United Will Continue Onboard Credit Card Pitches ‘Indefinitely’

You’ve settled in on a (perhaps yet another) long United Airlines flight. The seat belt sign is off, the flight attendants have wrapped up service and everyone with an overactive bladder seems to have taken care of things and settled in. The calm of high-altitude cruise is setting in. Then, the loudspeakers ping.

“We’d like to take this time to tell you about our new credit card offer, the United Explorer Credit Card.”

The announcement goes on for agonizing minute upon minute. Frequent flyers who spend more time in United recliners than their home sofa have memorized every diminutive detail of the card offer. After 20 flights, the announcement starts to feel like a bad subliminal self-help recording.

United Polaris Dessert Cart Ice Cream Sundaes

Following dessert, United now offers onboard credit card applications. Image by United.

United once before tried and ended the practice of using airtime to advertise co-branded credit cards. This month, after Chase and United tweaked the card offering, United flyers started soaking up the onboard advertisements yet again.

We now know that practice won’t end anytime soon. United President Scott Kirby told investors and reporters on yesterday’s quarterly earnings call that the airline will continue to incentivize flight attendants to pitch credit cards “indefinitely”.

Kirby also confirmed that flight attendants are earning a $100 commission for every onboard application that’s accepted.

United Explorer credit cardFrequent flyers, United Premiers, get your ear plugs handy. You can save yourself the paperwork and find more information on the card and others like it by clicking here.

Here is a quick rundown of the benefits, for those who prefer reading to loud airplane announcements:

  • Complimentary checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • 40,000 bonus intro miles (for those who haven’t had the card before)
  • Two miles per dollar spent on United airfare, any hotels and dining (includes many bars)
  • Complimentary TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership
  • 25-percent off purchases on United flights (food and alcohol)
  • Two United Club passes every year

The card costs $95 per year, but the fee is waived the first year, and comes with a $100 statement credit applicable to any United purchase.



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  1. They fail to tell everyone to never mind applying if you have gotten 6 or more credit cards this year because Chase will ding your credit score and then not give you the card.

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