This one is for those who earn United MileagePlus miles. MileagePlus X is an official iOS / Android app by United that allows you to earn miles instantly when you purchase gift cards for retailers. Read more about the app here. In short, you can search for a list of local merchants based on your current location, and the app will tell you how many miles / dollar you will receive for each gift card purchase. Instead of paying for your purchases normally at the merchant, you would purchase the gift card directly on the MPX app for use at the register while you are at the store. This is also applicable for online purchases, more on that later.
Here’s an example: You’re at a Nike store and you are paying $100 for a pair of shoes. Instead of paying by cash or card at the register, load up the MPX app and purchase a digital gift card worth $100, and use the generated gift card number at the register to pay. Keep in mind there are minimum and maximum amounts you can purchase, but for some retailers, like Nike, there is no denomination limit so you can purchase a gift card worth the exact amount of your purchase. Nike gives you 5 miles per dollar, meaning you would receive 500 miles for making this purchase. Best part is, you can still earn credit card points / miles as you would be buying the gift card from United Airlines, which is even better if your credit card is one of those that gives more points for purchases made from airlines.
All of this is pretty trivial so far. What I am more interested in, however, is online purchases. Here is the catch: you will notice if you search for online merchants, only a few results like Amazon and Facebook will show up. Does that mean you can only buy gift cards from the MileagePlus X’s list of online merchants to earn MileagePlus miles? Short answer is no.
The MilagePlus X app works for other online purchases, too. As long as the online merchant you also has a brick and mortar store that you can find using the app’s nearby search feature. Now, I have only done this for Nike, and I don’t know if it will work for other retailers. For example there may be a retailer who restricts their gift cards to be only redeemable in-store, or the retailer’s online store does not accept the digital gift card purchased through the MPX app. So your mileage may vary.
Here’s an online purchase example: you want to buy something on Nike.com. The trick here is to find a physical retail location of Nike (simple Google search will do) and buy a gift card as if you were in that store. In the screenshot below I found a Nike store in Marysville, WA. Although I’m not physically in Marysville, I can still search for merchants near it (or any other city in the US) and the MPX app will return all the local retailers that will give you miles for purchasing gift cards.
From that point on, you just purchase the gift card, and use the gift card number generated by the app to pay for your online purchase.
Not a bad way to earn MileagePlus miles or just keeping your account active!