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Just in time for Black Friday, United Airlines has launched MileagePlus X, a new app for iOS and Android mobile devices that enables MileagePlus members to earn up to 4 miles per dollar for shopping at participating merchants. Presently targeted to select MileagePlus members by email, the free app will be made more widely available throughout the holiday season.
If you’ve been targeted for the initial preview of MileagePlus X, you can download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play for Android, then log in with your MileagePlus account info. The MileagePlus X app will automatically sync with any credit cards already stored in your MileagePlus account.
The MileagePlus X search feature helps you find businesses nearby that participate in the program, such as restaurants, Gap, Barnes & Noble, Lowe’s, and Toys “R” Us. Once you’re at check-out at any participating merchant, enter the price of each of your chosen items into the app to instantly generate a gift card barcode that will need to be scanned by a cashier in order to complete your purchase.
Each MileagePlus X purchase will generally earn between 2 and 4 miles per dollar spent, but if you sync MileagePlus X with United co-branded cards like the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and its business version, or the United MileagePlus Club, you’ll earn a 25% mileage bonus on purchases made through the app.
Like a shopping portal, the bonus miles you earn are in addition to whatever you would normally earn by using your credit card. However, since you’re really purchasing an electronic gift card, and since that purchase is indirect via the app, it’s not yet clear whether using the app will have an affect on bonus spending categories.
This video from United (which features the same cheerful music you’ll hear on United’s in-flight safety videos) explains a bit more about the MileagePlus X program:
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.
- Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
- Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Your miles don't expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
- Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United-operated flight at the MileagePlus Standard Award level
- $95 annual fee