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United℠ Explorer Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Choose between a mid-tier airline card and a premium travel card.

The winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000-mile

Signup bonus after spending $4,000 in first 3 months

  • Not just for travel: Get DoorDash perks,10x points on Lyft and 3x on dining
  • Signup bonus worth $900 with Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $300 annual travel credit
Apply now
You have two examples of Chase’s travel card offerings: a United cobranded card and a standard travel card. The United℠ Explorer Card is a mid-tier airline credit card with a $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium travel credit card with a $550 annual fee. Both come with a generous welcome offer, but the United℠ Explorer Card offers 2x miles at restaurants, hotels, and United Airlines purchases, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers 3x points on dining and travel.

Compare the perks and features of these cards in the table below.

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Terms apply, see rates & fees

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Terms apply, see rates & fees

Finder rating
Finder rating

★★★★★

4.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

4.6 / 5.0
Best for
Best for
  • Earning miles in multiple ways for United Airlines
  • Incredible signup bonus and premium travel perks
Welcome offer
Welcome offer

60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $900 through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Rewards
Rewards

2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases

10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases

Purchase APR
Purchase APR

16.49% to 23.49% variable

16.99% to 23.99% variable

Annual fee
Annual fee $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95 $550
Balance transfer APR
Balance transfer APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable 16.99% to 23.99% variable
Cash advance
Cash advance

APR: 24.99% variable

Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater

APR: 24.99% variable

Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater

Foreign transaction fee
Foreign transaction fee None None
Late payment fee
Late payment fee Up to $39 Up to $39
Additional cardholder fee
Additional cardholder fee $0 $75
Interest-free period
Interest-free period 21 days 21 days
Minimum interest
Minimum interest $0
Minimum credit score
Minimum credit score 670 740
Card type
Card type Credit Credit
Learn more
Learn more

Read review

Read review

The winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From a raw value standpoint, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® muscles out the United℠ Explorer Card on most fronts. But this is like comparing David and Goliath because these cards have vastly different annual fees and are aimed at two different types of travelers. The Sapphire cards offers luxury perks over a variety of airlines and hotels, which often makes paying the Reserve’s annual fee worth it. Those who only travel with United will find that the Explorer card doesn’t lag far behind in rewards for that airline and has the United perks to make it worth your attention.

Compare United℠ Explorer Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
United℠ Explorer Card
60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $900 through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase’s premier card.
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