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United MileagePlus Rewards Card Review

Over the last few decades, air travel has become less of a luxury reserved for the wealthy and their companions. Jetting away to a different city for work or personal time is not nearly as restricted as it used to be, thanks in part to more reasonable airfare and a growing number of competing airlines. Oh, and the bevy of rewards programs readily available to those who travel on a frequent basis doesn’t hurt, either.

Experienced travelers know that using a travel rewards credit card that is designed for racking up frequent flyer miles is a smart way to enhance the travel experience. Whether it is working toward a free flight, or using cardholder status as a means to get additional perks before, during or after a trip, travel rewards credit cards are the perfect addition to a traveler’s wallet. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card made available through Chase Bank is worth a second look for frequent flyers with a penchant for flying United.


Card Basics

The Mileage Plus Explorer credit card comes with a strong rewards program for cardholders which has the potential to pay off in a big way over time. Let’s start with the current promotions. New card members have the opportunity to earn up to 30,000 bonus miles when the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is used to make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first three months after the account is opened. Additionally, a 5,000 bonus miles credit can be earned when an authorized user is added to the account and that user makes a purchase within the first three months after account opening. When the cardholder spends $25,000 in net purchases throughout the year, an additional 10,000 bonus miles can be credited to the account each and every year.

The bonus offers made available through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card are incredibly attractive to card members who plan to spend big within the first three months, or have a tendency to spend big throughout the year. Fortunately, for less frequent spenders, the rewards miles still have the potential to add up. Cardholders earn two miles for each $1 spent on purchases directly through United airlines, with all other purchases earning one mile per $1 spent. The great news for all card members is that miles never expire and there is no limit on earning potential. Any miles earned through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card can be redeemed for any seat, any time, on flights operated by United airlines.

Unique Cardholder Perks

Not having to worry about blackout dates or caps on mile earnings are the strongest benefits of the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card. However, additional perks exist for cardholders that make the card that much more rewarding. Cardholders are not required to pay a baggage fee on the first checked bag for themselves and one companion flyer, which could add up to $100 in savings per each round trip flight. Additionally, priority boarding is available for primary card members and their companions which allows travelers to board before the general boarding group.

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card also comes with no foreign transaction fees when purchases are made outside the United States. All United credit cards are chip-enabled, not only providing additional security but also allowing for a more acceptance within the U.S. and abroad. Cardholders also have the benefit of added comfort with United Club passes. Card members receive two United Club passes each year the account is open, providing access to the airline club with complimentary drinks, snacks, workspace and Wi-Fi.

Travelers also have additional protection when utilizing the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card for purchases through the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver program and the Purchase Protection program available directly through Chase Bank. Extra perks come by way of room upgrades and certain amenities are more than 700 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Also, card members gain access to special events, private experiences and discounts through Chase’s Inside Access programs.

The Fine Print

Most travel cards come with some restrictions, either by way of rewards limitations or ongoing fees. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card does not impose earning restrictions on miles, but an annual fee of $95 is assessed. Currently, though, new card members have the annual fee waived for the first year.

Chase Bank offers some insight into who is best qualified for the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card, explaining that individuals with exemplary credit are encouraged to apply. A high credit score and strong credit history will help in getting potential card members approved for the travel card. For those who qualify, the interest rate on purchases ranges from 16.24% up to 23.24%, and the actual rate charged varies depending on broad market movement. Cash advances comes with a standard APR of 25.24%, and balance transfer fees are the same as the initial APR for purchases.

Although interest rates are a substantial part of the total cost of carrying debt on a credit card, additional feels may come in to play affecting the card holder. Late payments or returned payments due to insufficient funds result in a fee ranging from $15 up to $37, depending on the total balance due. Any balance transfers are assessed a fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, of the total amount transferred to the credit card. Similarly, cash advances cost card holders $10 or 5% of the advanced amount, whichever is greater. The combination of these fees and the interest rate charged on carried over balance can add up quickly for cardholders.

