United MileagePlus X Review & How-To
The United MileagePlus X App can be a great way to earn extra miles on your day-to-day purchases at hundreds of retailers. I realize many of you are seeing this post thinking- this is so 2015, but lately, I’ve had a lot of questions about how to use MileagePlus X. So, I decided to do a refresher that, hopefully, everyone can learn something from.
MileagePlus X is a mobile app that allows users to earn United award miles when shopping or dining at participating retailers. The MPX app uses your location to determine what participating stores are nearby or you can search by name.
How it Works
Basically, to set it up, you sign into your MileagePlus account and add a credit card or several as payment methods. Once you’re in-store, you select the retailer and purchase a gift card in any amount you choose. The gift card is purchased instantly and you pay for your purchase by giving the cashier your phone to scan or the gift card number displayed in the app. You will then earn a certain amount of miles per dollar on the amount of the gift card. As you can see from the photo, the amount of miles per dollar range from .05-5 and are displayed next to the name of the store. If you have a Chase United MileagePlus Credit Card, you’ll earn 25% more miles. On occasion, MPX will run a promotion and the rates will be increased.
Let’s quickly run through an example. Let’s say I was a really bad dog mom and ran out of Lucky’s food, so I [frantically] head over to Petco. While I’m waiting in line to checkout, I open the app and click on “Nearby.” As you can see below, Petco is a participating merchant (Yeayy) and I’ll be earning 5 Miles per dollar.
I click on “Pay Now” and wait for the cashier to give me a total. Once I know how much I owe, I begin to purchase a gift card in that exact amount, let’s say $78.22.
MileagePlus X then tells me that I will be earning 391 (+25% bonus if you have a Chase United MileagePlus Credit Card) miles and prompts me to select a form of payment.
After I click “pay now”, the gift card complete with a barcode appears instantly on the screen. The cashier can scan the barcode and VOILA, 391 extra miles are mine! Below is an example of what the gift card looks like after you press “Pay Now.”
Ways to Maximize
Now that (hopefully) you understand how to use the app, lets talk about getting the most value out of your purchases. First, if you intend to use this app a lot, I would definitely consider getting one of the Chase MileagePlus Credit Cards because you’ll get 25% extra miles just for having the card. NOTE: You do not have to use the card to get the bonus, just make sure it’s added to your account as a payment method.
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Online shopping portals in conjunction with the MileagePlus X App give you a very valuable opportunity to triple dip. First, you earn rewards on your credit card for paying in the app. Second, you earn MileagePlus miles on the amount of the purchase. Last, you can shop at the retailer online and click through a shopping portal to earn cashback or miles on your purchase.
Here’s a real life example, again using Petco. Since we’re shopping online, I’ll start out by visiting Cashback Monitor or Evreward to see which portal is offering the best rate. I learn that multiple sites are offering 8% cashback for clicking through their site to petco.com. Here is a summary of my potential earnings assuming my order came out to an even $100.
- $8 …. Cashback from portal
- $1 ….1% Cashback on a cashback credit card, of course there are much better options
- 625 Miles ….. 5 Miles per dollar from the MPX App plus the 25% Cardmember bonus
- For the sake of this valuation, we’ll assume United’s miles are worth 1.5 Cents each, giving us a potential value in miles of $9.37
As you can see, by combining these 3 opportunities, we got an estimated value of $18.37 back from a purchase of $100.
I love this app for in-store shopping and dining because it gives you an easy way to earn miles on your every day purchases in addition to your credit card earnings. Sure, there are ways to get bigger discounts on your purchases, but this is a really flexible way to earn miles without having to plann ahead. This is a great resource for anyone, but if you have a MileagePlus Credit card, it’s a no-brainer.