A couple of months ago, United introduced a new, powerful way to earn much more miles while shopping… but this time it isn’t online shopping – it’s actual shopping in store.

So, how does it work? Download the MileagePlus X app for your phone, sign in with your United account, and you’re all set! Now all you have to do is see which stores you can use the app to pay at, it uses your phone’s location to locate the nearest available stores. Simply visit the store and when you are ready to pay, tap the name of the store on the app and enter the total amount of your purchase.

MileagePlus X

MileagePlus X

United then purchases a gift card for your amount and you basically pay with a gift card code that shows up on the app. Simply have your cashier scan the gift card bar code on the app and you should be good to go.

So where do the extra miles come from? Well, most of the stores that are available in MileagePlus X offer anywhere from 2-30+ miles per purchase, on top of that you will earn 25% more if you are a Chase United card member.

For example, let’s say I make a purchase at Barnes and Noble for $178.39, I would earn a total of 668 miles.

  • 3 miles per dollar spent at Barnes and Noble = 178.39 * 3 = 535 miles
  • 25% Chase cardmember bonus (you have to use the United card as the default payment method) = 133
  • Total = 668 miles for a $178.39 purchase

That’s a powerful way to earn miles.

MileagePlus X

MileagePlus X

However, keep in mind that once you ‘confirm’ in the app to purchase the gift card and you pay for it.. but want to return an item later, a store will refund you to your original form of payment, in this case a gift card. So the money won’t go back to the credit card. Instead you will have a balance on the gift card for future use.. this is the ‘catch’ aspect of the app. Yes, it is a powerful way to earn miles.. but only on purchases you won’t be returning! Unless you want gift card balances later.

I’ve used MileagePlus X at several stores and the app works great and I am earning many more miles now, actually I am earning both United and Lufthansa miles for the same purchase since I am technically buying a gift card with my Lufthansa credit card which also earns me miles.