The Verdict

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is a smart choice for frequent flyers who prefer to travel via United flights. However, because the card offers no other way to redeem rewards aside from United airfare and their partners, this travel credit card is not recommended for individuals who are seeking a robust rewards program or cash-back options. The annual fee, the purchase APR and the cost for cash advances or balance transfers may make this card unattractive to frequent flyers who are cost-conscious or those who do not utilize the card enough to reap its benefits.

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U.S. Bank FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa Card

U.S. Bank has a number of new options for credit cards, and one of the best that has come out is the FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa card. This card offers tons of perks for business travelers, and the opportunity to rack up serious points very quickly.

This card is perfect for small businesses, and you can add your employees as authorized users—pooling your points into one account to use how you please and when you please for travel at a later date. Use your business travel to cover your next vacation! Let’s take a look at some of the major highlights for this card.

Earn 20,000 Bonus FlexPoints Fast

Once you use your U.S. Bank FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa card to make $3,500 worth of purchases in the first four months that you have the card, you will be rewarded with 20,000 bonus FlexPoints in your account. These 20,000 points can earn you an airline ticket worth up to $400—so this one perk earns you a solid $400 pretty quickly.

0% Intro APR for the First Year

You won’t pay any interest on purchases or balance transfers for the first twelve months when you use the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa card. After the promotional period ends, the APR will be 11.99-17.99%, based on your credit, which is a pretty competitive rate these days for any card.

Great Ways to Earn Points Quickly

With this card, you will earn one point for every dollar spent, pretty standard for the industry. What’s really great is that you will earn double miles in the categories that YOU spend the most in—whether that is gas, office supplies and equipment, or travel. This makes the rewards points system very personalized, and you don’t have to wait for rotating categories or not earn in certain categories because that’s not where you spend your money. You will earn your rewards based on how your spending patterns evolve. Bonus points are awarded monthly, based on your spending, for the category that you spent the most in.

Not only will you earn double points on your main categories, but also earn double points if you pay your cell phone bill with the card. This goes not only for your cell phone bill, but also your internet bill and any cell phone accessories that you purchase.

No Annual Fee for the First Year

You will pay no annual fee for the first year that you have the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa card. After that, you may still pay no annual fee—depending on the spending for the account. If your company uses the card to make more than $24,000 (that’s a mere $2,000 per month, not hard to accumulate for business spending!), then you will not pay any annual fee. If you do not spend quite that much yearly, then you will pay an annual fee of $55 for the owner and $10 additional for every other employee added as an authorized user. You do have to pay the annual fee up front after the first year, but it will be credited if you spend the $24,000 during the course of the year.

Simple and Flexible Redemption Process

U.S. Bank makes it easy for you to redeem your FlexPerks points. With as little as 5,000 points, you can redeem for rewards like gift cards, statement credits and merchandise. With 20,000 points, you can redeem for airline tickets with no blackout dates and no redemption fees—on over 150 different airlines. Use the points for hotels and vacation packages, if you wish!

With each ticket you redeem points for, you will also receive a $25 credit toward your baggage fees or even in-flight purchases like food or entertainment. As an added bonus, you will be able to also earn frequent flyer miles for the airline you are traveling on, if you are a member of their particular frequent flyer program.

The Nitty Gritty

To summarize, this card offers a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, with a variable rate of 11.99-17.99% thereafter, depending on your creditworthiness. Annual fees are waived for the first year, and will be refunded yearly if your company spends more than $24,000 in a year. If you spend less, you will pay $55 for the first card, and $10 for every additional card as an annual fee.

Balance transfer fees are 3%, and cash advance fees are 4%. Cash advances are not eligible for the 0% APR and you will pay an APR of 23.99%.

Foreign transaction fees of 2-3% apply (2% in USD, 3% for foreign currency), if you use the card outside of the United States.


The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards Travel Visa card is a great option for small business owners who want to consolidate spending and pool the points for the owner and employees. There are great ways to earn points, and the redemption process is simple and flexible. With so many airlines to choose from, and alternative options for redemption including hotels, vacation packages and more, this card has plenty to offer!

