dining and hotel stays. You will also earn one mile per dollar on all other purchases. United Explorer Cardholders also enjoy priority boarding, a free checked bag and 25% back on food, beverages and Wi-Fi purchased on United flights.


  • United Explorer Card

    A good miles-earning rewards credit card with some perks and no foreign transaction fees


    • 1–2 Miles per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 21.99% - 28.99% VariableAPR
    • $95Annual Fee
    • Good–ExcellentRecommended Credit

    Pros

    • No transaction fees
    • Earn miles
    • Travel perks
    • Welcome bonuses
    • Intro annual fee

    Cons

    • $95 annual fee
    • High APR
    • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
    • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
    • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
    • Free first checked bag - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
    • Member FDIC
    United Explorer Card

Comparison Summary

MoneyGeek’s United Club℠ Infinite Card vs United Explorer Card comparison outlines the key features that differentiate these two United cards.

Card Detail
Comparison Summary

Travel Coverage and Purchase Protection

The United Club℠ Infinite Card can reimburse you up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses for canceled trips.

The United Explorer will reimburse you up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip. Both cards offer purchase protection for 120 days of up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

Winner: United Club℠ Infinite Card

Welcome Bonus

You can earn 60,000 reward miles with the United Explorer Card if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

The United Club Infinite card has 100,000 bonus miles for cardholders who spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Winner: United Club℠ Infinite Card

Rewards

The United Club℠ Infinite Card earns you four miles per dollar on United purchases, two miles per dollar on dining and all other travel-related purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.

The United Explorer earns two miles per dollar on United purchases, dining and hotel stays and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Winner: United Club℠ Infinite Card

Annual Fee

The United Explorer Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then a $95 fee yearly.

The United Club℠ Infinite Card has a $525 annual fee.

Winner: United Explorer Card

Loyalty Programs

Both the United Club Infinite and the United Explorer offer premier upgrades on award tickets.

However, the United Club Infinite has more travel perks including Platinum Elite status with IHG Rewards.

Winner: United Club℠ Infinite Card

Which Card Should You Get?

If you are a United traveler, choosing between the United Club℠ Infinite Card or United Explorer Card will come down to your specific needs and spending habits.

Who Should Consider the United Club℠ Infinite Card?

The United Club℠ Infinite Card has a $525 annual fee, but for travelers looking for a premium airline card with plenty of perks, this card offers great value. You may want to choose this card if:

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    You travel frequently with United since you can easily rack up reward miles at a generous 4 miles per dollar spent on United flights and purchases.

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    If you are already a United Club member, you’ll receive a refund for the unused portion of your membership fee.

Who Should Consider the United Explorer Card?

The United Explorer Card offers plenty of rewards and perks for the United traveler and will make a good choice if:

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    You’re a United traveler looking for generous rewards and low annual fees. There is no annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee thereafter.

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    You do not travel frequently but still want to take advantage of rewards offered on flights, hotel stays and other travel-related expenses.

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EXPERT OPINION

One of these cards is not better than the other. Each card offers benefits for a specific type of traveler, so it’s important to select the card based on future travel plans. If you plan on traveling regularly and want a luxury experience, the United Club℠ Infinite Card is likely your best bet. However, if you only occasionally travel and want to earn rewards for a free flight here-and-there, the United Explorer Card is a solid pick.

Other Helpful Decision-Making FAQs

If you’re still not sure whether to choose the United Club℠ Infinite Card or United Explorer Card, you can find more information in the answers to frequently asked questions.

Is the United Club℠ Infinite Card better than the United Explorer Card?
Can you get the United Club℠ Infinite Card if you have the United Explorer Card?
Can you transfer points from the United Club℠ Infinite Card to the United Explorer Card?
Can you switch from the United Club℠ Infinite Card to the United Explorer Card?
What’s harder to get, the United Club℠ Infinite Card or the United Explorer Card?
How much do you have to spend for United Club℠ Infinite Card vs United Explorer Card to get the welcome bonus?

Still Not Sure About These Cards? Consider These Options

The United Club℠ Infinite Card offers great value for the frequent United traveler looking for generous rewards and premium perks. However, for those who travel less frequently, the United Explorer Card may be a better deal. If you are not loyal to any particular airline and need a more flexible card, travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card may be a better option.

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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