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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card
United’s MileagePlus X app is running a Back to School promotion and offering double miles on purchases at certain stores. The end date isn’t posted for this promotion, so it might not last for long. For now, the following merchants are participating in the double-miles promotion:
- AMC Theatres — 10 miles per dollar spent (normally 5x)
- Banana Republic — 10x
- Dell.com — 4x
- GameStop — 8x
- Gap — 10x
- JCPenney — 6x
- Nike — 10x
- Old Navy — 10x
- Sears — 6x
- Toys R Us — 6x
- ULTA Beauty — 8x
At 10 United miles per dollar spent — and TPG’s latest valuation of 1.5 cents per United mile — you’re getting a sweet return of 15 cents per dollar spent at some merchants.
If you aren’t already using the United MileagePlus X app, now’s a great time to start earning lots of bonus miles. Since it launched in 2014, the app has grown a loyal fan base but has been struggling to be widely adopted. So, you’re not alone!
Here’s how it works: Download the iOS app from the App Store or the Android app from Google Play. Then, at participating merchants, use the MileagePlus X app to buy an electronic gift card — typically right before you check out. Once the app charges your credit card, it’ll generate a bar code that the cashier will scan to pay for your purchases.
While United surely wants you to use a MileagePlus-branded credit card, you can link any of your credit cards to the app. When it comes time to check out, you can select from your list of linked cards. The purchase should be assigned the same merchant code that the store has, although that may not always be the case — while some MileagePlus X users haven’t received the proper category bonus, sometimes this can work in your favor.
MileagePlus Explorer Card cardholders get a 25% bonus on any earnings through the app — even if you don’t use the Explorer Card to make the purchase. That’ll bring your bonus up to 12.5 miles per dollar for some purchases. If you don’t have the MileagePlus Explorer Card already, if you sign up now you can earn 30,000 bonus United miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Along with the bonus on the MPX app, 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.
Have you used the MileagePlus X app?
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards