United Explorer Card vs Chase Sapphire

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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:17 pm
  #1  
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United Explorer Card vs Chase Sapphire

First, I am sorry if this is answered somewhere else but I tried searching on the forums and did not find the answer I was looking for.

I want to apply for a new credit card so I can get points / miles. I have a few thousand points with United and they seem to always have the flights I need so I decided to book with them. My question is this: do I get their United Explorer Chase card or the Chase Sapphire card?
+ = good for me , - = bad, ~ = neutral

United:
+ 30k miles (easily earned, $1000 spent in 3 months)
+ Free checked bag (25$ every time)
+ 2 united passes (100$ / year)
- 2x miles only on United.com
~ 1x miles on everything else

Sapphire:
- 50k miles (heard to spend $4000 in 3 months)
+ 2x points on ALL food and ALL travel
+ 1:1 transfer to most major programs
+ 20% redemption
- no free checked bag, no lounge access

What do you guys think?
Seems to me perhaps the Chase card is better as I am not locked to only redeem with United (even though I seem to mostly fly with them) and I get a bit more points from eating out and traveling. I will just end up paying for the lounge access when I need it.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:19 pm
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It's really not hard to spend $4k in 3 mnths.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:23 pm
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The Points guy has a good comparison page. http://thepointsguy.com/credit-cards/airline/
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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
It's really not hard to spend $4k in 3 mnths.
So you are saying its worth the Sapphire?
And my issue is I already booked all my travels for the next few months so don't have any major expenses. And I am living alone, so... no wife to spend it for me

Originally Posted by fly2work View Post
The Points guy has a good comparison page. http://thepointsguy.com/credit-cards/airline/
Yeah, I saw the comparisons but still not too sure of what to get :s
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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:37 pm
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Go with the CSP, IMO. I would only get the Explorer card if the $25k spend waiver for getting rid of PQD requirement is important to you.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 12:46 pm
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Also, CSP is a cool metal card. :-)
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:29 pm
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The CSP is a better earner and the sign on bonus of 20k more miles is worth about $300 in United miles.

Reasons to be made to get the United card. You check bags when you travel and have a bunch of flights planned (actual cash savings of $25 each way). You value the club passes (you can typically get them for $20 on eBay). You don't think you can reach the 4k minimum spend in 3 months.

No one can say what the better card for you is, but those factors are what I would use if I was determining which card to get.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Also, CSP is a cool metal card. :-)
I think they got rid of the nice metal card to accommodate the chip.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:34 pm
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A few more positives for the United card. I value zone 2 boarding since I always have a carry on and typically United's overhead bins fill up. Also I don't have exact proof to back this up but I think you get higher on the priority list if you have the United card (recently flights were cancelled and I was put on standby for the last flight of the day out and I was #3 out of 76 people on standby and actually got a seat instead of having to sleep in Chicago).
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:38 pm
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Oh, also, you get another 5000 points bonus on the CSP if you activate an authorized user in addition to the primary cardholder.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:46 pm
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Thanks guys! CSP seems to be the way to go
@WeiBelt: good call on the club passes; I will def check that out!
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Old Jan 4, 16, 1:52 pm
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Depending on your travel & status, why not get both?
I carry branded cards for chains I use a lot, and Sapphire as my 'everything else' card.
The United card gets used for flights, hotel cards for hotels, and Sapphire for various & sundry expenses.
Sapphire is very flexible and the points can be used all sorts of ways, including buying anything off Amazon, or can even be cashed out.

If you don't have status on UAL, the card benefits such as baggage & boarding are very impactful, less so if you are Gold or higher.
I travel a ton on UAL, so I find the double mileage earn to be massive for award travel later as well.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 2:05 pm
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Don't overlook the credit card subfora. There's even a Chase subforum.

Originally Posted by doubleSS View Post
My question is this: do I get their United Explorer Chase card or the Chase Sapphire card?
Depends on your priorities. I find both useful as well as the Freedom and Ink Cash which also earn UR points that end up in my MileagePlus account. The CSP is primarily what I use for earning. The UMPE is for its United benefits.

Originally Posted by doubleSS View Post
Sapphire:
- 50k miles (heard to spend $4000 in 3 months)
Depends on your spend but $4K in 3 months is very easy. If you don't have at least that level of spend then travel cards may not be for you. Consider how long it will take you to earn even just 25K miles to redeem. For low levels of spend you might want to look at cash back cards.

That said, you probably already have spend that can be funneled through your cards for rewards.

Originally Posted by doubleSS View Post
United:
~ 1x miles on everything else
You do realize that the CSP is 1x on all else, right? You don't mention this under the CSP.

Originally Posted by doubleSS View Post
+ 2x points on ALL food and ALL travel
It's not 2x on all food and all travel. Very carefully review what qualifies for travel and dining.
https://www.chase.com/index.jsp?pg_n...ne_Rewards_FAQ

Originally Posted by doubleSS View Post
+ 20% redemption
This is usually a poor value since you have to redeem via the UR portal. It really depends on specifics but transferring typically yields better value.

Originally Posted by davewang202 View Post
I think they got rid of the nice metal card to accommodate the chip.
I've had several (replacements) with EMV already and they have all been metal. EMV and metal are not mutually exclusive.

Last edited by takeshi74; Jan 4, 16 at 2:27 pm
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Old Jan 4, 16, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by takeshi74 View Post

I've had several (replacements) with EMV already and they have all been metal. EMV and metal are not mutually exclusive.
I've had two (replacements, 1+ years ago) with EMV and they've both been plastic. Are your cards more recent? If so, I'll call in and see if I can get new cards as well. I really liked the metal card.
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Old Jan 4, 16, 2:55 pm
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Why not get both?
The annual fee is waived for the first year.
You can use the Explorer card for all United tickets and the Chase Sapphire Card for everything else.

After a year decide which one(s) you want to keep.
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