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Get Rewarded for Adding an Authorized User

Do you have an authorized user on your credit card account?  If not, you could be missing out on rewards. Additional cardholders have often been an ‘after thought’ for credit card companies; they are just another ‘benefit’ for you to get more people on your account, and increase usage.

But, recently, there have been several companies out there with credit card products that are actively attempting to compensate you, the initial card holder, with benefits!  Let’s dig in and see which credit cards those are below!

Chase Sapphire & Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers you 5,000 points for adding an authorized user within 3 months and they make a purchase.  This is in addition to 40,000 points for sign up, two points on all travel and dining, and more!

The regular version of the Chase Sapphire card also offers bonus points, but only 2,500 under the same rules: 3 months to do so, and they must make a purchase.  You’ll earn two points for dining at restaurants, and one point for every other purchase you may make!

Premier Rewards Gold

The Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express doesn’t offer you any benefits, per se, but all of those extra cards can help you earn the 15,000 bonus points for spending $30,000 in a calendar year.  It will cost you $35 for each card that you have on your account.

Chase Freedom 

The Chase Freedom credit card offers 2500 bonus points (or $25 cashback) for the first additional card that you add to your account.  This is great news for those that don’t like paying annual fees.  There is also 15 months of 0% APR when you first open the card!

United MileagePlus Explorer

The United MileagePlus Explorer credit card doesn’t charge your for extra cards on the account.  Furthermore, you’ll receive 5,000 bonus United miles when you add an additional user in the first three months of card membership.


Why Add an Authorized User?

Well, besides the bonus opportunity, I believe that additional cardholders are a great way to teach someone how to use a credit card.  Since it’s your credit that they are spending under, a teenager who cannot have ‘credit’ yet (it starts at 18) can instead learn under your watchful eye.  There are ways to limit spending on some cards, to prevent your kids from buying that new car on your card while you’re not looking!  Furthermore, I think that it adds simplicity to the bill paying process, since all of your purchases are under one account.

For this same reason, adding your significant other as an authorized user can make managing your spending easier. And, if you’re working towards meeting a minimum spending requirement, it can help you get there faster if both of you are swiping your cards for every purchase.

For more on the pros and cons of adding an authorized user, check out this article.



I believe that all of the above cards are doing right by customers for awarding bonuses for new additional cards.  It makes business sense for the company, it expands their brand to new consumers, and ultimately benefits the cardholder as well, getting them that much closer to a vacation, gift card, or magazine subscription (let’s be honest, it’s probably a vacation!).

So, what cards above looked good to you?  There are many options, sure, but it seems that the companies chose some of their better products to be offered up for these benefits.  One catch your fancy?  What are you waiting for?  Apply away today, and don’t forget to add that authorized user within three months of account opening!  There’s no catch!

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Earn 2,500 Bonus Ultimate Rewards Points When You Add an Authorized User

Everybody around these parts loves a good Chase offer.  Whether it be the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, the Chase Hyatt card, or any number of other Chase credit card offers, they usually pretty lucrative sign-up offers.  But, what about after you’ve received that sign-up offer?

Are there more opportunities to earn?  As of this past week, there are!  Now, if you sign up for the Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire (non-preferred) credit cards, you can earn 2,500 bonus points for adding on an additional card member on your account!  Let’s check out the current benefits for the Freedom and Sapphire cards!


Benefits of the Chase Freedom

There is no annual fee for this credit card, and the Chase Freedom card offers an introductory 0% APR on all charges and balance transfers for the first 15 months of card membership. But, as I always recommend, it’s best to pay your balance off each month!  Balance transfers still are charged a 3% transfer fee, remember!

The Chase Freedom credit card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. These categories rotate every three months, and usually correspond to the season (think amusement parks during the summer, department stores around the holidays). You do have to activate your rewards before the end of the quarter in order for the 5% bonus to take effect, but luckily retroactivation allows you to collect bonuses on your purchases if you sign up before the end of the quarter.

Sign-up bonuses help out, too, don’t they?  You’ll receive 10,000 rewards points (or $100) when you sign up, as long as you meet the spend requirement of $500 in the first 3 months of card membership.  You can always transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for amazing flexibility and value in travel options.


