By: Julie Szpira
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When I’m shopping, I use whatever credit card is most appropriate in the situation to help me earn the most points, which I then use toward future travel.
Unfortunately, there are many places I shop where my credit cards do not earn 2x or 3x category bonuses. For example, when shopping at most stores in the mall, I am earning just ONE point per dollar spent!!!
When you’re planning a trip, and every point counts, you want to make sure that every purchase allows you to maximize your points-earning opportunities. The United MileagePlus X app allows you to do just that.
What Is the United MileagePlus X App?
MileagePlus X (MPX) is a mobile app that is available in the Apple store and Google Play that allows MileagePlus members to earn United MileagePlus award miles when shopping or dining at participating merchants.
The United MPX app allows members to purchase gift cards for various merchants through the app, all while earning bonus miles with United.
MPX has various bonus earning opportunities for different merchants, ranging from 1 mile/dollar, up to 10 miles/dollar. These miles are United MileagePlus miles, and they are earned on top of the miles (or points) you earn from using your credit card to make your purchase.
The bonus earning rates change often, so make sure to check the app to see if the store gift card you are looking for has increased earnings.
Right now, Starbucks earns 2 miles/dollar. When using a Chase Sapphire Reserve, a $10 gift card would earn 30 Ultimate Rewards points (3 points per dollar for restaurants and dining), as well as 20 MileagePlus miles.
How Does the United MileagePlusX Work?
After downloading the app to a mobile device, sign into MPX using your MileagePlus number and password. The United MPX app is then linked to your MileagePlus account and all purchases made in the app will earn miles that will automatically be applied to your account.
You can search stores that are “Nearby” or “Online” as well as access a list of every merchant in the “Catalog” section.
There are 200+ stores that partner with United, from restaurants to clothing stores to speciality candle shops!
You can then purchases a gift card through the app and then use the gift card as payment at a merchant, just as you would any other gift card.
Gift cards purchased through MPX appear in the app under “Purchases”. The gift cards include a gift card number, a barcode or both. The gift card number can be manually entered by a store clerk, or it can be used online. The barcode can be scanned by a store clerk to apply the gift card to your purchase.
The gift cards can be purchased in various amounts, and can even be purchased to cover the exact amount of your in-store or online purchases.
You can have the cashier ring up your purchase so you know your exact total, and then purchase a gift card through the United MPX app, and use that gift card immediately to pay your total.
The Chase MileagePlus Cardmember Bonus
If you are the primary cardholder of a Chase United MileagePlus Credit Card, you are eligible for a 25% bonus on all purchases made in the MPX app.
The bonus is applied to every purchase, made with any credit card. You do not have to use your United MileagePlus credit card to earn the bonus, you just have to have to be a cardmember.
Earning more points with the MileagePlus Shopping Portal
Airline shopping portals are a great way to boost your mileage earnings.
The gift cards purchased in the MPX app can be used to make purchases at retailers via the MileagePlus Shopping Portal to enhance rewards earnings.
The shopping portal allows users to earn airline miles for making online purchases, simply by accessing the retail site through the shopping portal. The rewards earning from the shopping portal varies from 1 mile/dollar spent, up to 20 miles/dollar spent.
Putting It All Together: Credit Card, United MPX, Cardmember Bonus and Shopping Portal
Let’s say you are going to buy $100 of goods from Bass Pro Shop.
Your credit card would earn its regular rewards for a $100 purchase. For most cards, that is between 1 point per dollar and 2 points per dollar. Conservatively, we’ll set the earning rate at 1 point per dollar, so you’d earn 100 points on this purchase.
If you walked into a Bass Pro Shop and made a purchase without using the MileagePlus X app or shopping portal, your bonus earning would stop there. Just 100 points.
However, by using the MPX app and the United MileagePlus Shopping Portal, you can earn many more points on the same purchase.
The MPX app offers 5 miles/dollar for Bass Pro Shop gift cards. A $100 purchase via the MPX app would earn 500 miles.
The Chase United MileagePlus Credit Card bonus would provide a 25% bonus, which equals 125 miles.
For those of us that enjoy online shopping, the MileagePlus Shopping Portal offers 3 miles/dollar spent for purchases at Bass Pro Shop. By clicking through the shopping portal, $100 of spend would earn 300 points.
In total, the $100 purchase would earn 925 United MileagePlus miles, plus the points earned on your credit card of choice. Using the MileagePlus X app and the shopping portal allows you to earn 9 miles per dollar!!!
Using MileagePlus X App To Prevent Mileage Expiration
United MileagePlus miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Activity includes earning miles or redeeming miles. Mileage earning and redemption doesn’t just include flights. You can earn miles through a co-branded United credit card, flying, shopping portals, dining programs, or the United MPX app!
The MileagePlus X App is the easiest way to ensure your precious stash of United miles stay active. Many gift cards can be purchased in denominations as little $5, so it’s a very inexpensive way to extend the life of your United miles.
I purchased a $5 Marshall’s Gift card, earned 3 miles/dollar, and received bonus miles for being a Chase MileagePlus Credit Card holder. The miles from the MPX app posted immediately!
Purchases in the MileagePlus X app can post to your MileagePlus account as soon as the same day, so it can be great for last minute “saves” to your mileage bank.
Do Other Airline Programs Have Similar Apps?
Unfortunately, United stands alone with a points earning app.
However, other airline programs do have dining programs and shopping portals. Make sure to add your credit cards to your dining program of choice, and remember to access websites through an airline shopping portal when shopping online.
The MileagePlus X app allows a user to gain extra United MileagePlus miles on everyday purchases. The app is free, easy to use, and can help you earn more miles on items you were already going to buy.
United has given all the travel junkies out there a gift, and in times when it looks like the airlines are making all the wrong choices, United got this one right.