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Earn 10 Miles per Dollar in the United MileagePlus X App

Aug. 26, 2018
4 min read
United Airlines Boeing 737-824 aircraft is airborne as it departs Los Angeles International Airport
Earn 10 Miles per Dollar in the United MileagePlus X App
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United’s MileagePlus X app is running what looks to be a Back to School promotion offering up to 10 miles per dollar on a variety of retailers that sell clothes and the sort of food that a back-to-college 'kid' may be after. The end date on this bonus isn’t posted, so it might not last for long. For now, the following merchants are participating in the 10 miles per dollar promotion:

  • Chili's
  • Old Navy
  • Athleta
  • Banana Republic
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Dave and Buster's
  • Express
  • Domino's Pizza

At 10 United miles per dollar spent — based on TPG’s latest valuation of 1.4 cents per United mile— you’re getting a solid return of 14 cents per dollar spent at some merchants.

If you have the United Explorer Card, or another co-branded United credit card, you can get a 25% bonus on any earnings through the app — even if you don’t use your United card to make the purchase. That’ll bring your bonus up to 12.5 miles per dollar for some purchases.

Increase Everyday Earnings With United MileagePlus X App

I have been a fan of the United MileagePlus X app for maximizing earnings on purchases since the app launched in 2014. Before using it, keep in mind that what you are effectively purchasing in the app is an electronic gift card for whatever amount you enter. This means you won't have the normal purchase protections from paying for the merchandise directly with a credit card. However, for some purchases — like at restaurants — that doesn't matter very much.


We pick up meals from Panera a few times a month, and the MileagePlus X app is currently offering 5 miles per dollar at the restaurant. Today's Panera order was $61.21 (don't judge), but I earned 382 United miles at 5x + a 25% bonus for having a United credit card attached to my profile. I actually paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, so I will also earn 3x points per dollar by using that card for the dining charge.

All in, that comes to 565 miles and points earned on one food order that we were going to make anyway. Doing that sort of thing on a regular basis adds up to more award flights each year. If you increase the earnings from the 5 miles per dollar I earned at Panera to the 10 miles per dollar currently being offered at restaurants like Domino's or Chili's, obviously your mileage total will increase even faster.

How to Use the MileagePlus X App

To use the MileagePlus X app, 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 so you know the amount. Once the app charges your credit card, it’ll generate a bar code that the cashier will scan to pay for your purchases. In my case, I purchased the Panera gift card in the MileagePlus X app as soon as my online order total was finalized. I then used the gift card number generated in the app to pay for my family's online order.

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When it comes time to check out, you can select from your list of linked cards. While United presumably wants you to use a MileagePlus-branded credit card in the app, you can link any of your credit cards. The purchase should be assigned the same merchant code that the store has if you paid directly, although that may not always be the case.

If you don’t have the United Explorer Card already, sign up now and earn 40,000 bonus United miles after spending $2,000 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 lounge passes per year and expanded United award availability — earning this card a “keep forever” rating, even in TPG's own United Million Mile editor's wallets.

Have you used the MileagePlus X app?

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