The United MileagePlus X app (available for Apple and Android) was released a few years ago but it surprises me some people still have no idea what it is or how it can be used to double and triple dip on earning miles and points for your everyday purchases. This post will show that you don’t need to spend more money to earn more miles and points. Instead, with the United MileagePlus X app, you can earn more miles and points for the money that you already spend.
The other posts in this series include:
- Here’s how to earn more miles and points at gas stations.
- Here’s how to earn more miles and points for shopping.
- Here’s how to earn more miles when flying United.
United MileagePlus X App
So what exactly is the United MileagePlus X app? It’s basically a giant gift card store that allows you to earn United MileagePlus miles when you make purchases. It uses your GPS location to determine which participating stores and restaurants are nearby and when you use it, you can earn up to 5 miles per dollar spent at a store or restaurant that you would normally spend money at anyways. The United MileagePlus X app is linked directly to your United MileagePlus account so all your miles earned through the app will automatically appear in your MileagePlus account within a week or so.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say my friends and I are heading out to dinner at Lucille’s Smokehouse and our bill comes out to be $100. I could pay it with my credit card that earns me say double points on dining (like a Chase Sapphire Preferred). If I just used that credit card to pay for our meal, I would earn 200 points right? But instead of just using my credit card, I could pull up my United MileagePlus X app, find Lucille’s on there and use the app to purchase a $100 gift card to pay for our meal. By doing so, I would earn 500 United MileagePlus miles just by using the app to instantly purchase a gift card to pay for our meal at Lucille’s.
So would you rather have 200 points for using your credit card? Or 500 MileagePlus miles for using the United MileagePlus X app? But why not have both?! Here’s the best part about using the MileagePlus X app. The app links directly with your United MileagePlus account and you can store different credit cards on file for different purchases. So by having my credit card that earns me double points on dining on file with United MileagePlus, I can use that credit card to make the gift card purchase through the MileagePlus X app for Lucille’s. And yes, by doing so, I will still earn double points on the gift card purchase for Lucille’s (as if I used it directly at the restaurant) through the United MileagePlus X app. So in actuality, I will earn:
- 500 UA miles for using the United MileagePlus X app.
- 200 points for using a credit card that earns double points on dining purchases.
That’s a total of 700 points/miles earn for the same $100 purchase! Why settle for a single dip when you can double dip?!
Let me give you another example.
My friends and I want to go watch the new Suicide Squad movie. Let’s just assume for simplicity sake, our movie tickets, popcorn and drinks totaled $100. Again, I could use a credit card that earns me triple points on entertainment purchases (like the Citi Prestige) at Regal Cinemas and earn a total of 300 points if I used my credit card directly. But if I open up the app, click on Regal Cinemas and use it to purchase a $100 gift card, I would earn 500 United MileagePlus miles along with my original 300 points. That’s a total of 800 points/miles!
The good thing about the United MileagePlus X app is that you can store several credit cards on file. That way you can use different credit cards for different purchases depending on your category bonuses. Have a credit card that earns you double points on dining? Use that for your restaurant purchases. Have a credit card that earns you five times the points for office supply stores? Use that for purchases at Staples or Office Max.
Here’s another perk of the United MileagePlus X app. If you have any of the Chase co-branded United Airlines credit cards on file (Explorer, Select, Club, etc.), you will automatically get a 25% mileage bonus on all your MileagePlus X app purchases. Yup, that’s right. You don’t even have to use the Chase co-branded credit card to purchase the gift card, you just need to have it on file. So taking my Lucille’s example above, I would earn 500 United MileagePlus miles (5 miles per $1 spent) plus an additional 125 United MileagePlus miles (25% bonus) just for having my United MileagePlus credit card on file for a total of 625 United MileagePlus miles and 200 credit card points. Not bad huh?
Using the United MileagePlus X app usually takes a few seconds to conduct the transaction depending on your internet connection so it’s possible to purchase the exact amount gift card at the register. However, you can purchase the gift card ahead of time if you want. Whatever remaining balance of the gift card will remain on your digital gift card. Purchase a $100 gift card but only used $75? You’ll show a remaining balance of $25 on your digital gift card. Just make sure to NOT MARK YOUR GIFT CARD AS REDEEMED! Otherwise, it will delete the card from your purchases.
Here’s a quick video summarizing what I just told you.
But before you get too excited, there are a few limitations to the United MileagePlus X app. As expected, not all stores and restaurants will earn you 5 miles per dollar spent. Each business will vary from 1 to 5 miles per dollar spent and not all stores and restaurants participate in the United MileagePlus X program.
United MileagePlus X downsides and warnings
As with all gift card purchases, you should be careful. Using the United MileagePlus X app uses your credit card to purchase an instant, digital gift card to make your purchase. If you later decide to return the items you purchased using the MileagePlus X app, you will get a refund in the form of a gift card. No, you cannot return the purchased gift card and get a return credit back to your credit card. So make sure it’s at a store that you don’t mind having a gift card to if you decide to later return an item.
The other major drawback is most premium credit cards come with additional purchase protections such as extended warranty or “price rewinds.” Using the United MileagePlus X app will not extend those purchase protections to your items. That’s because those purchase protections only cover the items you purchase directly with your credit card. And since you are using your credit card to purchase the store gift card and not the actual items, you will not have those purchase protections extended to your items.
And lastly, you cannot use the United MileagePlus X app to purchase another gift card in the store. So you can’t use the MileagePlus X app at Office Max to buy Amazon gift cards. It’s hard-coded into the registers so don’t even try.
United MileagePlus X triple dip hack!
But before I let you go, I want to remind you of one more trick – how to triple dip on your points and miles. Nothing says you actually have to be at the store to use the United MileagePlus X app. You can use it for online purchases using shopping portals as well. That’s right, by using the United MileagePlus X app through online shopping portals, you will earn:
- United MileagePlus miles for using the app.
- Points earned for using your credit card.
- Miles earned for using the shopping portal.
If you don’t know what online shopping portals are or need a refresher lesson, you can click here for my introduction on using online shopping portals.
The United MileagePlus X app is often overlooked by people as part of their overall points and miles earning strategy but as you can see, it really is a great tool for earning mega points on items that you would normally buy anyways. It’s simple, easy to use and doesn’t require you to carry around anything extra.
More information about the United MileagePlus X app terms and conditions can be found here.