Benefits of the Chase Sapphire

With the Chase Sapphire, you’ll receive one point for every dollar you spend, and two points per dollar on dining and airfare and hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards. The points you earn can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or cash back.  There is also no annual fee, but does feature foreign transaction fees.

On sign-up, card users can receive $100 after spending $500 in the first three months.  So, it is very, very similar to the sign-up offer of the Freedom card (without the fifteen months of APR). However, unlike the Freedom, there is no limit to how many points you can earn in the program.

If you dine out a lot, you’ll want to note that the Chase Sapphire credit card offers double points on all dining. Earnings can really add up with double points!

If you’re looking to earn travel points and don’t mind paying an annual fee, I suggest the Chase Sapphire Preferred (linked to above) over the regular Sapphire. Mainly for the added bonus points, additional 2x earnings on all travel purchases, and the ability to transfer your points out to the many Ultimate Rewards travel transfer partners.



Both cards are great, and the additional 2,500 points you’ll earn when you add an additional cardholder to your account only sweetens the deal!  You’ll also earn $100 cash back (or 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you sign up.  You’ll have a card that is backed by Chase, one of the best credit card issuers around.  So, what are you waiting for?

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New Offers for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Cards

Today, Chase updated their site with increased bonus offers on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Freedom cards. This is good news for those looking to apply for these cards, as more points is always better! Below are the full details.


Chase Sapphire Preferred – Up to 45,000 Points

The sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred has remained at 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points for quite some time, but as of today, you can earn up to 45,000 valuable UR points as a new cardmember. You will still get the 40,000 UR points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, but now cardholders have the opportunity to earn an additional 5,000 points. How?  By adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first 3 months. Easy peasy. And existing and future card members are both eligible for authorized user-ship, in case you were wondering.

Also worth noting, all new Chase Sapphire Preferred cards will be Chip and Signature cards, making them more convenient for traveling abroad. If you are an existing member who feels a little jealous – not to worry. All you have to do to receive your new Chip and Signature card is request it by calling 1-800-493-3319.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred,  or apply here –> Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.


Chase Freedom – 20,000 Points

The sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom hung out at 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points for a while, but now you’ll get twice that amount – yep, 20,000 points after spending just $500 in 3 months. I know what you’re thinking – 20,000 points still doesn’t seem like that much. But this is a generous offering from Chase on this card, and one that makes it more appealing for those looking to take advantage of its 5x points rotating quarterly categories.

The lower spend requirement and annual fee help offset the lower signing bonus on the Freedom, and the opportunity to earn 5x points each quarter is definitely a win.

Also worth noting, if you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold, you can combine your Freedom points with points earned from those cards to utilize the Ultimate Rewards travel partners. And the UR travel partners are very nice.

Read our full review of the Chase Freedom.



It’s always nice to see cards offer more rewards to the consumer. If you’ve been considering either one of these cards, now might be the time to add it to your wallet! Of course, we recommend that you only apply for cards if your credit is in good condition and you are able to meet the spending requirements.

Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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A Catch 22: Getting Credit With No Credit

It’s like the job you can’t get right out of college because you lack experience. How are you supposed to get the experience if no one lets you? And so it goes with getting credit. Lenders won’t likely give you credit until you’ve proven that you’re creditworthy.

Because of this reality, you have to get a little creative and have a little patience. You need a strategy, and hopefully these tips will help you form one. Don’t worry – with a little time and a little work, you’ll be building credit in no time.

Here are ways to address this conundrum of credit; this “catch 22”:

1. Become an Authorized User

This is a great option for students or spouses needing to build credit. By your parents or spouse adding you as an authorized user on their account, your credit becomes tied to their credit. That means if they are making regular payments and staying in good standing with the creditor, this positive credit history will benefit you as well. Just make sure that you choose this person wisely, since the point is to help your credit, not hurt it. Also make sure that you are responsible with this new spending power, since you’re affecting someone else’s credit if you aren’t. Not cool.

