Up to 2,000 Bonus United Miles via Online Shopping Bonus

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It’s already “back to school” shopping season, so we are staring to see the related promos for those who shop online.  That is a good thing whether you have kids that need new back to school supplies or not, as the bonuses aren’t just limited to those who just need a backpack and uniform khakis.

United MileagePlus Shopping has released a “back to school” themed promotion that awards bonus United miles based on the cumulative amount you spend in their shopping portal between July 14 – August 31, 2015. 

United Shopping Promo

The bonus payout structure is as follows:

Spend $125 get 500 bonus miles

Spend $250 get 1,000 bonus miles

Spend $375 get 1,500 bonus miles

Spend $500 get 2,000 bonus miles

As always, just click from their shopping portal to the online retailer of your choice and make your purchase like normal.  If all goes as it should, the MileagePlus shopping portal will track your purchases made each time you click from there to your selected retailer(s), and then you will earn miles for the individual purchase at the rate show + bonus miles via this promotion assuming you spend at least $125 between now and the end of August.

The bonus miles take 8-10 weeks to post.  They are slow.

Some of the current retailer payouts in the shopping portal are:

Staples 4x

Bed, Bath, and Beyond 6x

drugstore.com 6x

JCPenney 8x

Lancome 15x

Lands End 4x

Neiman Marcus 8x

As an example let’s say you needed $200 worth of goods for a dorm (or whatever) from Bed, Bath, and Beyond plus $50 worth of clothes from JCPenney between now to August 31st.  If you made all of those purchases through the United portal you would earn 1,200 miles for the Bed, Bath, and Beyond purchases + 400 miles for the JCPenney purchases + 1,000 bonus miles for the cumulative $250 in spending thanks to the new promo.

That is 2,600 United miles you wouldn’t otherwise have just for going through the shopping portal to make the purchases.  If you for some reason needed to spend $500 at Neiman Marcus between now and the end of August that is 6,000 total United miles via the shopping portal.  This really can add up if you make it a habit like my family has.  Of course you also still earn miles for spending on your rewards earning credit card for the purchases in addition to the miles earned in the shopping portal.


Thanks to Michael W Travels for sharing news of this new promo!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. In your example, if I go to Staples or OfficeMax and buy $200 worth of Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift cards with my Ink Plus card, am I correct in saying that I would earn 1000 points (5X points) in Ultimate Rewards as well?

    • Brian, potentially yes. Not overly familiar with whether BB and Beyond pays out miles via shopping portals when you use gift cards, but they might. Some retailers do. You are getting into the art of double dipping…and even triple dipping in some cases.

      • I use gift cards as a form of payment at merchants like Petsmart and Kohl’s through the Ebates portal all the time without issue.

        • Brian not all retailers pay out when you buy or purchase a gift card, but many do. Certainly a good chance it works at BB&B.

          • To be clear, I don’t buy the gift card through the portal. I buy it at Staples or OfficeMax with my Ink Plus card. Then I use the gift card as payment for my retailer purchase through the portal.

    • Brian,

      Following up on your last reply/posting….how can you verify/know that gift card REDEMPTIONS on purchases made through the portal do indeed earn miles as spent $$? When I click through to each retailer, the brief notice that appears when making the connection does often say that miles won’t be earned for making a GC purchase online…but I just want to use one (bought elsewhere at a brick & mortar store) to pay for purchases. Any way to verify to know for sure if that will get the credit as well? thanks.

      • It depends on the portal. If you’re using a portal such as Ebates or United Mileage Plus Shopping, why would your order be treated any differently when using a gift card for payment, rather than using a credit or debit card? The portal doesn’t know how you paid. On the flip side, if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Discover portal, they will obviously know whether you used a Chase or Discover card for payment.

        I don’t know how to answer your question with absolute certainty, except to state that this has always worked for me when I’ve paid with a gift card through a portal at places I regularly shop, such as Kohl’s, Petsmart, etc.

        • thanks Brian. My portal is indeed MP shopping. I guess my thinking, and this could be erroneous, was that you actually had to spend $$ to earn something, and that redeeming a gift card for payment was not spending actual $$. So for example, if my total is $100, I redeem $50 via a GC, then my remaining balance that I have to pay with my credit card is $50, the miles earned (reported from the retailer to the portal) would only be based on the $50 total. Or maybe it’s not that technical/complex. :))

  2. So what’s the obvious MS angle here?

    Buy $500 in VISA Gift Cards from Staples say for $6.95 + $6.95 + $5.95 or about $20 in fees. Use an Ink Bold and earn 1,000 UR points transferable to United Miles, plus 4,000 UA miles (2,000 bonus + 4X x 500). So about 5,000 UA Miles for about $20. About 0.4 cents a mile. Not too bad.

    • If you just use an Ink Bold at a Staples store directly, you will get 5X UR points on your purchase. So $500 in gift cards is 2500 UR points.

      • Can I buy at Staples.com through the portal $500 in MC/VISA gift cards to unload on my blue birdd and get the staples portal bonus and the bonus united portal miles? Of course will use a CSP

        • I’ve never tried this myself and not sure of the answer. I thought I read somewhere that you used to be able to do this, but no longer get portal credit for purchasing gift cards.

  3. Another idea here— If you are buying or renting textbooks, there are a few stores through this portal that sell textbooks. I have two boys in college and I have started purchasing/renting textbooks for the Fall semester. It really pays to shop around for the best prices though. If I can get a good price and earn miles, that will be great.

    • Kathy, I use directtextbook.com and enter the ISBN and it gives prices from 20+ stores. It’s easy to comparison shop to buy (or sell) textbooks.

  4. Glenn, love it, but my understanding is that those gift cards at Staples no longer pay out miles via the portals. I’d love to hear if that has changed though!
    Kathy, cool!
    Joe, I’m not sure. I have noticed that a couple of times, too. I will pass along your question/concern.

  5. @Joe My guess is they can sell adds at a better price if they know more about the target audience.

    I don’t know if I trust United enough to go all in like I used to. I’m focusing all shopping earning and CC spend on UR points and Amex. I suspect I’m not alone,

    • Nick/Joe, I could be wrong, but my understanding is they have some different language blogs that may display based on your location.

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