Thoughts on the Explorer Card

I’ve got the kind of Mileage Plus Explorer credit card that gives you two free passes to use the United club upon renewal. Remember that. Although you get one free checked bag with these passes, you don’t get to use the club till you renew – for $95. (I thought it was $60.) So what the hey, I’ll renew. Well, my passes didn’t come and didn’t come and I thought my renewal date was in August so I was just patient. Last night, the eve of my trip back to China, I called customer service and after talking with two very pleasant agents, we established that the passes had been mailed in June since I renewed in July.

There was a brief musing about how odd it was I didn’t receive the passes and then a supervisor decided that they’d knock the $50 club fee from my account if I used that card to pay. Fine. As this is the sort of flight that I’d want to enjoy the peace of the club, it wasn’t much use for me to use the club for a shorter flight. I live in the middle of the country and I’m not planning a trip to Alaska or Hawai’i so this is the time for the passes.  I was ready to drop this card because I do have others and it’s not really living up to my expectations. It seems that you must mention your decision to drop a service before real action occurs.

Anyway, I’m now ensconced in the United Club, where I’d dreamed of quiet and free wifi as well as refreshments. It is peaceful here and there is free wifi though the first network to pop up is the fee option. (If they can have free wifi and carts in Singapore and Hong Kong, why not in the USA?) The food here is okay, not as varied as what Asiana offered when I was in their lounge. Granted that was many years ago, so they may have scaled back, though I doubt it. America does not lead the world in hospitality and amenities.

I’m glad to get to chill out here, but I don’t think it’s a good value. It’s right on the edge of being worth it for me. If I flew more domestically, the free checked bag makes life easier. If I knew that I’d fly twice a year to Asia, the passes are possibly worth it. Whenever I return to Asia, life is crazy as I do a

A bigger beef I have is that I’d hoped that since the card allows one free checked bag on domestic cards, you’d get a second free bag for international flights (thus giving people the baggage allowance we’ve always had). Nope. No dice. If you want that you, need to have a Presidential Premier card or some such name. My, it sounds high fallootin’ and out of my league.

About smkelly8

writer, teacher, movie lover, traveler, reader
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