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If you have been at the miles and points hobby for a while then I’m sure you have read dozens of times about joining airline dining programs to earn miles when you eat out. However, for many of us there is an even better way to earn miles eating out and I’m pretty sure you have heard about it much less frequently. I know I haven’t done nearly as good of a job using and covering the MileagePlus X app I should have, but that is changing because it really is a great way to earn more United miles in your everyday life. Even if you read the word app and your eyes glaze over, just promise me you will read the whole thing and then decide if it is worth your time or not.
The MileagePlus X App earns you United miles by selling you electronic gift cards to various retailers that you then in turn use to immediately pay at those retailers through the app for your meal, purchase, service, etc. You earn a set number of United miles per dollar based on the retailer selected. That number seems to often vary from .5 miles – 5 miles per dollar. You purchase an electronic gift card for the exact amount you need for that transaction instead of having small remnent amounts on various physical gift cards the way you often do if you just load up on traditional gift cards.
This may sound like a royal pain, but I promise it isn’t, so here’s a real life example of how it can work. Earlier this week we ordered Panera and our total came to $33.68. I could have just paid for the bill using our Chase Sapphire Reserve that awards 3x on dining and been done with it, but that would be leaving miles on the table.
Instead, I fired up the MileagePlus X App, clicked on Panera, entered the $33.68 amount, selected my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card to pay (it inputs the cards in your United.com profile automatically), and immediately a Panera gift card code for $33.68 was displayed.
I entered the displayed gift card code into the online Panera ordering website and bam! It was done and we had earned 3x points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve for a dining charge, but I had also earned 5 United miles per dollar through the MileagePlus X App + a 25% bonus for having a United co-branded credit card. It all took less than a minute to take the extra step to use the app and earn an additional 210 United miles on top of the 101 Ultimate Rewards points via the Sapphire Reserve.
Some other retailers in the MileagePlus X app include Papa John’s, Kohl’s, Chili’s, Texas Roadhouse, Saltgrass, Sephora, Panera, Panda Express, Lowe’s, Old Navy, Sunglass Hut, Petco, TJ Maxx, Outback, Pei Wei, Chipotle, OfficeMax, Toys R Us, Nordstrom Rack, IHOP, and many more.
Most of these are retailers that you can commonly find gift cards for via office supply stores, grocery stores, etc. but the MileagePlus X app can still be handy when you haven’t planned ahead to purchase a gift card at a bonus, or don’t want to mess with keeping up with physical gift cards. It can also be more rewarding at times since you can stack the earnings from the app with the earnings on your rewards credit card to essentially double dip and stack the miles and points earnings. We earned over 9 miles and points per dollar at Panera by stacking credit card rewards + MileagePlus X earnings.
I’m not the kind of person that uses dozens and dozens of apps every day, so I totally get it if you have your reservations about adding this to your life, but if you frequent some of the chain stores mentioned above or that you find in the app then you really are throwing away thousands of United miles a year if you don’t take the extra minute to use the MileagePlus X app.
I’d love to hear if you have used the MileagePlus X app and what you thought!