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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Airline shopping portals are one of the best ways to earn lots of bonus miles without actually flying. Every once in a while, the programs offer a limited-time opportunity to earn an even bigger bonus — currently, United’s MileagePlus Shopping portal is offering some increased offers through early October.

As part of this promotion you’ll also have an opportunity to win a grand prize of 100,000 award miles and $2,500 cash, or one of three first prizes of 20,000 miles each. You earn 1 entry when you register for the sweepstakes, 5 entries when you opt into marketing emails and 5 additional entries for each qualifying purchase (with a maximum of 25 entries per day).


This round of elevated earning rates is split into three date groupings: September 30-October 1, October 4-5 and October 7-8. If you’re a cardholder of one of the United MileagePlus credit cards, such as the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, you’re already eligible for increased bonuses, but this could earn you even more. The card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

Here are the elevated earning levels for retailers between September 30 and October 1:

Usual Bonus (cardholder) Usual Bonus (non-cardholder) Elevated Bonus (both cardholder and non-cardholder) Applicable Dates
Bose 2 2 6 9/30-10/1
LivingSocial 2 2 6 9/30-10/1
Neiman Marcus 3 2 6 9/30-10/1
LastCall 3 2 6 9/30-10/1

As you can see, there are some pretty nice increases here, particularly Neiman Marcus and LastCall, where you’ll get a 3x the standard rate.

Here are the elevated earning levels for retailers between October 4 and 5:

Usual Bonus (cardholder) Usual Bonus (non-cardholder) Elevated Bonus (both cardholder and non-cardholder) Applicable Dates
Sleepy’s 3 2 6 10/4-10/5
Saks Off Fifth 4 3 10 10/4-10/5
Jack Rabbit 1 1 2 10/4-10/5
Zoro 2 1 4 10/4-10/5
Home Chef 12 8 24 10/4-10/5
La-Z-Boy 2 1 4 10/4-10/5
Bergdorf Goodman 3 2 6 10/4-10/5

You’ll only have two days to take advantage of these increased bonuses, so if you’ve been eyeing a purchase from one of these merchants, now would be the time to go for it. The especially increased earning for Home Chef, Saks Off Fifth and a few others could be some sweets spots.

Here are the elevated earning levels for retailers between October 7 and 8:

Usual Bonus (cardholder) Usual Bonus (non-cardholder) Elevated Bonus (cardholder; non-cardholder) Applicable Dates
LivingSocial 2 2 4 10/7-10/8 5 3 10 10/7-10/8
Lord & Taylor 4 3 8 10/7-10/8
Zulily 1 0.5 2; 1 10/7-10/8
Sam’s Club 1 1 2 10/7-10/8

Again, you’ll only have a couple of days to take advantage of these offers. The elevated bonus is especially intriguing and could bank you a good amount of bonus miles.


Here’s an example of how this promotion can earn you a potentially significant amount of bonus miles. Let’s say you’re buying something on during the elevated bonus period and you’re not a MileagePlus cardholder. If the pair of shoes you’re buying comes to $189.95, you’d normally earn 569.85 miles — worth around $9 based on TPG’s most recent valuations. With this bonus, however, you’ll earn 1,899.5 miles — worth about $28. The added bonus is pretty nice!

Bottom Line

In general, all of your online shopping should be done through your favorite airline’s shopping portal to earn bonus miles. And when there are increased earning levels through the shopping portal like right now with United MileagePlus Shopping, there’s even more incentive to do so. When you get miles in return for purchases that you were going to make regardless, you can work further toward that trip you’ve been saving up for — it’s a win-win situation.

United℠ Explorer Card

The United Explorer card recently got some enhancements like 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays and a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee credit (up to $100). The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

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More Things to Know
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 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
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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