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United is running a new promotion to drive more travelers to try its MileagePlus X app: 500 bonus United miles on your first purchase through the app. The promotion is limited to the primary cardholders of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, and your first purchase must be made before July 31, 2016.
If you don’t have the MileagePlus Explorer Card already, if you sign up now you can earn 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. The card’s travel perks are especially nice when flying on United: free checked bags, priority boarding, two free lounge passes per year and expanded United award availability — earning this card a “keep” rating on TPG’s credit card inventory.
Unfortunately, the fine print on the bonus says “you must be a new MileagePlus X user,” so it seems to only be available for anyone who hasn’t used the app before. United links your MileagePlus account with your app. So, uninstalling and reinstalling — or installing the app on another phone — probably won’t make you eligible to earn the 500-mile bonus again.
Even if this isn’t your first time using it, there’s a lot to like about the MileagePlus X app. Purchases through the app will earn between 1 and 5 United miles per dollar spent. A glance at the merchants in my area show most are in the 3x-5x range. With TPG’s current valuation of 1.5 cents per United mile, this means you’ll be getting up to 7.5 cents of value per dollar spent.
In addition, MileagePlus Explorer Card members get a 25% bonus on any earnings through the app — even if you don’t use the Explorer Card to make the purchase — boosting the value you’d get per dollar spent to nearly 9.4 cents.
Remember, if you have a Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, you can still get a $100 Amazon gift card reimbursed using your annual airline credit. Since the reimbursement is separate from the app, United should still grant you the 500-mile bonus for your first purchase through the app. That means you can use your Amex PRG airline credit to end up with a $100 Amazon gift card and 700 United miles for free!
Have you used the MileagePlus X app?
Know before you go.
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