2. Get a Credit Card with Your Bank

I got a student checking account when I was in high school, and after about a year of being responsible with that account, I applied for a credit card through my bank. They gave me a tiny limit, but over the years, they steadily increased it. I still have that credit card today and it has given me great length of credit history. So if you have already been banking responsibly somewhere, consider applying for a credit card through your bank. Your chances of approval may be better since you have already shown them that you are capable of handling that account.

3. Get a Secured Credit Card

This is a good option, especially for those who have already made a few mistakes. Maybe you were extended credit, but weren’t so creditworthy? Applying for a secured credit card is your best bet for re-earning creditor’s trust. There’s built-in accountability here, since you are creating your own credit limit by the deposit you make when opening the account. When you’ve narrowed down secured credit card options, find out how often they report to the credit bureaus. The more often, the better.

4. Pay All of Your Bills on Time

This applies to those who already have bills of some kind. Phone bills, utility bills, rent, insurance, etc. Never pay late. Just don’t do it. For one, it creates the possibility of a habit forming – one that isn’t going to work in your favor. Secondly, it reflects poorly on your ability to steward your finances. Creditors want to know that you have your finances together. Bottom Line: Late payments will hurt your payment history on your credit report, thus lowering your score, making you less creditworthy, and decreasing your chances of being approved for credit.

5. Make Your Rent Count

This one is pretty nifty. First, find out if your landlord is reporting your positive payment history to the credit bureaus. If not, you can take matters into your own hands by using a third party service like WilliamPaid to pay your rent. There is a small fee (currently 2.95%) for doing this, but with it you have the capability of reporting your payments to the credit bureaus and helping your credit score. Also check out RentalKharma, which will report your rental payment history for up to two years for free!

6. Get a Co-Signer

If you’re looking to take out a loan, consider getting a co-signer. This works somewhat like an authorized user, since the co-signer is taking a bit of a gamble being tied to a loan where you are the primary. Because of this, certain ground rules should be set up in advance to create accountability and ensure trust. Also like the “authorized user” scenario, you’ll want to pick someone with good credit (or you may face a decline, which would be awkward for everyone). The better their credit, the better interest rate you will receive. Once you are approved with a co-signer, continue to make on time payments. This will ensure a positive impact on your credit and theirs. Win-win!


Now go and build, build, build! And comment below if you have any questions or your own experience to share!

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Adding An Authorized User: Boon or Bane?

Most credit card companies will allow you to add an authorized user to your account, and some will allow you to add several. But is it a good idea? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of adding one or more users to your credit card.


1. Improved Credit Potential for Added User

Let’s say you want to add your teenager as an authorized user. Assuming they have little to no credit, this could be a helpful way for them to jump-start their credit building. By adding their social security number to your account, they’re essentially piggy-backing on your line of credit, without having to get approved on their own.

2. Convenience of Additional Purchaser

It may be helpful to have an additional user to make purchases in the event that you can’t.

3. Help Meeting Spend Requirements

You may have recently signed up for a credit card with a sign-up bonus dependent on meeting a certain spend requirement. In this case, it may benefit you to have an additional user running purchases through the card.

4. Bonuses

Banks may often run promotions on certain cards, offering bonus points or miles for adding an authorized user.


1. You’re Responsible For Authorized User’s Spending

Whether it’s a teenager or boyfriend/girlfriend you’ve added to the account, it could go badly for you. There are stories upon stories of accounts being run up with charges in both cases. So, the next point is obvious: Choose your authorized user wisely. You could be taken advantage of and your credit could suffer if you don’t.

2. Higher Credit Usage

Having another spender on the account could make you closer to your credit limit, thus increasing your credit usage. Banks don’t like to see your usage over 30% of your available credit limit, so this could work against you.

3. Potential Lowered Credit Score

While there is potential for an increased credit score for the added user, there is also potential for your lowered score if they rack up too many charges and don’t pay them off on time. Again, you’re responsible for their spending, so choose wisely.

Bottom Line – It’s extremely important that you trust your authorized user. If they are responsible with their spending, having them on your account could be beneficial for both of you. If you’re not sure you can trust them, hold off. There are other options for them to build credit, and other options for you to meet spend requirements or reap points bonuses.