Airline merger means new credit card deals

Plane with clouds

As air carriers United and Continental work to complete their merger, Chase has introduced a new United MileagePlus Explorer Visa card meant to eventually fold the two airlines' miles programs into one.

It features some new perks -- free baggage check, priority boarding and 25,000 bonus miles after your first purchase.

The card offers:

Miles bonus. You'll earn 25,000 miles after first use, 5,000 after adding an authorized user within the first two months and 10,000 additional bonus miles when you charge $25,000 or more annually.

Double miles on United tickets. Card members will earn two miles for every $1 spent on tickets purchased with the card from United and Continental. (You earn one mile for every $1 spent on everything else.)

Miles that do not expire as long as you remain a card member.

No blackout dates. MileagePlus miles can be redeemed on any flight where seats are available.

First checked bag free. Card members and a traveling companion will receive their first checked bag free. (Elite members already get this perk.)

Priority boarding. Card members are able to board United and Continental flights immediately after those with elite status and prior to general boarding.

Access to the United Club. You'll get two passes each year.

The card carries a $95 annual fee, which is waived during the first year, and a variable annual percentage rate of 14.24% (that's the prime rate of 3.25% plus 10.99%) on purchases.

If you hold Chase's OnePass Plus MasterCard for Continental Airlines, the issuer just tweaked its incentives to mirror the MileagePlus card, which will eventually replace it.

And if you carry this card or are considering it, there’s no need to worry that the miles you rack up will be in jeopardy because of the merger.

All Continental miles will transfer to the combined airline.

Compare these rewards with the airline credit card offers in our extensive database.

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