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United has a shopping tool to earn miles that’s entirely separate from their online shopping port. The MileagePlus X App sells you e-gift cards for participating merchants that you use to pay for goods with those merchants through their app.
A few months ago they sent an offer to United co-brand credit card holders of 500 bonus miles after first purchase with the app and that’s still valid for July 31 for those who received the offer.
In most cases you’ll earn fewer than 5 points per dollar, and most office supply stores won’t let you use gift cards (which is what you’re doing with the MileagePlus X app) to buy gift cards.
But it’s a way to earn points with a wide variety of retailers, albeit since you’re paying via gift card you do give up consumer protections that are associated with payment by credit card.
A couple of interesting opportunities though. This month the MileagePlus X app rolled out 2 points per dollar for Starbucks. (This was apparently available on a limited basis to some members already.)
It’s even better than that because primary United co-brand cardholders get a 25% bonus when using their United card.
Primary cardmembers of a United MileagePlus® Credit Card from Chase will receive a 25% bonus in addition to the miles otherwise awarded by MileagePlus in connection with transactions made through the MileagePlus X app.
That means you’d earn:
- MileagePlus X app miles per dollar
- 25% credit card bonus if you’re using a MileagePlus credit card
- Miles for spending on that card (of course the United Club Card earns 1.5 miles per dollar on all spend)
- 500 mile first-use bonus if eligible.
Information related to the United Explorer Card and United Club Card has been collected by me and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. I do not receive referral credit for these cards.
The rewards for each merchant go up and down occasionally, for instance Amazon.com was recently reduced from 2 miles per dollar down to 1.
The 25% bonus using a United card means giving up more valuable points with another card. And paying for these gift cards through the app with Starbucks (or any restaurant) gives up 2 points per dollar from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Citi Prestige Card earned in-store.